Creating A Social Entrepreneurship Hub in Romania

Ford Fund awards entrepreneurs grants of up to $30,000 at its Romanian resource center

CRAIOVA, Romania — Social entrepreneurs are boosting education, health, social mobility, transport and the arts for the people of Craiova with the support of the Ford Fund.

A total of five programmes at the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre (FREC) have been awarded grants of up to $30,000 USD by the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

Screenshot of 14 computer screens showing people during remote meeting, with directory to the right of images
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, entrepreneurs were virtually notified about their grant funding by representatives from EDUCOL and Ford Fund.

The projects were all developed at the first-of-its-kind centre—opened in October 2018—which offers Craiova University students and graduates the opportunity to design and launch innovative and sustainable social enterprises to drive economic progress and make people's lives better.

This year's winners included EBiS Club, a mobility hub and platform for hiring bicycles and electric scooters; digital learning service EduMix 100, which will enable teachers to produce digital content for online lessons; Furnix, a furniture refurbishment and customisation centre offering woodwork classes for children; Germiplants, which is creating greenhouses for the cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants; and art therapy centre Good Will, which offers dance, music, theatre and painting workshops to people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Like previous years, the 2020-21 competition was run by EDUCOL, providing counselling and mentoring to the teams to help students define their business proposals before they were reviewed by EDUCOL, Ford of Romania, Ford Fund, Craiova City Hall and the Craiova University Students' Federation.

Leonardo-Geo Mănescu, FREC manager and president of EDUCOL, said: "Solidarity has become ever more important in the COVID-19 context. Therefore, in 2020, FREC Craiova is extending the range of services offered to the community through five new social enterprises in top priority fields: healthy food production, smart mobility and delivery, furniture refurbishment, blended learning and art and dance therapy."