Interview with Camelia Sucu, Owner Class Living, Iconic Food Wine and Design.
How hard or easy is it to be an entrepreneur in Romania these days and what made you go this way?
Choosing to be an entrepreneur was a decision I made many years ago and I don’t even know if it was made in full awareness. I was guided by a spirit which I had and by concrete opportunities. Now, after 20 years and after gathering much experience, I can say that being an entrepreneur in Romania is like a game of chess in which one uses brains, as well as the power of strategic entrepreneurship and, above all, patience. Patience with social inertias, with authorities, with… the impatience to make money. There were years of growth, with better and more frequent opportunities. The years which we live – precisely because things got complicated and accelerated – make us reinvent ourselves, in order to advance. There is an English saying: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I believe in its truth.
How does your business conclude the present financial year and what estimations do you have for 2014?
The crisis of luxury furniture continues and there are no signs about the economy having recovered. Consumption is stagnant, even regressive, and this can be noticed immediately: long-term investments are the first to be cancelled. This was a modest year, in terms of the financial results achieved by this industry. I do not believe in spectacular reversals during 2014, not even in the improving of the situation. I often see the furniture business as an opportunity to offer beautiful things and aesthetic experiences to people who, like me, appreciate this, rather than as a profitable business which deserves effort. Nevertheless, I am glad to see that things seem to start improving in agriculture. The Wholesale Market makes profit and, more than that, it produces value. Here, I still seek partners in an investment which I consider can only be fructified through a public-private partnership, but I have hopes. I am optimistic and, fortunately, through my nature, difficulties always push me forward, instead of setting me back.
As an important actor of the investment market, what proposals do you have for Romanian authorities, aimed at improving the development climate of the business environment?
I already said it publicly, on many occasions, that I stopped having too many expectations from authorities and I reached the point when I wish and content myself with not encountering drawbacks, rather than waiting for incentives. But if we speak of proposals, I would like to witness the existence of sectors of national strategic interest, which authorities consider as such and treat of a preferential manner. Agriculture is one of these sectors, education is another. I wish an open, professional and transparent communication between the business environment and the government, with real interest of the latter for large-scale projects and for initiatives that bring value for Romania, not just for privileged businesses. I would like that entrepreneurs are not just heard, but also listened to. I feel that there is much noise today in regard to the entrepreneurship, but this rather is a noise created by us, speaking to each other, possibly with support from the press, but we are not really a priority on the government’s agenda. I would like to see authorities taking into consideration our proposals in various sectors and being glad for the fact that they can consult the entrepreneurial class, seeing it as a privilege: because here they can find a real pulse of the economy, along with viable solutions.