In 2015, UniCredit Foundation has reinforced its dedication to foster the social enterprise sector in Romania by continuing its partnership with NESsT Romania, a catalyst for emerging-market social enterprises.
Since 2012, UniCredit Foundation has provided support for start-up and incubation of social enterprises with a total funding of around EUR 240,000, of which over EUR 80 000 for the new activities planned in 2015. UniCredit Foundation has so far supported the development of 11 social enterprises. Beside the financial support, over 50 UniCredit employees (from UniCredit Tiriack Bank and UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions SCPA) in Romania have also been actively engaged in the planning process of social enterprises dedicating their time and knowledge.
While modern economic models bring prosperity to emerging market countries, they also lead to growing inequalities in the distribution of wealth. In Central and Eastern Europe, sustainable income opportunities are especially limited for low-income communities and marginalized groups, including people with disabilities, minorities, women, and at-risk youth. In Europe, even short-term approaches to alleviating these challenges have diminished in recent years due to reduced funding for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Therefore, entrepreneurs are seeking market-driven solutions to these social issues, in the form of social enterprises.
In Romania, where the 28 percent poverty rate (according to Eurostat) is one of the highest in Europe, social entrepreneurship is swiftly gaining support as a way to address such harsh economic realities and social disparities. Despite receiving increased attention in the past year, however, Romanian social entrepreneurs still face substantial challenges, including insufficient business experience, limited capacity, and difficulty attracting investors.
With support from UniCredit Foundation and other sponsors, NESsT Romania—a social enterprise incubator currently supporting a portfolio of nine high-impact social enterprises—aims to strengthen the sustainability and capacity of Romanian social entrepreneurs as agents of positive change and inclusive growth in low-income, marginalized communities.
This year, UniCredit Foundation renewed its support for NESsT Romania and its programs for social enterprises. With this support, NESsT Romania will support its current portfolio of early-stage social enterprises to consolidate their models through ongoing strategic and tailored business planning support. In addition, NESsT will host a 2015 social enterprise competition to identify social entrepreneurs with viable impact ideas for business planning training. They will receive capacity support to plan their social enterprise idea. The strongest business plans will then be invited to join the NESsT incubation portfolio and receive the same strategic support provided to the current portfolio.
NESsT is a catalyst for emerging-market social enterprises and worldwide. Using a combination of capital investments, business development, and strategic advising, NESsT equips entrepreneurs in emerging markets with the tools and skills they need to plan, launch, and scale their socially beneficial business ideas. We support innovative market-driven methods of addressing major social issues, including poverty, unemployment, poor education and opportunities for young people, labor discrimination, and other challenges facing low income individuals in marginalized communities. For every US$1 invested in a NESsT social enterprise, US$2 in revenue is generated in return. For more information visit www.nesst.org.
About UniCredit Foundation
UniCredit Foundation is a corporate foundation that was established in 2003 in order to contribute to the development of solidarity and philanthropy in the communities and territories where UniCredit is present. Through the transfer of financial resources and the typical management skills of a company UniCredit Foundation supports projects of significant social impact and innovation, implemented by local non-profit organizations.
About UniCredit Tiriac Bank
UniCredit Tiriac Bank is part of UniCredit, leading European financial group with the largest CEE presence. In Romania, UniCredit Tiriac Bank is one of the main financial institutions, offering high quality services and products to all categories of clients. The bank strives to have a client centric policy, to be an easy to deal with partner and an active part of the communities in which it operates.
UniCredit is also active in Romania through Unicredit Tiriac Bank, UniCredit Consumer Financing (UCFIN), UniCredit Leasing Corporation (UCLC), UniCredit Insurance Broker, Unicredit Leasing Fleet Management, UCTAM, Pioneer Asset Management si UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions SCPA.
About UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions SCPA
UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions is UniCredit Group’s global services company, created from the integration and consolidation of 16 Group companies and is dedicated to providing services in the sectors of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Back Office and Middle Office, Real Estate, Security and Procurement.
It is one of the first service companies to be created at European level and its aim is to consolidate and reorganize those operational activities necessary for the correct functioning of the Groups’ business by leveraging on a more flexible delivery and an improved response time.
The company includes about10,000 people and oversee operations in 11 countries: Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, USA (New York) and Singapore.