Cristina, Daniel and Ion are just three of the young people from Ștefan Vodă who discovered more about social entrepreneurship during a discussion workshop on this topic. Daniel would open in the future a business in ecology and education and Cristina would prefer clothing design. What is certain is that all three of them understand that through this type of business they can help their community. During the workshop, the young people also learned the stories of social businesses in Moldova.

Students from the local vocational school and a small group of local high school students participated in the discussion workshop. Young people had an open dialogue about the problems their community is facing and how social entrepreneurship can help solve them, during a round table event.

The discussion club was organised as part of an information campaign dedicated to social entrepreneurship. The information campaign was launched at the beginning of April and is now in its final stages. Throughout this period, the organisers have been conducting working visits to social entrepreneurs in the Republic of Moldova to see how social enterprises are involved in helping refugees and other vulnerable groups, organising debate shows on social entrepreneurship and much more. All this – to raise awareness and promote the concept of social entrepreneurship, which is a business that makes a profit but uses its resources to solve a problem in the community. In fact, for two months social entrepreneurs from Moldova have been close to the needs of refugees in Ukraine.

„We have high hopes for the younger generation, who are more creative, innovative and want to contribute to the development of a community. Because of their enormous potential, they will be among the first to develop this type of business, and we as mentors can only share the lessons we have learned – the knowledge we have gained, how we have identified new partnerships, how we have accessed additional funding and how we have developed relationships with clients”,

said Sergiu Gurau, social entrepreneur and facilitator of the youth discussion club.

In the Republic of Moldova there are about 50 social entrepreneurship initiatives, 11 of which are officially registered as social businesses. The others, even if they do not have this status, can be called so too, as they are guided by the same values. „Credem Eco” and „ Floare de Cireș” are just two examples of successful businesses in our country that have been active for about 10 years.

Daniel Caraion is 18 years old and told us that the workshop helped him learn that social entrepreneurship can help solve problems in his community.

„The topics discussed in this event are very important especially for young people who want to apply for a grant and contribute to the prosperity of the regional economy through such an activity. We knew about the importance of social entrepreneurship, but we learned a lot of information from the mentors of the project, who have a lot of experience in this field and gave us a lot of useful data. I’m thinking that in the future, after completing my studies, I will open a social business to help solve some of the problems in the community. I will most likely work in the field of ecology and education”, the young man told us.

Cristina Muntean, who is 18 years old, also believes that social entrepreneurship can have a major impact on society.

„It can help young people with disabilities to fit into the community. The topics covered in the discussions brought out important examples. Previously we had heard about social entrepreneurship, we knew it was a type of entrepreneurship that had reference to the community, but today we learned much more details. I think social entrepreneurship would interest me in the future, I could develop such a business in the field of clothing design.”

The discussion club was organised as part of the information Campaign „Social Entrepreneurship, close to the needs of refugees”. The campaign is part of the project EU4Youth – Unlocking the potential of young social entrepreneurs in Moldova and Ukraine” (EUnlocking), funded by the European Union through the EU4Youth Programme.

The project is implemented by Gustav-Stresemann-Institut (GSI) from Germany, Pro NGO! (Germany), AXA Management Consulting (Moldova), ECO-RAZENI (Moldova), CONTACT Centre (Moldova) and Egalite International (Ukraine).