ROMO use digital platforms to connect over 200 rural producers to consumers seeking healthy, fresh and sustainable products
In the Romanian countryside, 95% of the farms are run by small-scale family farmers. They have low production volumes, are poorly equipped and often cannot access financial support and modern technology. Produce just enough to provide for their families, they struggle with entering markets.
Inspired by the exponential increase in the online food market due to pandemic and their wish to provide market access for small-scale farmers, the founders of social enterprise ROMO use digital platforms to connect over 200 rural producers to consumers seeking healthy, fresh and sustainable products. Today, ROMO has 14 delivery points in urban areas.
In addition to establishing stable sales channels online, they leverage social media platforms to cultivate online communities that consist of health- and environmentally-conscious consumers interested in buying local. Products that small producers offer include organic fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, preserved foods, and artwork. Each week, they post their goods to ROMO’s channels, allowing shoppers to browse and place orders in advance.
With prior information about consumer demand, the ROMO farmers and artisans can plan their production, save costs and reduce food waste. The social enterprise encourages them to build partnerships and exchange information with one another, sharing ideas, experiences, expertise, contacts, and lessons learned. ROMO also offers consulting services to help producers to advance their branding and marketing strategies.
To sustain ROMO’s growing client base and continue its expansion efforts, NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship will support the social enterprise to develop an e-commerce website and enhance its technology infrastructure.
Aiming to grow their business into a brand with national coverage in the next few years, ROMO will use the Poland and Romania accelerator to develop new services and open up more delivery centres. That way, it will reach even more small producers living in remote areas.
ROMO also wants to transition more of its farmers to sustainable agriculture practices and help them to attain organic certifications. In addition, we will support the social enterprise to develop impact measurement methodologies. This will allow the ROMO team to collect accurate data to better plan and implement their social and environmental impact strategies.
We are confident this programme will motivate us to move faster, having great mentorship and other valuable resources at hand. We will use the good quality mentoring and networking opportunities offered by NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship to generate as much value as possible for local producers while hitting our growth targets.
Șerban Dinu - Co-founder and managing partner, ROMO.