On October 8th, Modex – the blockchain database company – took center stage at Romania Tech Nation 2019, together with world-class businessmen, national and international companies and the President of Romania. During the event, Alin Iftemi, Head of Modex, sought to find out from President Klaus Iohannis which are the government’s plans for the IT industry.
Alin Iftemi: Is there a real plan to support tech companies or laws such as the reintroduction of taxes for IT specialists will be reinstated?
Klaus Iohannis: In almost a decade, the IT sector has grown from zero to 6% of GDP, which is a lot. This has been possible thanks to two important factors. The first, also mentioned by you: young and less young entrepreneurs. Most of them have taken advantage of these opportunities and have contributed to the impressive development of the entire industry. The other contributing factor comes from the state, more precisely those incentives which have been created. In my opinion, here we mustn’t go back, but continue even further. If we have this industry that is developing without an active intervention from the state, then any politician should understand these things, should see clearly that not only do we have to encourage the sector, but we must also develop it. Here, the state made a big mistake in the way that it didn’t correlate this sector, which is growing exceptionally, with the state institutions. It’s a pity to have an extremely well-performing sector and not use it to its full potential. For me, this seems like a waste of opportunity and from here the next measures to encourage the industry should come, measures which will lead to even more business opportunities in this segment.”
Organized by The National Council of SMEs in Romania and BCR (Romanian Commercial Bank) under the high patronage of Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, Romania Tech Nation 2019 aims to spearhead Romania’s transformation through technology. The first step in achieving this objective is uniting the key-people and then focusing on three strategic directions: the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the entrepreneurial educational system and public policies, with annual tactic and strategic objectives for the next five and ten years.
“I’m speaking here in front of many business representatives and many young people involved directly, in various ways, in innovation and research. I know the value of your work and your ideas and I know that you are the engine for Romania’s development as a digital nation. That’s why I’m expecting that supporting the digital sector in Romania will be, as a zero priority, on the agenda of every government. The current value of the domestic tech industry is approximately 4.5 billion euros, and the workforce includes over 140,000 professionals in this field. Despite this, the economy’s digitalization is lagging behind, with more than 1/5 of Romanians having never used the Internet and less than 1/3 have basic digital skills. Moreover, digital discrepancies between the urban and rural areas grow even bigger year over year. Unfortunately, we have the lowest performance in the European Union when it comes to public digital services, although two decades have passed since the informatization of the administration has been declared a governmental priority”, stated President Iohannis in his speech.
Currently, Romania ranks 27/28 when it comes to DESI (Index of Economy and Digital Society). In addition, 8% of SMEs have online sales (the UE average is 17%) and only 29% of individuals aged 17-74 boast basic digital competences. Besides those numbers, we find the real Romania and the gifted youth the country has. And they have to be helped by the state to advance even further.
Until now, Modex has succeeded in taking important steps only with the help of private investors, internal and external partners and the outstanding team based in Bucharest. In his 2-minute speech held in front of Romania’s President and the audience of over 500 students, businessmen, and important companies, Alin Iftemi told the story of Modex related to blockchain, a revolutionary technology which has been growing since 2009, when cryptocurrencies came into focus.
“Modex understood the potential of this technology and has done some research to identify the ways in which it can be applied on the industrial level. For over two years we’ve been working on an innovative product, Blockchain Database, which aims to facilitate the adoption of blockchain technology and its benefits to industrial software products for enterprises. This year, we will continue to test the product on the market and beginning next year we will start an even bigger campaign to promote it internationally. I am sure that Modex will become the number one option for any developer, company or governmental institution that wants to adopt blockchain for software product development. I salute the initiative of this project (Romania Tech Nation), but I would also like to reiterate that much more than this will be needed for tech start-ups in Romania to succeed internationally. We need support from the government, financing programs, and a test market.”
Alin considers that Romania will become Europe’s most important tech hub. Thanks to the initiatives of young Romanian entrepreneurs, Romania will be as well-known in Europe as Silicon Valley is in the United States. However, in order for this dream of Romanian IT professionals to become a reality, we need serious involvement from every public and private entity which plays an important role in this scenario of a digital Romania.