Economic development and job creation in rural areas - a new business model (social economy) targeting persons at risk of social and economical exclusion
Project objective was to foster economic development and job creation in targeted rural areas of the NW and Bucharest-Ilfov Regions, through job creation and employment incentives for persons at risk of social and economic exclusion. The result was creation of 14 social economy structures to foster self-employment and create further new jobs.
Beneficiaries: 50 young people over 18 leaving the institutionalized child protection system, 200 women at risk, 100 families with more of 2 children, 100 single parents and 250 Roma.
The new 14 SMEs are focused on activities such as:
- services: low price accomodation, adult&day care, dry cleaning, car wash, tailoring and embroidery, handicraft products
Benefits are:
- local community, by: new jobs, life quality: new and innovative services offered, increased nr. of innovative rural SMEs, tourism,
- local authorities – high local budget, valorisation of nat resources
In the context of the Rural SMEs project, the following aspects of the project are most important:
- The project aimed at improving the quality of life of persons at risk of social and economic exclusion,
- New economic activities were developed in order to create jobs and economic growth in rural areas, by using an innovative business model, as well as new methods of commercialization,
Some activities developed are falling in the category of social innovation or sustainable use of natural resources.

Resources needed

The project was financed by the European Social Fund, through the Human Resource Development Operational Programme 2007-2013.
The total eligible value is estimated at 9.592.176,00 lei and 27 experts were involved in the implementation

Evidence of success

14 social economy SMEs established, 700 people benefiting from guidance / counseling, 400 participants in social economy training-certified, 55 jobs created by SMEs acting as social economy structures, 7 communication and promotion events in social economy achieved, information and publicity materials to support project activities realized, 1 webpage of the project realized.

Difficulties encountered

Legislation was not harmonized at that time and there was no social economy law to regulate the establishment of social economy structures and enterprises.
Issuing new instructions linked to implementation by the Managing Authority that resulted in significant changes during project life cycle.

Potential for learning or transfer

“Social economy – Social responsibility from North to South” is a project that encouraged the establishment of innovative SMEs in the rural area in order to supports vulnerable groups through counselling for vocational guidance for increasing employment opportunities and thus social and economic inclusion.
The SMEs created within the project provide jobs in new fields of activity for the rural area and thus lead to economic growth, by using a new business model and by innovativ exploiting traditional activities, natural resources, as well as by answering social needs and challenges.
The activities of this project can be transferred to other regions or even countries, as there are many people at risk, who, with some support on behalf of the local authorities, can be integrated economically and socially, generating at the same time economic growth and jobs.
Main institution
Maramures County Council
Nord-Vest, Romania (România)
Start Date
October 2014
End Date
December 2015


Please login to contact the author.