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EU funding through the PARE 1+1 programme, in which every leu invested from remittances is supplemented by one leu as a grant, supports entrepreneurship in rural areas of Moldova. Just two of the many success stories include two families involved in raising sheep and rabbits.

The Viscun family of Rezina, a small town on the Nistru (Dnister) River, started a rabbit farming business. Olesea Viscun originally launched the business on her own, while her husband was working abroad to build a family nest-egg. When PARE 1+1 issued them a grant, they were able to buy rabbit cages and the construction materials needed to finish the building. Today, Olesea combines her job as a teacher with her new role as an entrepreneur. She prepared for the new challenge by participating in several workshops organised by ODIMM with the EU support as part of EU4Business Initiative. She also took part in a workshop on breeding rabbits successfully. It is a hard and difficult job, but the road to success seems clear.

The EU4Business initiative was exactly what was needed to convince one young man to look forward to the future. Vasile Bilba from the village of Valea Perjei in Cimislia County south of Chisinau started a business in a traditional occupation that goes back a millennium in the region, raising sheep. Bilba also planned to sell sheep products in the area. Initially, he had about 300 Moldovan sheep. Later he invested in French Lacaune sheep, which are much more productive than the Moldovan breed. He says they bring more profit. Bilba's mother is working abroad, and through her remittances, he was eligible to apply to the PARE 1+1 Programme managed by ODIMM.

The grant helped Bilba procure the sheep and establish a milking parlour. The EU funding has given him confidence in a more prosperous future for his business. In addition to automating the milking process, Bilba wanted to introduce a new method for the care of sheep. So, instead of the traditional outdoor grazing, he keeps the animals indoors. According to what Bilba has learned, while the grazing in a field, sheep apparently use a lot of energy, which reduces their productivity.

Bilba also purchased a granulator to process food efficiently. Today, he’s working up his business with a lot of optimism. For now, his sheep products will be sold locally. But Bilba has ambitions to open a cheese shop soon, so that his products will conquer buyers both in the region and in his country.

The PARE 1+1 programme, co-financed by the EU as part of its EU4Business Initiative, has so far allocated MDL 367 million (USD 20.5 million) with 640 Moldovan’s returning to their country to launch successful businesses.

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