Since arriving in Serbia in 2003, Eurobank has been striving to establish strong ties and provide support to the community in which it operates.
Eurobank is a multiple winner of numerous awards in the segment of socially responsible business and has been a recipient of the prestigious VIRTUS Award several times. This year, the bank received the award for the Manchester United Football School project. We talked with Slavica Pavlović, President of the Executive Board of Eurobank, about what the awards mean to the bank and how the cooperation on this project came about.
This year, Eurobank is the recipient of the VIRTUS award given by the Trag Foundation for its contribution to the local community through the implementation of the Manchester United Football School project. Congratulations on the award! Could you tell us more about the project?
We have been carefully preparing to implement the Manchester United Football School project for a long time and we are proud of it since this is a unique project for our country. It is always an honour and a great pleasure to be among the winners of the Trag Foundation’s VIRTUS Award again, especially since the award recognizes the value of this project.
Our main motive and desire were to allow the kids to gain knowledge about football and practical experience from renowned and experienced Manchester United coaches who rank among the best in the world, as well as from Manchester United’s legend Wes Brown, who became a great player, at their football school. During the week, the children stayed in the Football Association of Serbia’s camp and in addition to practical classes during which they practised their football skills, they also attended theoretical classes where they learned the basics of football strategy, tactics and teamwork.
Young talents from all over the country under the age of 11 and the coaches, who will continue to pass on their knowledge to the generations to come, were given the unique opportunity to participate in the Manchester United Football School. In addition to these young football players, the children of employees, children of clients and partners of Eurobank also got to share in this valuable experience and we are especially glad that the children from homes for children without parental care from SOS Children’s Village in Kraljevo and Children’s Village from Sremska Kamenica also participated.
Many would argue that the cooperation between a bank and a football club is incompatible. How did it come about?
Manchester United is the most recognizable as a football club, but it is much more than that. It is a global organization that strives to convey the love for sports and football to as many people as possible in various ways. The club decided to come to Serbia beacuse of a large number of its fans and followers in the country, and Eurobank was chosen as a business partner among other interested participants in the domain of co-branded Eurobank Manchester United payment cards that provide many benefits, including the opportunity to attend matches at the Old Trafford. Since the Bank and the club share many values, our partnership and cooperation developed over the years and that is how the the football school for children was organised.
“We have been carefully preparing to implement the Manchester United Football School project for a long time and we are proud of it since this is a unique project for our country”
Eurobank is the recipient of many CSR award. It seems that helping the community is Eurobank’s lasting commitment.
Since arriving in Serbia in 2003, Eurobank has been striving to establish strong ties and provide support to the community in which it operates. We are glad that our commitment to contibuting to better life of people in Serbia has been recognized by the public over the years, and the awards we have received speak in favour of that. During this year, we participated in numerous initiatives aimed mostly at supporting the health system of Serbia. At the invitation of UNICEF, we set aside six million dinars for the purchase of required health equipment, and we additionally provided 1.2 million dinars for the purchase of oxygen flow meters for the Clinical Centre of Serbia and clinical centres in Niš and Kragujevac. Also, we are continuing to implement the School designed for You project to help modernize and equip computer rooms in four high schools in Serbia.
Does community support also depend on the individual who heads the company? Are you also committed to doing business in a socially responsible way?
We pay special attention to socially responsible business, which we consider an integral part of our business strategy. That is why we have defined strategic areas of community support – education, culture, environmental protection, equality and health – in which we have so far invested more than 4.5 million euro through various initiatives and projects. Eurobank employees, and I personally, strive every day to improve cooperation with colleagues and clients, as well as with the local community, business partners and associates, and we also strive to launch projects that will have long-term value. I believe that Eurobank’s employees have a developed awareness of the importance of providing support to the community in which we operate, as evidenced by the volunteer campaigns in which we have participated over the years, both as individuals and as an organization.