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Radu Lazar, regional manager at Endava – Moldova's largest tech company, now listed on the NYSE – details the difficulties of operating in such a small market, but also accentuates the positives.

Q: What role does Moldova fulfil for Endava?

A: Endava has 5600 staff globally. Moldova is one of our biggest delivery organisations, [employing] 900 people who deliver a whole spectrum of projects. We have big names that we deliver to from here.

Q: How would you describe Moldova’s tech evolution?

A: It has evolved from where it was a few years ago, but it hasn't evolved as much as I'd like it, just because of the size of the market. The types of companies in this market are not big enough to cultivate enough depth and breadth of experience in [their staff]; 90% of them are pretty much ‘custom shop’ companies that are working for one client, or even on one project.

[However], I have to commend Endava's talent pool, which is almost entirely from Moldova. I know there are bright people [here]. Our local employees have good experience at delivering commercial projects and have the skills to work basically anywhere. So after two or three years of working with us, for instance, these people can work in any company in any country.

With most of the companies delivering from this market, the vast majority are delivering to Western clients – we have the cultural affinity for these areas. So there are skills and there is still some cost advantage [in Moldova]. As long as you know that you might need to sometimes invest back into the economy, and in the people, to [develop] them and not just use them for short-term projects. [Moldova] is quite a workable environment.

Q: Is there an undersupply of tech talent in Moldova?

A: There are a few fundamental problems. One is people leaving Moldova, which is a decrease in the number of our students, as well as the number of professors and people that teach at the universities [which affects the quality of the teaching]. Moldova’s supply of graduates has remained at about 500 to 600 people a year over the past few years.

One thing companies can do is invest more in the universities, and support the development of [graduates] by increasing their [training and education] intake as much as possible.

Endava has made a lot of investment in the universities in Moldova. Our staff give classes at universities, for example. We recruit quite a lot of graduates and we have a mentorship programme. In the last financial year alone, we recruited more than 150 people through our internship programme.

Q: What impact does Moldova’s political uncertainty have on its tech scene?

A: It doesn't affect us directly, at least right now. We no longer deliver to the local market as all our business is in exports. However, because of political uncertainty [such as the recent collapse and change of government], there might be an increase of migration.

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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