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Building capacity of Business Angels in Romania

​At the beginning of June, Philippe Gluntz, President of Business Angels Europe, met in Bucharest representatives from private and public sector to discuss the state of art of business angel activity in the country and the main challenges.
 
The meetings in Romania were organized in the framework of the “Early Stage Investing Launchpad pilot project”, aimed at developing and boosting the activities for Business Angels through an international capacity building program.
 
Challenges and Propositions
Based on the discussions with different stakeholders from public and private sector, according to Mr. Gluntz the following challenges and propositions were discussed.
First, Romania has all the means to develop angel investment ecosystem. However, there are not yet in the country well developed, active and professional business angels networks with relevant investment experience and good track record. Further support is needed to support the existing “young” business angels networks and to share with them experience and best practices from more developed European angel markets. The ESIL pilot and other funded by the European Commission projects promoting the capacity building for business angels can be have significant impact in developing the early stage financing ecosystem in the country:
Second, in May 2015 the Romanian Parliament passed a law dealing with angel investing and the tax benefits granted to angel investors. The current tax scheme offers relief for both tax on dividends and capital gains tax which have been welcomed by the business environment. However, according to Philippe Gluntz, it is still unclear how the law will be applied and its real benefit for the angels as the incentive applies on returns on exits which happen many years after the investment and not up front as a tax deduction on the amount invested. During the discussion Philippe Gluntz highlighted the important role of fiscal incentives in stimulating the activity of business angels in a country by encouraging private investors to diversify their portfolio towards unquoted investments in high growth innovative companies. Philippe Gluntz also called policy officials for considering public grants for the development of Business Angel Networks and a Business Federation, as having been done in most of the developed countries to start the angel investing development process.
Finally, according to Mr. Gluntz the educational system is of very high quality and there is a lot research going on, however, the connection between research and the market is not strong and therefore there is lack of suitable investable companies. Further actions are needed to improve the demand and to bring ideas to the market. Public support is needed to support incubators to scale them up to accelerators not just acting as co-working spaces for start-ups but also providing equity, mentoring and coaching for startups. Romanian universities, researchers and entrepreneurs could benefit from support services for the exploitation of research results.
 
What is next?
The discussions in Bucharest provided very good insights on the current situation and public and private parties agreed that a lot of changes have to be done and shared willingness to work together in the upcoming months. Further discussions will take place at the beginning of December 2016, in Iasi, Romania at a conference organised by Business Angels Romania where Philippe Gluntz has been invited and confirmed his participation as speaker.
 
About BAE
Business Angels Europe (BAE) is the European Confederation of Angel Investing, representing the European Business Angels' Federations and Trade associations in Europe. BAE brings together the most active and developed countries operating in the angel market in Europe.
 
Business Angels Europe is the Voice of Angel Investing in Europe.
 
•    Ensuring a supportive fiscal and regulatory framework for angel investing across Europe.
•    Creating a connected ecosystem for angel investing across Europe, working with key players across the finance and business marketplace
•    Promoting the growth of the angel market in Europe and raising awareness of angel investing to individuals with the capacity to invest, bringing both finance and experience to small businesses.
 
For further information about BAE: www.businessangelseurope.com
 
About ESIL
Early Stage Investing Launchpad pilot has the overall objective of developing and boosting the activities for Business Angels through an international capacity building program.
 
ESIL pilot focuses on 3 EU Member States where the number of business angels (BAs) and BA related activities and investments are still under developed or just emerging. Particular attention is devoted to the seed and early stage investment in ICT highly innovative start-ups and SMEs
 
For further information: www.europeanesilpilot.eu