Get people fit for a job.

ZEF – Cooperative for Ethical Financing

Organizations involved
Martinov Plast – Social Cooperative, Stijena Resoc – organization providing social housing and employment support to homeless, addicts and ex-ofenders

Target group
Unemployed people of all ages coming from deprivileged backgrounds

3 months, Training period by length of job description.

ZEF’s voucher model is piloted in partnership with social cooperative Martinov Plašt that has many years of experience in supporting finding jobs for the people with disabilities. Voucher model is built around Croatian legislation that is requiring companies to have at least 5% of people with disabilities among their employees and in case that they do not meet that requirement they need to pay compensations to the Fund that is supporting employment of people with disabilities.

Martinov Plašt

Darko (27)

Darko was part of the first group of beneficiaries who went through the education program aimed to support students to develop and improve skills that are going to help them to find employment as well as to support them in living independent, quality life. After the training, Darko was employed as a repairman providing services with small repairs to different companies. Darko currently lives in a social housing community and is planning to become mentor to other beneficiaries that will be coming in the voucher programme.

Our voucher model promotes that alternative. Vouchers are issued to companies who need goods or services that are provided by social integrators and upon successful purchase or provision of the service, the certificate is provided to buyer companies that allows them exemption of the payment of the aforementioned compensation.

This model increases revenues and financial stability of social integration companies, allowing them to educate and employ more people with disabilities in different areas and sectors. In this pilot phase the most work has been done in sectors of horticulture, agriculture, design and decoration, cleaning, warehousing, small repairs and manufacturing of simple goods.

The pilot is currently mostly focused on people with mental and physical disabilities but we seek to expand it also to other vulnerable groups: migrants, homeless, ex-offenders, ex drug-additcs etc.

Cooperative for ethical financing (ZEF) was founded in 2014 by 101 founding members as a multi-stakeholder organisation with primary goal of setting up new financial instruments for the support of social and solidarity economy in Croatia and wider region. Cooperative currently has around 900 members and is in the process of setting up the first digital ethical bank on the European level.

ZEF is active in provision of consulting services related to the topics of strategic management, ESG impact measurement, alternative financing, sustainable and circular economy and digitalisation of business processes and services, especially in the sector of ethical and impact finance.

ZEF contributes actively to the promotion of policies related to ethical finance, sustainable development and cooperatives on the local, national and European level.

ZEF is a multistakeholder cooperative gathering individuals, companies, municipalities, labor unions and other organizations with the common goal to create sustainable ecosystem of members working together towards achievement of common social and environmental goals.

ZEF is supporting work of many social enterprises and is through SIV project has started collaboration with members who are active in provision of employment support services to various social groups.


Major increase in career outlook


Decrease in unemployment


Networking with local stakeholders

Our programs

The Next Access Programs improve the situation of people that for different reasons are out of the labor market. The national programs are financed by the Social Impact Fund, which is run with the help of private and institutional capital. 

Long term