48 hours, 48 inspiring young Moldovans

An Estonian, a Moldovan, a Lebanese, a Ukrainian and a Spaniard get together in the Moldovan countryside. That is not the beginning of a weird anecdote, this is how Garage48 Empowering Youth: Hackathon Retreat started.


Garage48 was back to Moldova and back with actual, physical events. Yes, you read that right- face to face events are back. As we promised in spring, the long-awaited Empowering Youth: Hackathon Retreat finally happened. We were hosted right on the banks of Dnister and in the wonderful countryside of Moldova.

20 ideas posted, 130+ people signed up for the hackathon, but only the best were

accepted. 11 teams and a magic number of 48 participants joined us from the 1st to the 3rd of October. The aim? To validate their ideas and build prototypes in the Garage48, screw it let’s do it mindset.


“To me, giving back is so important and it’s great to be a part of the Moldovan startup community in this way. Especially, if the teams are aligned. To help them unite around a powerful vision and mission, we did an exercise where all team members had to explain 1-on-1, what problem they are solving and why. When you hear the same answer from all you know that this team is on the right track, or have agreed on an answer :D “

Akram Karameh


Team LoopCode working hard on their prototype, with the backdrop of river Dnister. 


11 amazing teams that took part in the hackathon


Booking Assistant - A beauty salon bookings system. Team members Daniel Revenco, Vitalie Iavorschi, Ina Iavorschi, Alexei Gherasim.


RTG - Application for the parents of kids suffering from autism. Team members Teodor Vrabie, Saptesate Ion, Ion Turcanu, Violina Eladii, Maria Macovei.


RACOON team - Logistics CRM. Team members Vladimir Leadavschi, Constantin Saramer, Sandu Botnari, Marian Condorachi.


CALM - Incentivising recycling. Team members Mancoș Lesi,

Timotin Mihaela, Pârțină Alina, Ulinici Cristina, Antoci Igor, Ilcenco Eugen, Bîtcă Marius.


FERMATA- Farming and grain optimization tool. Team members Perju Bogdan, Mindrescu Mihai, Plamadeala Vladislav, Eriomenco Nicoleta and Erhan Vladimir.


Gyneco.md- Sexual health training, quiz and webinar platform. Team members Bobeica Victoria, Catalina Plinschi, Rotari Viorel and Gabriel-Cătălin Stanescu.


Volunteery- Volunteer management and tracking. Team members Marcus Mițelea, Maxim Mintuș, Valeriu Ilicciev, Alexandra Lupan and Alexandru Codreanu.


Demonick Studios- A SEO optimizing tool. Team members Dumitru Andoni, Developer, Nicu Eni and Vladimir Andoni.


Digischool - Courses and training webinars for people interested in the ICT field. Team members Ecaterina Brad, Andrian Adam, Cristian Popescu and Anastasia Bobeico.


LoopCode- Platform for hosting coding competitions. Team members Ursu Leru,

Strelciuc Radu and Rața Ovidiu.


Fix-it-right - Handyman booking application. Team members Trohin Daniel and Vladimir Mișcoi.

"I can only describe this event with two keywords: emotions and enthusiasm. Might not feel like much, but trust me, it was for us. Emotions: the place we worked - beautiful, couldn't imagine a better place to work at and here we developed one of our best ideas. And enthusiasm: with the help of our mentors, we understood how to create this system so that it can work. Altogether an awesome weekend!"

Ion Turcanu, team RTG


Even though it is a very overused cliche, the teams are still all winners in our books. The main goal of these events is to build the mindset, grow and show the teams what they are capable of in a short timeframe. Building a prototype- not so hard, is it? BUT according to the jury, we have some rankings…


Empowering Youth: Hackathon Retreat winners


WINNER OF THE EMPOWERING YOUTH: HACKATHON RETREAT- Team Volunteery. Building a prototype that has a good looking front-end and some back-end functions, while also validating your idea with potential users and doing business projections for the next 2 years. That gives you a very good chance to be the winner. Volunteery aims to make the lives of volunteers and volunteer management easier by providing a central platform.


2nd PLACE went to team FERMATA, helping amateur farmers get the best out of their land.


3rd PLACE was taken by the team RACOON-a CRM for medium-sized logistics companies (like Constantin's fathers).


The favourite of the audience, with a whopping 183 likes on their team picture is team LoopCode- the first coding competition in Moldova.


And last but least the special prize for the most resilience, the Phoenix Prize for not giving up when others would. That goes to team Fix-it-right who after losing two teammates and a pivot in the idea still managed to make the pre-accelerator.

 The winners: Team Volunteery! Congratulations! 

Record number of teams were invited to YEP! Moldova pre-accelerator! 


But what happens now, on Monday? We are very proud to announce that 7 of the 11 teams have been invited to be a part of the YEP! Moldova pre-accelerator. This is a record number that really showcases the quality of the teams that took part in the hackathon.


Helping all the teams on the journey was a super diverse group of mentors- Estonians, Moldovans, a Spaniard, a Lebanese and a Ukrainian. Giving the teams a wide range of international expertise. 

Teams would not be able to excel without our spectacular mentors

Tech and design mentors Gerardo, Dragos and Martin working with teams. 

We are delighted to see the mentor's community growing in Moldova and see our Mentors Masterclass alumni as a part of it.


“It’s been a while since I have been so engaged that I did not have time to check my phone for three days in a row. The Hackathon Retreat has been a very insightful and fun experience for both the participants and me as well. The mentors' team was very welcoming, which was really important for me as a first-timer. I am looking forward to meeting team YEP and G48 at some future events! “

Dragomir Sargu



A huge thanks to the mentors who were with us, you are the one of the most fundamental parts of our hackathons and we could not do this without you. Thank you Mayri Tiido, Gerardo Garcia Diaz, Martin Verrev, Andriy Zaikin, Oxana Berza, Akram Karameh and Dragomir Sargu.

Who made it possible?

The Garage48 team would not be able to do it without our main partners in Moldova- YEP! Moldova and their team headed by Viorica Cerbusca, Maria Miron and Silvia Bivol with the help of the volunteers Nadelia, Mirolina and Paisie.

Mrs. Emilia and Mr. Sergiu Hanganu also deserve a huge thanks for kindly hosting us and for the delicious food.

The organizers and mentors:  (back to front, left to right) Martin Verrev, Gerardo Garcia Diaz, Siim Eesalu, Maria Miron, Mayri Tiido, Dragos Sargu, Oxana Berza and Viorica Cerbusca. 

We will definitely be back in Moldova and meet everyone again- at the next hackathons or the accelerator demo day. See you then!

The project was done with the support of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation Fund.

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