Eccles hosts entrepreneurial summit in Republic of Moldova

As part of its global outreach, The University of Utah David Eccles School of Business will host an Entrepreneurial Summit in the Republic of Moldova on March 21, 2016. The Summit will include the release of findings from a survey of Moldovan businesses about the business climate in the country and the challenges entrepreneurs face. After the Summit, the Eccles School will assess opportunities to provide entrepreneurial training and impact investing to businesses in Moldova.

“It’s reasonable to ask, ‘Why the Republic of Moldova?’” said Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business. “At the Eccles School, we specialize in entrepreneurship and innovation, and we have an expanding global presence. We saw an opportunity to share our expertise and build business relationships with Moldovans, and we took the challenge.”

The Republic of Moldova faces many economic and political challenges. It is one of the poorest countries in Europe, with a large foreign debt, high unemployment, a shrinking population and political instability. Moldova, however, has forged a stronger relationship with the European Union and has a relatively inexpensive labor force. A recent World Bank Report ranked Moldova as one of 30 economies out of 189 around the world showing the most improvement in regulatory practices (Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency). The Eccles School recognizes the challenges faced by the country and seeks to share its expertise.


In an effort to better understand business opportunities and challenges in the country, the Eccles School prepared a survey to assess entrepreneurial readiness and contracted with a local company to vet hundreds of companies, sourced via personal networks, social media and hard-copy solicitations. The Eccles School then hired the Moldovan firm IMAS to conduct the survey and learn about the business environment faced by Moldovans.

“Without survey data, it’s difficult to understand the sentiments of business leaders and entrepreneurs about the business climate in the country,” said Walt Plum, the executive director of the Utah-Moldova Business Partnership. “We hope the survey results will help prospective investors, business owners, entrepreneurs and the government make good decisions about the future of Moldova.”

The survey, which was completed by 77 local companies, included questions on the characteristics of Moldovan businesses, financing challenges and training needs. Some of the more interesting survey findings included 58 percent of respondents rated the future of business in Moldova as “very promising” or “somewhat promising;” 18 percent of respondents reported some level of unofficial, “under-the-desk payments” to employees; and 97 percent of respondents reported it a challenge to acquire financing for business capital.

A complete copy of the survey is available online at

Next Steps

The outcomes of the survey and relationships built at the Moldovan Entrepreneurial Summit in March 2016 will be used to expand the Eccles School’s global presence in Moldova. This involvement will come, in part, through the school’s expertise in entrepreneurial training and global impact investing.

The University of Utah is one of the top schools in the nation for startup businesses based on university research. In addition, the Eccles School is home to the Sorenson Impact Center, which seeks to accelerate positive and sustainable social change, both nationally and globally, by leveraging capital for social good. The Sorenson Impact Center has worked with more than 25 different investors, governments and large corporations to facilitate more than $100 million in impact investments since 2013.

“We are always looking for places to share our expertise, identify promising entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial opportunities, and expand business success,” said Randall. “We bring to the table a highly ranked business school, award-winning faculty, and a premier public research university. We will put these strengths to work as we continue to build upon the Utah-Moldova Business Partnership.”

About the Utah-Moldova Entrepreneurial Summit

The Utah-Moldova Entrepreneurial Summit will be held March 21, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Radisson Blu Leogrand Hotel (str. Mitropolit Varlaam, 77, Chisnau, Republic of Moldova). Special guests include Taylor Randall, dean, Eccles School; David Anderson, professional in residence, Eccles School; Walter Plumb, executive director, Utah-Moldova Business Partnership; and, Natalie Gochnour, associate dean, Eccles School.

  • Looking for something specific?