Projects / SERCo: Social Entrepreneurship for Roma Communities

SERCo Project Scope

The segmentation of Europe’s labour markets along Roma and non-Roma ethnic lines results in poverty, social exclusion, and lower labour market status for the Roma1. Roma labour market integration is not only a human rights imperative but can also “economically benefit both Roma people and the communities they are part of” 2.

Yet, in some cases, the employment situation of Roma seems to have deteriorated, partly due to the general increase of unemployment in the past few years3.

The SERCo project aims to address the problem of social and economic inclusion of Roma communities in the partner countries by applying the concept of social economy as an innovative solution to reducing the risk of poverty and to enhancing entrepreneurship. The project promotes social economy as an effective instrument for integrated development of the Roma communities by:

1) analyzing the potential of applying social economy practices within Roma communities, from a social, economic and institutional point of view;

2) engaging policy-makers and civil servants and training Roma mediators for developing social enterprises; and

3) assisting Roma social business initiatives and promoting social economy within Roma communities and to the general public.

The SERCo partners recognize that social entrepreneurship can be a solution to the issues of Roma people, since it:

• allows hiring people in vulnerable situations;
• helps resolving some of the existing needs of the community;
• facilitates the qualification on the job;
• uses local resources and allows the development of more entrepreneurs;
• supports traditional crafts;
• increases the qualification and education level;
• stimulates solidarity and lead to the improvement of the relationships between the members of the community;
• represents a self-help method.

The project main objective is to streamline Roma social entrepreneurship creation in the national Roma integration strategies, as recommended by the European Commission4. Bulgaria, Romania, Spain, Greece and Italy have high percentages of Roma population. Romania has already relevant experience, whilst all partner countries have experience in Roma mediation. The exchange of experience and good practice between them is expected to significantly contribute to novel policy measures supporting Roma entrepreneurship.

SERco Consortium

The strength of the SERCo partnership is the commitment of its team to rights of Roma people; all partners and associate partners have extensive relevant experience. Moreover, they are experts in key fields for the project implementation: mediation, anti-discrimination and human rights, awareness-raising, local partnerships and civic participation, policy analysis and capacity-building, learning methodologies, education and training. This strong complementarity brings an important added-value to the project and ensures the accomplishment of a truly integrated approach.

  • University of Piraeus Research Center, Greece – SERCo Coordinator
  • CESIE, Italy
  • The European Roma Information Office-ERIO , Belgium
  • Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance “AMALIPE”, Bulgaria
  • Fundacio Privada Pere Closa, Spain
  • Tolerance and Mutual Aid Foundation (TMAF), Bulgaria
  • Four Elements, Greece

SERCo Deliverables List

WS4: Dissemination and Sustainability

More information can be found at

The European Commission support for the production of this text does not constitute endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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