To see a caption for each picture, move mouse over the photo. Click images to see in full resolution. To move through photo-by-photo, mouse over the brackets (< >) on the Right & Left sides of each image. Enjoy!
Comrat is a regional center (analogous to a state capital) with a university. In Comrat, Ivan Kichuk has had, for some months, a small office supply and copy center. He also has a small space where he can produce passport photos.
University students are required to write theses and to have them bound, so Ivan produces the copies, but then it has been necessary for students to take them elsewhere to have them bound. He requested assistance from Moldova Mosaic to buy a plastic-spine binding machine, which will bind theses into a hard, embossed cover.
Ivan’s business is booming, and he has an amazing business sense, and grasp of the operation and financials of his business, and also a warm and welcoming personality. His shop is alive with students. In fact, the store front shop has become a sort of gathering place for university people, who come in not only to get their theses prepared, but also to meet and talk with friends. His little store was so packed when we visited that we crowded in with everyone else and had an opportunity to talk with his customers as well with Ivan — the best way to get a feel for how a business is doing!
Angela Chercheja is a middle-aged former teacher, who had been without work for some time. A woman of great energy and bubbly personality, she decided to try to do something about it, so she applied and was admitted to Winrock’s entrepreneurial program. She developed a proposal for a hair salon in her small village of Floritoaia Nous (“New Flower”). Women in Moldova are very proud of their hair, care for it well, and spend money on it even if they are very poor.
There are many people in Moldova who cut hair, and competition can be strong. However, many Moldovans do not have a very well developed sense of marketing and customer service. It is not unusual, as one enters a shop, to find the clerk continuing to read a book or visit with a friend, without even acknowledging your presence. If you go to the market to buy tomatoes, even though a vendor’s tomatoes may be over-ripe and soon worthless, prices are unlikely to be lowered! Apparently many Moldovan’s would rather throw away the tomatoes than sell them for less than they are “worth.”
Angela, a woman of great energy and bright personality, however, somehow has developed a keen marketing sense, and has innovative ideas for fostering business. She treats everyone with unusual personal care. And she has creative marketing ideas. For instance, she issues coupons so that when a customer has had nine hair cuts she will receive the tenth one free. For Moldova, that is unusually innovative marketing, and because such attention to customers is not usual, Moldovans are very responsive to her personal care.
Angela has discovered a serendipitous benefit of her new business. She told us that for the first time in many years she felt like she was making a contribution and her life was worthwhile. Then, with a quiver in her voice, she also reported that she had become a role model for her two teenage daughters, who see in action how a woman – their mother – can be successful.
Veaceslav Boldu started an egg farm in the village of Glodeni. “Slavic,” Veaceslav’s nickname, has a university degree in (what we would call) animal husbandry — and a lot of business sense and initiative. When we first received his proposal to receive a grant from Moldova Mosaic, he needed the money to build a hen house, and to buy 100 chicks to get started. He is not one to sit around and wait, though, and by the time we approved his proposal, he and his father had already borrowed enough money to build the hen house and buy the chicks, and were proceeding with the business. They were about to produce eggs. However, Slavic still needed money to buy a refrigerator, and 100 more chicks. We approved the proposal and agreed that it would be used for refrigeration to keep the eggs fresh, and for more chicks. On our trip in June, 2013, we learned that Slavic is beginning to raise rabbits, too.
With a certificate in fashion design at Tiraspol College of Consumer Services, and two years at the University of Chisinau in clothing design, and a year’s work in a sewing workshop, Mariana Samuilova is well-prepared for her new business. Though her university work was interrupted by a pregnancy, while on maternity leave she began taking dressmaking orders at home. She had acquired a regular circle of customers through her contacts while at the sewing workshop.
Though she started working from home, she now has expanded the business, rented space, and is looking to hire additional staff. To do that, she needed additional sewing equipment, in particular an overstitching/zigzag machine, an “überdeck” machine, a steam iron, and other equipment (cutting table, dummy, hangers, chairs, racks, etc.).
Mariana is a skilled and dedicated woman, and Moldova Mosaic is pleased to help her purchase some of the equipment she needs.
Ecaterina Lugovtsova has created a business organizing high level entertainment services for the city of Tiraspol, with branches in three nearby villages. Ultimately she hopes to open an “interactive” restaurant as well.
Services Ecaterina provides include conducting entertainment events, music arrangement and special effects, holiday parties and shows of various sorts for children. Ecaterina’s staff includes two professional artists (including herself) and a graphic designer. Starting out, Ecaterina already had some of the necessary computer and sound equipment, and costumes. Moldova Mosaic helped her purchase a mixing board, an amplifier, and a radio board.
Moldovans party for any reason, or for no reason at all! Parties and celebrations of all sorts are a very big deal in Moldova, though professional organization and presentation are unusual. Ecaterina has had two years experience with such a business, and has acquired quite a list of customers, including Andy’s Pizza (the “Pizza Hut” of Moldova), the Transnistrian Ministry of Finance, a football (soccer) academy, and others.
Tatiana Shulizhenko has started a photography studio, with the assistance of Moldova Mosaic. She provides a wide range of photographic services, including art photography, events (wedding, birthdays, school holidays, etc.), reproduction services, photo-art calendars, and business cards. She has a year’s experience in a private studio in the town of Bender, where she will be working. When she started the studio, Tatiana owned little necessary equipment, except a computer. Moldova Mosaic’s grant was used to purchase a camera.