Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (REDI) is targeting existing entrepreneurs in excluded communities like the Roma and aims to help them grow by providing them access to specialists (lawyers, accountants, sales experts) as well as access to funding via partner microfinance institutions and banks. The project is implemented in Romania and Bulgaria since 2015 and aims to further expand to Serbia and Macedonia in mid 2017.

We believe that vulnerable and excluded communities can fight poverty and exclusion if resources and opportunities are available in their proximity. Our assumption is that we can empower these communities by supporting existing entrepreneurs to develop their businesses and create employment for their families and neighbors. We do this by supporting entrepreneurs pursue opportunities identified, constantly encouraging them and supporting them in removing obstacles along the way. We provide the entrepreneurs access to a network of support services (law, marketing and sales, accounting) as well as access to finance via local microfinance partners and banks.
A byproduct of this process is changing the attitudes of financial institutions towards entrepreneurs coming from vulnerable communities and backgrounds.

The Roma population in Bulgaria and Romania is among the largest in Europe and generally more exposed to discrimination in the labor market and long-term exclusion that contributes to a high level of unemployment. One way to reverse this trend is to support local Roma entrepreneurs in developing and growing their
businesses. The basic assumption is that increasing self-employment and business ownership will have a positive impact on employment and will reduce disenfranchisement of Roma. The newly created jobs will reduce the need for migration and will improve the living conditions in Roma communities.

REDI addresses the above issues by applying a comprehensive approach that will strengthen the capacity of the Roma entrepreneurs and facilitate access to finance.

Key Activities

– Develop insights into the Roma entrepreneurs’ needs and challenges
– Assess NBFI needs and prerequisites to develop lending to Roma entrepreneurs
– Deliver business facilitation and coaching services to Roma entrepreneurs
– Connect Roma entrepreneurs with local NBFIs
– Strengthen business linkages for Roma entrepreneurs
– Assess the outcomes of the pilot and propose recommendations for future programming

We support local Roma entrepreneurs in developing their businesses by improving their business know-how and build up their creditworthiness


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