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Victoria Bakery with the trade name Veranj, is a confectionery opened by two friends – Vera and Angela from Drăsliceni, Criuleni district – whose name was also the basis of the brand. They founded the company at the beginning of 2020, just as the pandemic was closing all businesses in the HoReCa sector and locking people in their homes.

However, the women did not give up and continued to work in the confectionery, and soon the number of employees increased to 30. The women specialized in the production of cakes and cookies, currently they offer up to 32 types of pies and 12 types of cakes, plus those made on order.

A year later, the two entrepreneurs received a non-refundable grant of 7,100 for the purchase of new machinery within the Women in Business Programme, run by the Organization for the Development of SME sector (ODIMM), now the Organization for the Development of Entrepreneurship (ODA). The programme is supported by the European Union through its EU4Business Initiative, which has allocated €1.5 million through the "Support to SMEs in Rural Areas" Programme.

"With the money received from the European Union, we purchased an Italian mixer, which allowed us to expand production and hire more people. At the same time, we used the grant to develop a website, https://veranj.md, a Facebook page and an Instagram page, which help us promote and sell our production", says Vera Julidova, one of the two founders.

As part of the Women in Business program, beneficiary entrepreneurs are helped to develop business plans, are trained in business management, marketing and sales, and receive non-refundable funding of up to 165,000 lei (€8,500) to increase business competitiveness.

"As a result of funding from ODA and the European Union, we have been able to increase the volume of production and become more known on social media. With the help of the purchased equipment, we launched new products – the Easter products", says the entrepreneur.

Today, the company has 70 employees, and the founders are satisfied with the first three years of activity, in which, according to statistics, a large part of start-ups fail. Angela Tcaci and Vera Julidova, on the contrary, have big plans for the future and would like further support from ODA in particular to help procure energy-saving equipment, particularly relevant today, as well as help in the search for alternatives to natural gas and energy.

The Women in Business Program was launched in 2018, with a total budget of €3.4 million, of which 1.5 million were provided by the European Union through the "Support to SMEs in Rural Areas" Programme. In total, 284 women entrepreneurs benefited from the financial support of the European Union between 2018 and 2020 in the total amount of €1.8 million, creating 474 new jobs. 46% of the beneficiaries work in the service sector, 40% in the manufacturing industry and 14% in the agricultural sector.

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