Zátiší Group delivers Happiness on all fronts by supporting charity & philanthropic projects around the World & now also in the Czech Republic
Sanjiv, it is known that besides gastronomy, Zatisi Group is also very active in philanthropy. What projects are you currently involved with in the Czech Republic?
This year, we should invest more than 7 mil Czk in philanthropic projects. The amount donated last year was in excess of 6 mil Czk and in 2010, we invested in excess of 5 mil Czk. The very purpose of existence of Zatisi Group is to deliver happiness on all fronts – to its guests by providing wow service, to its employees, suppliers and partners and also to the people who have not been as fortunate as we are.
Last year, we donated 0.5 mil Czk to the Children’s Crisis Centre and we will donate the same amount this year. Together with Šimon Pánek, executive director and founder of the humanitarian organisation “People in Need”, we are planning to equip their new multifunctional centre Langhans in Prague, a place of meetings, discussions, education and inspiration by providing them with 0.5 mil Czk this year. This year, we will also donate 0.5 mil Czk to other local projects that “People in Need“ is working on.
Zatisi helps mostly outside of the Czech Republic’s border. Where exactly?
As the total funding is very limited, we find that the value of the same amount of money is 10-20 fold in underdeveloped countries. We are involved in a number of activities worldwide. With “People in Need” - to establish 2 new schools in Congo for 1.5 mil Czk in 2011 & 2012. In 2010 1.4 mil Czk was sent to Cambodia ( 50% contributed by our guests for my 50th birthday) to help 42 Health Care Centers save over 500 children’s lives each year. In 2010, I spent one week in Cambodia visiting the health centres with my two older children Virat (now 15) and Jacqueline (turning 13 in Sept.). This July, we are visiting some school projects in Ethiopia. For the last four years, since she was 8, Jacqueline has been running the 10 km charity Marathon for children together with other benefactors of schools in Ethiopia, so this July she will attend a school there and live, eat and sleep like and with the local children. I may even take a trip to Afghanistan in August with Šimon Pánek to identify opportunities for providing support there.
Working with UNICEF and its director Pavla Gomba & also as a board member for many years, I have visited our joint projects in Rwanda. Now, we are also looking into new projects in Sahel or sub-saharan Africa, in countries that are in critical need of financial aid, besides the present projects in Rwanda, Sierra Leone & Bhutan. It is our plan to support UNICEF with at least 2 mil Czk this year.
In Rwanda, you are involved in an unusual project with the local farmers. Can you tell us more about it?
Certainly, in Rwanda, we have joined a project which I categorize under sustainable social philanthropy - by investing at first 1 mil Czk that we committed last year & that will be followed by another 1-2 mil Czk this year. This project is called “Ikerezi” and shall be self sustainable by 2016. We are involved in this project with four other members of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). The person who introduced us to this project is Dennis Overton from Scotland. We are currently working with 50 farmers from Rwanda where the government has decided to support the project with 350 hectares of land. We provide them with the necessary training & seeds, helping them grow Geranium and other flowers to supply buyers worldwide including the perfume industry in France.
How many jobs will such extensive support net help create?
Thanks to the YPO contacts, the rich soil in Rwanda and the quality of the manufactured extract, the entire production volume for the next three to five years will potentially be presold. Our goal is to engage in the project about 300 - 400 entrepreneur farmers who will work with us and by 2016 provide jobs for up to 1,500 people. The overall number of people whose lives will be affected by this project should exceed 10,000 by 2016.
Ikerezi should become cash flow positive by 2016 and be able to sustain further growth by internal cashflows by then. In a social enterprise, no interest is charged and no dividend paid out to the philanthropic investors, but the project is managed professionally like any other for profit organisation, using the skill sets available to a for profit business for social causes. Once the project is self sustaining, the investors may withdraw their philathropic capital to invest in other social projects elsewhere in the world. The business will be managed by local professionals and there will be quarterly reporting and board meetings like in any for profit business. I plan to travel to Rwanda for a week with my wife Markéta this November to get fully acquainted with the progress made thus far.
What other countries and organisation do you support? How does it work?
We also work with the organisations World Vision India supporting very poor children with education and basic nutrition, through which we will this year send to over 100 children cca 300 Czk each á month - together about 400,000 Czk á year.
In a similar way, we are involved in four additional charities in India including the social enterprise network where they provide lunches rich in nutrition at the local schools or simply add a high protein food like an egg to the already provided lunches to school children.
These organisations provide vocational training for women in underprivileged societies as well as help women and children acquire basic books, internet access and computer use, or provide the schools with solar panels to generate electricity required for school operations, etc. Overall, the provided amount equals only to 50,000 Czk á month or 600,000 Czk á year, but the impact is huge.
In the Czech Republic, you want to assume an active role in the fight against corruption with Transparency International. What were your reasons for becoming involved in this area?
We have become the first corporate benefactor of the Transparency International Club with a donation of 100,000 Czk towards the fight against corruption in the Czech Republic. We are going to be even more active in this field as CR currently occupies the 57th - 59th place out of 180 assessed countries, while Rwanda and Bhutan rank among the Top 50. Countries with the best results in this area are New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Singapore with per capita income that is more than double ours. Our goal is to get the Czech Republic among the Top 20 countries by 2020 and we think if we are able to achieve this goal,
CR could grow at a compounded rate of over 5% annually. We would therefore like all businesses to join us in achieving this goal as, in the long run, it is in every one’s best interests. :-)