PartneRI Business Club Association founded: RIJEKA 2020 and business people from Primorsko-goranska county start a new philanthropic platform for investment in cultural projects

The association, founded by 25 business entities and entrepreneurs from the Primorsko-goranska county, has the ambition to develop into a donor community that will contribute to the development of culture in the county, funding selected Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture programmes.

Its founding was initiated by the Rijeka 2020 team, but the idea was further developed in cooperation with representatives of the Primorsko-goranska county business community. The result is a newly founded association whose long-term goal is to promote philanthropic investment in cultural projects and to develop a platform for partnership between the business and cultural sectors. At the inaugural assembly, the mayor of Rijeka Vojko Obersnel and the rector of the University of Rijeka Snježana Prijić-Samaržija expressed their support of the PartneRI Business Club.

The Association is open to entrepreneurs, sole traders, companies and independent professionals who are active in all branches of the economy. Through their knowledge, experience and social influence, they will all contribute to the development of culture and the success of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project but also to the long-term development of Rijeka, Primorsko-goranska county and the wider region, continuing their impact after 2020.

The European Capital of Culture is not just a programme of exceptional one-off cultural events and experiences for citizens and visitors, but also a significant developmental and economic project whose success largely depends on the active involvement of the whole community. The project also opens up a range of opportunities for collaboration between the cultural and creative sectors and the business sector. Therefore, the initiative, and the PartneRI Business Club Association, represent a unique and, for Croatia, innovative opportunity that could have a long-term impact on community development.

The president of the newly founded PartneRI Business Club Association, Boris Popović, said that the Association brings together entrepreneurs who can change the city through constructive and creative activity, and trough their energy, work, ideas and contacts create new value for the benefit of all citizens. „You cannot change things without investing something. First you need to sow, then water and nurture for anything to bear fruit. We have the opportunity to change our city from the bottom up. This means that we are able to create new industries such as cultural and creative industries, attract new people, knowledge and skills to the city, create new resources and new, participatory ways of managing processes in our city and build a culture of respect, trust and partnership”, Popović said.

Irena Kregar Šegota, Director of the Development and Strategic Partnerships Sector at RIJEKA 2020 Ltd, reminded that the project Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture was planned from day one as a project that brings together the wider community and not just as a cultural-artistic project. “Participation of the business community in this development project is extremely important for Rijeka. The Business Club will act as a platform for their gathering, for direct participation in the project of the European Capital of Culture as well as fundraising to finance the programmes of this project and to work on the development of philanthropy towards the cultural sector, a segment that is very poorly developed in Rijeka and throughout Croatia. This is an experiment and, for Croatia, a one-of-a-kind initiative so we are extremely proud that it is taking place in Rijeka, within the framework of the project Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture”, she stressed.

The vice-president of the newly founded association Vladimir Mozetič invited all those who believe in a partnership whose common goal is to enable Rijeka and its region to be better in all segments of culture to join the PartneRI Business Club. „Culture in the sense of art, but also a business culture, a culture of everyday mutual respect, a culture of living. It is my personal pleasure to participate in this once-in-a-generation project that each of us can contribute to with our knowledge, experience and desire to achieve all that we plan to achieve together”, concluded Mozetič.