Non-Farm Employment in Small-Scale Enterprises in Romania: Policy and Development Issues

The aim of this paper is to bring together information that we have collected about
MSMEs in Romania and to examine their impact on the development of sustainable rural
livelihoods. As these firms operate in fixed locations and are therefore more easily located
and observed, most of the data presented is based on our survey of 74 firms in Brasov and
Dolj counties of Romania. This data is complemented with information about
unregistered gathering, hawking, and handicraft activities collected through our qualitative
social development studies in the same counties. Both categories of information document
the situation at a particular point in time and can provide insights into the functioning of
enterprises, but not on the dynamics of change. There are however, some initial
complications in understanding the operation of small non-farm firms. On the one hand,
for many of those involved in rural non-farm enterprise activities, there is no difference
between activities to meet their subsistence needs and producing for the market. Thus,
they sell what is surplus to their needs or in response to the opportunity selling provides to generate additional cash income. On the other hand, many of the registered rural non-
farm firms are commercially oriented and operate in a competitive market. In the next
section we outline the existing types of firms and research methodology. Afterwards, we
consider the activity profile, structure and potential for rural non-farm micro-enterprise
development in Romania.