Production of tourist souvenirs – the best business idea at the Rural Entrepreneurship Cup in Soroca

In Moldova, around 80% of businesses are located in large cities, while in villages and small towns there are only little stores and bars. In many of them young people already became a rarity, the most active ones working in cities or abroad.

In order to solve this problem, in recent years in Moldova there have been initiated various national programs aiming to stimulate young people to start their own business in their hometown. Firstly, through the products and services provided, the created businesses are solving a community problem. The business brings profit to the entrepreneur and increases his and his family quality of life. As for the community, a prosperous business means more jobs at home and taxes paid to the local budget.

To encourage young people who live in various regions to start and develop their own businesses, the Soroca Business Incubator hosted for the first time, the mentoring and training program the Rural Entrepreneurship Cup.

“It is quite difficult for entrepreneurs in rural areas to find a person who could guide them at the beginning of their path, when they launch their own business. Through this program we offered young entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from the experience and the knowledge of a mentor. I think each of us needs help to develop a successful business and contribute to the growth of the communities to which we belong”, said Lucia Usurelu, director of the Norwegian project Entranse and one of the three mentors of the program.


The award ceremony of the 6 best businesses developed during the project took place at the Rural Entrepreneurship Cup final, which took place on April 3, 2015, at the Soroca Business Incubator. “There have been over 60 young people involved, from the north of Moldova, from Soroca, Drochia and Donduseni districts. In the last four months they have been trained and guided by our mentors, generating over 20 rural business ideas, some even managed to start their business”, explained Liliana Babara, manager of the Soroca Business Incubator.

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The grand prix, in the amount of 7.000 lei, was awarded to the team “John Pix”, led by Sergiu Ursachi, who together with a group of friends started a business based on producing tourist souvenirs in Soroca. From now on, any tourist who will visit the Soroca fortress, the Thanksgiving Candle or other known places in the city, will not only return home with beautiful memories, but also with branded local souvenirs.

Although having business experience, Sergiu acknowledges that participation in this project has completely changed his vision on investments. “I personally do not believe in projects or money that comes without effort. Here I began to see other perspectives. Until now I knew that if I don’t earn the necessary amounts of money, I won’t be able to afford the equipment I need. But often, by the time I could earn that money, the equipment was already outdated and I needed something newer. Now I look at projects and even financial loans differently, because that’s the only way you can be one step ahead of the competition”, said Sergiu Ursachi.


Chinchilla Farm, managed by Ariadna Mazniuc took the first place. The team on the 2nd place is Bombonel, providing entertainment services for children. The business is managed by Maria Posteuca and Ion Railean. The 3rd place was granted to Fast & Fresh, a company managed by Ana Savca, which produces and delivers shaorma and kebab. The prize called “the jury’s sympathy” was awarded to the Youth Club, opened by Maria Stepanyants, which offers alternative education services. An encouragement award from the Soroca Business Incubator was given to the team Happy (fitness center), led by Andrei Grosu.

The jury decided to award the special prize, a study visit to Estonia, to two members of the winning team John Pix and to Maria Stepanyants.

“Together with the selected team members, we will visit various organizations in Estonia that care for development of entrepreneurship in rural areas and in cities. We will identify some companies with similar fields of activity as of the selected teams, so that they can exchange ideas, which will be beneficial for them”, said Harri Tallinn, co-founder of the Center for Pure Development from Estonia.


Financial prizes were offered by the sponsors of the contest, Victoriabank and Total Leasing & Finance.

The Rural Entrepreneurship Cup has been organized by the Soroca Business Incubator, in partnership with the Center for Pure Development from Estonia, Business Consulting Institute and the Norwegian project Entranse. The project was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.