The inclusion of all parts of society in a country’s economic and cultural life is essential for social cohesion. In this respect, grassroots organisations can play a key role in creating opportunities for sometimes marginalised groups to really make their mark.
The Patronatul National al Femeilor de Afaceri din IMM in Romania, for example, supports female entrepreneurs and encourages the development of companies where women are at the helm. The organisation aims to increase collaboration between female-headed companies and authorities, and seeks to represent the interest of business women across different professional disciplines.

Making an impact
To achieve these objectives, the organisation hosts meetings, conferences and workshops on a variety of managerial, economic and social issues. The association is also involved in a range of projects, such as the Romanian Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs. This involves 14 successful businesswomen acting as mentors for another 42 female entrepreneurs, for a period of at least one year.
The organisation has also participated in the National Network of Female Entrepreneurs. Some 10 Romanian “Ambassadors” were selected to help female entrepreneurs create new business visions, and to develop trust and confidence. A project to increase the level of professional and managerial capabilities within SMEs managed to reach 36 companies.

Social sustainability
Social actions that help build a strong, healthy communities have also been prioritised. A key challenge is ensuring that different ethnic communities – Armenians, Greeks and Turks, for example – are involved and included in projects.
Two such projects have focused on inspiring young people:
•    Kids of today – managers of tomorrow
•    Keeping alive Romanian traditions and values and the promotion by women
The association cooperates with other civil society organisations in running projects, including the National Council of SMEs and Elite Business Women. Local schools, universities and authorities are also heavily involved.