AgTech Conference: Digitization Necessary to Achieve More Productivity and Sustainability in Agriculture

The global pandemic crisis has accelerated the digitalization of agriculture, and farmers are more determined to implement smart solutions to increase the field’s performance. Several farmers, producers, local and international experts participated for two days in the AgTech conference “Digital solutions in agriculture” 2021 – a platform for discussion, expertise, and exchange of experiences, in order to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture through information technologies. The guests of the event discussed several solutions to encourage smart agriculture and were presented the success stories of entrepreneurs who opted for digitalization. Also, the current state of the domestic agriculture sector was analysed from the perspective of digitalization, and top companies presented real solutions to overcome the existing problems in the sector. More than 150 people attended the third edition of the conference. The AgTech Conference was organized by Agrobiznes with the support of the USAID Performance Agriculture in Moldova (APM) project in partnership with the TEKWILL Project, supported by USAID and Sweden.

Sergiu Jaman, founder of Agrobizness: “The first edition of “AgTech” Conference confirmed the increased interest of entrepreneurs, institutions and organizations in the sector towards digitalization, and this year we came up with more solutions and innovations. This year, we are also present in Romania, through our colleagues from AgroInteligența, because AgTech presents a topic of interest for specialists from across the Prut River. I want to thank all our partners because their joint efforts have made this event possible. Together with my colleagues, we looked for interesting and experienced speakers to share valuable suggestions with our participants, so I am sure that the newly obtained information will be successfully implemented”.

How do we reduce expenses? How do we optimize the work process, or the number of workers needed? How do we manage the business remotely? These are just some of the issues that conference attendees tried to find answers to on the first day of the event. “AgTech” speakers spoke about the prospects for the development of Moldovan agriculture, and farmers talked about successful models that they have already managed to implement in business – digital systems for monitoring and control of areas protected by high value crops, applied technological solutions in animal husbandry, digital farm management, orchard monitoring using GPS systems and others. The discussions were divided into four sessions, attended by experts in the field, government representatives, as well as international development partners of the Republic of Moldova.

Agriculture – an important field for the national economy of the Republic of Moldova

Vasile Șarban, Head of the Policy Department for Production, Processing, and Quality Regulation of Plant Products, MADRM: “In the 21st century, the use of information technologies has become a necessity without which we cannot develop. This is also true for the agricultural sector, with innovations being essential to achieve greater productivity and competitiveness without significant losses. The government has aligned with new trends and started implementing digital solutions through the e-Government Agency. Thanks to the platform “eguvernare.md”, we have realized over 40 e-transformation projects, which are for the benefit of the citizens, farmers and people who visit the Republic of Moldova. Nowadays, we need to focus on the implementation of information technologies for all value chains in agriculture, for a greater performance.”

Being one of the essential factors to achieve a performance agriculture, the digitalization of agriculture is also supported by development partners.

Scott Hocklander, Head of Mission of USAID Moldova: “I am surprised and inspired, at the same time, by the involvement of technology in the field of agriculture in the Republic of Moldova. I believe that digitization is an important and beneficial change, especially during the Covid-19 period. We are convinced that using these innovative technologies, Moldovan producers will be able to improve their products and find opportunities to overcome many challenges of these times. This initiative is an important one, because it not only accelerates the digitization process, but also offers young people chances to get involved, the number of which is growing rapidly, and I am impressed. I want to emphasize once again USAID’s continued commitment to develop and breathe new life into Moldova’s agriculture. We will focus our efforts on combining digital tools in agriculture, because being efficient, resilient and competitive will increase the chances of modernization and growth.”

According to statistics, over 850,000 Moldovans work in agriculture and generate, annually, about 13% of the country’s GDP. Even though the digitalisation of the agricultural sector brings many benefits, and a number of actions and tools are already being implemented, there are still many barriers to exploiting its full potential.

Ana Chirița, Director of the TEKWILL project: “Starting from the premises meant to bring together technologies and efficient agriculture, the ICT sector aligns with the needs of the agricultural sector, to contribute to bringing technology companies closer to traditional industries and expand partnerships that can add value increased in the development of both branches. By joining forces, we believe that the IT sector can bring more efficiency, performance, opportunities, and development potential to the agricultural sector. In the last 9 months, with the support of our partners, we have implemented several solutions for the agricultural sector, which should be successfully integrated into the traditional production process. The TEKWILL project will continue to engage and support the country’s strategic sectors, to create new jobs, but also to open doors to other related fields.”

In this context, supporting sustainable agriculture is one of the 5 business verticals that TEKWILL supports within the National Program “Startup Moldova” Digital Impact – a platform that encourages sectoral collaboration between representatives of traditional industries and IT. Some of the initiatives supported by the project were presented at the second day of the “AgTech” Conference. On March 3, participants in the event had the opportunity to learn from representatives of the Agency for Intervention and Payments in Agriculture how the online file submission system works to facilitate obtaining documents for various services. The largest retail networks in the country talked about the experience of payment systems and processes, whyle foreign specialists reported on their experience in the transition from traditional to performance agriculture. Also, for the first time, the conference opened the doors to new innovations in the field of AgTech, offering the opportunity to startups to present their products to the public, during the “Demo Day”. Thus, the event participants established lasting connections with ecosystem players, mentors, sponsors, and potential users of the product.


More details about the event can be followed at https://www.privesc.eu/Arhiva/93911/

“DIGITAL UPGRADE” has started – the educational program for digitizing SMEs

About 100 entrepreneurs have been trained for a month to grow their successful online business. Digital education is carried out through the “Digital Upgrade” training program, implemented by ODIMM in partnership with Startup Academy.

Between March 9 and April 2, business representatives who applied to the “SME Digitization Support Tool” benefited from direct expertise to guide the process of migrating business online from mentors with experience in marketing, communication, IT, logistics, etc.

Iulia Costin, CEO of ODIMM, highlighted the importance of training in the field of digitalization, given that it represents the future of business in the current conditions. “Digitization provides SMEs with important opportunities to improve the efficiency of production processes and the ability to innovate in terms of products and business models, and the use of e-commerce and information technologies significantly increases their competitiveness in the market.”

Maria Nemciuc, Entrepreneurship Program Manager, TEKWILL, stated that: “the development of the IT sector is very important, but it cannot grow without synergy with companies in other fields of activity, which are consumers of IT products”.

The beneficiaries of the courses were distributed, based on a self-assessment questionnaire, in 3 levels, depending on the degree of business digitization.

The program included 5 modules: Online Presence, e-Commerce Planning, Customer Service, Process Digitization, Transportation and Logistics. Each of them meets a vital aspect of the SME digitization process and facilitates the path to a tangible final result, following the course.

Within the program, local and international mentors shared their experience with the participants. Here they are:

The SME Digitization Support Tool was launched in June 2020 to support the digital transformation and development of small and medium-sized enterprises to harness the innovative potential and facilitate companies’ access to internal and external markets. To date, 466 companies have been trained and 180 have been financially supported through Grants and Business Vouchers. Another 99 businesses were submitted for funding under the 2nd Call for Projects. The program is funded from the state budget, supplemented by European Union funds and GIZ Moldova with financial support from the German Government, being implemented by ODIMM in partnership with GoOnline of COR Association, Startup Academy Program developed by TEKWILL project, with support from USAID, Sweden, and UK aid.

Tech Entrepreneurship will be acquired by students from Moldovan universities

The talent, potential and aspirations of young people in the Republic of Moldova are premises that allow the development of dynamic and profitable sectors of the national economy. That is why TEKWILL focuses its efforts on encouraging entrepreneurship among the new generations. In the 2021-2022 school year, with the support of the project in 4 universities in Chisinau, Balti, Comrat and Cahul that teach IT or related fields, entrepreneurship will be taught – one of the investment directions of the project, with the support of USAID development partners and Sweden.

Ana Chirița, director of the TEKWILL project: “We believe that promoting the culture of entrepreneurship in our country can generate positive results if it is correlated with educating young people and developing related skills. The integration of a dedicated course in the field is more than a necessity for future specialists, as Moldovan universities face various challenges related to change or performance, etc. We want students to learn more about entrepreneurship, to bring about changing visions, knowledge, and skills, to support the development of a digital economy. Nowadays, future professionals need to acquire new skills in order to be more competitive in the labour market and to generate innovative and useful products for society, with the help of information technologies.”

From October this year, 40 students will benefit from knowledge and entrepreneurial guidance within the project. The course is implemented in order to be integrated into the basic educational program and certified in the bachelor’s degree.

The pilot project is implemented in partnership with the Technical University of Moldova

In order to better meet the expectations of students’ knowledge of entrepreneurship, in March-May this year, a pilot edition of the program has been launched within the Startup Academy in partnership with the Technical University of Moldova (TUM). The course is attended by 10 students from the Faculty of Computers, Informatics and Microelectronics, but also from the Faculty of Economic and Business Engineering.

Viorel Bostan, Rector of TUM: “The labour market is constantly changing, and future employees will have to face the new challenges. That is why young people need to acquire more skills and abilities in order to be successful in a highly competitive environment. Promoting entrepreneurship in education as one of the key competencies will encourage young people to become more enterprising, find innovative solutions to societal problems and create products that add value to the country’s socio-economic development.”

What will students learn?

The program includes an extensive course on technological business development and ecosystem trends. Mentors specialized in the fields of IT, business and startups will guide participants in creating a business from idea to application. Throughout the course, students will become familiar with strategic management, financial planning, marketing, pitching, attracting investors, etc. The course will be taught in English, and the educational process will involve a mixed approach of working in groups, but also individually, young people being stimulated to study and apply knowledge outside the classroom. Participants will be selected based on the idea generated, the level of knowledge of English and the motivation to participate in the program.

“Startup Academy” part of the Startup Moldova program is an educational initiative dedicated to current and potential entrepreneurs, which is developed within the TEKWILL Project, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sweden. 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 members, but also the research and development potential of higher education institutions, in line with the demand on the IT market.

4 Years of TEKWILL – “[R]evolution Reaches the Whole Country”

From a center of excellence in IT – to a project of national importance! On the fourth anniversary of its activity, the TEKWILL project is committed to bringing information technology closer to people from all regions of Moldova and kicks off “[r] evolution that reaches the whole country.” In the 4 years of activity, the TEKWILL project launched and implemented programs for the development of excellence in ICT, contributed to the development of the workforce, supported entrepreneurship, and came up with know-how to create an ecosystem favourable to tech startups. Thus, for 4 years, funds of over $ 13 million were attracted, over 865 thousand hours of training were carried out, over 400 thousand people benefited from its programs and those supported together with other partners, and over 43% of them were girls and women. The TEKWILL project, founded in 2017, is implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sweden.

Anna Lyberg, Ambassador of Sweden to Moldova: “A few years ago, together with USAID Moldova, Sweden joined forces to create and develop a visionary initiative in Moldova – TEKWILL! And what a journey it was! TEKWILL was born from a partnership between the private sector and academia, where donors’ strategic priorities were incorporated. Thanks to TEKWILL we have stronger and substantial human resources in IT. We have an initiative that inspires children and young people to get involved in this field, encouraging them to stay in the country to work here, as well as support entrepreneurship and startups. We are glad to see that during these 4 years, around 78 thousand people have benefited from the activities carried out by TEKWILL and we are delighted that half of them are girls and women. Respectively, it is an initiative that helps them improve their lives and living conditions. I am also pleased to see TEKWILL expand its activities and projects in the regions by promoting digitalisation, which is worth celebrating today.”

Scott Hocklander, director of the USAID mission in Moldova: “It is remarkable and impressive for me to see this major movement and how far we have managed to move forward in such a short period of time. It is in this complicated period that it is very important to observe the things that can be considered small victories, some very positive opportunities, which is, in fact, TEKWILL for us. One of USAID’s main objectives in the Republic of Moldova is to support existing partnerships between businesspeople, academia, and the Government, in order to educate a workforce that will remain in the country. TEKWILL is a “technological awakening” of the Republic of Moldova. It is very clear that, in these 4 years, all the promises and achievements of the TEKWILL project have proved to be successful.”

Ana Chirița, director of the TEKWILL project: “4 years ago, we laid the foundations of the biggest tech dream we admire today in reality – TEKWILL. After many experiences, we can proudly say that one in 10 people in Chisinau has crossed our threshold and taken part in our initiatives, and one in 7 IT companies is our partner or has benefited from our programs. More. We have expanded our network of partners, we have developed fundamental TEKWILL projects in Bălți, Cahul and Comrat, we have welcomed dozens of students, teachers, specialists, and freelancers in “our home” dedicated to the IT sector. This year we will expand even more – we will connect 300 schools to TEKWILL programs, we will support and train hundreds of entrepreneurs, we will continue to lead the digital revolution. All my deep gratitude goes to those who believed in us – USAID, Sweden, the Government of Moldova, TUM, regional partners, ATIC and to each of our beneficiaries, who trust what we do.”

TEKWILL projects implemented in several regions of the country

In 2020, the projects developed by TEKWILL have expanded beyond the capital, to encourage the development of the ICT sector at national level. In the coming years, in the key regions of the Republic of Moldova will be created more centers of excellence in IT, educational programs will be developed for the training of the workforce in the field, the professions of the future will be brought closer to 95% of schools, SMEs- will be helped to acquire more digital skills, entrepreneurs will be supported on their way to success and much more. An important step taken by TEKWILL is the expansion in the southern region of the country.

Irina Vlah, the Bashkan of Gagauzia: “I am sure that a project can advance and generate results only if the people involved in its realization are constructive, inspired and talented people, they are people looking for solutions, people whose difficulties challenge them even more to find new ways to progress. I watched this project and I liked how you progressed, and I will admit that for a long time I have been looking for solutions to attract the experience, talent, and energy of TEKWILL in Gagauzia. We were inspired by the TEKWILL project and I am happy that we recently signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the project in the Autonomy of Gagauzia by creating a “Tekwill”-type center in Comrat. Our goal is to create in Comrat a platform that will become an amplifier of talent, youth energy, with opportunities to learn programming and create solutions and technical progress. I congratulate you on the occasion of the anniversary and I wish you to remain the locomotive of the development of this beautiful project and the development of the IT sector in Moldova. Happy birthday, TEKWILL!”

TEKWILL projects are on the rise in the north of the country, where since last year, development opportunities have been expanded to create the premises for connecting talent and potential of human capital with the possibilities offered by local IT companies.

Ion Bodrug, president of ACETI Bălți: “I want to congratulate the TEKWILL team for the successful results achieved so far. Until today, they were the ones who laid the solid foundations of the IT development methodology at national level. And now it is time to expand its activity and initiatives in all regions of the country. ACETI collaborates productively with the TEKWILL team, a prodigious partnership, that is why we are waiting for you in the north of the country with great programs that students, pupils and all those who want to develop their IT skills are eager to learn. Happy birthday, TEKWILL!”

Natalia Gașițoi, Rector of the “Alecu Russo” State University in Bălți: “We have been following the development of the TEKWILL project since its launch and we are happy to see so many partnerships connecting Moldovan industries and companies to the digital world. We bring words of gratitude and good wishes to the TEKWILL team and at the same time I would like to thank for the initiative and support offered in the construction of the ICT Center of Excellence in Balti, where I hope to see each other and collaborate through those projects that lead to technological transformation in regions.”

About TEKWILL

With the support of USAID and Sweden, Tekwill was created in 2017 as the Center of Excellence of the ICT sector in Moldova, with the main goal of aligning the field with the requirements of the 21st century. Aiming to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the IT industry and other strategic sectors of the economy, the center has expanded its current fields of activity, becoming in 2019 a complex project at national level. 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 members, but also the research and development potential of higher education, in line with the demand in the IT market.

TEKWILL – “[r]evolution reaches the whole country”!

Programe pentru antreprenori și pentru dezvoltarea start-upurilor. La cea de-a patra aniversare, proiectului TEKWILL este o platformă importantă pentru antreprenorii IT

Antreprenoriatul este una dintre principalele direcții de activitate ale proiectului TEKWILL, iar prin programele sale ajută entuziaștii să construiască afaceri profitabile, dezvoltând soluții inovatoare. În cei 4 ani de la lansare, TEKWILL a adunat în activitățile sale peste 30 de mii de participanți și a oferit suport pentru 1016 companii. Datorită susținerii oferite, companiile au atras peste 10 milioane de dolari. Proiectul TEKWILL, fondat în 2017, este implementat de Asociația Națională a Companiilor din Domeniul TIC cu susținerea financiară a Agenției Statelor Unite pentru Dezvoltare Internațională (USAID) și a Suediei.

Unul dintre principalele programe concepute de TEKWILL este „Startup Moldova” – o platformă pentru generarea, pilotarea și implementarea ideilor noi. Programul reunește toți actorii implicați în domeniul tehnologiilor informaționale, conectându-i la domeniile de interes public și privat de pe piețele locale și globale.

Maria Nemciuc, manager programe antreprenoriale, TEKWILL: În cadrul proiectului TEKWILL dezvoltăm ecosistemul de startup-uri pe care l-am formulat într-o singură identitate – „Startup Moldova” – pentru a fi ușor de accesat atât de beneficiarii de pe loc, cât și din exterior. Dacă ești un investitor și vrei să vezi ce se întâmplă pe piața din Moldova și ai de gând să investești în cineva atunci accesezi Startup Moldova pentru a cunoaște startup-urile existente și a le putea contacta.”

Un alt proiect dezvoltat de TEKWILL ține de educația antreprenorială, și anume „Startup Academy”. Acesta este un program care își propune să identifice, să stimuleze și să amplifice potențialul inovator și de afaceri, dedicat tuturor celor interesați de domeniul antreprenoriatului IT, dezvoltarea de produse și servicii inovatoare. Pe lângă suportul pe care îl pot accesa antreprenorii în cadrul TEKWILL, aceștia mai au avantajul apartenenței la o comunitate, unde pot împărtăși informații, sfaturi și experiențe.

Irina Covriga, community manager, TEKWILL: „Proiectele pe care le gestionez țin de comunitate. În mare parte sunt evenimente săptămânale sau lunare în cadrul comunității cum ar fi webinare, shared breakfasts, cluburi de startup. Sunt proiecte precum Startup Week, Startup Weekend, Tekwill Ambassadors, Tekwill Traveler etc.

Despre importanța suportului pe care-l oferim am aflat în mai multe rânduri în feedback-urile de la participanți, care spun că de astfel de cunoștințe gratuite și acces la servicii și instrumente au putut beneficia doar în cadrul programelor noastre.”

Totodată, TEKWILL oferă posibilitatea entuziaștilor să-și construiască startup-uri de la zero prin intermediul programului XY Partners, utilizând procese de afaceri dovedite și valorificând o rețea antreprenorială extinsă. Prin intermediul acesteia, Diana Ivanov a creat o platformă unică în Moldova care conectează părinții cu babbysitterii din vecinătate.

Diana Ivanov, fondatoare Kiddo: Relația mea cu TEKWILL a pornit din momentul în care am făcut primii pași pentru a pune pe picioare platforma, și anume fiind participantă în acceleratorul XY. Pe lângă amalgamul de informații teoretice și practice, programul a fost despre mult networking de calitate și oameni care la fiecare etapă a dezvoltării platformei mi-au fost alături și mi-au oferit multe recomandări valoroase.”

TEKWILL nu este doar un suport pentru antreprenorii din domeniul IT, programele sale fiind eficiente pentru specialiștii din domenii variate, de la agricultură și turism până la medicină și finanțe.

Tudor Darie, director, compania „Fagura”: Dezvoltăm un proiect fintech care oferă posibilitatea oricărei persoane să aibă un instrument ușor pentru investiții alternative sau să acceseze finanțare atunci când are nevoie.TEKWILL este foarte deschis în colaborarea cu startup-urile și oferă tot suportul, mediul de care ai nevoie, chiar și sălile potrivite pentru a organiza anumite evenimente.”

În 2020, ATIC a extins oportunitățile antreprenoriale la Cahul, în cadrul proiectului „EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul”, implementat cu asistența financiară a Uniunii Europene în parteneriat cu Suedia. Ulterior, va oferi suport antreprenorial și entuziaștilor de la Comrat și Bălți, acolo unde sunt planificate crearea unor Centre de Excelență în IT de tip TEKWILL. Toate acestea pentru a ajuta afacerile să se dezvolte, să valorifice tehnologiile informaționale, să capete investiții și să ofere mai multe locuri de muncă acasă.

La cea de-a patra aniversare a activității sale, proiectul TEKWILL își propune să multiplice proiectele sale antreprenoriale și să fie mai aproape de oamenii din toate regiunile Moldovei, începând „[r]evoluția  care cuprinde toată țara”.

Tekwill implements initiatives for the development of entrepreneurship and training of the workforce in the field of ICT

We continue to implement initiatives for the development of entrepreneurship and training of the workforce in the field of ICT. We are great together!  

During March, we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Executive Committee of ATU Gagauzia which will help the region to attract more investment in education and training of the local workforce in ICT, encouraging businesses based on innovation, stimulating competitiveness in the local business environment, and creating a center of excellence in the field.  

We, also, signed a Memorandum with ODIMM for implementing the “Digital Upgrade” training program, within Startup Academy. The second edition of “Digital Upgrade”, held in March 2021, provides digital education to about 100 entrepreneurs, guiding their process of migrating business to online with the help of mentors with experience in marketing, communication, IT, logistics, etc. 

We supported sustainable agriculture, encouraging digitization, smart solutions, and involvement of innovative technology in the field of agriculture during the AgTech Conference organized in partnership with Agrobiznes, within the National Program “Startup Moldova” Digital Impact – a platform that encourages sectoral collaboration between traditional and IT industries.  

We contributed to workforce development by launching the Startup Academy UNI – Tech Entrepreneurship for Moldovan students and “Oracle for Universities” initiative that provides Java Fundamentals and SQL Fundamentals courses to professors and students. We ensured better employment opportunities through several courses launched and delivered via Tekwill Academy, as JAVA FUNDAMENTALS COURSEMANUAL QUALITY ASSURANCE COURSESQL FUNDAMENTALS, and webinars.  

We opened our virtual doors to another 157 schools from Moldova for the Tekwill in Every School optional courses and invited the first batch of participants of the Graphic Design course to test their skills within “Tekwill Junior Ambassadors” contest. 

We enhanced the IT entrepreneurship community and supported Tech Women and FabLab Chisinau initiatives via webinars, meetups, and master classes… 

And we celebrated with everyone four years of Tekwill – a perfect synergy between the Moldovan Government, multinational (Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, PMI, etc.) and local private industry, academia, and donors. Initially, the project aimed to create a place where people connect with ideas, resources, science, and industry to enhance excellence in information technology, implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies (ATIC). The Center quickly turned into a huge hub with many successful spaces, events, and programs. Key programs such as Tekwill Academy, Tekwill Academy Kids, Tekwill in Every School, Startup Moldova were born along the way in response to certain needs and challenges of the sector. The project attracted many students, IT specialists and entrepreneurs, eager to develop their skills and business according to the current requirements of the ICT sector. 

On the fourth anniversary of its activity, TEKWILL is committed to bringing information technology closer to people in all regions of Moldova.

“DIGITAL UPGRADE” HAS STARTED – THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR DIGITIZING SMES

About 100 entrepreneurs will be trained for a month to grow their successful online business. Digital education is carried out through the “Digital Upgrade” training program, implemented by ODIMM in partnership with Startup Academy.

From March 9 to April 2, business representatives who applied to the “SME Digitization Support Tool” will benefit from direct expertise to guide the process of migrating business online from mentors with experience in marketing, communication, IT, logistics, etc.

Iulia Costin, General Manager of ODIMM, highlighted the importance of training in the field of digitalization, given that it represents the future of business in the current conditions. “Digitization provides SMEs with important opportunities to improve the efficiency of production processes and the ability to innovate in terms of products and business models, and the use of e-commerce and information technologies significantly increases their competitiveness in the market.”

Maria Nemciuc, entrepreneurial program manager, TEKWILL, stated that: “the development of the IT sector is very important, but it cannot grow without synergy with companies in other fields of activity, which are consumers of IT products”.

The beneficiaries of the courses were distributed, based on a self-assessment questionnaire, in 3 levels, depending on the degree of business digitization. They will go through 5 specific modules for business digitization: online presence; e-commerce planning; customer service; process digitization and transport and logistics in the context of e-commerce.

The SME Digitization Support Tool was launched in June 2020 to support the digital transformation and development of small and medium-sized enterprises to harness the innovative potential and facilitate companies’ access to internal and external markets. To date, 466 companies have been trained and 180 have been financially supported through Grants and Business Vouchers. Another 99 businesses were submitted for funding under the 2nd Call for Projects. The program is funded from the state budget, supplemented by European Union funds and GIZ Moldova with financial support from the German Government, being implemented by ODIMM in partnership with GoOnline of COR Association, Startup Academy Program developed by TEKWILL project, with support from USAID, Sweden and UK aid.

AGTECH CONFERENCE: DIGITIZATION IS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE MORE PRODUCTIVITY AND SUSTAINABILITY IN AGRICULTURE

The global pandemic crisis has accelerated the digitalization of agriculture, and farmers are more determined to implement smart solutions to increase the field’s performance. Several farmers, producers, local and international experts participate for two days in the AgTech conference “Digital Solutions in Agriculture” 2021 – a platform for discussion, expertise and exchange of experiences, in order to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture through information technologies. The guests of the event discussed several solutions to encourage smart farming and were presented the success stories of entrepreneurs who opted for digitalization. Also, the current state of the domestic agriculture sector was analyzed from the perspective of digitalization, and top companies presented real solutions to overcome the existing problems in the sector. More than 150 people attended the third edition of the conference. The AgTech Conference is organized by Agrobiznes with the support of the USAID Performance Agriculture in Moldova (APM) project in partnership with the TEKWILL Project, supported by USAID and Sweden.

Sergiu Jaman, founder of Agrobizness: “The“ AgTech ”conference confirmed the increased interest of entrepreneurs, institutions and organizations in the sector towards digitalization, and this year we come up with more solutions and innovations. This year, we are also present in Romania, through our colleagues from AgroInteligența, because AgTech presents a topic of interest for specialists from across the Prut. I want to thank all our partners, because the joint efforts made this event possible. Together with my colleagues, we looked for interesting and experienced speakers to share valuable suggestions with our participants, so I am sure that the newly obtained information will be successfully implemented. ”

How do we reduce expenses? How do we optimize the work process or the number of workers? How do we manage the business remotely? These are just some of the issues that conference attendees tried to find answers to on the first day of the event. “AGTech” speakers spoke about the prospects for the development of Moldovan agriculture, and farmers talked about successful models that they have already managed to implement in business – digital systems for monitoring and control of areas protected from high value cultivation, applied technological solutions in animal husbandry, digital farm management, orchard monitoring using GPS systems and others. The discussions were divided into four sessions, attended by experts in the field, government representatives, as well as international development partners of the Republic of Moldova.

Agriculture – an important field for the national economy of the Republic of Moldova

Vasile Șarban, head of the policy department for production, processing and quality regulation of plant products, MADRM: “In the 21st century, the use of information technologies has become a necessity without which we cannot develop. This is also true for the agricultural sector, with innovations being essential to achieve greater productivity and competitiveness without significant losses. The government has aligned itself with new trends and started implementing digital solutions through the eGovernment Agency. It is about the eguvernare.md platform, thanks to which we have realized over 40 e-transformation projects, which are for the benefit of the citizens, farmers and people who visit the Republic of Moldova. At present, for greater performance, we need to focus on the implementation of information technologies for all value chains in agriculture.”

Being one of the essential factors to achieve a performance agriculture, the digitalization of agriculture is also supported by development partners.

Scott Hocklander, Head of Mission of USAID Moldova: “I am surprised and inspired, at the same time, by the involvement of technology in the field of agriculture in the Republic of Moldova. I believe that digitization is an important and beneficial change, especially during the Covid-19 period. We are convinced that using these innovative technologies, Moldovan producers will be able to improve their products and find opportunities to overcome many challenges of these times. This initiative is an important one, because it not only accelerates the digitization process, but also offers young people chances to get involved, the number of which is growing rapidly and I am impressed. I want to emphasize once again USAID’s continued commitment to develop and breathe new life into Moldova’s agriculture. We will focus our efforts on combining digital tools in agriculture, because being efficient, resilient and competitive will increase the chances of modernization and growth.”

According to statistics, over 850,000 Moldovans work in agriculture and generate, annually, about 13% of the country’s GDP. Even though the digitalisation of the agricultural sector brings many benefits and a number of actions and tools are already being implemented, there are still many barriers to exploiting its full potential.

Ana Chirița, director of the TEKWILL project: “Starting from the premises meant to bring together technologies and high-performance agriculture, the ICT sector aligns with the needs of the agricultural sector, to contribute to bringing technology companies closer to traditional industries and expand partnerships that can add value increased in the development of both branches. By joining forces, we believe that the IT sector can bring more efficiency, performance, opportunities and development opportunities to the agricultural sector. In the last 9 months, with the support of our partners, we have implemented several solutions for the agricultural sector, which should be successfully integrated into the traditional production process. The TEKWILL project will continue to engage and support the country’s strategic sectors, to create new jobs, but also to open doors to other related fields.”

In this context, supporting sustainable agriculture is one of the 5 business verticals that TEKWILL supports within the National Program “Startup Moldova” Digital Impact – a platform that encourages sectoral collaboration between traditional and IT industries. Some of the initiatives supported by the project will be presented at the second day of the “AgTech” Conference. On March 3, participants in the event will have the opportunity to learn from representatives of the Agency for Intervention and Payments in Agriculture how the online file submission system works to facilitate obtaining documents for various services. The largest retail networks in the country will talk about the experience of payment systems and processes, and foreign specialists will report on their experience in the transition from traditional to performance agriculture. Also, for the first time, the conference will open the doors to new innovations in the field of AgTech and will offer the opportunity to startups to present their products to the public, during the “Demo Day”. Thus, the event participants will establish lasting connections with ecosystem players, mentors, sponsors and potential users of the product.

More details about the event can be followed at https://www.privesc.eu/Arhiva/93911/

ONLINE SEEDSTARS WORLD COMPETITION 2020/2021

Tekwill susține startupul Staf.online

la Online Seedstars World Competition 2020/21! Prin săptămâna CEE vei face cunoștință cu câștigătorii care trec la finala regională a competiției și, în fiecare episod, vei auzi pitch-urile startupurilor participante și anunțarea câștigătorului.

Alătură-te aici:
️ Seedstars Life -> https://seedsta.rs/2OVn8CR
️ Facebook Live -> https://seedsta.rs/3uk9WYw

În primul episod vor participa patru startup-uri, printre care și inițiativa din Moldova,

Staf.online

. În juriu astăzi sunt Kirill Mazur, fondator și CEO Center42, Denis Efremov, director la Fort Ross Ventures și Daria Khlopova, parteneriat manager CEE la Seedstars.

Acest episod este susținut de Cooperarea elvețiană în Moldova.

THE 17 BENEFICIARIES OF STARTUP MOLDOVA | DIGITAL UPGRADE

As a reply to pandemic challenge due to the digitalization of SMEs, under Tekwill entrepreneurship direction, we launched Startup Moldova with direct calls to help SMEs, serving as a platform between IT and non-IT companies to help boost non-tech industries’ assimilation of technological innovation and support cross-industry collaboration based on vertical synergies such as FinTech, WineTech, AgTech, MedTech, Lifestyle, Data sciences, IoT, e-Commerce.

Under the Startup Moldova program, there are 2 programs launched in May to support individual SMEs and provide support to sector challenges- UPGRADE and IMPACT programs.

Under Startup Moldova| Digital UPGRADE, Tekwill envisaged serving as a platform between IT and non-IT companies to help boost non-tech industries assimilation of technological innovation and support cross-industry collaboration based on SMEs needs. We had involved such partners as ODIMM and individual experts to provide consulting services and match providers to non IT businesses to boost digitization.

The intervention had the following objectives:

  • Objective #1: Set up the board of experts to facilitate the implementation of initiative;
  • Objective #2: Engage with the PS (local SMEs) through thematic dialogues for mapping business needs and opportunities;
  • Objective #3: Identify possible entry points of support for the SMEs;
  • Objective #4: Prepare a value proposition for mobilizing funds for SME support projects, based on the identified entry points.

The process consisted of identifying 70 key IT providers and 49 SMEs. At the same time, we were collecting available quantitative data from 43 companies, preparing a detailed concept or the thematic dialogues and interview questionnaire for them, and organizing virtual thematic sessions guiding participants and follow-up sessions with these companies. Overall, there were 18 SMEs matched with 40 existing solutions. They were provided educational and entrepreneurship support through Startup Academy. As a result of the selection, 17 companies are benefiting from the program, with an overall budget of 22690EUR, covering IT solutions for SMEs.

The beneficiaries of Startup Moldova Digital Upgrade are:

  1. Agro-Vet Consulting SRL
  2. Arboretum Live
  3. Audit expert SRL
  4. BAA Bunescu Oleg
  5. CI VED-MAR AGRO
  6. Cluster Serpentina Nistru
  7. EWP Outsourcing SRL
  8. Extra-Kids SRL
  9. GoAdventure
  10. GS Modern Mobila SRL
  11. Ju Bijoux SRL
  12. Lumparf Cosmetic SRL
  13. Masterdent
  14. Micu & Co SRL
  15. Pomusoara Dulcisoara SRL
  16. Smartic Club
  17. Stomodeum