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 Sergiu are tackling the challenges of poverty in their communities.
When Eugeniu Petrov received a plot of farmland from the government, he was determined to use it to provide for his wife and three sons. But after having been depleted by years of chemical fertilizer use and then littered with rocks and trash, the condition of the soil was far from optimal. A self-taught farmer, Petrov spent five years restoring the soil and preparing it for use.
Petrov shares that, after he started to farm the land, “I realized that if I wanted to grow my business, I would need to use my knowledge, but I would need more resources.” After learning about Invest Credit, he took out a loan of $100 to do just that. Since then, he has used additional loans—totaling more than $25,000—to grow his farm and purchase a tractor and tools to increase his productivity.
Today, Petrov’s farm has expanded into an agribusiness that includes 46 greenhouses, and he has earned a reputation for producing the most flavorful vegetables in town.
In addition to the material impact he’s personally experienced, Petrov is excited about the way he has helped stimulate the local economy. He has 10 seasonal employees but wants to expand his impact further: Petrov dreams of purchasing a larger refrigerator to increase the amount of produce he can store and sell, enabling him to offer his employees year-round work. “I had many opportunities to leave the country for work before,” he says, but “I want to make my own contribution to the Moldovan economy through my business.”
With more employees and a larger community presence than microbusinesses, SMEs have great potential to positively impact their communities. While the HOPE network serves men and women regardless of religious affiliation or spiritual interest, we celebrate the unique opportunity SME owners who follow Christ have to use their businesses as a platform to live out their faith.
A dentist since 2003, Sergiu Andries knows his craft well. After renting office space for many years, Sergiu used a loan from Invest Credit to purchase and refinish his own space. He’s confident this new location will attract more patients, as it’s located near public transportation and further away from his competition.
Understanding the financial situation of many fellow Moldovans, Sergiu wants his services to be accessible to all types of patients. “For the quality of our services, we should really be charging much higher prices, but we want to be affordable for the people that we serve,” he shares.
Sometimes patients will ask him about the Christian music he plays in the background, giving Sergiu a chance to share his faith. He says, “If you have someone with their mouth open with you for an hour, that person will be doing a lot of listening, so that’s an opportunity to share the Gospel.”