Digital innovations and technological startups can contribute considerably to the growth of the economy of the Republic of Moldova. In this regard, ATIC created the “Startup Moldova” Foundation – an independent entity that will support the development of innovative companies – startups in the ICT sector, by providing services and consulting. The Foundation will also improve the skill level of its specialists by promoting digital skills growth programs and boosting collaboration within the business community in the industry, encouraging investment, and raising funds and providing funding for innovation and business development ICT-based projects.
Why was the “Startup Moldova” Foundation created?
The urge to create the foundation arose from the challenges and needs identified in the field of ICT: insufficiently qualified employees, superficial knowledge of the regulatory environment and legal framework, limited access to funding and expertise to develop ideas, the need for mentoring and training, etc. These were identified based on interviews with technology companies, stakeholders in the sector, as well as the results of the study conducted by the consulting company PwC Moldova, at the initiative of the Tekwill Project, implemented by ATIC, with the support from USAID and SIDA.
Alex Gozun, senior manager of PwC Moldova: “Based on the activities agreed with ATIC, PwC Moldova conducted an analysis on identifying options and institutional forms for implementing the Startup Moldova Program, either under the umbrella of the Tekwill project, managed by ATIC, or by establishing to a separate entity by ATIC. Given the goals set for the Startup Moldova Program, as stated by ATIC and other stakeholders (e.g., fundraising, ensuring access to education, access to finance, etc.), other issues analysed and arising from the options selected by ATIC and its members, it was found that it is possible to operate Startup Moldova through a foundation established by ATIC.”
How will the foundation’s activity be managed?
The “Startup Moldova” Foundation is led by a Council, which was elected by the General Assembly of ATIC following a series of internal consultations, consisting of:
2 representatives appointed by the founder of the foundation – ATIC,
1 representative delegated by the Administration of the Information Technology Park “Moldova IT Park”,
1 representative delegated by the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises Sector Development (ODIMM),
1 representative delegated by the Public Institution ICT Training and Innovation Center – “TEKWILL”.
The statute of the Startup Moldova Foundation allows the inclusion in the Foundation’s Council of representatives from international funds, as additional full members in the Council. At the same time, the Board of the Foundation will include representatives from the donors and/or partners of the Foundation and from the ICT companies or startups, including experts from the international funds, who will have the right to consultative vote in the Board of the Foundation. ATIC and the Foundation Council will take the necessary actions to identify the organizations that can delegate their representatives to the Foundation Council.
Vitalie Tarlev, member of the Foundation Council: “Given ATIC’s desire to combine its efforts with those of the public sector in the field of ICT development and growth, the authorities’ openness to cooperation with the private sector, and the existing legal limitations on public authorities and the private sector, ATIC, together with a number of public organizations agreed to participate together in the administration of the foundation. Respectively, following the analysis and options expressed by ATIC and its members during working meetings and General Assemblies, the Startup Moldova Foundation was established, which is administered by ATIC, together with representatives of several public institutions, such as Moldova IT Park, ODIMM etc.”
The Foundation Council will take action to identify representatives of international funds as members, as well as to develop representative councils for community support and inclusion, investors and startups.
What does the activity of the Foundation imply?
For the implementation of projects, the organization will appoint an executive director (administrator). Elected through an open competition, the first director of the “Startup Moldova” Foundation became Serge Smigaliov, a professional with extensive experience in developing the IT business, the last 10 years working in the Microsoft company.
Serge Smigaliov, Director of the Startup Moldova Foundation: “In order to achieve its goals and objectives, the Startup Moldova Foundation will participate in the initiation, development and growth of programs for the development and support of the ICT sector and the digital innovation ecosystem in the Republic of Moldova and will contribute to the elaboration and implementation of national development strategies in the field of ICT. It will also collaborate with international organizations with similar objectives and activities, participate in the financing of ICT programs, in the country and abroad, by awarding grants, scholarships, material and financial aid, but will also organize events dedicated to ICT, or competitions and activities to train and improve the skills of students and young ICT specialists.”
In the coming years, gradually, the foundation will take over the projects within the national program Startup Moldova, and aims to achieve the following objectives:
- to contribute to the development of the digital innovation ecosystem in the Republic of Moldova and to strengthen the ICT sector,
- increase investment in value-added and high-risk companies in the ICT sector, based on information technology products,
- contribute to the creation of mechanisms for fundraising and financing of initiatives and projects for the development of innovation and ICT-based business,
- to increase the level of cooperation between the members of the business community of the Republic of Moldova, within the legal limits,
- to strengthen the IT ecosystem in the Republic of Moldova by connecting to international initiatives and networks that promote investments in technology startups, “Business Angels” networks and the like,
- promoting the positive image of technological startups nationally and internationally,
- facilitating relations between investors and companies that develop technological products, or any other related objectives or that may result from the fulfilment of statutory purposes.
The budget of the “Startup Moldova” Foundation will be formed based on the statutory provisions: donations, grants, sponsorships, partnerships, fundraising from international investors, and others.