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Italy and EBRD bolster Moldova's private sector through CEI Fund at the EBRD

In the framework of the CEI Technical Cooperation Programme, Italy, through the CEI Fund at the EBRD, is financing a 500,000 EUR project to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups in Moldova in boosting their digitalisation, unlocking financing opportunities and enhancing their competitiveness. The launch event of this new action took place on 22 November 2023 in Chisinau before the target local business community.

Small businesses, including youth-led enterprises and innovative start-ups, will benefit from targeted advisory support, expertise, training and access to finance aimed at helping them address challenges, and strengthening their economic resilience.

Italy’s contribution will also enable the rollout of the EBRD’s Star Venture programme, a flagship initiative that helps innovative and high-tech start-ups scale their business with dedicated mentoring, consulting and access to financing.

MSMEs make up the majority of Moldova’s private sector, but they have faced a number of challenges since the start of the war in Ukraine, including transportation, logistics and supply chain disruptions, already exacerbated by Covid-19. Cybersecurity attacks also tend to disproportionately affect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lack the resources and know-how to establish effective safeguards. Support will be offered to Moldovan businesses through the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme to help them boost their digitalisation efforts and equip them with tools to mitigate potential cyber threats.


As underlined by Lorenzo Tomassoni, Ambassador of Italy to Moldova: “The CEI Fund at the EBRD is financed by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. It’s an important asset in the strategic partnership between Rome and Chisinau. The Fund targets Moldovan SMEs and start-ups, with the aim of supporting entrepreneurial development, also in the light of Moldova’s EU accession progress.”

In that same setting Zsuzsanna Kiraly, CEI Deputy Secretary General stated that the CEI’s actions in support of enterprise development encompassed the transfer of know-how and best practices among their Member States; collaboration between organisations supporting enterprises, provision of technical assistance for scaling up entrepreneurship skills, and efforts to enhance the attractiveness for foreign investments and support trade in the region through the organization of meetings and economic forums.

Last but not least, Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Head of Moldova, said: “Our partnership with Italy, through the CEI, recognises the key role MSMEs and the start-up sector play in driving sustainable economic growth and development. We are pleased to launch this joint initiative, which will enable high-potential and ambitious businesses and early-stage ventures to access critical know-how to advance their innovations and build sustainable and thriving businesses.”

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