Applying Design thinking with the youth from Transnistria

On December 8–9 2015, a workshop was organized at Vadul lui Vodă for young people – the future entrepreneurs from Transnistrian region.

To generate a comprehensive and productive discussion, at the workshop were invited 15 young people from Transnistria and 15 young people (mainly students and youth looking for a job) from the right bank of the River Nistru. Hence, the ideas coming from the youth were based on their experience and the context and background of the region they were coming from.

The aim of this event was:

  1. to identify the problems related to starting up a business in Transnistria
  2. to consolidate confidence measures by strengthening the dialogue between the young persons from the both sides of the River Nistru.

During the two-day workshop, the participants were familiarized with the design-thinking methodology, took part in the practical exercises to identify the problems related to starting up a business and developing prototypes of solutions that would enable or encourage young people to start a business. By the end of the event, the young persons presented their ideas.

Four groups of participants have presented the following ideas:

  • Elțin. The idea was about opening offices to provide free-of-charge consultations in the legal and fiscal areas, focusing on start-ups and entrepreneurs wishing to develop their business. Currently, there are no offices in the Transnistrian region providing free-of-charge legal and fiscal consultations for future entrepreneurs. The potential partners of the project could be the Fiscal Service, State Chamber of Registration, business associations and NGOs from the region.
  • Grant.md. The prototype of the idea is based on the provision of free-of-charge information about access to grant-based financial resources. The information will be provided on an online portal, which would be accessible in the entire territory of the country. The potential partners of this project could be all foreign financiers providing grants on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. Currently, Moldova has one single project of such type — finanțare.gov.md — which is only in Romanian language. The advantage of the grant.md project would be the fact that it will have compartments relevant for entrepreneurs specifically from Transnistria and will present the information in Russian language.
  • The third idea is an online platform of webinars providing information to start-ups on how to launch a business in Transnistria. Also the organisation will provide consultations online through skype, with the participation of an expert or professional in the respective area. Such webinars are an innovative approach for the Transnistrian region, in participants’ opinion, and could be provided jointly with a business school or business incubator.
  • Joint Center for Vocational Orientation will help the entrepreneurs and employers to find qualified employees, managers and administrators for their companies, or professionals of some narrow qualifications. Currently, the only potential competitor for this project would be the Transnistrian Employment Agency, but it provides services, usually only to the specialists with lower qualifications. The project will offer a web page with an exhaustive database of potential employers and employees. The project partners could be the universities, state agencies, and business associations. At the same time, the centre could provide professional internship places for students after graduation.

At the end of the workshop, by means of voting was selected the best idea, which turned to be Idea No. 1- Elțin. These ideas will be analysed by the UNDP experts and some of them might even be implemented.

During the workshop was presented the design thinking methodology for solutions’ co-creation, which participants tried to apply to develop their ideas. Also MiLab presented its projects in development and examples of innovative solutions able to solve social problems beyond Moldovan context.

The workshop was organized within the framework of the UNDP Project “Support to Confidence Building Measures” which is funded by the European Union.