Economic growth, coupled with social inclusion, is one of the world’s most pressing global issues. It requires a concerted effort between businesses, governments and civil society.
As the first European Parliament Vice-President of Roma background, I have initiated a number of projects in my home country, Hungary, to integrate the disadvantaged through business activities. These projects particularly focus on boosting SMEs in Roma settlements.
These SMEs include agricultural enterprises and businesses using their location’s natural resources. Responsible enterprises must recognise the role they have to play in improving the skills, opportunities and social status of people that live in material deprivation, and seek to respond in a positive and proactive way.
Both policymakers and entrepreneurs must consider that the economic integration of the poorest stratum of society is crucial in maintaining a good social balance and a cost-effective economy.
Dependency would only bring further dependency, which severely impedes these affected people’s social progress and future perspectives. Digital, economic and educational integration combined can provide a breakthrough, but this process has to start from early childhood.
In addition, entrepreneurship has not yet been effectively inserted into the European Roma strategy, even although the Roma people constitute enormous potential in manpower and their upskilling could largely contribute to national and global economics.