EBRD and EU help Moldovan furniture maker explore new markets

By Nina Tsintsadze

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Turning houses into homes in Moldova and abroad

For Neli Rotaru, a typical working day is filled with both creativity and rigorous calculations.
“My job is very imaginative. I make other people’s ideas come into being,’’ she says. “Working with people is very interesting. I learn something new every day, which helps me grow continuously.”

Neli sketches bespoke furniture designs, meticulously turning her customers’ visions of how their homes should look into reality. “Most people are looking for comfortable, unusual and modern pieces for their homes,” she shares. “Great design can tell a good story and I am happy to be contributing to that. Nothing can compare to the level of satisfaction when you finish a project, making your customers happy and their houses cosy.”

It will soon turn five years since Neli joined Moldovan furniture maker Mobilier.md – a family-owned business, the story of which traces back to the early 2000s.

Growing and expanding

Mobilier.md had humble beginnings, with just 5 employees, but the company’s management always thought big. The ultimate goal was to take the Moldovan furniture industry to a high-quality, professional level.

“Nineteen years ago, we started our operations in the market by distributing materials for furniture production,’’ says Eugeniu Cernit, Mobilier.md’s director. “Nineteen years later, we are a large manufacturer and exporter of furniture ‘Made in Moldova’. We keep growing and expanding.”

But the transformation from an importing company to an exporting one did not happen overnight.

“When we decided to start producing furniture, we had to purchase modern equipment, so we decided to invest in machinery and our company’s development,” says Eugeniu Cernit.

Mobilier.MD received funds from a joint credit line programme of the EBRD and the European Union (EU). One year after the investment, the market share and sales of the company had increased by 20 per cent.

Lending a helping hand to companies in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line targets companies in three countries to enable access to finance, new technologies, new markets. The eligible small businesses receive funding through partner banks in these countries. They also receive technical assistance and, upon successful completion of their investment plans, grant incentives, both funded by the EU.

The programme directly benefits people in many ways: business owners can meet their aspirations to run modern, well-equipped enterprises. Employees can learn much from state-of-the-art equipment and technology, master new skills and become a competitive skilled workforce, while also enjoying a secure working environment. Consumers locally and abroad have access to products of the highest quality.

Moldovan versus European customers

Mobilier.md’s furniture is already available on the European market which is the ultimate source of pride for all 110 employees of the company. Tailoring their work to other countries presents some interesting discoveries. Eugeniu Cernit observes:

“During these three years of export to the EU, I have noticed the difference between consumption in the local market and that in the European market. The local market requires practical solutions - very often to accommodate all visiting relatives. The Europeans opt for fresh designs and new materials,” Differences which provide more inspiration for new ideas.

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