Pilot municipal program “Startup for Young People and Migrants”. Arguments for and against implementation and extension. IPN debate

A week ago, the Chisinau City Hall launched the pilot municipal program pilot “Startup for Youth People and Migrants”. Experts invited to a public debate hosted by IPN discussed the goals and mechanisms for implementing this program.

Roman Vitiuc, head of the General Division of Economy, Trade and Tourism of the Chisinau Municipal Council, said the term startup is a neologism that has been more widely used by businesspeople. “For some, startup means an organization, while for others it is a company, but most often startup is used to describe the way of doing business, performing economic activities by those who want to come up with a new impetus or an innovative idea as regards the initiation of an economic activity. The startups differ from the other types of business activities owing to the fact that the business within startups is to be developed extremely swiftly. The progress from the initiation to the development of the business can last for up to a year. The intention of a startuper is to sell this business to a larger investment company or to develop it as a separate economic activity,” stated Roman Vitiuc.

He noted that the goal of the program is to stimulate entrepreneurship among young people and migrants in the municipality of Chisinau by facilitating the launch and development of sustainable businesses and to support the creation of jobs. The program also aims to facilitate the access to financial resources for young people and migrant workers who want to start or develop a business by offering up to 200,000 lei in non-reimbursable financial support. Another goal of the program is to offer support to the young people who run a business and made an investment with borrowed money by subsidizing the interest rate for the past 24 months, in the amount of at most 100,000 lei.

Petru Grecu, director of the Municipal Youth Center, said that in 2022 the institution he heads carried out a new poll to identify the needs of young people. “When asked how many of them would like to start a business during the next two years, 32.4% of the young people said they want to start a business, out of the total of 1,412 surveyed young persons. Asked what support they need, 67.5% said that they need municipal, governmental financial support programs to start a business. In this regard, I think the launched municipal startup program is opportune,” stated Petru Grecu.

Anatolie Palade, director of the consultancy company “ProConsulting” and co-author of the program, said the idea of the Chisinau City Hall was to mobilize the young people to start businesses. The project also aims to stop the migration of the young labor force and to stimulate the development of entrepreneurship in general. Four categories of young people can apply to the program: young entrepreneurs aged between 8 and 40 who live in the municipality of Chisinau and want to start a business or own an enterprise that was registered in the municipality of Chisinau at most 12 months ago; migrant workers who worked or work abroad or who receive remittances (husband/wife or first degree relative) aged under 40 who reside in the municipality of Chisinau and run an enterprise registered in the municipality of Chisinau; young investors aged between 18 and 40 who reside in the municipality of Chisinau, run a business and invested borrowed funds during the past 24 months (they will be paid the interest rate paid on investment loans), and young refugees, future entrepreneurs who established a partnership with a resident young person with the domicile in the municipality of Chisinau and they are both aged between 18 and 40 and want to start a business or run an enterprise that was registered in the municipality of Chisinau at most 12 months ago.

Olga Melniciuc, founder of the consultancy company investitii.md, approved of the fact that the program is intended for persons under 40, not under 35 as in the case of other similar programs. “Those who start businesses in the municipality of Chisinau do not have real access to financing even if there are financing programs to which young people from Chisinau can also take part. Preference is often given to regions and we remain without financial support. From this viewpoint, the program is very good. Not only the newly created business are financed, but also those that have worked for at most 12 months and those who took out loans are refunded the interest rate on loans. This means they have already shown to the bank that their business is viable and they need additional financial support to develop,” stated Olga Melniciuc.

The pilot municipal program pilot “Startup for Youth People and Migrants” that was launched by the Chisinau City Hall was proposed for public debates and is to be approved by the Chisinau Municipal Council.

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