After completing her master, Zinaida Stefanco has worked as consultant seller at the Steilmann store in Malldova shopping centre. One year later she went on maternity leave and now raise two children aged 4 and 2 years. Still this doesn’t stop her from running her own business, which she has recently created by accessing an EU grant, provided within a project economically empowering young people on both banks of Nistru river. She currently manages a sheep milk processing plant which manufactures and sells sheep cheese.
This business idea came to her as Zinaida’s husband owns a sheep raising farm, where he has invested all the money earned abroad during four years. Today they raise 250 milk sheep and cheese is produced in homelike conditions. As the number of sheep farmers in locality was quite large and they already had some experience, the Stefanco spouses thought about creating a mini plant with a sheep milk collection point and a capacity of 500 liters of milk per day. So the existing favourable situation gave them this business idea.
They have therefore created a new company in Ucrainca village, Causeni district, which collects and processes sheep milk in line with European standards.
Zinaida said she has learned on the Internet about the grant competition launched by the SCBM Programme: "I congratulate myself for looking unceasingly for resources to make our business idea come true. We think that we have succeeded thanks to this grant that we won. It would have been very difficult to launch such a business on our own. It is the financial background that helps you move forward and materializes dreams and ideas.”
The Stefanco family’s business has required a total investment of over 15530 Euro, of which only 2530 Euro were their own contribution. The EU grant has covered the largest part, of 13000 Euro. It took a year to make their business work, while Zinaida has participated in all the stages of the above-mentioned competition, won the grant, has purchased and installed the necessary equipment, set up the working rooms at the mini-plant and began milk collection.
The mini plant currently produces about 25 kg of sheep cheese per day, but the production will increase during the warm season. The business employs a manager and an accountant, and two seasonal employees, having the potential to expand the number of workers.
Zinaida Stefanco is grateful to the mentor Pancho Valceanov and the whole BCI team for their assistance and comes with a message to all young people who want to become entrepreneurs: "Will is everything. En entrepreneur should be skillful and do what he knows best. He should be ready to make sacrifices for his business, organize their time, have a good mentor and demonstrate great patience."
Under the SCBM Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP Moldova, 70 young people from both banks of Nistru river have opened their own businesses, which employ about 350 people. These young people have also benefited from training and consultancy services.