Paul J.R. Renaud is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) who is specialised in peak performance, Brain-Science & Marketing. Paul has coached several start-ups and multinationals and has been living in Romania for fifteen years.
Romania is more than Bucharest
“Forget what you hear in the news about Romania. Come visit and give yourself four or five days to fall in love with Romania”.
That’s exactly what happened to Paul in 1997 when he first came to Romania from Canada. His career took him to many other places, but he returned to Romania in 2005 and has not left since.
After working in the telecom business for many years, Paul started his own company in 2012. “The growth potential is here. It’s a very ripe market to invest in for the long term”. And this is not limited to Bucharest. “Romania is more than Bucharest. You also need to look at other cities. Places such as Cluj, Iași and Brașov have tremendous potential”.
Networking in Romania
Paul is the author of ‘A Networking Book’ and member of the Netherlands Romanian Chamber of Commerce (NRCC). Being part of this bilateral network can be very useful for Dutch companies that start doing business in Romania. Paul:
“The government is not very proactive or progressive at helping businesses. As a result, businesses are helping themselves and it is quite admirable to see how well they have done in this regard”.
As a proud member of the NRCC, Paul strongly advices Dutch companies to become a member of this networking club. “Whenever you are looking at a new country, you either go by instinct or what you have heard by word of mouth by fellow friends. Once you get in the country, you need support and someone to exchange ideas with”. The many network events that the NRCC offer are a good platform to do so. Paul continues: “The NRCC provides Dutch entrepreneurs a good audience to test things, to validate and just talk about what it is like to work and live in Romania”.
There are some cultural differences in the way the Dutch and Romanians network. Dutch people like to get to the point fast, whereas it might take a little longer in Romania. Paul: “You need to give back, give it some time and be patient with your network and don’t expect things to happen overnight”.
Setting up a business
It’s a good time to expand your business to Romania. Especially logistics, agriculture, health, smart city-solutions, smart mobility-solutions, circular economy-solutions and waste management-solutions offer great business opportunities for Dutch companies that are interested in doing business in Romania.
Paul made a career change and set up his Romanian company in 2012. “It was quite easy to set up my own business. Unlike other countries, I did not need multiple partners to set up an SRL, the equivalent of a B.V. However, the setup time is a little longer than it is in the Netherlands”.
One of the first things he noticed about working with Romanians is that they are very hardworking, curious, tireless people that are eager to learn. As a foreigner, Paul felt very much respected and appreciated. Besides, he was impressed by the linguistic skills of most Romanians. Paul: “Most Romanians will speak three if not four languages”. But their beta qualities are very strong as well. “Romanians are typically very good mathematicians. As a result, you see very strong IT-talent.”
Should you start a business in Romania and work with local employees, there are some cultural differences that you should be aware of.
“When you manage people in the Netherlands, there is an implicit spirit of trust and, with that, almost an implicit permission to fail because it allows employees to learn, says Paul. He continues: “That attitude is still in the latent stage here. Your staff might see failure as something wrong”.
Creating an atmosphere in which your Romanian employees feel safe to make a mistake, will encourage them to come up with creative ideas.
One of the pitfalls of doing business in Romania is a lack of highway infrastructure, which makes the logistics more challenging than in the Netherlands. Fortunately, the government that was installed in March of 2020 recognizes this issue. Dealing with politics is another challenge for entrepreneurs in Romania. Paul: “There is not a lot of consistency between governments and some foreign investors complain about a lack of transparency in terms of getting ready for legislative changes. At times, changes were literally happening within two or three days.”
* The article was published on nlinbusiness.com website