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Stories From The Field

This is a section for real entrepreneurs running real business in Moldova to share their experience, frustrations, lessons and insights with the community at large.

Category contains 27 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Stories From The Field
On Stamps

So here's a topic that will look very familiar to anyone who's lived in the post-Soviet space but seem totally nuts to everyone else. Stamps - what are they for? Well in Moldova the answer is "literally everything." I first came in contact with this when I went to Kazakhstan as an English teacher and my packing list included "stamps for grading papers." My first thought was "I thought I was going to be teaching high school - why do I need smiley face stamps?!" The reasoning is because no matter how silly looking the stamp they make things "look official."

To understand this you need a little background on how things become "official" here vs. in the states. In America your signature is your bond. Furthermore your word can be your bond in contract law if it is deemed a verbal contract. I am not a lawyer but the gist is that in the US agreements can range from silly-informal to super formal. In Moldova they are always super formal. In theory this is to "control" the process ("control" being a translation from Russian for something like "oversight on steroids") and to prevent fraud and forgery. In practice this is a system of red tape unrivaled by even the darkest fears of government fearing anarchists. It is literally like buying shotguns to kill flies. 

 

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not only is this a real product but you too can be killing flies
with a shotgun for the low price of $39.95. I fucking love America.

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Tagged in: Bureaucracy Stamps
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Of LLCs and SRLs Part #2 - Banking and Conclusions

This is Part 2 of the process of introduing a US based LLC as a parent company of a Moldovan SRL. Find Part 1 here.

 

Note: this post is mostly a wordy, if humorous, take on banking and wire transfers in Moldova. If you would like to jump to the recommendations section for Parts 1 & 2 of this post do so here

 

**Update Nov 15: we just finalized all of the papers so this process is over. Once we got through the lower level people to the department director things got much easier. This is in spite of the fact that they royally messed up our paperwork. The director fixed it all himself and was not only professional but extremely pleasant to work with. It's always a wonder when you find someone in the government who really wants to help and make your day easier. Today, at the end of this mess, I have a lot of respect for the State Registration Chamber. Also we discovered that we can in fact have multiple "Administrators" of the company. Post coming soon...

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Tagged in: Banking Bureaucracy LLC SRL
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Posted by on in Stories From The Field
Of LLCs and SRLs Part #1

Note 1: This post is an update to our first post about organizing a company in Moldova. While that post was pretty general and explained our initial reasoning this one will attempt to explain the results of that reasoning over the last few months and a few preliminary recommendations for other entrepreneurs (ok, this got long. Conclusions Recommendations will be in Part 2 [COMING SOON]). We will be writing a further update on this topic later on with more solid recommendations. (small update below)

Note 2: This post is covering quite a lot of experience had over a long period of time. The topic is dense and often technical. Please comment if things are unclear and I will add more information. Also, as usual, please feel free to tell us how stupid we are. Everyone can learn from that. 

 

Jump to... (note to use these section links open up the full version of the post by clicking the title or on "Continue Reading" below)

Section 1
Basic Organization 

Section 2
Selling Shares vs Adding a Founder: 
Section 3
The Necessary Documents for Adding a Founder
Section 4
Notarizations, Apostilles, Translations and DHL 

 

 

So Begins a Tale of SRLs and LLCs...

 

 

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The path to success is almost self evident!

 

 

Section 1: Basic Organization


 

I'll begin where the last post ended which was with a discussion of the process that we decided to embark upon. That was to organize the companies basically as follows:

 

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I'll let you all guess which silhouette represents which manager...

  

So to describe what you're seeing there we founded a Moldovan SRL called "Smoke House SLR" (they refused to believe it was one word and we didn't fight it). Additionally we founded an American LLC called "The Moldova Company LLC" in Virginia. The purpose of the LLC, as described briefly in the previous post, is to escape from some of the more challenging bureaucratic differences between a Moldovan SRL and an American LLC. These all...

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Hard Times Always Reveal True Friends

While I'm not sure who wrote the quote I've used as the title for this entry I'm sure we've all seen it circulate around the internet. In this process of starting a restaurant in Chisinau we have run into roadblocks in the strangest places and more ambiguity than I can quantify. If one were to identify a single thread of anger, disappointment and exasperation that pervades my postings (and much of my work right now) it is ambiguity. In most countries there is an easily understandable lines between what is and what isn't permitted. Furthermore, it is pretty easy to figure out where you will encounter difficulties. If you were opening a restaurant in NYC for instance there are numerous resources that could help you find the information on the startup process you need. In Moldova this is not the case. If I were to sum things up it would be that...

Nothing is easy but everything is possible. 

 

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This is supposed to be inspiring but terrifies me day to day. 

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Tagged in: Friends
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Applying for a Visa to be an Entrepreneur in Moldova

Update 29/9/14: it seems that Americans (and possibly other countries but I have no idea which) are allowed to apply for 5 year visas instead of just 1. This was conveyed to us by one of the branches of government tasked with approving our visas. We are trying to alter the documents post-submission but are unsure if it will succeed. Stay tuned. 

So if you're not a Moldovan and you're going to try and start a business in Moldova you will need a visa. This is an interesting process and by "interesting" I mean basically horrible. Firstly, here are the top-level requirements:

 

If you are from a country that has visa-free entry to the Republic of Moldova (like America and Most of Europe - a list is provided here but I have no idea if it's up to date)

  1. You can enter Moldova for 90 days without a visa
  2. While in Moldova you cannot work but CAN found a company (but don't forget the rules of foreign ownership)
  3. You must apply for your visa while you still have 30 days left on your visa-free stay
  4. They will evaluate your visa for 30 days. After that you go back to the office and they tell you yes / no

If you require a visa to enter the Republic of Moldova - good luck. I encountered a lot of the paperwork for this process and while it seemed straightforward it's a fair bet that it's anything but. Anyhow, I have no experience with it (if you do please comment below)

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