Olga Melniciuc: Municipal program for young entrepreneurs should be accessible and bureaucracy-free

Chisinau’s pilot program for young entrepreneurs “Startup for young people and migrants” should be as accessible as possible for young investors to create jobs, and the application process as little bureaucratic as possible. Also, eligibility criteria should include female entrepreneurs as a separate group. These suggestions were offered by the founder of the consulting company investitii.md Olga Melniciuc during a debate on the subject, organized by IPN.

“Ask for as few documents as possible at the beginning of the application or before funding. If you want to finance future entrepreneurs who do not own a business, let them not open a business until they are approved for financing. As soon as they are approved, give them two weeks to go to the Public Services Agency to register (...) It would be a good idea to include an additional group - women, but without age limits - to support the development of female entrepreneurship. If you include it as a monitoring criterion, you may have the interest of other donors, so that they will support you in the future in the implementation of the project (...) To be a good entrepreneur, it is not necessary to have higher education, this current criterion disadvantages good entrepreneurs without higher education. At the same time, we must keep in mind that the biggest investments in IT are people. People mean salaries, and the salary in this case is not eligible. If we want to develop innovative start-ups, we have to give them the opportunity to quit their jobs and start businesses, but they have to be paid somehow. Maybe a small group of young IT startups will be supported by salaries”, Olga Melniciuc suggested to those in charge of the program.

On a different subject, she said the support to be given for starting a business (up to 70% of the estimated value) should be enough both to start a small business and to test an idea. “There is not much money and we do not have to give one hundred percent grant, because that is how we develop a level of entrepreneurship for free, which wants to consume only grants. In this case, it is better to provide the condition of the own financial contribution (minimum 30%), to ask the entrepreneur to contribute, because the responsibility increases with the own money invested. In addition, 200,000 lei is the maximum amount that can be offered within the program as support, but the young entrepreneur can apply for a much smaller amount. The lower the amount required, the lower the contribution will be and the easier it will be to apply”, remarked the founder of the consulting company investitii.md.

Olga Melniciuc also said that in the process of selecting the beneficiaries there should be no favors or conflicts of interest. “A lot depends on what young people do after receiving the money. Here the activity of the program team is important in terms of monitoring investments, what happens to the money, whether it is invested in the business or not. I am sure and it is natural that there will be different situations that need to be resolved quickly, transparently, correctly in relation to those who receive funding”, she concluded.

The priority areas of the Program are businesses that will carry out production or service activities, businesses that contain innovative activities or aim to implement technology transfer and know-how projects, businesses focused on the development of information and communications technology industry, electromechanics, agri-food industry and HoReCA, light industry, creative industry, tourism, health and beauty, professional, scientific or technical activities, energy efficiency, agriculture.

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