CRAIOVA, Romania, June 23, 2023 — Ford Romania announces eight new social entrepreneurship programs to be supported through the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre in Craiova. The Centre, inaugurated in 2018, is a social incubator hub where students can design and launch innovative sustainable social enterprises to help their local community.
The Centre is a collaboration between Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the company, working with their international grant-making partner GlobalGiving; Asociația Pentru Educație SV Oltenia (EDUCOL), a local non-profit organization that seeks to maximize training, development and employment opportunities for young people; and the City Hall of Craiova, that provide the building premises and ongoing support.
Mike Schmidt, Ford Fund Director, Global programs and Education for Future of Work said "I am delighted to be back in Craiova to join this celebration with our students and partners. When we embarked on this entrepreneurship program with EDUCOL and the City Hall, there was a lot of was a lot of excitement and anticipation about what we could achieve together. Being back in Craiova I can see the tremendous progress that's been made, not only supporting the professional and personal development of young people, but also building enterprises that can help the local community."
As in previous years, EDUCOL ran a competition among students from several faculties within the Craiova University and offered counselling and mentoring to help the students define their proposals and submit them for review by the organization, Ford of Romania, Ford Fund, Craiova City Hall and the Craiova University Students' Federation.
The eight winning projects for the 2023-2024 program to receive grants ranging from $15,000 up to $32,000, ongoing mentoring, office space at the centre where needed and design-thinking training from the Henry Ford Entrepreneurial Academy are:
- Brighter Smiles – a mobile centre for oral health, educating and preventing oral diseases
- Bee Nice – Educating about and protecting pollinators with a dedicated open-air hub
- Level Up – Learning hub to help build skills including tech, finance, English for all ages
- ProPhysioKids – Assisting rehabilitation of those with postural and physical deficiencies
- Youngen Hub – Mobile multi-purpose space and cafe offering various services & employment
- Olteniada – Intergenerational sports and physical activity program promoting healthy lifestyle
- Easy Do – Supporting the mobility needs of those with disabilities with specialised equipment
- EC-SS – Centre for social studies and research to identify and address pressing local needs
Leonardo-Geo Mănescu, CRAF manager and president of EDUCOL: "The sixth edition of the social entrepreneurship competition confirms that beyond the students' vision there is action and collaboration. Eight new teams will innovate for the benefit of the community, capitalizing on the experience of the champions from previous editions. This is a form of participatory education, which makes them responsible and unites us. We congratulate them and support them to achieve the promised results."
The eight new projects join the twenty eight projects currently under development at the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre, that also received grants in the previous years:
- Empower Youth Centre – A youth centre which will offer a range of activities to help build human-centred and financial skills as well as career guidance
- Craiova Travel Guide - A travel guidebook, available online, providing information on tourist attractions and artisan services in Craiova including accessibility guidance
- Intelligent Traffic Light – Implementation of an intelligent road traffic control system, which will improve traffic behaviour for both pedestrians and drivers
- TESI – Providing equal access to high quality technology enhanced translation / interpretation services
- RAISE – A centre for collection of the used clothing / textiles to be sorted, recycled & redesigned for donation or sale
- TNT Training for Trainers - Supporting young people in developing social skills centred around communication, self-mastery, emotional intelligence who will become trainers
- MathLife - A web platform to show the applications of Mathematics in the real world
- CS Life – A recycling and upcycling business focused around used printer cartridges
- Basecamp – an outdoor fitness boot-camp, providing alternative forms of group training
- SmartEd - development of an innovative online educational platform
- Sedo (Services and Donations) – connecting people who need certain knowledge or services with those who have the ability and experience to provide them
- Creastation – a programming centre for children and young people eager to understand and learn programming and 3D printing skills
- EVClub – providing EV kit car building workshops to develop technical and mechanical knowledge
- Clay Studio - an artistic clay processing centre where participants can discover, build and develop their artistic skills
- EBiS Club - mobility hub and platform for renting electric scooters
- EduMix 100 - Consulting services relating to blended learning, digital literacy and digital content creation
- Furnix - Centre for refurbishment and customization of furniture elements and woodwork classes for children
- Germiplants - Greenhouses for the cultivation, production and processing of aromatic and medicinal plants
- Good Will - Art therapy centre (dance, music, theatre, painting workshops), which aims to develop the creativity of children and young people, facilitating the social inclusion
- AgeleSS - Upcycling old shoes to provide affordable footwear
- ASKS - Helping to encourage more young people into STEM
- GRENA - Establishment of Greenhouses to help increase crop yield, developing new plant varieties, adaptable to interchangeable climatic conditions, supporting smallholder farmers
- H4H - A human-centric rehabilitation center covering multiple medical areas (physical therapy, speech therapy, psychosocial education)
- NAO - Innovative new software program for NAO robots that will ensure interactive engagement with autistic children during therapy sessions
- MarCo - Marketing and communications enterprise that supports community-focused NGOs
- EcOil-Cuv - Collection of waste oil for recycling into an organic soap product
- GoBike Craiova - Bicycle rental hubs, at an affordable price, to stimulate mobility and a healthy lifestyle
- The Centre of Learning Assistance for School and Society - Afterschool program designed to integrate children with disadvantaged backgrounds, supported by language courses.
More than 380 students will now be working together implementing the projects at Ford Resource and Engagement Centre. The Centre, which has the objective to help students build skills for the future workplace, while at the same time providing support for the local community, has helped thousands of beneficiaries, and won three CSR awards since opening.
"To me, with the right support and resources, university students can become successful social entrepreneurs and create sustainable solutions to social challenges that benefit people and communities. I am glad to see that many university students are becoming interested in social entrepreneurship, as they seek to make a positive impact on society while also pursuing their career goals. And I appreciate once again the Ford Resource and Engagement Center and program partners for their unique contribution to entrepreneurship ecosystem and community," said Mujdat Tiryaki, Ford Romania President and Ford Craiova Site Director.
Lia Olguța Vasilescu, Mayor of the Municipality of Craiova: "Today we met to reward excellence and I'm glad that we can do this among students and the projects that they presented to us. It is important to me that their projects could be transformed intro reality, both with the help of the Craiova City Hall and the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. I thank them for understanding the need to become a social partner. All the projects they have done so far have raised great interest among young people."
About Ford Motor Company Fund
As the global philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund focuses on providing access to essential services, education for the future of work and entrepreneurship opportunities for under-resourced and underrepresented communities. Ford Fund's partnerships and programming are designed to be responsive to unique community needs, ensuring people have equitable opportunities to move forward. Harnessing Ford's scale, resources and mobility expertise, Ford Fund drives meaningful impact through grantmaking, Ford Resource and Engagement Centers and employee volunteerism. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
GlobalGiving connects nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country in the world to accelerate community-led change. We help nonprofits access the funding, tools, training, and support they need to serve their communities. Since 2002, the GlobalGiving community has raised more than $830 million from more than 1.7 million donors for more than 34,000 projects in more than 175 countries. Each of the nonprofits on GlobalGiving.org has been vetted, and has committed to providing donors regular updates about how donations are put to work. Find out more at www.globalgiving.org.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for customers and deepen their loyalty. Ford develops and delivers innovative, must-have Ford trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans and cars and Lincoln luxury vehicles, along with connected services. The company does that through three customer-centered business segments: Ford Blue, engineering iconic gas-powered and hybrid vehicles; Ford Model e, inventing breakthrough EVs along with embedded software that defines exceptional digital experiences for all customers; and Ford Pro, helping commercial customers transform and expand their businesses with vehicles and services tailored to their needs. Additionally, Ford is pursuing mobility solutions through Ford Next, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 174,000 people worldwide. More information about the company and its products and services is available at corporate.ford.com.
Ford, a global American brand woven into the fabric of Europe for more than 100 years, is committed to freedom of movement that goes hand-in-hand with looking after the planet and each other. The company’s Ford+ plan, with Model e, Ford Pro and the Ford Blue business units is accelerating its European transformation to an all-electric and carbon neutral future by 2035. The company is driving forward with bold, new EVs, each one designed with European drivers in mind and innovating with services to help people connect, communities grow, and businesses thrive. Selling and servicing Ford vehicles in 50 individual European markets, operations also include the Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Customer Service Division and 14 manufacturing facilities (eight wholly owned and six unconsolidated joint venture facilities) with four centres based in Cologne, Germany; Valencia, Spain and at our joint venture in Craiova, Romania and Kocaeli, Türkiye. Ford employs approximately 34,000 people at its wholly owned facilities and consolidated joint ventures and approximately 56,000 people including unconsolidated businesses across Europe. More information about the company, its products and Ford Credit is available at corporate.ford.com.