Interview with the consultant Laura Cârlan on starting and developing a business with the support of grants
During the trainings the consultant Laura Cârlan helped immigrants identifying funding opportunities in Romania
We disscused with the consultant Laura Cârlan about her experience within the MIRAGE trainings and about how immigrants from Romania can start and develop a business with the support of grants. Laura Cârlan is a graduate student of Political Science with an MA in European Studies and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Bucharest. Laura Cârlan has more than 10 years experience with grant writing and implementation havind worked with NGOs, public and private entities, SMEs and corporations both in Romania and abroad. For the past 2 years Laura has been managing its own company (www.smartfunds.ro) supporting entrepreneurs’ growth through nonreimbursable funding.
How was your experience with MIRAGE Project?
I had the pleasure to be involved in three trainings with TCNs: one face-to-face in Constanţa and two online trainings with migrants from Timisoara and Brasov. In this context I had the opportunity to interact with immigrants from various countries and to provide information on nonreimbursable funding opportunities and answer questions that arised in order to help them start a business in Romania.
Most of the participants from Constanta were in the phase of deciding their future career and trying to define their business idea. I consider the training extremely useful because it gave them a snapshot of the future funding opportunities and the resources that they can use in the future. By the end of my intervention, I was delighted to see that the participants were considering of starting businesses together or cooperating with each other’s future companies, thus creating a very helpful support network.
On the other hand, the participants of the two online trainings had more work experience and knew exactly what type of business they want to develop. These trainings were for me, more like a consultacy session because most of them had specific questions to ask, especially regarding the opening a restaurant business. As I shared my contact details with the participants, I am now supporting two migrants in accessing nonreimbursement funds.
What are the current and future funding opportunities for migrants?
As I have also emphasized during the trainings, in Romania, migrants have the same opportunities as national citizens as long as they meet the eligibility requirements of each call. The new Programming Period 2021-2027 will bring new opportunities, for which entrepreneurs must prepare in order to succeed.
Since most migrants target funding opportunities for start-up companies, I will fosus my answer on two funding opportunities:
The first opportunity has a deadline on 18 November 2021 and targets Romanian micro and small enterprises which have been established and registered for at least 6 months and maximum 4 years of operation in the focus areas of programme – Green Industry Innovation, Blue growth and ICT. The total available funding is 1,000,000 € and the value of one project can be between 10,000 € and 200,000 €. More information can be found here https://www.innovasjonnorge.no/en/start-page/eea-norway-grants/Programmes/business-development/romania/startupromania/.
The second one, will most probably be launched this year, in October and supports start-ups in the rural areas of Romania which are involved in activities such as production, medical services or tourism (only in rural areas with high or very high touristic potential) (nn. 6.2 SubMeasure – Support for setting up nonagricultural activities in rural areas, part of the National Rural Develpment Programme). The total buget of the call is 50,000,000 € and the value of one project can be 70,000 € or 50,000 € depending on the type of activity. More information can be found here https://afir.info/.
From my experience, what makes entrepreneurs succeed with public funding or grants, especially with start-ups , is the patience and the persistence of becoming entrepreneurs. Patience because you have to wait for quite some time for an open call and persistance in supporting and documenting the business idea: what exactly do I need to start the business – equipment, people, permits, how will I promote it, how will I manage it in terms of finance, human resources, supply, etc.
Photo’s credit Novapolis Association