In a significant move towards fostering economic and digital growth for women-led businesses, the Government of the Republic of Moldova, in collaboration with the European Union, has unveiled the Women Entrepreneurship Support Program. The initiative was showcased at the Entrepreneur Expo held at Moldexpo, marking a crucial commitment to supporting women in the business sector.
Approved by the government in October, the program addresses a strong dedication to empowering women in business, aiming to enhance economic and digital aspects. The event was honored by the presence of Dumitru Pîntea, the Director of the Entrepreneurship Development Organization, Oxana Otgon, Head of the ODA Program Implementation Unit, Ana Gorea, Vice President of the Women in Business Association of Moldova, a member of the Economic Council under the Prime Minister, and successful entrepreneurs Rodica Celac and Pelaghia Țîpu.
Given the success of similar non-repayable funding programs for women, it is anticipated that the Women Entrepreneurship Support Program will have a significant impact on the economy by promoting the rapid growth of women-led enterprises. The program caters to both women contemplating launching a business and those looking to expand existing ventures, offering grants, training, mentorship, and promotion of the image of women entrepreneurs. Priority sectors eligible for support include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) industries, educational services (kindergartens, daycares, educational centers), care and cleaning services, public catering, as well as consultancy and business support services.
“The program aims to economically empower women. All studies show that the GDP of any country could increase if women were more involved in the business sector,” stated Dumitru Pîntea, Director of the Entrepreneurship Development Organization.
For fledgling companies applying to the program, ODA will provide non-repayable financial assistance of up to 80% of the investment project amount excluding VAT, not exceeding 200,000 lei. In addition to this grant for the purchase of goods and equipment, beneficiaries can access non-repayable financial support of up to 30,000 lei for an e-commerce package, intended for the development of the company’s online commerce.
FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT NEWS, FOLLOW US ON TWITTER!
Developing companies with a minimum of 2 years of activity, revenue generation, and employees seeking expansion can receive non-repayable support of up to 70% of the investment project amount excluding VAT, with a cap of 600,000 lei. These companies can also access the e-commerce package, with an offered sum of 50,000 lei. The e-commerce package is optional.
“If we talk about fledgling companies, case studies have shown that newly established enterprises often lack sufficient financial means for upfront investment project implementation or self-contribution. Therefore, ODA aims to provide a 30% advance of the grant amount for fledgling companies, accessible immediately after the signing of the financing contract, to help women procure goods and launch their activities. In the case of developing companies, this amount will constitute 50% of the grant amount,” said Oxana Otgon, Head of the Program Implementation Unit.
Individual women can also apply to the program without the obligation of having a legal entity but must have a well-defined business plan with clear ideas and opportunities. They are required to register the company within a month after the approval of the investment plan, followed by the signing of the financing contract and the grant disbursement.
“Why do women hesitate to start a business? Among the main reasons are financial constraints and a lack of entrepreneurial education. We hope that there will be as many beneficiaries of this program as possible because the support of organizations like ODA is crucial for many businesses. We need to gather more courage to create successful businesses at home,” emphasized Ana Gorea, Vice President of the Women in Business Association of Moldova.
Rodica Celac, the founder and manager of SRL “Promidan Prim,” and Pelaghia Țîpu, the founder and manager of SRL “Pelaghea Line,” both attested to the significant role ODA played in the success of their businesses. They highlighted the importance of seizing the opportunities offered by the program for women in Moldova.
The Women Entrepreneurship Support Program, with a budget of 30 million lei and a 36-month implementation period, represents a major step in the right direction for supporting women entrepreneurship and gender equality. It serves as a model to be followed in the region and throughout the European Union.