Territorial offices for SMEs, transformed into agencies for attracting investment and promoting exports

A series of decisions whose purpose is to stimulate the business sector and to encourage exports were analysed and approved during the first meeting of the new Government. One of them seeks to transform the current territorial offices for SMEs into territorial agencies. The modification also entails the setting up of such an agency in Bucharest, which will take over from the Ploiesti Territorial Office for SMEs its activity for the Bucharest and Ilfov County area.

In the first meeting of the new Government, the Executive also approved two proposals tabled by the Ministry for the Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, proposals seeking to support the development and consolidation of the Romanian business environment. One of the emergency ordinances analysed and adopted on June 30 comes to support entrepreneurs and the business sector. The new institutional framework seeks to support SMEs, attract investments and encourage exports, but also to implement the ‘Start-up Nation – Romania’ Programme adapted to the expectations of the business environment. Basically, this emergency ordinance will set up nine territorial agencies whose role will be to implement the programmes of support for the setting up and development of SMEs, including the ‘Start-up Nation – Romania’ programme launched on 15 June 2017.

The agencies will be headquartered in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Constanta, Craiova, Iasi, Ploiesti, Targu Mures and Timisoara. They will be set up by reorganising the eight territorial offices for SMEs that currently exist in Romania, and will be subordinated to the Ministry for Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. It must be pointed out that, in contrast to the prior manner of organisation, the novelty will be the Bucharest agency, which will take over from the Ploiesti Territorial Office for SMEs the activity for Bucharest and Ilfov County. At the same time, these regional agencies will also contribute to stimulating the business environment at a regional level, considering that the new institutional framework entails both an expansion of prerogatives and a growth in the capacity to respond to the demands of those who want to open a business, against the backdrop in which more than 10,000 entrepreneurs are estimated to benefit from the national programmes for SMEs in 2017.

These estimates were made bearing in mind the fact that, since the launch of the ‘Start-up Nation – Romania’ Programme and the adoption of the aforementioned emergency ordinance, more than 3,100 entrepreneurs have filed business plans with this programme, the sign-up session set to end on July 14. Last but not least, the new agencies from the nine cities will also have prerogatives in what concerns attracting investments and encouraging exports. Referring to the setting up of these agencies, Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Minister Ilan Laufer stated: “The measure comes to support the SMEs’ sector, foreign investments and the activity of export promotion, having as direct impact both the development and consolidation of the business environment on a regional plane, as well as the concrete implementation of the Start-up Nation Programme, which are the Business Environment Ministry’s priorities in the governing platform.”

The second act backed by Minister Ilan Laufer during the new Government’s first meeting approves the inclusion of the ‘de minimis’ aid scheme for the programme of support for the internationalisation of economic operators in the Romanian state’s economic-budgetary and financial policies. Through this programme, set to be implemented in 2017-2020, the Business Environment Ministry encourages Romanian companies and wants to use new instruments of individual promotion for the development of partnerships abroad and the hiking of the number of Romanian companies present on foreign markets.

This programme’s beneficiaries are the SMEs that operate in Romania. They can receive financing within the limit of RON 50,000/year/beneficiary for a wide range of activities. We are talking about individual participations at international fairs and exhibitions; individual participations at economic missions organised abroad; creating an SME’s visual identity, the construction of a website/mobile app; training courses for employees, market analyses and surveys; other types of activities promoting and supporting internationalisation. Its estimated budget in 2017 totals RON 5 M, the programme’s budget for the entire period (2017-2020) totalling RON 71 M.

Referring to this legislative act, Minister Ilan Laufer pointed out: “Together with the Romanian business sector we are changing the paradigm in what concerns exports. Apart from products, we must give attention to the export of services, of know-how, and I rely on the fact that Romanian entrepreneurs have a very high capacity to adapt and find innovative solutions to enter external markets. That is why I want a rapid implementation of the measures that are incumbent on us based on the governing platform, in order to support the internationalisation of the business environment.”

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