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Alexandru Drosu, an engineer, 33 years old, has a business which provides natural gas installation services, including boilers (hot water heaters), pressure regulators, compensators, filter, valves, and steam-generating power stations. With his business currently located in the town of Straseni, Alexandru expects to expand throughout Moldova. The company was registered in 2006 and in 2009 he obtained the license necessary to provide the installation services. New laws in Moldova now require institutions such as schools and hospitals to contract with one provider for all gas services to that institution. With his training and experience, Alexandru is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the new regulations, and they have opened up new opportunities for him expand his business. In addition, a friend sells the equipment which Alexandru installs, and in fact, when we visited him in June of 2013, Alexandru was constructing his facility on the first floor of the same building.
Moldova Mosaic has provided Alexandru with welding equipment for his installation services. This year he plans to expand his business by buying new equipment for gas pressure measurement and gas pressure indicators. He needs to hire a helper immediately, and expects to hire 3 more people as well. He has been installing boilers in residences for some while, and wants to expand his business to include schools, hospitals, and office buildings. Alexandru’s expertise and business sense are both positives for his success.
Rodion Fotescu (Radu), 31 years old, started a car repair and tire retread (“vulcanizing”) business 7 years ago in the village of Soldanesti. He intends to expand his services to include a car wash. So, when we visited his business in June, 2013, we informed him that Moldova Mosaic will provide car washing equipment he needs. Radu employs 7 people now, and with this new equipment will hire 2 or 3 more. In the past he has had trouble finding good people who will stay with him, but with a new segment to his business, he says it will be easier to hire people. He is erecting a new building that will house all three of his auto services. Located near the village’s bus station, his new facility is in a bustling, heavy-traffic area. In order to build the building, he borrowed 100,000 Moldovan lei ($8,000 U.S.) which is now repaid in full, and he is expecting to take out a loan in a month for another 100,000 lei. Interest on loans in Moldova is very high, at around 20%, and payback periods are short, usually three years. This contributes, of course, to the difficulty of starting a business in Moldova. Radu’s brother-in-law lives in Arizona, so Radu hopes he and his wife can come to the U.S. in the near future, and learn more about business practices here.
Cabinets & Furniture – city of Balti
Alexei Levinto, located in the city of Balti (where we lived while in the Peace Corps), is 34 years old, and a carpenter. He studied economics, management, and woodcraft and has 11 years of professional experience. He worked 8 years in workshops in Moscow and now has his own business in Moldova. Alexei employs 2 people and has a contract with another for the actual production of cabinets and furniture, while he serves as the sales person and designer. They make tables for offices, kitchens, and computers, along with children’s room furniture, wardrobes, and filing cabinets. And he also repairs furniture. His clientele include people who are buying a new house or apartment, large families that cannot afford new furniture but want to repair the old furniture, and schools and offices.
Ten years ago Alexei was seriously injured in an accident, when he was hit by a car, and he suffers serious physical disabilities that hinder motor skills. His parents thought that his life was over, and that he would never be able to walk, but Alexei has proved them wrong. Though his walk is more of a lunge, and he can barely move about without holding on to something, he now owns his business, employs people to do the work he cannot do, is married with a family, and has devoted his attention to the quality of his products and design. He is inspiring! And his furniture designs are truly beautiful. Moldova Mosaic provided Alexei with new equipment for his shop that include a planer, electric wood cutter, belt sander, bench drill, and additional saws. Alexei is an innovative marketer, advertising in unusual places for Moldova, such as on buses. He has a charming personality, is very customer oriented, and extremely creative.