The EU is working to support SMEs in the Republic of Moldova to expand their export markets, with a recent training session aimed at building up the capacity of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Organisation (ODIMM) to assist domestic companies that intend sell abroad.
The training session on international practices to increase the export capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was deployed with the support of the EU Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX).
The workshop, the first of a series of missions organised with the support of TAIEX, was attended by ODIMM, but also by the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, the Organisation for the Attraction of Investment and Export Promotion, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Moldova. The participants, together with the experts, analysed the legal and institutional business environment in Moldova, as well as the existing export promotion instruments.
Tajana Kesic Sapic, director of Croatia's Chamber of Economy, Industry and IT, provided a review of the evolution of the SME sector, existing policies and instruments for Croatia's pre-and post-accession development, focusing on the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs, but also the progress that has been made since then. Michel Gelenine, Investment Promotion Expert at the Business France Agency, presented the support tools and methods through which France promotes exports and investment. Experts highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship and SMEs in Europe, reiterating that over the last five years they have created about 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of total EU private-sector jobs.
According to the experts, Moldova needs the following measures for successful export development:
- to develop and adopt support measures to increase export capacities;
- aggregation of all SME support tools into a single agency for efficiency and clarity for entrepreneurs;
- providing grants for marketing on new markets;
- adoption of new technologies and the introduction of IT tools and of a cluster model for regional development.
The TAIEX mission will help to create a support methodology for the pre-export stage of SMEs in Moldova.
TAIEX is a demand-driven tool that supports partner countries with the adaptation of national laws, regulations and quality standards to match those of EU Member States in the framework of Cooperation or Association Agreements signed with the EU. In the Eastern Neighbourhood, TAIEX works with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The EU also helps SMEs in Moldova through the EU4Business initiative, which improves access to finance, helps SMEs move into foreign markets and provides training to build up business skills. Specific technical help is available to Moldovan SMEs to make sure they can make the most of the country’s free trade agreement with the EU.