Financing Roma Entrepreneurs: Case Studies and Proposals for Public Policies


12395070_1116141871744048_616873906_n-Copy-212x300Romanian Center for European Policies launches the policy-memoAccess to financing for roma entrepreneurs: case studies and proposals for public policies’, within Roma Entrepreneurship in Romania. Research on developing a financial instrument that would allow acces to micro credits for small Roma entrepreneurs project, funded by Open Society Institute.

None of the successive national strategies regarding Roma minority, nor those designed to fight poverty, have been able to support entrepreneurship as a sustainable instrument for socio-economic development and inclusion of Roma minority, despite its potential to play an important role developing these disadvantaged communities.

 Field research conducted within this project proves that there are small businesses – traditional or not – of Roma people which, through support tailored to the needs of every entrepreneur (most of the times an integrated mix of financial education, grants, small loans and business counselling),were able to become competitive on the market, ensure financial support to entire families and even generate other employment positions for Roma communities, as we have seen that it is happening in the case of social enterprises.

The present report is structured into two chapters. First, One Hundred Roma Small Entrepreneurs: Communities and Professions, describes several entrepreneur profiles – a selection from the total number of interviews made in more than 30 communities included in the research – in the present socio-economic context, covering a wide range of typologies: from craftsmen with their specific histories and stories to entrepreneurs activating in more common domains, practiced also by the majority population, – commerce, services, agriculture, etc

The second chapter, Financial Inclusion of Roma People through Micro-Credits. Examples of Good Practice and Proposals for Public Policies. identifies concrete examples of micro-crediting and financial inclusion programs designed for Roma entrepreneurs implemented in other Eastern European states, analyzes the opportunities created in this area by the present programming of European funds, and proposes several directions for the development of certain public policies.

Such examples can be found in Hungary (Kiut program – considered and example of good practice at EU level) and, most important, the Polish pilot program supporting social economy enterprises through financial instruments, showing that a program of micro credits for entrepreneurs part of vulnerable groups or social economy enterprises, designed and  tailored to the needs of the targeted group (no fees, small costs – subsidized rates, grace period) should also be implemented in Romania.

This type of program would require the assistance of specific entities (usually NGOs) that have a deep understanding of local communities and are able to identify and help Roma entrepreneurs (through programs of finacial literacy, business trainings, etc) implementing their business plans and replay their micro credits.

The contents of this report do not necessarily represent the official position of the donor. The entire responsibility for the accuracy and coherence of the information is held by the project promoter, Romanian Center for European Policies and by the authors of the report.

The report, available in Romanian, can be accessed here.