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The business community on both banks of the Nistru river celebrates the results of joint partnerships

Institutional development of business support organisations/business associations, capacity development for private companies in times of crisis and the main results of cross-river partnerships to strengthening a competitive business environment are the topics addressed at “Cross-river synergies for resilient business environment” Forum, conducted on Wednesday, 18 January 2023.

The forum was organised with the support of EU Confidence Building Measures Programme and “Advanced cross-river capacities for trade” project, funded by Sweden and the United Kingdom. Both initiatives are implemented by UNDP Moldova. Over 70 representatives of business support organisations and sectoral associations from both banks participated in the event.

Since 2019, with the financial support of the European Union, UK and Sweden, UNDP Moldova supported 24 initiatives for business support organisations, with a value of approx. €800,000, that were jointly implemented by associations on both banks of the Nistru river. They have promoted knowledge transfer, financial sustainability and diversification of consultancy and mentoring services to better support small and medium-sized enterprises.

As part of the EU Confidence Building Measures Programme, the cross-river partnerships contributed to increased engagement, crisis resilience, digital literacy and resulted in new jobs created and existing jobs maintained, new innovative solutions incorporated into the business model, new consolidated market niches, such as tourist value chains along the Nistru river.

“As a result of our EU Confidence Building Measures Programme, 17 cross-river business support projects amounting over €500,000 have been implemented since 2019. These initiatives helped to equip vulnerable local entrepreneurs from both banks with entrepreneurial skills and to increase the number of jobs created. This effort allowed the business to successfully overcome the market disruptions faced as a result of the COVID pandemic and the consequences of the war in Ukraine,” said Jānis Mažeiks, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.

In the framework of the “Advanced cross-river capacities for trade” project, financed by Sweden and the UK, a number of innovative interventions were implemented, to expand access of left-bank businesses to the right-bank export promotion mechanisms and ensure a sustainable path for them. So far, over 1700 representatives of companies and business associations on both banks of the Nistru river have improved their capacities to better tap the opportunities of foreign trade agreements and have been guided to access new markets. 140 companies benefited from support in digitisation or identification of sales markets and as a result, concluded 45 contracts and increased their exports by 8%.

“The improvement of the business environment on both banks of the Nistru river is something Sweden has been working for and continues to work for together with UNDP for some time. With the AdTrade project, Sweden contributes to the process of improving capacities of business associations on both banks to advocate for, cooperate with and support the interests of the business communities across the river. We hope that this support leads to better livelihoods for those that participate, the creation of new jobs and enhancing women entrepreneurs’ capacities,” said Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden to Chișinău.

“The United Kingdom is honoured be among those who support business cooperation between both banks of the Nistru river through AdTrade project. Since 2021, the UK contribution of 1 million pounds has been used to help entrepreneurs, including those from vulnerable groups, to become more competitive and enhance their export capacities,” added Gary Davies, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy.

Cross-river projects contribute to improve business environment by strengthening cooperation with the view to develop viable solutions to the common problems and needs of entrepreneurs on both banks.

“I would like to take this opportunity and extend our sincere thanks to the European Union, Embassy of Sweden in Moldova, as well as British Embassy, for their generous contribution resulting from the strategic partnership established over the years, with a view of encouraging work in areas with high potential to produce confidence building outcomes, by focusing, in particular, on supporting young entrepreneurs, women, and cross-river green initiatives implemented by business support organisations,” stated Andrea Cuzyova, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

The “Cross-river synergies for resilient business environment” Forum showcased business support associations and organisations which enhanced their capacities and developed communities of entrepreneurs. During the event, speakers highlighted the main SMEs support mechanisms on the right bank, which are also accessible to those residing on the left bank.