Programs implemented

The mission that we carried on between 2000 and 2009 was to support and offer access to economic and social opportunities to the disadvantaged people and to small businesses so they could participate in making Romania an ethical and prosperous country.

Having this in mind, Integra Romania offered a full package of services to its clients, to help them start or expand a small business.

Target groups

  • Women at risk (unemployed, widows, single mothers, divorced women) with a strong motivation and desire to manage a small business, willing ot learn new things
  • Families involved in a small business
  • Small business owners in the rural areas
  • Handicraft Producers in different counties of Romania

In the relationship with our clients we used a holistic approach which included:

  • Supporting small business owners who wanted to start or expand a small business through training, micro loans, consulting and facilitating access to the market
  • Supporting the marginalized and disadvantaged groups by offering them entrepreneurial training and micro loans, and thus contributing to poverty alleviation
  • Promoting ethical principles in business and the Corporate Social Responsibility concept


1. Entrepreneurial Training Program (2000-2007) – we organized training courses on: Business Plan, Marketing, Advertising, Financial Analysis, Risk Analysis, Time Management, Negotiation.

During this period, we trained 1,667 people, most of them participating in training courses or modules on entrepreneurial training. The training on entrepreneurship was for 16-20 hours and the final product was a business plan produced by each participant for their existing business or for their business idea.

2. Potential evaluation and job orientation for women at risk Program (2005-2006) – had helped 200 women to know themselves better and make the right decision regarding their professional carreer.

Within the program we evaluated the abilities of the beneficiaries and we guided them through individual counselling. Then they could participate in two different courses or even in both of them.

  • The first one was on Job Orientation and included writing a resume, letter of intention, interview, creating a personal development plan
  • The second one was Initiation in Business and included self assessment, Marketing, time management, negotiation, business plan, financial analysis, legal consulting, business simulation.

The outputs of this program were:

  • 198 were beneficiaries of skills assessment
  • 193 women benefited of individual counseling
  • 169 women participated in training courses
  • 72 women found a job according to their studies and skills
  • 28 women started a small business
  • 37 women continued their school (university, professional schools)

3. Agricultural Training Program (2002 – 2004) – had supported hundreds of farmers to get more theoretical and practical knowledge and information in order to be better in what they do.

416 people participated in the 19 training courses organized in 18 months. We organized 5 trainings in business planning, 5 trainings in mushroom cultivating, 2 trainings in vegetable cultivation, 2 trainings in horticulture, 1 training in beekeeping, 1 training in raising animals, 1 training in fruit tree cultivating, 1 training in chicken raising, 1 training in accounting.

4. The Micro Lending Program for small businesses in urban and rural areas – consisted of offering consulting for the development of a business plan, micro loans to start or expand a small business and consulting during the term of the loan.

968 micro loans of a total value of 2.8 million USD were disbursed in seven years of activity. Although the loans were disbursed to people with a high degree of risk, the success rate was very big and in 7 years of activity we only lost 9,000 USD. These loans had created and sustained 2,692 jobs and 395 small businesses. A number of around 9,000 people were the direct and indirect beneficiaries of these loans.

5. Market Access Program (2004-2007) – had supported small production businesses to find new markets for their products and it contributed to the increase of social and economical inclusion of these people. Through this program supported by Shell Foundation we sold products from tens of producers from 11 counties of Romania.

The program offered to the beneficiaries new markets and distribution channels for their products but also cooperation opportunities with other entrepreneurs, access to information and knowledge, useful in the areas where they activate, in order to increase their effectiveness and productivity.

The Ten Senses Store which functioned downtown Brasov in 2006, combined the best offer of the local producers with products made by people with disabilities.

6. Involvement in activities which promote the social economy in Romania through participation in national and international conferences – Integra Romania was alwasy a partner of the organizations involved in social economy, in Romania and abroad. All these projects contribute to the increase of the social inclusion of the marginalized and disadvantaged people.

7. Involvement in activities which support the community development – design of different programs in this area, involvement in programs that contribute to the increase of social inclusion of the marginalized and disadvatanged groups

8. Member of the Microfinance Coalition of Romania (2003-2005) which initiated and launched the Law 240/2005 of the micro finance institution in Romania.

9. Grundtvig Program

GRUNDTVIG is a component of the Socrates III European Program and is designed to strengthen the educational lifestyle of people regardless of their age. It is meant to encourage a life long learning in people in order for them to acquire new knowledge, skills and abilities.

In Romania, this program is run through a national agency called Agentia Nationala pentru Programe Comunitare in Domeniul Educatiei si Formarii Profesionale (ANPCDEFP).

Within this program, Integra Romania is addressing a project called “Financial Education for Vulnerable People”. The project started in October 2007 and ends in June 2009. Our partners in this project are The Microfinance Center of Poland, Integra Foundation of Slovakia, Autonomia Foundation of Hungary, Network Credit of Norway, The European Microfinance Network of France, and Evers & Jung of Germany.

The goals of this project are:

  • Sharing experience among the partners in educating adults, including successful methodology and tools used in the process;
  • Launching a web page related to financial education of adults, which includes useful information related to various programs, services among the partners as well as other interested parties;
  • A long term relationship among the partners in order to continually increase the efficiency of our financial programs to vulnerable people.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

10. Financial education

In our modern society we are invaded by a variety of options and opportunities available to us, opportunities we did not have in the past, each with its own tempting offer. Many fall pray to the desire for more. The lack of education and a proper understanding of financial issues, all work together towards building debt and increasing the numbers of debtors.

Some people apply to get credit without fully understanding the financial implications – many times they don’t even realize the need to calculate their monthly earnings against the amount to be paid monthly. And so, they don’t understand its real impact on the family’s monthly budget. To complicate things even more, many people are not even aware of the notion „monthly budget”.

Nowadays it’s fairly easy to apply and be granted consumer credit, and as a result, many spend much more than they should or can afford to. A recent statistic shows 90% of late fees applied to any given credit are for consumer credits.

Romania has now its own Credit Bureau to which all banks and financial institutions need to report their financial activity pertaining to loans and credit. At the end of the year 2007 five million Romanians – roughly a quarter of the country’s population – were registered as having at least one active loan. Despite these measures, there are many who sink further and further into debt by accessing a loan only to pay another. There are several notorious cases known nationwide and one involves an individual who has loans from nine banks and another who has twenty active loans from fourteen banks!

One other aspect worth mentioning is the increasing number of unsatisfied clients who complain the banks are not specific enough when it comes to payment options and fees. The initial commission is in many cases more than anticipated, details are intentionally written in small print and terms that are used are not well understood by the untrained eye.

A large segment of the population has a limited understanding of a budget concept and how it should be utilized. Unfortunately, young people do not learn such things in school. Thus, the consequences of poor financial planning has negative impact on the relationships among members of the family and could lead to break ups.

Our financial program does not target only people with financial difficulties but all those who would like to learn how to prevent potential problems and become financially proactive. In other words, the program is designed to address issues such as savings and investments, future planning related to education, vacations, retirement. It introduces very practical tools in how to save and invest, in such a way that each individual could decide upon which one works best for a given situation.

Ways of implementing the program

  • Round tables where topics described above will be introduced to the public by means of radio and TV programs
  • Seminars
  • Individual financial coaching
  • Conference
  • Printing a booklet which will include the necessary financial information