“We must increase the living standards in Romania in order to keep the young people from leaving.”

Anca Vlad, founder of the Fildas-Catena pharmaceutical group, is part of the first generation of Romanian entrepreneurs after 1989. She is the Vice President of the Businessmen’s Association of Romania (AOAR), an apolitical organization that supports and encourages domestic capital, and she also occupies the position of Honorary President of PIAROM – the organization of Romanian Investors. In 2018, Anca Vlad, ranked first in Forbes’ top 50 most influential women in Romania.

The experience she has gained over 27 years of entrepreneurship places Anca Vlad in a position of good knowledge of the Romanian business environment. Domestic private capital continues to grow despite a lack of communication with public institutions and an ongoing high level of bureaucracy. ‘’I think we deserve better services coming from the Government than the ones we presently have”, said Anca Vlad during the Forbes CEE Forum 2018, referring to the expectations that businessmen have when it comes to public authorities.

Anca Vlad pointed out that currently there are no statistics regarding the amount of investments made by Romanian entrepreneurs, despite the fact that they have been investing for many years now. The statement is justified since, in public debates, the activities of state-owned companies and the investments of multinationals are widely discussed, while the Romanian domestic capital is more and more ignored. Romanian entrepreneurs are the biggest tax payers, but the authorities always place them in a lower position in public dialogues. However, Anca Vlad stated that the measures of reducing the corporate tax have helped Romanian entrepreneurs. She points out the difference between the Romania as a country and the Romanian politicians, although the country is governed by them.. The politicization of the public institutions would not be such a serious issue if the politics were very good. ‘’On one hand, there are employees in the public institutions who do their duties, but on the other hand, as regards the Romanian politics, I must admit that it is far behind the actual economic context.” She also referred to the country’s poor infrastructure: ‘’It is a mandatory requirement. You cannot have a place in Europe without a European infrastructure.”
The Otopeni airport is a perfect example of outdated infrastructure that shocks foreigners who arrive for the first time in Romania. “This is part of Romania’s image. The Government must get involved in helping the economy and the local entrepreneurs, and must be constantly preoccupied with improving the image of the country. Moreover, the Government must also start a dialogue with the business environment. “We deserve more attention when it comes to promoting Romanian entrepreneurship.”

Facing a general crisis in the Romanian labor market, Fildas-Catena Group found a solution to this problem by adopting innovative formulas. The Group has over 6,000 employees and continues to hire. “We look for talented young people in the pharmaceutical, IT and marketing fields. We can find them due to our strong brand, as well as to our training and promotion methods, which are well-known and highly appreciated. But I wonder what happens with those entrepreneurs who are just about to start a business and for whom finding labor force is so difficult,” says Anca Vlad. She explains that Romanian private firms face difficulties in attracting the labor force because they compete with European companies, which can appreciate the work value and repay it better. Anca Vlad considers that the worry about the departure of Romanians to work abroad is a false one. “It is about the mobility of the labor force. It is a right won by our entry into Europe and we must not see this migration as a negative thing. On the contrary, this must stimulate entrepreneurs to reach the European level of performance. This means greater effort and better cooperation with public institutions.”

Anca Vlad stated that the Romanian educational system does not offer enough practical skills, that the failure to graduate for half of those in high school is due to a tight curriculum – which forces them to neglect what truly matters. She admitted that Romanian business people are still not investing enough in educational programs. She gave the example of OvidiuRo Association and Salvați Copiii Association, which invested in very important projects for the inclusion and education of preschool and school children from underprivileged families, a must for their later evolution. “It would be a shame to lose these resources, such a shame, because there are a lot of intelligent people in Romania. It takes a national effort to make a better country”, Anca Vlad concluded.

Article published in Forbes number 199 about the Forbes CEE Forum, the only regional annual event organized in Romania since 2014, bringing together editors from the Forbes network in the CEE and EMEA regions, along with international leaders in the political, business and financial sphere.