Social Entrepreneurship for Roma Communities

Social entrepreneurship is explicitly mentioned in the Commission’s 2016 Assessment as a means of improving Roma participation in the labour market.

The Commission reports that, despite a number of initiatives in various EU Member States, “Roma participation in the labour market remains very weak.” They are, in fact, Europe’s most under-represented group in the labour market. This is attributed to a lack of measures that explicitly target Roma. The report explains that Member States have given priority to “mainstream measures” for the unemployed, as well as activation/public work and measures for people with a migrant background. There have also been a number of initiatives supporting on-the-job training and skills development for the unemployed. None of these, however, have had a “significant impact on Roma.”

The various measures adopted by EU Member States have in general been insufficient in countering the “[l]ow levels of education and skills and widespread discrimination” that explain the under-representation of Roma in the labour market.

The Commission reports that “[i]t is evident that all-encompassing, tailored approaches are needed.” Such “innovative measures” include, among other things, an emphasis on promoting social enterprises and Roma entrepreneurship as an alternative to Roma employment. As well as providing job creation opportunities, social entrepreneurship is also understood to often be a means of preserving Roma culture and fighting stereotypes. Such measures are to be supported under the European Social Fund.

All this makes projects such as SERCo relevant and needed. The partnership of the SERCo project aims to promote social economy as an effective instrument for the development of the Roma communities. You can find out more about the project here:

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