Thanks to the European Union assistance, Nicolae Dunas’ factory was endowed with an air compressor, essential equipment for furniture production process. Currently, the factory has three employees, but the number of employees increases depending on the season. Photos: Ion Buga/European Union Delegation to the Republic of Moldova

Nicolae Dunas is well known in Cahul for his sports performance, as a martial arts coach, but also for his entrepreneurial activity. It has been for nine years since when Nicolae Dunas owns a furniture production factory, which is simply called by local people “La Nicu” (At Nicolae). The factory is localized in Roșu village, Cahul district, and manufactures kitchen, living, hall and bedroom furniture on commission.

In 2021, thanks to the European Union’s assistance, Nicolae Dunas’ factory was endowed with an air compressor, essential equipment for furniture production process, ensuring quality and cleanliness throughout the entire chain, as well as better working conditions for the employees. “It is the brain of the technological process. In this way we diminish the costs and obtain the desired result rapidly and safely,” says Nicolae Dunas, founder of Prim Art Ltd.

His company is one of the 13 grant beneficiaries provided by the Local Action Group “Valea Halmagei” from the European funds of the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme. In 2021, Valea Halmagei LAG received assistance for €50,000, which is invested, at its turn, in development projects of member localities.

A craft inherited from his father

Nicolae ended up in business after a carrier in pedagogy and sports, being a martial arts coach. He just told himself one day why not to try to work on his own. Hence, in 2012 Nicolae opens a mini factory to manufacture furniture.

The area in which he decided to try his forces was selected somehow naturally: “My father is a professional carpenter and I was working with him and helping him since I was a child. Thus, when I decided to start up a business, I considered that a furniture factory would be the most appropriate.”

The factory managed by Nicolae is equipped with modern technology, has a well-thought and computerized production process. The factory makes living, kitchen, bedroom and hall furniture on commission. Currently, the factory has three employees, but the number of employees increases depending on the season.

The new equipment has considerably facilitated the work of his employees, who have been trained how to use new technologies.

He has been living and working under the same roof for seven years

Nicolae Dunas’ business got rather developed in nine years and currently it has an annual turnover of one million MDL. During this time, the clients got to know and appreciate his products: “The clients come directly to the factory and we take all orders here, as we do not yet have a showroom,” tells Nicolae.

The furniture factory from Roșu village had clients even during the pandemic period: “We have been working in 2020 and we had a higher number of orders for kitchen furniture than usually. During the lockdown people spent more time at home and probably wanted some changes,” mentions the entrepreneur.  

Nicolae is an entrepreneur fully dedicated to his work, and the best evidence for this would be the fact that his office and his house are under the same roof. “When being a young businessman you have to be close to your business. There is no other way,” states Nicolae.

Hence, the equipment and the factory itself are located at the first floor, while the attic is used by Nicolae, his wife and their two children for living.

The new equipment filters the air and allows painting automatically the furniture without leaving any traces.

“I start working from 7 in the morning until evening, from Monday to Friday, spending the weekends with my family.

His wife, Natalia, will soon become his business partner, as she is taking now interior design training courses, which will be transposed into practice in their new furniture pieces.

Being always next to his business, Nicolae nevertheless plans to change his residence in future, also in Cahul district. Hence, he will have more space available to extend his business, but also will be able to separate work from personal life.

He plans to open showrooms in Romania, Austria, Spain

In 2021, thanks to the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme, Nicolae Dunas’ factory got equipped with an air compressor. With a personal contribution of 32,000 MDL and a European grant of €3,960, Nicolae succeeded to eliminate a serious problem in the factory’s production process. “The paint robot is leaving traces when painting the furniture. We identified that the problem was caused by the air with tiny dust particles, steam or H2O as a result of this procedure. The air compressor, procured under the grant, solved this problem. The new equipment filters the air and allows painting automatically the furniture without leaving any traces,” describes Nicolae Dunas. The new equipment has considerably facilitated the work of his employees, who were trained how to use new technologies.

The entrepreneur also organizes periodically open door days for young professionals – students from carpentry schools, young people passionate of making furniture – to present them the technological process and provide master-classes on furniture production, wood polishing and painting. In this way, he increases the number of people fond of wood, as well as that of his future employees or competitors.

Nicolae Dunas has wonderful development plans. He wants to open a number of showrooms. “My plan is to open my first showroom in Galați, Romania and another one in the Republic of Moldova. We already have undertaken some specific steps in this respect in Romania, which is a market with a higher capacity. We have some space there for this purpose. In the next three-five years, I also plan to open showrooms in Austria or Germany, United Kingdom and Spain.”

The factory managed by Nicolae or “La Nicu”, as the local people call it, is equipped with modern technology, has a well-thought and computerized production process.

The entrepreneur from Cahul intends to access the European market on two segments: an economical one and a business-type one. For the first segment, Nicolae Dunas intends to develop modular kitchens, manufactured on commission, which can be easily modified depending on the needs of the client; while the business-type segment will be dedicate to personalized kitchens with more smart options.    

About grants provided to Local Action Groups: Four Local Action Groups from Cahul and Ungheni regions benefited from grants for €50,000 each, provided by the European Union as financial assistance. The Local Action Groups (LAG) “Lunca Prutului de Jos”, “Cişmeaua Sudului”, “Valea Halmagei” and “Movila Măgura” were selected under the grants’ call launched in 2020 by the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme. All in all, 47 development micro-projects are implemented in rural communities from both focal regions. Initiatives for promoting sustainable rural tourism, endowing kindergarten with smart equipment, renovating parks and public transportation waiting stations to facilitate community mobility; and for supporting existing business – provision of modern equipment to furniture factories, bakeries, poultry enterprises or mini dairy plants – are launched in villages from Cahul and Ungheni with financial assistance offered by the European Union. The new projects will create at least 30 new places of work in those 4 LAGs.

About EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme: supports smart, green, inclusive and sustainable social-economic development in Cahul and Ungheni regions, to provide to citizens a better quality of life. The Programme (2019-2024) has a budget of €23 mln., is financed by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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