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If given the opportunity, 50% of Moldovans would leave their country to work abroad.

And many have left. Moldova’s emigration rate is the eleventh highest worldwide. Since the 1990s, a shortage of stable jobs has led thousands to move abroad in search of work, and this trend continues today: Between 2000 and 2014, the number of people who traveled abroad to find work grew from 138,000 to 341,900—a 147% increase.

To keep Moldovan workers close to home, stable jobs are critical. And for a developing economy like Moldova’s, small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs) fill this employment gap, with 63% of employable Moldovans working for an SME. As these businesses grow, the economy adds more local jobs—and fewer people must leave their families and communities.

Yet, credit barriers prevent many small businesses with the potential to provide much-needed jobs from expanding their businesses further. That’s why Invest-Credit, HOPE’s microfinance partner in Moldova, equips entrepreneurs with larger loans to help them scale their operations and reach their potential. As these two stories demonstrate, entrepreneurs like Petrov and Sergiy are tackling the challenges of poverty in their communities. Continue Reading…