EU4Business support providing animal-loving entrepreneurs in Moldova with business opportunities
Four-legged friends are an important part of many people's lives, bringing pet owners companionship, unconditional love, and a close relationship with part of the natural world.
It’s also quite a big business: the pet industry is not only attractive to retailers, but also to service companies. In addition, in recent years there has been a significant growth of the market, both in the Republic of Moldova and internationally, leading to the emergence of various business opportunities in the pet industry.
In Moldova, with the support of the European Union under its EU4Business Initiative, 26 young entrepreneurs have opened and developed their own companies with the help of a business support project for young entrepreneurs on the left bank of the Nistru river and the security zone. The project, called “Mentoring in Business - 3. Start for Youth,” is being carried under the European Union’s “Confidence-Building Measures” programme, implemented by the United Nations Development Program in Moldova.
The young entrepreneurs benefited from grants of EUR 10,000, as well as counseling to expand their entrepreneurial activity.
And among the ideas supported by the European Union are businesses that serve the needs of pet owners and their furry friends.
Local pet food production
One of the beneficiaries of “Mentoring in Business - 3. Start for Youth” is entrepreneur Dmitri Alexandrov from the village of Tirnauca, in Slobozia district. The support offered by EU4Business enabled the young man to start producing food for pets and farm animals.
Alexandrov graduated with a degree in Economics in 2012. From 2015 to 2018, he worked as an individual entrepreneur, and then founded the company Kristall, which is known, in particular, for the production of kvass – a popular soft drink in Eastern Europe made using bread. In 2020, Alexandrov, together with his partners, decided to work on another idea – a feed processing line.
Preliminary analysis of the market showed that practically nobody else in Moldova was involved in this kind of business, and animal feed was mostly imported. Moreover, the imported products were divided into two categories: well-known brands at high prices, and cheap but lower quality products.
So the entrepreneur chose the middle ground for the local market – an environmentally friendly, high-quality product, at an affordable price.
“Our goal was to produce pet food from natural ingredients for dogs and cats.” says Alexandrov. “The support offered within the European Union’s “Confidence-Building Measures” programme was a major boost. It helped us to buy the basic equipment.”
The company’s products are made using feed technology that is both modern and innovative for Moldova, producing an easily digestible and nutritious combined fodder. Some 80-90% of the raw materials used are local: cereal crops, groats, vegetable oils, and meat products.
At the first stage, the products will be sold on the domestic market, which is growing.
“Our products are sold in pet stores, to wholesalers and individuals,” says Alexandrov. “The number of pets in the country is constantly growing.”
Subsequently, as production increases, Alexandrov’s company plans to start making fodder for export. On top of that, the opening of a new production unit at the company will create another five new jobs.
Highest standards of veterinary care
Animals don’t just need food, of course, but healthcare, and vets have to be as professional and passionate about their vocation.
That’s the case with Violeta Tsvetcova, a veterinarian in the city of Tighina: The young entrepreneur has also contributed to the development of local veterinary medicine through her business, which uses modern equipment purchased with the support of the European Union, within the European Union’s “Confidence-Building Measures” programme.
Another beneficiary of the “Mentoring in Business - 3. Start for Youth” project „ Tsvetcova, at 26 years old, is already professor at the “Taras Sevcenco” University in Tiraspol, and a doctor at the largest animal shelter in Moldova “The Island of Hope.”
More that that, together with her husband she opened a veterinary office, so in addition to successfully combining teaching, private practice and volunteer work, the young woman is constantly improving her business skills.
“It was probably a dream from my sophomore year of college,” Tsvetcova says. “I ended up working immediately after I left college. The idea, and confidence in my knowledge, allowed me to obtain a (business) license as well.”
In order to develop her own business, the young woman benefited from consulting as well as financial support to buy the best, modern equipment. Thanks to the new equipment, she was able to offer customers new services such as diagnostic ultrasounds, blood biochemistry, diagnosis of skin disorders, and microchipping.
“Thanks to the grant, I reached a new level, a higher step, because previously we didn't have any kind of equipment,” Tsvetcova says.
“Before, we only had a simple set of tools at our disposal. Now we’ve expanded our activities – the diagnostics are all done with special equipment, and we can do more complex surgery.”
Moreover, the woman also offers veterinary consultations at home – a valuable service for pet owners who might not be able to go to the clinic.
“We offer consultations in the office in Tighina, but we also can bring a vet to you," Tsvetcova says.
“We plan to expand our activity and open a veterinary office with high-performance equipment in Tiraspol as well.”
About the project
The “Mentoring in Business - 3. Start for Youth” grant competition, launched in June 2020, is designed for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35. Thanks to the grants offered by the EU4Business in this competition, so far 57 new enterprises have been created and more than 300 jobs have been generated on the left bank of the Nistru river and in the security zone in Moldova.
The “Confidence-Building Measures” programme, supported by the European Union under its EU4Business Initiative and implemented by UNDP, contributes to building trust between residents on both banks of the Nistru river by involving them in joint development projects.