After Romania joined the EU in 2007, the number of Romanians who emigrated grew every year
After Romania joined the EU in 2007, the number of Romanians who emigrated grew every year, with Italy, Spain and the UK being the main destination countries. The main reason for leaving is better jobs. Starting from the idea that many of them would be willing to return home, Romania has come up with a number of projects meant to support those who want to return and set up a business here, which is also provided with support from the EU.
Quote: “There is a window of opportunity in this direction in the next few years, there is the possibility of developing profitable businesses in Romania, if they bring in their know-how, their resources, and the willingness to work hard, and we believe this would make a great contribution to the country”, said in October last year Marius Bostan, social entrepreneur, as well as an expert on projects for local development, business management and financing, who acted as the minister for communication and information technology in the Dacian Ciolos technocratic government.
One first step in motivating Romanians to return home was the project called Repatriot, designed by Romanian Business Leaders, introduced at the Bucharest Business Summit- Together for Romania event, held by the higher echelons of Romanian business, designed to reconnect Romanians in the diaspora with their country, especially in order to encourage investment in the country.
Support from Bucharest came in the form of providing information and advice for quick access to opportunities throughout the country. The conclusion of the meeting was that Romanians abroad would be most willing to invest in IT, farming and tourism. According to most participants, Romania offers attractive opportunities for business people who wish to take advantage of them; at the same time, they concluded that there were still many hurdles in the way of a healthy business environment, such as excessive red tape, the system of taxation, as well as lack of legislative predictability.
Recently, another project in this area was introduced, Diaspora Invest, which will run until September 2020 by associations with the SMART Development Center, the Young Entrepreneurs Association from the South – East Region, and the League of Romanian Students Abroad.
The project encourages the entrepreneurial spirit of Romanians who had to go abroad for work, encouraging them to start their own businesses in the 7 least developed regions of Romania. Within this project, the European Union offers grants of up to 40,000 Euro for non-farming businesses in the urban environment that create at least two jobs.
Radu Oprea is the president of the Young Entrepreneurs Association from the South – East Region: “They need to have a residence in Romania, and also show that in the last 12 months they have lived in the diaspora. We want to have applicants from as many countries as possible, because we are interested in new things. Even if someone lives in the US, for instance, learning all sorts of things there, we want to bring them here to the country to open a business inspired by their experience over there. Obviously we are trying to bring in people from the EU, but also the Republic of Moldova, and, why not, from more remote countries, such as Asian countries.”
In addition to applying in Romania the best business ideas inspired by economic systems from more developed countries, the project is true to its objective of attracting back home Romanians living or working abroad.
Here is Iulian Cazacu, president of the SMART Development Center Association: “One statistic we have shows that about 3.2 million Romanians have emigrated. This wave started growing in 2007, when Romania joined the EU. Studies indicate that about 20% of them show a willingness to start a business in Romania or buy land here, or build property on it. Of course, even though most of them went to countries like Spain, Germany, the UK, we are targeting Romanians all over the world. For this, we will be holding a series of events in Europe, in ten cities in Europe, as well as in three cities in the US, in order to promote new opportunities for them.”
Through the Diaspora Start-up program, supported by the Ministry for the Romanians Abroad, people in the diaspora can get support in the country for independent activities, entrepreneurship, and start-up businesses, including micro-enterprises and innovative SMEs, with the specific aim of creating jobs through stimulating non-farming businesses in the urban environment. In the summer, the relevant authority in Bucharest approved 32 projects worth 76 million Euros through the Diaspora Start-up program.