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Ford Resource and Engagement Centre Welcomes Five New Social Entrepreneurship Programs to support Craiova community

CRAIOVA, Romania, June 23, 2021 — Ford Romania announces today five new social entrepreneurship programs to be supported through the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre in Craiova. The Centre, inaugurated in 2018, is a social incubator hub where students can design and launch innovative sustainable social enterprises to help their local community.

The Centre is a collaboration between Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the company, working with their international grant-making partner GlobalGiving; Asociația Pentru Educație SV Oltenia (EDUCOL), a local non-profit organization that seeks to maximize training, development and employment opportunities for young people; and the City Hall of Craiova, that have providing building premises and ongoing support.

Similarly to the previous three years, a competition among students from various faculties within Craiova University has been run by EDUCOL who has offered counselling and mentoring to help the students define their proposals and submit them for review by the organization, Ford of Romania, Ford Fund, Craiova City Hall and the Craiova University Students' Federation.

The five winning projects for the 2021-2022 program to receive grants ranging from $15.000 up to $45.000, ongoing mentoring, office space at the centre where needed and design-thinking training from the Henry Ford Entrepreneurial Academy are:

  • Basecamp—introducing an outdoor fitness boot-camp, providing fun and effective alternative forms of group training to contribute to improving health and well-being
  • SmartEd—helping students to overcome knowledge gaps through development of an innovative online educational platform connecting teachers, students, parents
  • Sedo (Services and Donations)—creation of an online platform that connects people who need certain knowledge or services, with people who have the ability and experience to provide them; and also offers the possibility to make a donation
  • Creastation—a programming centre for children and young people eager to understand and learn programming and 3D printing skills
  • Clay Studio—an artistic clay processing centre where participants can discover, build and develop their artistic skills and to also raise awareness of the importance of reducing the usage of plastics (by creating and using ceramic products)

Leonardo-Geo Mănescu, CRAF manager and president of EDUCOL: "This fourth entrepreneurship competition saw a positive growth in the number and quality of applications. Congratulations to all the students for the originality and creativity of the project proposals. We will continue to support the students to implement their ideas and to serve the community, linking their knowledge and vision to action."

Cezar Spinu, Rector of the University of Craiova added: "The University of Craiova has developed an entrepreneurial long-term strategy. Our students have undertaken a role transformation, discovering and harnessing their potential. Our response to the brain drain is to empower motivated and entrepreneurially-oriented graduates, capitalising on what the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre Craiova has instilled in them."

The five new projects will join the other fourteen projects currently under development at the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre, that also received grants in the previous years: EBiS Club—mobility hub and platform for renting electric scooters; EduMix 100—Consulting services relating to blended learning, digital literacy and digital content creation; Furnix - Centre for refurbishment and customization of furniture elements and woodwork classes for children; Germiplants—Greenhouses for the cultivation, production and processing of aromatic and medicinal plants; Good Will—Art therapy centre (dance, music, theatre, painting workshops), which aims to develop the creativity of children and young people, facilitating the social inclusion; AgeleSS—Upcycling old shoes to provide affordable footwear; ASKS—Helping to encourage more young people into STEM; GRENA—Establishment of Greenhouses to help increase crop yield, developing new plant varieties, adaptable to interchangeable climatic conditions, supporting smallholder farmers; H4H—A human-centric rehabilitation center covering multiple medical areas (physical therapy, speech therapy, psychosocial education); NAO—Innovative new software program for NAO robots that will ensure interactive engagement with autistic children during therapy sessions; MarCo—Marketing and communications enterprise that supports community-focused NGOs; EcOil-Cuv—Collection of waste oil for recycling into an organic soap product; GoBike Craiova—Bicycle rental hubs, at an affordable price, to stimulate mobility and a healthy lifestyle, The Centre of Learning Assistance for School and Society—Afterschool program designed to integrate children with disadvantaged backgrounds, supported by language courses.

More than 100 students will be thus working together in implementing the projects at Ford Resource and Engagement Centre. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the students volunteers have joined relief efforts, harvesting and donating more than 5,500lbs of vegetables, delivering food to the elderly, producing protective equipment for frontline staff and piloting a disinfectant gateway at the local hospital that could help reduce contamination as healthcare workers removed their PPE.

"This is my first year in a judging role and I was incredibly impressed by the detailed project proposals and business plans that were put forward by the student teams. When the centre opened you could see the potential, but four years on its clear to see the wide range of community activities being supported and the future opportunities identified by the students to make the world a better place. Thank you and congratulations to all the applicants," said Josephine Payne, Ford Romania President and Ford Craiova Site Director.

Dorel Berceanu, member of the Local City Council, on behalf of the Mayor: "I have vivid memories of the opening of the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre and the beginning of our collaboration with Ford Fund, Ford Romania and Educol. We are proud to be actively involved in supporting the students, in helping to build their skills and strengthen their employability, while serving the Craiova community. I particularly value the notion of social entrepreneurship and wish our students every success."

Recent Ford Motor Company Fund activities in Romania include the opening of a public COVID-19 vaccination centre for the Craiova community. The centre, located near Gate 3 at Ford's Craiova facility, opens from Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 to 20:00 for an estimated six-month period.

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About Ford Motor Company Fund

As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund's mission is to strengthen communities and help make people's lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 63 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook and Twitter.

About GlobalGiving

GlobalGiving connects nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country in the world to accelerate community-led change. We help nonprofits access the funding, tools, training, and support they need to serve their communities. Since 2002, the GlobalGiving community has raised nearly $500 million from more than 1 million donors for nearly 27,000 projects in more than 170 countries. Each of the nonprofits on GlobalGiving.org has been vetted and has committed to providing donors regular updates about how donations are put to work. Find out more at www.globalgiving.org.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification; mobility solutions, including self-driving services; and connected services. Ford employs approximately 190,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 46,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and consolidated joint ventures and approximately 61,000 people when unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 19 manufacturing facilities (12 wholly owned facilities and seven unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903—the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

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