The Project that Must be Multiplied Throughout the Country
Three years ago they started from the belief that remittances develop Moldovan communities, and today they draw the lines to show that it was worth and that such an approach of the migration issue is, in fact, an approach to solutions.
Even if the project was extended up to the end of January this year, its results were above expectations and it could pretend to a leading position in the top of the most successful projects ever implemented by Hilfswerk Austria International, as the project manager says, Victor Koroli.
On 1 April 2011, the Representation of the Public Association Hilfswerk Austria in Moldova started the Pilot Project "Remittances Developing Moldovan Communities,” aiming at attracting remittances into the economy and providing some models of the efficient use of remittances. The project launched a competition addressed to all migrants or beneficiaries of remittances aged between 20 and 45 years from the districts of Telenesti, Soldanesti, Orhei and Rezina, willing to expand an existing or to start up a new business.
Financed Enterprises, at the Balance Date!
Of the 33 persons who have accepted the challenge, Hilfswerk Austria decided to finance seven businesses from various fields, managed by persons of different age. These persons have received as grant equipment and machinery worth up to EURO 15,000 each, necessary to develop their small business. Most of the businesses funded by the Austrians are in the farming area, but they are different as type of activity: fromatelier de reparaţie a tehnicii agricole to creşterea coacăzei or procesarea făinii de porumb.
Investors admit that none of the beneficiaries managed to reach the results set up in their business plans, and this is due to the underestimation of risks; however, most of them were very close to their targeted objectives. Hence, in 2013, all the seven businesses recorded gross profits, while one of them has even managed to double its turnover.
22 New Jobs Created
Perhaps the most important indicator of the success of this project is the creation of the 22 new jobs, of which, 15 are permanent jobs and the other 7 are seasonal jobs. "Altogether, enterprises run by the seven beneficiaries count 35 employees. If we multiply this by an average of three, which is the average size of a family, we can say that around 100 families are enjoying constant welfare. The project is a model of sustainable development, because these people are at home, with their children," Victor Koroli mentioned within this context.
"I am happy to be able to offer to my fellow villagers a well-paid job and qualitative products," the youngest of the seven beneficiaries stressed, Petru Găină, who at the age of 21 years only is already running a profitable business in the field of growing currant and gooseberry.
A significant achievement of the project is the number of over 500 persons, migrants or beneficiaries of remittances, who have been trained on initiating and developing a business. For this purpose, a Resource Centre has been set up and is already functioning, where potential investors of remittances could benefit from training in entrepreneurship.
Because when referring to the number of citizens who have left abroad, specialists operate with numbers in the millions and because the issue of migration is perhaps more stringent than ever, Victor Koroli speaks about the need to create a Development Fund, that would provide assistance not just for supporting migrants, but that would also be open to all people with entrepreneurial ideas. He says that part of these funds should be oriented towards the young people, or, if trusting opinion polls, about 90% of the young people are potential migrants and they need small funds for start-ups.
“Investments coming to Moldova should be used in a very efficient way. In the case of grants, they cannot be provided forever, therefore, it would be good to have the endowment component, so that people who benefited from support at a given moment, can in their turn provide for a certain period of time two or three percent of their income to support other entrepreneurs," the project manager added.
"We have noticed within this project that people want to be part of the change and, once returning home, they start demolishing this corrupted system existing in Moldova. We are expecting the support of the other migrants who will return home and will no longer tolerate this corrupted system, who will come with new ideas and will implement them here at home, because our governance owes a lot to those who are abroad, as well as to the whole society.”
According to a study carried out by the CIVIS Centre and the Austrian Agency IASCI within the Nexus Moldova Project, in 2013, as many as 411,000 Moldovans, or 12.4% of the country’s population, were abroad on long term.
Every year, they send home over USD 1.5 billion, however, over 72% of these resources are spent for current needs and only 2% of remittances are invested in business.