Opening a restaurant in Moldova is no easy task.. Especially when you do it without paying bribes.
We spent a whole year working to open Smokehouse, spending that time working on visa problems, finding a location, figuring out the process of opening a restaurant, the requirements and creating a plan of getting those things done. All in all the process took around a year from when we began the process until we were ready to open. A lot was learned along the way, the many fights with bureaucracy, huge amount of paperwork, authorizations, creating relationships with suppliers, building the restaurant, setting up the kitchen, hiring employees and getting the menu ready. Not to mention thousands and thousands of stamps. It was a very busy time… often not in a good way. In the process we dedicated ourselves to follow the standards of clean business set by Transparency International:
- We will carry out our business fairly, honestly and openly.
- We will not make bribes, nor will we condone the offering of bribes on our behalf, so as to gain a business advantage.
- We will not accept bribes, nor will we agree to them being accepted on our behalf in order to influence business.
- We will avoid doing business with others who do not accept our values and who may harm our reputation.
- We will set out our processes for avoiding direct or indirect bribery, and keeping to and supporting our values.
- We will make sure that everyone in our business and our business partners know our Principles.
We will keep to these Principles even when it becomes difficult.
You can learn more about this on our page Business Philosophy.
We have also created a blog that follows our experiences opening a business in Moldova and all the challenges, craziness and just plain corruption that we faced along the way. Check it out at Opensource Entrepreneurship.
There are a lot of opportunities in Moldova, but unfortunately there is a high barrier to entry into the Moldovan market. If you are looking for a challenge and a completely new experience, then start a business in Moldova :).