The Green Entrepreneurship program, the joint initiative of the Romanian-American Foundation and the Environmental Partnership Foundation, proposes a model of sustainable development of areas with significant natural and cultural heritage, which operated responsibly and sustainably, can bring long-term major benefits to the implementing organizations and local communities.
The model is based on the establishment, by NGOs that are active in areas such as environmental protection and community development, of social enterprises that use the profit in the benefit of local communities, for conservation of natural and cultural heritage, for economic development, and for the improvement of financial sustainability of the organizations participating in the program.
The program started in 2011, with a stage in which the representatives of the involved organizations have received assistance for the development of business plans. Based on the evaluation of business plans, seven organizations have obtained each funding worth 150,000 RON. Business plans have been assessed both by an Evaluation Committee of the program as by a volunteer group made up of business people and people with financial expertise. In addition to the financial support, the program has provided training and assistance in the development of the business plans and provides the know-how and advice throughout their implementation through the third partner in the program, the Center for Economic Education and Development.
Business ideas and organizations that have received funding within the program are:
The Meziad cave, for nature and people (Remetea, Bihor County)
The Center for Protected Areas and Sustainable Development Bihor will arrange the Meziad cave and will organize guided tours on the route with a length of 1,010 meters. Starting with the second year of the activity it is planned to provide recreational services in an adventure park.
Rowmania Ecotourism Center Crisan, Tulcea County
The social enterprise is developed through a partnership between the Romanian Ecotourism Association and the Ivan Patzaichin -Mila 23Association, and will offer ecotourism programs in the Danube Delta, will establish the thematic routes and will develop a network of boat rental centers. Crisan will be the starting point where it will be opened the first Ecotourism and Boat Rental Center.
Manufacture of forest fruits and mushrooms processing (Zetea, Harghita County)
The Székelygyümölcs Association - Association of fruit growers and fruit processors from Odorheiu Secuiesc will initiate a social enterprise in the field of processing and commercialization of forest fruits and mushrooms. The business has two purposes, a commercial purpose, the development and implementation of an innovative system of exploitation of forests and a social purpose, namely to increase the incomes for the Roma communities of the area.
Social entrepreneurship on the Maramures Greenway (Baia Mare, Maramures County)
The Ecologic Association aims to boost the Maramures region tourist offer by completing the existing services with specific ecotourism activities such as guided visits for the observation of nature, one-day visits to local producers and artisans as well as interactive tourist packages lasting several days.
Propark in support of natural and cultural heritage of Romania (Brasov, Brasov County)
Propark Foundation will develop a social enterprise that will offer four types of services (training, consulting, educational camps and corporate volunteer opportunities), all for the benefit of protected areas in Romania.
Wild Time Green Tour
Agent Green Association aims to develop a social enterprise to promote responsible and sustainable eco-tourism in the Retezat National Park area and its surroundings on the basis of a proper management, in order to protect ecosystems and local communities.
Investment in new technologies for keeping traditions (Hilita village, Costuleni comune,Iasi County)
The Hilita Pomiviticola Association proposes the processing and selling of local fruit production as well as promoting the traditional products (jams, compotes) which do not contain unhealthy substances or preservatives.
It is expected that the seven small business initiatives to generate 25 to 30 new jobs, plus another few dozen temporary jobs, and at the same time to contribute to improving the economic performance of other 60-100 manufacturers and providers of local services.