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EBRD and Sweden champion women entrepreneurs in Moldova

By Olga Rosca

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Support provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Government of Sweden through a dedicated “Women in Business” programme has helped raise the competitiveness of 90 Moldovan companies over the past three years, the two sponsors of the programme said at a press conference in Chișinău today.

The programme connects women-led businesses, or companies where women make up the majority of employees, with local consultants who help them grow and become more competitive. Since the launch of “Women in Business” in 2011 Sweden has contributed more than €1,000,000 to the programme.

“The enterprises we have supported as part of the programme have increased their turnover by 23 per cent on average,” said Veronica Arpintin, the Moldova National Programme Manager for the EBRD’s Small Business Support team. “71 per cent have expanded their operations and improved their productivity. We are very proud to be part of their success and will continue supporting businesswomen in Moldova.”

Companies supported as part of the initiative operate in the wholesale and retail sectors, health services, textiles and apparel, as well as in food and beverage production. Others specialise in information technology, tourism, construction, media and communications.

Most of these enterprises have used advisory services to increase their market share, improve quality management, operational and financial management and customer relationships, as well as to grow their operations. Almost half of the enterprises received advice to develop information management technologies. Others focused on more efficient marketing strategies, quality management systems, engineering solutions and business plan development.

“You only need to look at the women-run enterprises, and their impressive growth with the help of EBRD-led advisory services, to see how Moldovan women are gaining influence in their country’s economic future. I am delighted that the Swedish government’s grant financing has helped 90 businesses expand and become more competitive. It is not only good for these women and their companies, it is good for the entire economy of Moldova,” said Her Excellency Ingrid Tersman, Ambassador of Sweden.

As part of its Women in Business programme, the EBRD has also developed training in how to start a business and develop leadership skills. It has also launched a mentoring programme that connects experienced businesswomen with young, ambitious entrepreneurs. The Bank has also worked to expand companies’ access to finance.

In future, the EBRD will continue to strengthen the role of female entrepreneurs in the Moldovan economy. A new programme will be launched next year that will combine advisory services with access to finance.

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Moldova. The Bank focuses on supporting private-sector activity, promoting European standards and regional integration and developing efficient and sustainable public utilities. To date, the EBRD has invested some €900 million in over 100 projects in the country.

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