Reporter REGIO: episode 10

Perfect smiles with REGIO

Success stories, possible with the support of Regio Nord-Est 2014-2020


They have been together since the 5th grade, they grew up in Vaslui and graduated from the University of Dental Medicine in Iași City, in the 2000s. Acatrinei spouses raised 5 children together: their daughter and 4 dental practices where they invested a lot of time and passion throughout the years. The last „child” is raised and developed with the support of European funds through the Regional Operational Program 2014-2020: Dr. Acatrinei Clinic. The project implemented in Iași, in the heart of Copou Park, meant ” Consolidation, modernization of the building „, a project with a non-reimbursable financial assistance in the amount of 742k euros.

From Iași City to Moldovița Village and back

After finishing their residency in Iași, Dragoș and Laura Acatrinei decided to move to the countryside, with their parents, to Moldovița Village in Suceava county, to start something of their own, on their own. They opened a dental office at the dispensary in the village and worked there for 3 years. However, Dragoș felt the need for a bigger city to do his job, and the closest one was Câmpulung Moldovenesc, 30 km away. In a space that was not necessarily intended for a dental practice, it was more of a hallway, they set up a suitable place for dental work, in medical centre of the city, and practiced there until 2012. For a while, Laura went to Moldovița, and Dragoș at Câmpulung, but when she returned from maternity leave, she also gave up the dental office in the countryside and chose the city. When their daughter started school, they decided to move back to Iași, considering that a big city has more opportunities for children. With savings and the help of their parents, they built a house and in the basement they set up, again, another dental office. The third one. „We thought it was the last one. I didn’t give up the dental office in Câmpulung. I went there 3 days a week until I handed everything over to another doctor. And I worked at the home dental office until March 2022, when I opened the clinic„, says Laura.

The pandemic and its benefits

Laura Acatrinei believes that she has always met the right people, at the right time, throughout her professional career so far. That’s how she found out about the opportunity for European funds. Through people. The fact that her husband, being a surgeon, performs a complicated dental operation, brought them patients, through recommendations, from all over the region of Moldova. At one point he also had a patient who was a consultant on European funds. He whetted their appetite for funds by telling them about projects and opened calls at that time. „I admit, I had colleagues who accessed funds and I kept telling my husband to submit a project too. Even though most of them told us that „it’s very difficult, you don’t need something like that, better not”. You need a little bit of madness to get into something like this, and we have that dose of madness, honestly. Everyone said it’s easier to get equipment on funds, but things get complicated if you also do construction. However, we were not discouraged. We had already a building, it was the old TeleM television headquarters in Copou Park, which we bought at a certain point, with the idea that we would capitalize on it someday. And we submitted the project„. It was an old building that had to be demolished. In the summer of 2019, the work began. Everything was going well except that, in March 2020, the pandemic came. „Initially we panicked, like everyone else, our offices were closed, and going to the dentist was the last priority then. But I can say that it was for our good because my husband stayed with the builders all that time and saw every screw put in place. He is a perfectionist, and I don’t think it was a pleasure for the builders. In the end, I said that this pandemic was fine for us. In other conditions, my husband would not have been able to supervise the work, and you really have to stay with the builders if you want it to turn out as it should. During the pandemic we had continuous occupation„, says Laura.

A dental clinic with top-of-the-line equipment

With a project of 1,1 million euros and a non-refundable financial assistance of 742k euros, Acatrinei spouses built a new clinic with top-of-the-line equipment, from dental chairs to the operating room. Also, they really wanted to provide services for children with disabilities, but they still haven’t found that colleague, an anesthesiologist, willing to work with these children. „Now we are in discussions with someone and we are waiting to see if he agrees. We will do it, it is our dream to help children with disabilities, but we are waiting to find the right person„, says Laura Acatrinei.

The right person at the right place

Valentina joined the team at Acatrinei’s dental clinic in 2016 as an office manager. She is the one who took care of all the administrative parts of the submission and then the implementation of the project. She worked closely with the consultants and obtained all the necessary documents from the authorities. She remembers, smiling, that… „everything was on the last mile. Now, looking back, it’s funny, but at that time, all phones were on fire. Each time, I submitted documents on the last day that they could be submitted. That’s how it is when you work with institutions. You submit a request and unfortunately, sometimes you have to wait more than 30 days. It was always stressful. It takes a long time to get all the approvals. I remember that the construction authorisation also came out with difficulty. I took it, scanned it, and sent it to North-East RDA. That’s how all went. You go through a lot, but when you get to the point where you realize it’s over, it doesn’t even matter how hard it was. I always said that this project was my first child, then the second followed, my own child„, says Valentina, with emotion. Then Laura said „that’s why it’s important to meet the right people in life. I was also very lucky with Valentina, if it wasn’t for her to take care of all the paperwork, I don’t know how we would have done it„.

Patients, invited to the inauguration of the clinic

The inauguration of the clinic took place in March 2022, and as a sign of gratitude, Acatrinei spouses invited to the launching event all those who have contributed, in one way or another, to the success of the project: builders, architects, designer, consultants, those who helped with the purchase of equipment and, of course, patients. „Because we build friendships, not partnerships. We have patients who come to visit on Holidays, I have maintained close relations with many of them. I like to bond with people. And when we hire, we choose people based on the chemistry between us and the desire to work with each other as a family. I feel that this is the only way we can move forward. We like to build and grow together,” says Laura.

As for future plans, Acatrinei spouses want to enjoy what they have built. They hope their daughter will follow their footsteps and, who knows, maybe she will submit the next project with European Funds. Shortly, they would like to find two or three colleagues to work within the clinic, but they are in no rush because they are convinced that when the time is right, it will happen. „It’s good to be lucky in everything in this life, but most of all in people said Ileana Vulpescu. It is a confirmation of what I think and I want whoever will work with us to be worth it. We are in no rush to hire. Valentina’s sister, for example, worked as a nurse with us for a year, she liked it, she studied dental medicine, now she is in her 6th year and we can’t wait for her to come work with us„, says Laura Acatrinei. She also strongly affirms that nothing they managed to build in the heart of Copou Park would have been possible without the help of European Funds.

Reporter REGIO is a new North-East RDA initiative, which focuses on promoting the successful projects of our beneficiaries, projects that have managed to stand out by bringing added value and impact to the community. At a time when negative news predominates, we offer you beautiful but true stories for reading, meant to strengthen the belief that „it is possible”! Be part of the story!

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