Business Incubator for Vulnerable
|Country of residence||Bulgaria|
|City / Region|
A business incubator has been established at the Bulgarian Red Cross (BRC), accessible to all vunerable groups including Roma, migrants & refugees, elderly people and women with low incomes.
The project includes cooperation between private enterprises and public institutions. Private partners train and support student volunteers who consult project beneficiaries how to become self-employed. Consultations include the elaboration of business plans and other professional documents and mediation between microfinance and administrative bodies.
One of the biggest problems of marginalized and vulnerable communities such as Roma, migrants and other minorities is access to the labour market. Therefore, in the recent years, targeted support for economic activities and employment has gained significant importance in inclusion strategies.
The project aims to enable vulnerable people willing to start up their own enterprise to develop their professional biographies in order to improve their social status and to enter the labour market through independent income strategies.Furthermore, the project facilitates dialogue and promotes awareness for the vulnerable communities amongst the public by involving student volunteers and private partners through inclusive project approach.
One of strategic goals of the Bulgarian Red Crosss is the provision of opportunities for qualification and re-qualification of vulnerable people in order to mobilize their potential for social inclusion and integration and thus supporting people to become independent from the welfare system.
|How does it work?||
Pro bono staff from several private partners and BRC experts conducted workshops in order to train graduate student volunteers to advise and mentor beneficiaries who are capable and willing to start up their own business. In addition to the professional training the students were provided with materials for the consulting sessions with the beneficiaries.
Together students and entrepreneurs assessed the proposed business ideas, prepared professional documents and conducted research for the start-ups at a small office space with computers provided by the BRC. Consequently the beneficiaries where able to develop and register their business, apply for state support and microfinances from project partners.
The pilot project started with 10 beneficiaries from different backgrounds. Three entrepreneurs prepared business plans. One of the entrepreneurs registered his business idea and applied for a micro credit.
Training materials and guides for various target groups and business types were developed. Both participating students as well as beneficiaries acquired new skills and experience in the field of business administration know how.
As a result of the project the motivation of beneficiaries for self-determination and active engagement with the other stakeholders increased. The interaction between the different groups resulted in higher awareness about the situation of marginalized people in Bulgaria.
To evaluate the first phase of the project, the project team conducted focus groups with the student consultants and individual interviews with beneficiaries. The evaluation showed that the project was able to achieve most of its objectives listed above.
Following the recommendations made during the evaluation the project team identified possibilities for improvements. Most importantly the project team plans to extend their cooperation with other partners and seek broader funding possibilities for the beneficiaries.
Who will benefit?
Beneficiaries are representatives of vulnarable groups such as migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities. Minimum qualifications required are a good command of Bulgarian language and a plausible business idea. The pilot project included 10 beneficiaries. 20 people will benefit from the second phase of project, starting in 2013.
|Source of funding
and resources used
All participants representing the stakeholders were volunteers (34) or pro bono experts (15). Computers and printers are second hand donations. One coordinator from the BRC is assigned for the project management.
Aside from the remuneration for the coordinator and the utilities fees the project activities require no budget.
|Organisation||Bulgarian Red Cross|
|Contact person||Stana Ilieva Send email)|
|Function||Expert, International Operations, Programmes and Projects Unit|