The Smiles Foundation began its work in Romania when Kevin Hoy (Smiles Founder and Chief Executive) visited Romania in 1990 just months after the fall of communism. From its simple beginnings, today the organisation manages over 20 active projects, serving more than 1,500 people, employing 100 staff in Romania, and relies on regular giving from over 500 committed monthly supporters, along with numerous fund-raising events throughout the year.
The Foundation’s website details how the projects operate which over the past 15 years has included infrastructure development with a School, Nursery, Emergency Housing Unit, Community Centre, Residential Homes for the Elderly and a Day Centre for the Disabled along with a Mission Centre for visiting guests.
More than £4 million ($6 million) has been invested in infrastructure assets plus £3.8 million ($5.7 million) in operational support. The Smiles Foundation is able to manage significant resources and achieve magnificent results. A Foundation you can trust.
In 2010, the leadership decided to establish some micro businesses under the wholly owned Trading Company SMINRO srl. The company represents, SMiles INvestment ROmania.
Simona Tosity was appointed in 2011 to manage the projects within the Enterprise Initiative and works very hard and is deeply committed to making a success of the investment.
The Foundation’s first investment was the purchase of a FARM (Livestock & Arable) in 2010. We initially focused on Pig Production and farming the 80 acres of land owned with Wheat, Barley, Maize Corn and occasional Sun Flower. Capital Investment in the Farm amounted to approximately £250,000 ($375,000)
The second opportunity in 2011 was a HORTICULTURAL business. (Growing Plants under Glass). We contracted with Bosch Inveca (A Leading Glasshouse Builder from Holland) to construct a state-of-the-art Glasshouse of 4,310 sq. Metres (50,000 sq ft) which currently grows hundreds of thousands of flowers which are sold across Romania, to State Departments and Wholesalers. The initial Capital Investment was a further £250,000 ($375,000).The third initiative was opening RETAIL STORES which operated in Salonta (2010) Oradea (2011) and Alesd (2012). Our feature and speciality was selling clothes imported from United Kingdom and America. Two of the store properties (Salonta & Oradea) are owned by Smiles and one (Alesd) was rented. After a successful few years of trading we saw development within the Romania High Street of more ‘Named Stores’ appearing from Western Europe which became increasingly difficult for us to compete with.
Having assessed the investment required and management time to maintain successful trading in retail, it was decided in 2017 to redirect that time and investment to increase our business in the Glasshouse. So by December 2017 we closed the three stores and substantially increased business at the Glasshouse which is already proving to be a successful decision with a 20% increase in profitable turnover.
With all that has been learnt since establishing the Initiative in 2010, there is still considerable investment required to enable us to achieve the full potential through these businesses.
On the Farm, due to an aging and deteriorating Barn, we had to cease holding Live Stock until major renovation work can be done, or even the building of a new Barn. Anticipated investment needed is £30,000 ($45,000) for renovation or up to £70,000 ($105,000) for a new construction. Meanwhile we are focusing on the profitable Arable Farming but to achieve full-potential, Live Stock needs to be reinstated. We would also like to increase our Farm Land by another 20 acres which we could manage and this would likely increase our profit by 25%. 20 acres would cost approximately £20,000 ($30,000)
At the Glasshouse, we have seen orders increase each year and now we have 400% more than in 2013. In 2016 we purchased an additional Unit of 1,250 square metres (12,500 sq foot) with special attention to Winter Flowers as the smaller unit makes heating more viable. We grew 12,000 Poinsettia for Christmas and every plant was sold. The majority to one customer who actually buys in 180,000 poinsettias from Greece, but would be very happy to buy from us. We just don’t have the space! Our additional Unit cost £36,000 ($54,000). We would also like to consider purchasing our own truck for deliveries as we spent in 2016 – £10,000 ($15,000) on delivery services. Our increased business in 2017 will significantly increase these costs.All the Enterprise Initiative projects involve considerable Cash-Flow demands as farming can be 9 months from sowing to harvesting – Glasshouse an average of 6 months from planting to selling and 2-3 months with Retail Stock, acquiring it in UK or America with payment on order – shipping to Romania to seeing it sold at check-out.
The Smiles Foundation has been well supported by Capital Donations or Loans towards these projects which enables us to fund Sminro as well as financially possible.
Many people are as keen to support this type of initiative just as much as some of our direct social support projects – because our Enterprise Initiatives are actually encouraging Romanian’s to work in a commercial environment that not only helps their own family, but has the comfort of knowing 100% of the profit goes to the Smiles Foundation and its Work amongst the poor and needy who we serve throughout Bihor County.
The Smiles Foundation is sole owner of the Sminro Business and so all profits are covenanted 100% to Smiles the charity. A very tax-efficient arrangement!
Please consider sharing the opportunity with us through one of these 2 Options:
A DONATION to Smiles Enterprise Initiative Project. (Approved for UK Gift Aid/US Tax Deductible)
•An INTEREST FREE LOAN to Smiles for the Enterprise Initiative Project. Min 3 Years/Max 10 Years – Loan Term & Repayment Plan by agreement.
This is a very special opportunity to invest in a Business aiming to provide an annual HARVEST into the ministry work of The Smiles Foundation.
This means your support, whether by Donation or Loan, is enabling a regular donation to be made to Smiles through the profits of Sminro.
As regular as the Harvest.
Confirm your interest or ask your questions direct with
The Smiles Foundation Chief Executive: Kevin Hoy
Telephone: UK – 0113.276.5060 / US – 423.239.9525