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The Women in Business Programme is a EU project under its EU4Business Initiative for women in Moldova who want to start or expand their business, especially in rural areas. Among the 451 businesses that have successfully benefitted, the confectionery business is doing “sweetly.”

For Adela Zastavnetchi, travelling to Italy was the source of inspiration for a new business idea: making artisanal ice cream. Her family had already opened a pizzeria in Singerei, a town northwest of Chisinau, and they began thinking of bringing in a new product. The Zastavnetschis received a generous grant from the EU to buy ice cream-making equipment, and equipment for cooling and freezing.

Also from Singerei, Dina Cosovan proved that ambition is willing to overcome any obstacles and there are no limits when it comes to dreams. She opened a business at the age of 62, inspired by the taste of pretzels, donuts and pies prepared across the Prut. She decided to bring them to the north of Moldova and opened a pretzel shop where she reproduces the true Romanian flavour. First came the idea of ​​having a business and then the actual business. Cosovan travelled a lot across the border, in order to “steal” authentic recipes. With an EU grant under the EU4Business Initiative, she purchased the equipment needed for to make the pretzels and attended specialized courses in Romania.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunities facilitated by the EU and I want to grow the business so that we can be proud,” says Cosovan. “Now, the pastry business is in full swing.” She plans to expand and wants her products to reach as many locations in Singerei as possible, even schools.

Ecaterina Colibaba from Rascani grew up with the smell of fresh bread in the oven, which ultimately changed her destiny. Her passion for the art of pastry drove Colibaba to open a sweets business called Vanilla Bloom. She carefully laid the foundations of a business specializing in desserts from natural ingredients. First of all, Colibaba participated in several international workshops in the art of pastry-making. In 2019, the young entrepreneur received EU funding to grow her business. She invested this money in basic equipment: a freezer, two mixers and baking trays. This allowed her to expand her output, which brought an increase in profits. With the support of the EU grant, two Vanilla Bloom employees took refresher courses and the company set up a website, which has generated a large number of customers.

Today, Colibaba gets orders from other districts in northern Moldova. Not only that, but pastries from Rascani have conquered Chisinau. “This grant first of all provided moral support, and then financial support, which helped me to transform a passion of the heart into a business for everyone's taste,” says Colibaba.

The Women in Business programme was launched in Moldova in 2016 and is funded from the State Budget and supplemented by EU funds through the Support to SMEs in Rural Areas project. To date, 451 investment projects have been funded through Women in Business, worth MDL 62.95 million (USD 3.5 million) and generating MDL 107.18 million (USD 6 million) in investments in the country’s economy and facilitating over 1,847 new jobs. The maximum value of non-reimbursable financing under this component is MDL 165,000 (USD 9,200) per beneficiary and can be used for the purchase of investment items and business development services.

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