The European Union co-finances with 8 million euros, in the form of non-repayable funds, 7 programs implemented by the Organization for Entrepreneurship Development (ODA). The funding programs, targeted at various categories of beneficiaries, were presented at the Entrepreneur Expo held at Moldexpo. These programs include PARE 1+2, Start for Youth, the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Ecologization Program, the Digital Transformation Program, the Retooling and Energy Efficiency Program, the Women Entrepreneurship Support Program, and the Rural Tourism Program.
Present at the event were Nina Potînga, the deputy director of the Organization for Entrepreneurship Development, Miroslav Božić, program officer at the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, businesspeople who have developed their enterprises thanks to grants obtained through these programs, as well as small entrepreneurs interested in obtaining non-repayable funding.
“The entrepreneurs in the Republic of Moldova have faced prolonged crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by it. Then, the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine have presented entrepreneurship with more problems and challenges, with the most difficult situation being at small and medium-sized enterprises. We thank the European Union for the support provided regarding the development of entrepreneurship in the Republic of Moldova. The 8 million euros allocated by the EU will support at least 300 entrepreneurs from 2023 to 2026 in their efforts to create, develop, expand, and internationalize their businesses,” stated Nina Potînga, the deputy director of the Organization for Entrepreneurship Development.
The cooperation began in 2018 with a project for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and has evolved into several support programs for SMEs, mentioned Miroslav Božić, program officer at the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova. Božić explained why the EU co-finances these 7 programs in our country, which are part of the “EU for SMEs” project.
“The EU’s basic priorities are to achieve a developed and sustainable economy, and we know that Moldova is a candidate country to become an EU member and is interested in this aspect. And, of course, we focus a lot on young people, women, to encourage them to excel in entrepreneurship. Similarly, we stimulate those in rural areas with the aim of fostering economic cooperation and making the economy work. SMEs are fundamental to the EU’s support for the private sector in the Republic of Moldova. We support them not only through ODA programs but also through other programs with other EU funding institutions that help entrepreneurs reap benefits, create, and develop services.”
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In just 6 months since the launch of the “EU for SMEs” project, funded by the Government of the Republic of Moldova and the European Union, 78 small and medium-sized entrepreneurs have obtained grants totaling 1.6 million euros, with 70% of them from rural areas:
- 30 projects submitted by young entrepreneurs (Start for Youth Program)
- 21 businesses founded by migrants or their relatives (PARE Program)
- 13 companies will digitize their businesses (Digital Transformation Program)
- 3 companies will implement environmentally friendly practices (SMEs Ecologization Program)
- 11 companies will replace outdated equipment (Retooling and Energy Efficiency Program)
The company “V.T.V NORD,” which owns the bakery and pastry factory “Royal Bliss” in the Fălești district, benefited from a grant under the “Digital Transformation” Program. Irina Ambros, the company’s representative, stated at the event that they aimed to digitize the company to meet new market requirements and connect with customers, using state-of-the-art digital technologies to promote products and develop the business, including in the Romanian market.
“This Program has helped us increase the company’s competitive advantage and customer portfolio, use new technologies, optimize internal processes, and minimize human factor errors. The company is in negotiations with partners in Romania. The project’s goal has been achieved,” added Irina Ambros.
It should be noted that from 2018 to 2021, ODA (formerly ODIMM) successfully implemented a European Union-funded grant project with 4 million euros, capitalizing on national programs such as “PARE 1+1,” “Women in Business,” and the “Support Instrument for SME Digitalization.” As a result of the “Support for SMEs in Rural Areas” project implementation, 564 businesses benefited from direct grants, vouchers, free training, and consulting for business plan development. In total, 1,582 jobs were created. EU funding attracted total investments of over 8 million euros into the national economy.