A Step-by-Step guide to starting a winning Startup in Moldova.

Are you considering the idea of launching a startup but don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a handy list of programs and opportunities available in Moldova, designed to support you whether you’re just formulating an idea or knee-deep in creating your MVP.

Let’s begin… But first, a quick rundown of key terms:

Startup: Is a newly founded, innovative business entity (registered or not) that performs innovative activities and has the potential for rapid and large growth

MVP (Minimum Viable Product): The simplest version of a product needed to start the learning process and validate the business idea with real users.

Market Fit: The extent to which a product satisfies a strong market demand, often determined through iterative feedback and modifications.

Prototype: A basic, functional version of a product used to explore ideas and identify improvements before final production.

Investor: An entity or individual providing capital to startups in anticipation of a future return on investment.

Seed Funding: Early investment meant to support the startup through its initial phases of development.

Angel Investor: A private investor, typically someone who supports a startup in the very early stages, providing capital in exchange for equity.

Venture capital (VC): Is generally used to support startups and other businesses with the potential for substantial and rapid growth. VC firms raise money from limited partners (LPs) to invest in promising startups or even larger venture funds.

Understanding the Startup Ecosystem in Moldova:

A startup ecosystem is an environment in which startups develop, which consists of individuals, teams, startups in different stages of development and different types of organizations and institutions that work together as a system to create and accelerate the development of new startups. Factors of the ecosystem are also: universities, scientific research organizations, financial institutions and organizations, support organizations, representatives of the economy and state organizations that create policies and programmes.

NOW that we’re on the same page with the basics, let’s explore how you can start and scale your startup here in Moldova!

At Startup Moldova, we drive growth and networking by fostering a vibrant community and promoting opportunities. We support startups in Moldova to become viable businesses operating internationally through:

  • Organizing study trips, and events both offline and online.
  • Improving startups’ access to financial resources, R&D opportunities, infrastructure, education, and sector-specific expertise.
  • Leading advocacy efforts to create a startup-friendly regulatory framework.
  • Supporting positive public awareness and facilitating partnerships to increase startups’ international visibility.
  • Encouraging collaboration among local and international startup ecosystem builders.

Technovator  – Growing Talents to innovate: A thriving ecosystem of innovators, empowering them with the transformative power of technology, enhancing community connections, and promoting digital progress.
Yep! Moldova: Yep! is a community leading to the growth of impactful entrepreneurship in Moldova, where startups and experts support each other to drive impactful growth and positive change. As the leading actor in the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem, Yep!Moldova nurtures and accelerates early-stage startups and entrepreneurial mindsets by providing the resources, knowledge, and practical skills needed for success and by connecting them with a network of mentors and investors.
Yep!Moldova vision is to shape a new generation of entrepreneurs

Dreamups: is an ecosystem committed to nurturing a thriving global startup community and contributing to the growth of Moldova’s first unicorn. Through mentorship, education, investment, and the cultivation of a vibrant community, Dreamups provides a platform for growth, acceleration, and networking, empowering innovators to turn their meaningful ideas into globally impactful companies.

XY Partners: Offers specialized incubation support, guiding startups through deep operational challenges and helping them to grow a sustainable business. Connects startup founders with local and international mentors and investors.
Mozaic: It’s a community of angel investors focused on democratizing angel investment, providing support to tech startups led by ambitious founders aiming for global success by offering smart capital, and assisting these startups in securing their initial funding from angel investors.
Business Angels Moldova: Is a membership-based organization, uniting a group of experienced private businesspeople and senior executives willing to invest capital and time in early-stage startups and small businesses.
investitii.md team offers consultancy to help you obtain funding for your business!

The Organization for Entrepreneurship Development (ODA) is a public institution under the Ministry of Economy. Its mission is to support the growth of the local entrepreneurial environment, especially small and medium enterprises, by promoting entrepreneurial culture, providing financial and technical assistance, issuing financial and state guarantees, and ensuring business support infrastructure.

Let’s break down how each program can assist you, step by step, in developing your startup.

Idea Stage Programs: Are you a pupil or student studying in Moldova and interested in entrepreneurship or tackling a startup idea? You should consider the following programs:

Startup 101 by Yep!Moldova is an entrepreneurship school open to all individuals  aged 14 to19, conducted online over the course of 5 days, free of charge. Startup 101 provides young people with the opportunity to acquire essential entrepreneurial knowledge, enabling them to turn their ideas into reality and develop their business management skills. Upon completion of the program, participants have the opportunity to take part in the Yep! Idea Challenge contest, where young founders with the most promising startup and business ideas are awarded.
Money 101 – Startup Summer Camp by Yep!Moldova offers a unique experience modeled after European summer camps. Participants gain insights into basic financial concepts, entrepreneurship, investments, and community involvement, fostering a comprehensive understanding of financial education.
EdTech Bootcamp Moldova by Yep!Moldova is a transformative program spanning 5 days aimed at transforming the educational landscape in the Republic of Moldova. The program kicks off with online workshops, team formation, and problem exploration, followed by offline sessions where experts guide MVP development and pitch presentations.
Democracy Tech Hackathon by Yep!Moldova is a 48-hour event that leverages technology to support freedom and democracy. Participants, including developers, designers, data analysts, entrepreneurs, and public policy experts, work in teams to create innovative solutions addressing modern democratic challenges. The winning team receive mentorship from the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, with the opportunity to represent Moldova at the Democracy Summit in Copenhagen.
Green Tech Hackathon by Yep!Moldova is a 48-hour event which focuses on developing innovative and sustainable solutions for small and medium-sized businesses in line with EU standards and principles of Circular Economy.

Startup School by Dreamups: An online 6-week educational program where high schoolers from across the country learn to launch their first tech business through pre-recorded classes and practical tasks on the e-learning platform UpFactory, accessible and inclusive for all.
Startup Students by Technovator: A vibrant community that includes the most active university students in Moldova, offering a 3-month practical course to develop and train early-stage entrepreneurs. 

Dreamable by Dreamups: A pre-accelerator dedicated to tech-passionate university students looking to develop entrepreneurial skills and turn their idea into a scalable startup.

Techstars Startup Weekend by Startup Moldova: Learn how to think, work, and build like a startup in 54 hours. Techstars Startup Weekend is an exciting experience that provides a glimpse into the world of Startups. Over an action-packed three days, you’ll meet the very best mentors, investors, co-founders and sponsors to show you how to get more done faster – and maybe even start that business.
DeepTech GigaHack by Technovator: The largest Deep Tech hackathon in Moldova, fostering collaboration between IT professionals and business developers.

Pre-Seed and Seed Stage Programs: Are you developing a prototype and seeking feedback and funding for your startup? You should consider the following programs:

Creative Accelerator by Yep!Moldova is a 6-months program during which participants receive training, mentoring, inspiration, and motivation, as well as dedicated time to begin working on their own ideas. The Accelerator ends with a Demo Day where the startups present their solutions to investors.

Ellevator Women Startup Accelerator by Yep!Moldova is designed to support women in Moldova and Ukraine through group and individual mentorship and bootcamps. Its core objectives include enhancing business resilience during crises, driving economic and social transformation, and enriching participants’ skills and business capabilities. The program ends with Demo Day

Level Up by Yep!Moldova marks the next phase of the Ellevator Women Startup Accelerator. It’s a post acceleration program, aiming to elevate women-led businesses to new levels of growth, including expansion into foreign markets.

Marea Digitalizare by Yep!Moldova is an acceleration program that enables enterprises to enhance efficiency, productivity, and profitability through digitalization, fostering improved processes, customer relations, and revenue growth.

Upcelerator by Dreamups: Upcelerator is a 3 months remote idea stage accelerator for startups, completely online, focused on those who have a tech business idea and who need a framework, knowledge, investment and mentoring to develop and launch it.

UpNext Traction Accelerator by Dreamups: UpNext is a 6-month traction acceleration program by Dreamups, emphasizing practical support for tech startups. The program focuses on building traction, scaling, and preparing for significant capital injections. 

Each batch selects 5 startups, providing 25,000 EUR in initial funding, live sessions with over 18 guest speakers who are founders and investors, one-on-one mentorship, 6 months of incubation with free office space, and access to the startup community. Startups can also secure an additional 100,000 EUR from the Mozaic angel investor community. 

UpNext prioritizes personalized approaches and practical problem-solving for startups to build traction, refine processes, adjust products, and develop a roadmap for rapid scaling.

XY Accelerator by XY Partners: XY Accelerator is a 3-month program designed by startup teams at the MVP stage. The program runs twice a year, in the fall-winter and spring-summer. During the program, participants will: Conduct 100 interviews with potential customers; form a team with at least 2 founders; apply for local grants; launch their MVP on Product Hunt; register their company; gain traction & achieve at least $3000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR); get featured in local and international media. The ultimate goal is to help teams get accepted in YC. 

EIR Entrepreneurship in Residence Program by XY Partners: EIR is a unique mentoring program for the startup community in Moldova, bringing 16 diaspora mentors, founders, and industry specialists back home. Selected startups receive three individual sessions, each lasting 1 hour. Participants get personalized help, answers to questions, feedback, and access to workshops organized at maib park. The program aims to help Moldovan startups benefit from international experience and connections without leaving the country, using mentors from the diaspora. 

Vertical Accelerators in Moldova for Pre-Seed and Seed Stage:

Cleantech Accelerator by GCIP: The beneficiaries identified in the Call will be involved in the GCIP Moldova Accelerator program. This includes support, guidance, and awards for entrepreneurs proposing innovative solutions in the following areas: Energy efficiency; Renewable energy; Water efficiency; Green buildings; Green transport.

At Startup Moldova, we organize sector-specific forums such as the Energy Tech Forum and Digital Health Forum, with more to come.

We support startups in the validation and growth stages by offering mentorship, legal advice, essential documentation, and investor connections. Additionally, we advocate for startups and promote a startup-friendly regulatory environment.

Contact us at community@startupmoldova.digital or connect with ecosystem builders for comprehensive support and opportunities.

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