No. 15/C87 Decebal Blvd.
"Transilvania - Oradea" Business Center CATO is a non-governmental organization founded in 1996 as a nonprofit association, independent juridical entity, whose mission is to support democratic mechanisms, social and economic reorganization and development in Bihor County area. Founded by 22 local enterprises, CATO now has 44 member companies, most of them private. The organization maintains permanent relations with similar business centers and organizations from Transylvania, carrying on projects and programs concerning the development of businesses for SMEs. There are famous companies among CATO's members like: Turism Felix S.A. which administers Băile Felix spa, Romarketing S.R.L. which is both partner and regional center in Romanian-Swiss Foundation FREE business program, Arsmed S.A. one beneficiary of a large finance agreement with Romanian American Enterprise Fund, Bihor County Vest newspaper, hardware and software companies representing important corporations, etc. CATO's members are working in almost all branches. Today, Transilvania business centers network covers 15 Romanian counties, and the number of this informational network members is over 1000 Romanian and foreign companies.
The organization, located in Oradea, has the following structure:
1. Tourism Promotion Center of Oradea CEPTO, a section co-financed by "International Management Foundation" through PHARE/CERT program and by "East-West Studies Institute of New-York" jointly " Ch. Mott Foundation" through Carpathian Euroregions Development Fund.
2. Center for Analysis, Studies and Resource Planning of Oradea CASPRO, a section technically assisted by "Peace Corps" and, proposed for co-financing by "Center for International Private Enterprise" CIPE from Washington.
3. Regional Development Center of Bihor CDR Bihor, a section co-financed from PHARE funds by "Foundation for Civil Society Development" and, technically assisted by "Citizens Democracy Corps" through CDC Romania program. CDR Bihor is a consortium composed by 60 institutions and public authorities, firms and civil society representatives from Bihor County and, it has a Board constituted by representatives from Bihor County Council, Bihor County Prefecture, Municipal Council, Oradea City Hall, firms like Global Media and Romarketing. CATO provides the management for CDR Bihor.
As part of Regional Development Center there are several local microcenters for consulting named ADLs, constituted in collaboration with public authorities from the specified towns, representatives of companies, as follows:
3.1. Local Development Agency of Aleșd.
3.2. Local Development Agency of Beiuș.
3.3. Local Development Agency of Marghita.
3.4. Local Development Agency of Salonta.
3.5. Local Development Agency of Ștei.
From its foundation to this moment, the organization has developed and is still developing seven projects through PHARE co-financing, and also a trans-frontier project through FDEC co-financing. Our staff is composed by 11 full-time employees, 11 collaborating volunteers in various fields. This staff achieves projects and programs in the field of human resources training in production and services, in elaboration and implementing projects of restructuring and local social and economic development, in international promotion of local and regional economic opportunities, and also in qualified assistance for authorities and other beneficiaries, concerning the making up and elaboration of local development strategies and territorial arrangement plans, of business and marketing plans for the SMEs in production, agriculture, tourism and services. Among the consulting team members there are persons who benefited of a large training in the field of entrepreneurial assistance, graduating courses taught by World Learning, Associates Opportunity Romania, APRI Italia, GOPA Consultants Germany, Stanford University, Open University for Business School, FDSC, FIMAN. Most of the center Board members are authorized consultants certified by International Management Foundation and Gopa Consultants Germany in project and services management, in networking and founding of local consortia, in public relations and assistance in implement of local and regional development initiatives. At this moment, the organization has concluded one of the most important proposal, elaborating the first reference work for our area perspectives, as regarding the objectives of stimulating social and economic development. It's about the publication: Strategy for lasting development of Bihor County 1999. Based on this work, till the end of this year, the local development agencies (ADLs) will have to elaborate local strategies for territorial development. In this context, in the whole county there will be surveys on the needs, potential and social and economic opportunities as guidelines for the public authorities as well as for the economic businesses, institutions and other interested organizations. Once created the main background of local development strategies, it will be focused on the fundraising at a public and private sector level, based on feasible projects, locally sustained by the communities and elaborated by our organization. In conclusion for the first part of the presentation, CATO disposes at this moment of a territorial structure capable to attract the interest of the private social and economic sector from the entire area of Bihor County.
In the same time the organization realizes and keeps an up-to-date WEB page, designed for the presentation of the Bihor County, www.catour.rdsor.ro, in which one can find information on SMEs sector, data about member firms, projects and programs developed by our organization.
CATO Board has the following structure:
Honorific Chairman - Robert Lucien Sicotte, resident director CDC Romania.
General Meeting Chairman - Lucia Pojoca, manager Transilvania Bank, Oradea branch.
General manager - Marcel Tarța.
Board members - Sorina Bradea, manager Romarketing S.R.L. and RoPlus S.R.L.
- Mariana Maier, manager Vest newspaper Press Group S.A.
- Virgil Pop, executive manager Arsmed S.A.
Executive manager CEPTO - Larisa Ile.
Executive manager CASPRO - Corina Tarța.
Executive manager CDR Bihor- Artur Varodi.
For 1999, the organization is planning the constitution of a local and regional consulting team, consisting of national and international acknowledged experts in various fields specific to durable development. This team will made up The Independent Consultants Group, under the name of SMART, crystallizing the programmatic features of Specificity, Measurability, Adjustable, Result and Schedule, as it is elaborating and implementing technical and financial assistance projects, of all the national and international institutions and organisms which are concerning the democratization, restructuring and development of Romania, including its administrative and territorial structures. In this context, with the beginning of 01.01.1999, the organization name CATO ("Transilvania - Oradea" Business Center) will be changed, and the new name will be: SMART Consulting Group.
Services provided by CATO
Technical assistance for founding local consortia in the field of tourism services.
Elaboration and implement of projects for local tourism market development.
Access on the general database, afferent to Bihor County area tourism.
Promotion for tourism services companies.
Entrepreneurial assistance for local and regional tourism firms.
Marketing and business plans for tourism projects.
Training for improving the tourism personnel.
Elaboration of strategies for local tourism promotion.
General informationon regional tourism offer.
Strategies for lasting development of the Bihor County administrative area.
Training for perfecting the management teams from SMEs field.
Market research and business plans for the local private sector of production and services.
Projects for human resources training in SMEs.
Programs and projects for founding of local business incubators.
Prefeasiblity and feasiblity studies for SMEs field.
Human resources research for Bihor County area.
Social and economical projects.
Stategies for territorial arrangement.
Environmental studies, analisies and projects.
CDR Bihor + ADLs
Conception and publication of promotion materials for private SMEs field.
Organizing of forums and seminars for local firms of production and services.
Projects for attracting financial resources for development of the SMEs field.
Commercial and partnerships with foreign investors programs for SMEs field.
Programs for international promotion of Bihor County.
Local Development Agencies of Aleșd, Beiuș, Marghita, Salonta and Ștei, have in their constitution structure departments for local tourism promotion, social and economic development of their area and, technical assistance for human resources training from SMEs field of production and services. The 5 ADLs assure in their area, consulting services for stimulating and development of the SMEs.
This information was posted to CCSI's Organizational Guestbook April 1999.
Last updated: June 1999