The Entrepreneurship Development Organization (EDO) will be financially supported by the Western NIS Enterprise Fund and the Future Technologies Project, funded by USAID, Sweden and the UK to implement the government's Digital Innovations and Technology Startups Support Program. The financial and technical assistance of $500K is stipulated in a Grant Agreement, signed today, 20 October. The agreement sets out the partners' commitment to support the modernisation and competitiveness of SMEs and the implementation of digital innovations in entrepreneurial activity in the Republic of Moldova.

Dumitru Alaiba, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Digitisation, reiterated the Government's commitment to supporting innovation in entrepreneurship. "The Government's priority is to develop the economy and provide new opportunities for our entrepreneurs. The SME sector is the heart of a healthy economy. Thus, through the Programme to Support Digital Innovations and Technology Start-ups, we aim to stimulate innovation, develop a strong and conducive entrepreneurial environment, generate new well-paid jobs and contribute to the sustainable development of our country," said Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Digitisation Dumitru Alaiba.

Jeff Bryan, USAID Chief of Mission in Moldova, said, "USAID is working with the Government and people of Moldova to address today's challenges and build a democratic, prosperous and secure future. Moldova's active and growing startup community demonstrates what kind of prosperity we can create together. I am delighted that we are now expanding this partnership to include the Western NIS Enterprise Fund."

Jaroslawa Z. Johnson, President & CEO of WNISEF highlighted that this Fund implements an international technical assistance program to support Ukraine and Moldova in developing sound economic policies and strong leadership. "Through this Agreement we will support with grant funding Moldovan companies to implement innovative digital ideas in their economic activity and support the creation of regional and international business connections."

Dumitru Pîntea, Director of the Entrepreneurship Development Organisation, stressed that digital innovation is a key factor in transforming economic processes and contributes to reducing the social and economic gap. "We will seize all opportunities that open up with the support of our partners to support the business environment on the need to invest in digital and innovative technologies. The implementation of the Programme will add value to the Moldovan business environment by linking the MMI sector with the innovation sector to ensure a synergy between supply and demand."

At the same time, during the press event, it was announced the launch of a new Call for Grants to support companies with innovative potential and technology startups.

This programme provides funding to technology startups and SMEs to advance innovative ideas and will stimulate the use of green technologies and sustainable production in Moldova. The non-reimbursable funding offered through the Programme is a maximum of 80% of the amount of the investment project, but will not exceed a maximum of 500,000 lei with a minimum own contribution of 20%.

The implementation of the Programme actions are financed through the Western NIS Enterprise Fund and the Future Technologies Project, funded by USAID, the Government of Sweden and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK Aid).

The call for investment projects to access financial support will be open from 1-30 November 2023. Registration of companies interested in this Programme will be done online.

More details about the Digital Innovations and Technology Startups Support Programme can be found at https://www.oda.md/ro/granturi/start-uri-tehnologice

Video footage from the press conference on privesc.eu: https://shorturl.at/lopQ5

As a reminder, the Digital Innovations and Technology Startups Support Programme was launched in October 2022 and is funded from the state budget.  The program was developed and developed with the support of the Future Technologies project, assimilating best practices from Estonia and the Ukrainian Startup Fund. Following the first Call for Investment Projects, 14 innovative business ideas in the digital or technological field were selected to access grant funding of up to 500 thousand lei. The supported innovative ideas were in the following business areas: telemedicine, tourism, manufacturing and waste recycling services.