Ford Resource and Engagement Center Craiova Officially Opens
The Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Craiova, Romania, was inaugurated this week, marking the official opening of the first Ford Research and Engagement Center in Europe. The fourth FREC was announced in June of this year and joins two locations in Ford’s home city of Detroit and a third FREC in South Africa.
The Craiova FREC is the result of a partnership with Asociatia Pentru Educatie SV Oltenia, or EDUCOL, and the City Hall of Craiova. EDUCOL is a Craiova-based nonprofit that works to provide opportunities and education for young entrepreneurs. The City Hall serves as the location for the FREC, and it is being refurbished as part of a $100,000 grant provided by Ford Fund and GlobalGiving.
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The opening of the center also gave way to the announcement of three winners in a contest that tasked students with coming up with solutions that will help address community needs. EDUCOL provided mentoring for students in the construction and submission of proposals. Ford of Romania, Ford Fund, Craiova City Hall, and the Craiova University Students’ Federation reviewed the proposals and provided feedback ahead of a final proposal submission.
The three winning teams are EcOil-Cuv, which cuts down on the negative impact of oil waste by repurposing it into an organic soap; GoBike Craiova, which provides bike rentals; and The Centre of Learning Assistance for School and Society, which provides afterschool language courses for disadvantaged children.
“Our young people will benefit both from Romanian-American financial support and from ongoing guidance and counselling in a sympathetic environment, so that they can follow the ‘American Dream’ here in Oltenia, gaining personal fulfilment and helping to develop the community. We aim to encourage innovative ideas and offer an opportunity for people to contribute and grow,” said Leonardo-Geo Manescu, president, EDUCOL.
Ford also intends to open an FREC in Bangkok, Thailand, next year.
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