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ONLINE COUNSELING BUSINESS IDEA WINS “STARTUP WEEKEND MOLDOVA 2020” DURING PANDEMIC
April 28, 2020 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
They followed the urge to create a business in 54 hours, and now they are ready to deliver solutions suitable to the new reality generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Respiro project, which aims to provide free online psychological assistance to Moldovans abroad, is the winner of “Startup Weekend Moldova 2020”. This event is the most dynamic and exciting entrepreneurial competition, which has ranked the Republic of Moldova as part of the global program along with over 70 states from all over the world. This year’s edition had been organised online in the context of the digitalization of entrepreneurship becoming a vital trend for post-pandemic survival.
Respiro is a platform that aims to offer free psychological counselling online through secure video chats. Therefore the discussions between the psychologist and the client will take place in a secure environment offering maximum confidentiality. The service offered by Respiro can be accessed in Romanian and Russian for those located abroad.
Ana Niculăeș, representative of the Respiro project: “Winning the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic begins with each of us, therefore, the psychological support is extremely important during this period. Nowadays, more and more people are tempted by contradictory emotions caused by the period of uncertainty we are going through, and Respiro aims to offer free psychological counselling during the pandemic. We aim to promote our idea through a series of free webinars in dedicated groups on social networks, but also through various collaboration projects with associations activating in the diaspora. Those who would like to benefit from this service will have to fill in a file to keep track of the monthly subscription.”
Behind the idea of Respiro, which aligns with one of the objectives of the World Health Organization, are three young enthusiasts: Ana Niculăeș, psychologist, Alex Vulpea, developer, and Ion Ceban, marketing specialist. To implement the project idea, 48 psychologists have shown their willingness to offer free online consultations and about 20 people in the diaspora from the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Canada have already shown interest in testing these services.
This year’s edition of “Startup Weekend Moldova 2020”, entitled “Techstars Online Global Startup Weekend” was organized with the support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Sweden, within the Tekwill Project along with partnerships with Dreamups, Generator Hub, and Cawsay Show.
Ana Chirița, Tekwill Project Director stated: “Startup Weekend Moldova” has already become an emblematic event for the entire IT community and a representative for Tekwill Project, an important player in strengthening the startup ecosystem in the country, contributing to accelerating the development of small businesses in IT and creating development opportunities of entrepreneurship in Moldova, through various relevant programs. This year’s edition was in line with global trends and took the form of a practical exercise in developing solutions to combat the pandemic. For three days, the participants were able to translate their ideas into reality, they had the opportunity to chat online with mentors, investors or sponsors who could help them improve their visions.”
This event was possible thanks to the joint efforts of a team of leaders in the startups community from Moldova, which include Mary Nemciuc, Irina Covriga, Doina Iațîșin, Aliona Rotaru, Sergiu Negară, Vlad Drahnea, Vera Brocuta and Ștefan Nistor.
Other business ideas shared during “Startup Weekend Moldova 2020” included:
- Education adapted for children from orphanages, which involves the connection between orphanages and computer donors, Ceapa Roxolana;
- Appy – digital parenting solutions, Tatiana Safronovici;
- Digital interactive schoolbooks – interactive activities and online games to facilitate the digital teaching process, Elena Rusu;
- WOOPly – UV light device for disinfecting materials, Alexandr Budeac;
- iChange – matching platforms for entrepreneurs, Egor Cusmaunsa;
- EBY – innovative teaching, Natalia Leanca;
- BabushkaBnB – the connection of tourists with the houses in the villages, Cristina Virschi.
Project facilitator: Tatiana Siianko – founder of two VC startups launched at Startup Weekend in 2013, leader of the “Techstars Startup Weekend” community in Sweden and global facilitator.
The mentors “Startup Weekend Moldova 2020” were:
- Vitalie Eșanu – co-founder of the first online television Privescu.eu, creator of the platform Învăț.online, IT expert, graduate of the Technical University of Moldova;
- Roman Gluck – project manager in the ICT sector, with 5 years of experience in the field. He currently works as a product owner at Pentalog;
- Anton Perkin – has 15 years of experience as a developer and 9 years as a company manager. In 2011 he founded FusionWorks, the IT outsourcing company and Developer® Community, the largest in Moldova.
- Constantin Șarcov – founder and Creative Director at Piko Creative, one of the most awarded creative institutions in Moldova;
- Mihai Stipanov – founder of the Dreamups community. He was involved in launching several technology businesses and coordinated an international startup accelerator.
- Lisa Guțu – head of business development at the FinTech company Salt Edge;
- Elena Putina – UI/UX Designer at the American creative agency Enspire, and started Gribook Accessories, a business in Moldova with accessories and book covers.
The jury who chose the winner included:
- Grigore Raileanu – Retently Founder;
- Xenia Munteanu – Co-Founder and CEO of Planable;
- Nikolay Manolov – Chairman of the Board of Directors at XOR.ai.
About TEKWILL Project
TEKWILL project is implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sweden. “Tekwill” was created in 2017 as a Center of Excellence of the ICT sector in Moldova, with the main purpose of aligning the field with current market requirements. Aiming to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the IT industry and other strategic sectors of the economy, the center has expanded its fields of activity, becoming in 2019 a complex nationwide project. The basic objective of the Tekwill Project, as a platform dedicated to the progress of the IT sector, is to ensure a major impact on the economic development of the country by improving the entrepreneurial and educational capacities of society, but also by increasing the research and development potential of education, in line with the IT market demands.