Empowering youth in Moldova and Ukraine

We are now on our fourth Empowering Youth Hackathon in Chisinau, Moldova, and we do not believe the event series is tiring. This spring, we met with around 100 people ready to change the world around them for the better - by themselves. We spent a week surrounded by the lovely greenery of Chisinau city, ambitious ideas, and the courage of the youth in Moldova and Ukraine.

The Empowering Youth series holds two separate events designed for youth - the Garage48 Mentor's Masterclass and Empowering Youth hackathon. Startups and ideas can grow faster and further with mentor support. We keep organising these two event series together to support the development of both - bold startup ideas and a supporting ecosystem that could nurture those ideas even further.

Our 5th edition of the Moldova Mentor's Masterclass brought together people from various backgrounds. The diversity of the participants created a good foundation for skill sharing. We met Diana - a startup founder operating in Moldova with her business registered in Estonia as an e-resident. Mihhail, on the other hand, has been working in a large corporation as an HR manager for decades and came to see how he could benefit from the lean startup approach in his everyday work. Nataliia has been getting several requests to share her Instagram wisdom as a social media influencer. She used this opportunity to raise her confidence for stepping into the mentoring role.

                        Garage48 Mentor's Masterclass workshop at ARTCOR in Chisinau, led by Mayri Tiido.

A day later, we were already welcoming our hackathon participants.

YEP! Moldova and YEP! Ukraine have been Garage48's development cooperation partners for more than four years. This collaboration enabled us to connect Ukrainian teams with the hackathon virtually and support them on their entrepreneurial journey, which they are determined to continue despite the ongoing war in Ukraine. As a result, we were delighted to welcome ten teams on-site in Chisinau and seven teams from Ukraine who joined us online.


The goal of the Empowering Youth hackathon series is to empower youth on two levels. The participants of the hackathon are young students and specialists who come together to build technology solutions that solve the challenges of the young students and specialists in their local community and country. This time the participants dived deep into the local challenges. They brought their ideas for digital solutions in healthcare, mobility, health & safety, the wellbeing of the elderly, circular economy, social support, and charity.


We expect to see more of this as Chisinau's technology and creative industries community grows. The fourth edition of the Empowering Youth Chisinau hackathon was the first to be held in MEDIACOR, a newly opened creative space for the media and film industries in the heart of Chisinau, which creation was supported by USAID Moldova and the Swedish Embassy in Moldova. The four floors spread across 2000 square metres offer space for the house studios, offices, and various workshop and event venues. It is exciting to be a part of this.

                    On our way to MEDIACOR new media hub in Chisinau, to kick off the hackathon.

There were several firsts during this time in Moldova. This was the first time in Garage48 history to be hearing an air raid siren going off during the final demo & pitch of a participant. This is the reality of our participants from Ukraine, who showed nothing but courage and creativity as they worked in extremely difficult conditions - with the wish to keep moving forward, keep the sight of recovering and just to have some normalcy in their lives as young and driven entrepreneurial individuals. The same courage and creativity the whole world has witnessed as Ukrainians fight the monstrous attack by Russia on their home and freedom.


Despite of it all, the participants of the hackathon made it to the finish line. Here are the winners.

An electric bike rental for food couriers will be moving forward to YEP! Moldova pre-accelerator program.

.                         Renter team.

🇲🇩 Yum.me - healthy sweets marketplace will be moving forward to YEP! Moldova pre-accelerator program.

                     Yum.me team.

🇲🇩 GiveIt
A charity platform for giving away furniture, electronics and other things not used anymore - is the Favorite of the Audience, receiving a 200€ Amazon gift card and the winner of a trip to Estonia, to sTARTUp Day 2022 festival with cost covered up to 2000 USD, with the support of USAID Moldova.

                     GiveIt team.

🇺🇦 InSightMe
​Service based on AI for a quick and effective "match" of people needing advice with those who want to quickly monetize their experience.

 won online tickets to sTARTUp Day 2022 festival for their great work as an online team in Ukraine.

InSightMe final pitch.

🇺🇦 Atheneum
A platform that simplifies NFT based content monetization for YouTubers.

Will get to work with Garage48 mentors as a special prize for the really good work done during the hackathon.

Atheneum final pitch.

We’ve experienced so many times how the teams who were not in the hackathon winners list, have made it anyway. “On their own” as we like to call it. If you believe in your team and idea, keep working and make use of the experience and connections made. These were all the teams with their ideas.


Techstar - application for learning programming through virtual games.

FaMed - a digital health registry that stores the patient data, accessible both for the patient and the doctor.

Picca - online hackathon management tool for automated checkpoints tracking, integrated notifications system and calendar.

Abyss  - smart and fashionable shoes for elderly

M-eat  - restaurants booking app

Yum.me - online store for healthy sweets

DarkOnTherm - a smartphone case that is regulating the phone temperature to prevent freezing or overheating

FreeWay  - smart bus stop system for eco-friendly electricity generation

Zero CO2  - mini robot that filters air


WOW - marketplace for sustainable products in Ukraine

Advertisement Bot  - automated monetization of Telegram ads

Format4Life  - solution for storing and analysing medical data for a more personalised treatment

All these teams made their ideas into working prototypes with the guidance of the hackathon mentors. Thank you for your time, knowledge and care for the participants - Mayri Tiido, Gerardo Garcia Diaz, Sergiu Negara, Dragos Sargu, Akram Karameh, Ion Olari, Vasile Nastas, Cristian Coșneanu, Nicolae Soitu.

It is the collaboration of Garage48, YEP! Moldova, NIKA Foundation, Artcor and Mediacor that made this event happen with the financing of Estonian Development Cooperation and with the support of USAID Moldova, Embassy of Sweden in Chisinau and sTARTUp Day 2022.

Until next time, already this summer in Moldova!

About the author

kadri tiisvelt

Kadri is the COO of Garage48 with years of experience as a hackathon organizer and community builder. She loves to create and bring together supportive environments for starting entrepreneurs who wish to make their ideas into valuable services and products. 🌸

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