The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of California, Berkeley is embarking on a new partnership with top Moldovan universities to support workforce development and entrepreneurship in the Republic of Moldova. The Sutardja Center is partnering with the Technical University of Moldova (TUM) and the State University of Moldova (SUM) to support the Future Technologies Activity (FTA) in Moldova funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sweden to create pathways for Moldova’s youth, assist in providing Moldovan companies access to European and global markets, and equip Moldovans with the skills and knowledge they need to take advantage of a growing digital economy.
“We are excited to partner with the Technical University of Moldova and the State University of Moldova to empower innovators and educators in Moldova with new skills and resources to support their rapidly growing startup and tech ecosystem,” says Susan Giesecke, Sutardja Center Director of Global Engagement. “We’re looking forward to bringing some of the best talent and minds UC Berkeley has to offer to assist the development and growth of this early-stage tech economy.”
To kick off the partnership, Sutardja Center Chief Learning Officer, Ken Singer, and Susan Giesecke traveled to Moldova in mid-October to begin curriculum development workshops with TUM and SUM professors. Throughout the fall, the partners continued remote consultations with the Sutardja Center team to push forward on curriculum design. The Sutardja Center team, which includes industry fellow Rick Rasmussen who helped found the project, will continue to collaborate with the Moldovan universities to help them understand entrepreneurship education best practices, and how to effectively train entrepreneurs in Moldova using the Sutardja Center’s award-winning curriculum, the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship.
To help the Moldovan universities better understand the Sutardja Center’s Berkeley Method pedagogy, a Moldovan delegation visited the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Bootcamp from January 9-13, 2023. The Sutardja Center’s signature intensive course brings together UC Berkeley students, global participants, and working professionals wishing to learn entrepreneurship and innovation skills and gain experience with building new ventures with interdisciplinary teams from around the world. The course utilizes the Sutardja Center’s Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship pedagogy which enables participants to learn innovation skills through lectures and interactive game-based exercises in a collaborative environment utilizing the latest insights on strategy, tactics, culture, and psychology with an accompanying entrepreneurial infrastructure. The curriculum is structured to provide an optimal global entrepreneurship experience from real life experiences. The delegation from Moldova will observe and participate in the course to help inform their own entrepreneurship curriculum development at SUM and TUM.
Rector Viorel Bostan of TUM said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with UC Berkeley Sutardja Center to create world class entrepreneurship courses in Moldova. This is an essential skillset for business leaders of the future.” Rector Igor Sarov of SUM echoed, “SUM is very happy to be working with the Sutardja Center and our partners at TUM to revolutionize our teaching methods and content, attract new students, and make Moldova a startup hub for the region.”
FTA is providing financial and technical assistance for this partnership and programming, with the goal of creating strong foundations for a thriving startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Moldova, which is critical for retaining young talent and building an innovative and resilient economy.
USAID Moldova Mission Director Scott Hocklander said of this program, “This innovative partnership facilitated by USAID’s FTA will bring the same cutting-edge teaching methods and curricula to Moldova that produced successful ICT startups and unicorns in Silicon Valley. Providing this exciting new opportunity to Moldovan youth is a game changer for Moldova’s higher education system, resulting in competitive startups and boosting entrepreneurship, and encouraging them to continue their studies and work at home.” Ambassador of Sweden to Moldova Katarina Fried said, “these educational programs will transcend sector, ensuring all Moldovan students have next generation knowledge and skills to prepare them for the economy of the future.”
About UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology
The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology is a global innovation hub headquartered at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, where aspiring entrepreneurs take deep dives into the world of technology entrepreneurship and embark on the path to developing exciting new ventures. The Center researches emerging technologies in its labs and offers a suite of courses and programs for students, executives, and global innovators. The Center has labs focused on innovation in data science, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and meat alternatives. Additionally, academics from around the world visit the Center to learn about the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship, a unique innovation pedagogy that focuses on mindset training for innovators and entrepreneurs. UC Berkeley is the world’s #1 public university and ranks as the #2 university for startups and entrepreneurs, according to Pitchbook. UC Berkeley has been at the forefront of innovation in emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.
About the Technical University of Moldova
The Technical University of Moldova was established in 1964, originally under the name “Polytechnic Institute of Chisinau”, based on engineering and economic specialties transferred from Moldova State University. There were 5140 students enrolled (2085 of them being full-time students) at the university in the first academic year (1964 – 1965) at five faculties: Electrotechnology, Mechanics, Technology, Constructions and Economics. The academic staff included 278 teachers and only 36 of them held scientific/academic degrees and titles.
Over the next few years, the university’s development included both quantitative and qualitative growth, becoming a great educational, scientific and cultural center. At present, Technical University of Moldova has reached a total enrolment of 9520 students (6095 of them being full-time students), who study at 64 specialties and specializations within 9 faculties.
TUM also offers postgraduate education (1442 master’s degree and 124 doctoral students), staff retraining and professional development courses. Over the long years of its history, TUM has trained more than 78,387 specialists.
TUM hosts various Centers of Innovation driving industry-academia collaboration in Moldova including ZIPHOUSE Fashion Hub, Tekwill ICT Excellence Center, FabLab Chisinau, and CIRCLE IT and Engineering Labs. These centers were created in partnership with the Government of Moldova, donors including USAID, Sweden, and UKAid, and private sector partners.
About the State University of Moldova
The State University of Moldova (SUM) was the first higher education institution with university status established in the Republic of Moldova. Established on October 1, 1946, with the initial name of Chisinau State University, over time it has built an impeccable reputation at the national and international level. Its creation constituted a basic pillar for the development and consolidation of higher education in the country. In a short time, SUM has become a recognized leader of the national higher education system in the country, responding to society’s demands by diversifying the programs offered and establishing new subdivisions, departments and faculties.
For more than 70 years, SUM has become an elite university center, both nationally and internationally. About 120,000 graduates of the university work in various fields, such as: economy, education, culture, justice, politics, etc. and currently, the State University of Moldova is one of the most important higher education institutions in the country. SUM has a contingent of approximately 11,000 students, who study over a hundred bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in 11 faculties and 4 doctoral schools.
SUM hosts the Center of Innovation Mediacor Digital Media Production Center, launched in 2021 in partnership with the Government of Moldova, US Embassy, USAID, Sweden, and UKAid, as well as the Association of Creative Industry Companies of Moldova.