Mr. Rector, Mr. Minister, Your Excellencies,
It is a great pleasure to be here today to launch of Google’s Digital Workshop for Developers here at the University of Bucharest. It is a great chance to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship, education, and innovation.
Initiatives like this workshop are crucial in developing talent in Romania. It’s an investment in people, in education. When we invest in education, we invest in ourselves, we invest in our future and that is the best investment we all can make. Education expands opportunities; it leads to better jobs, it increases financial security, it gives better opportunities for our families, and it makes a positive impact on our world. It is the best investment a country can make, because an investment in people means that every dollar, every euro, every leu spent today developing youth will be worth something so much more valuable tomorrow—a nation with the education and skills that allows it to fully participate in society and to prosper.
One of the goals under the U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership is also to promote mutual economic prosperity. So we focus on encouraging and supporting Romania’s emerging entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems to help create that more prosperous Romania in the future.
This hub also highlights one of Romania’s competitive advantages—its tech-savvy, multilingual, and globally-minded population. But the challenge is that so many of those home-grown scientific and professional talents leave Romania to start companies abroad. So this initiative, Google and the University is critically important to focus on programs and opportunities to keep more of Romania’s talent here, where it belongs.
Talented Romanians with innovative companies have already shown their excellence and their success in the IT sphere here and around the world, but we would like to see that sector grow. The European Innovation Scoreboard characterizes Romania as a “modest innovator”, citing an innovation-friendly environment, sales and exports performance, and a skilled workforce. But, according to the Scoreboard, that innovation performance relative to the EU has been declining since 2010. So we are here to work together with you to reverse that trend and increase innovation. One way to do that is exactly through initiatives like this where industry partners with universities and other educational institutions to make sure that the workers of the future are trained with the skills of the future.
Our Strategic Partnership is shaped by free and open exchange of ideas and a commitment to enhancing those economic opportunities and we will continue to do our very best to engage Romania on economic programs that support small businesses, young entrepreneurs, startups and trade.
One of the reasons we focus so much on entrepreneurship is that it’s also a reflection of our American values—the idea of shared opportunity, access to quality education, and access to capital combined with a high tolerance for risk-taking; this is part of our American ethos.
So we are trying to capitalize American entrepreneurial success to support entrepreneurs in Romania. We have brought American entrepreneurs to Romania to share their expertise on the legal frameworks that facilitate entrepreneurship, the environment that promotes small businesses, and transparency measures that support the business climate, through the process of taking an idea, accessing capital, and commercializing a product. We have taken Romanian professors to the United States to learn about how we teach entrepreneurship in universities.
We are going to continue to do our part to share knowledge and support sustainable economic policy, and we can work together with Romania on the challenges that remain, including creating an investment friendly business climate, reducing red tape, and tackling corruption. These efforts will have a positive effect on attracting investors, growing the economy, and retaining human capital.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to join you. Congratulations again to Google, to the University and to all of the students that will be part of this program. Thank you!