Training social entrepreneurs in rural Moldova, with the help of EFSE and EU4Business


The first phase of the ‘BusinessCool’ training programme for social entrepreneurs was completed with a final session on 15-17 February in Riscova, Moldova. Funded by the Entrepreneurship Academy of the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), the workshops were conducted by the local business support organisation EcoVisio at its training centre for social businesses and start-ups, as part of the EU4Business Initiative.

The programme aimed to provide young entrepreneurs in rural Moldova with the business and financial management skills necessary for their success. Participating start-ups were selected based not only on the viability of their business models; equally important was the potential of these entrepreneurs to generate positive impact for their surrounding community and the environment. 

In the first phase of the BusinessCool, four interactive sessions covered topics ranging from access to finance and funding, to product design, financial management, marketing, storytelling, and product placement. The workshops were attended by 72 participants in total.

Markus Aschendorf, Chair of the EFSE Development Facility, which runs the Entrepreneurship Academy, said: “These ambitious young people are in good hands with EcoVisio – an EFSE Development Facility partner who can boast a long and successful track record of connecting start-ups to the resources they need to establish solid businesses. EcoVisio also pursues a clear social and environmental agenda, which makes it an optimal ally in EFSE’s mission to advance responsible growth the region.”

Maja Gizdic, Director at EFSE advisor Finance in Motion, added: “Moldova’s economy is driven by small local businesses; they provide the backbone of employment and income generation. By identifying and supporting the next generation of promising social entrepreneurs, the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy is investing in the economic future of the country in a socially responsible manner.”

“Young people need support when they show the initiative to realise a business idea, especially in a region where formal structures are lacking place or not supportive enough,” says EcoVisio Coordinator Olesea Țerna. “In Moldova, it is difficult to find product certifications or producer associations that provide reliable resources or customers for young entrepreneurs. BusinessCool tries to enhance both: skills and a network of like-minded young people who have the courage to build an idea and see their future in Moldova.”

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) was initiated by KfW Development Bank (KfW) with the financial support of Germany and the European Union under the EU4Business initiative. EFSE focuses on assisting local financial sectors in strengthening their ability to ensure adequate and sustainable financing. The funding the EFSE provides as finance primarily for micro and small enterprises (MSEs) – but also for private households in the form of home improvement loans – is channelled to these loan customers through local partner lending institutions.