Speakers on the panels of Day 3 of the 2016 Foreign Investors Summit (FIS) made a case for entrepreneurship education as a powerful and necessary tool in shaping the future of entrepreneurship in Romania.

The need for education emerged as a theme across panels, with speakers representing both the public and the private sector stressing its importance. A speaker on the Industry Zoom: Impactful Entrepreneurial Ventures panel, Ilinca Paun – Managing Partner, Colliers International spoke of the need to bring companies closer to startups. “In Romania we have a lot of entrepreneurial spirit. Young people hate corporations. That is why, they should integrate more startups in their structure. Young people are much braver than we were,” she said.

“We are very lucky to be part of this transformation, to carry it forward”, co-panelist Bogdan Iordache – Managing Director, MVP Academy said. “It can be started at a very early age. In the US, you teach kids to make lemonade and cookies to strangers. My first job, as a shy IT student, was to sell bingo tickets at Izvor metro station. To be able to do that at an early age is very valuable. I believe you should start soon, in kindergarten. Do not read books about it, but do something, be an entrepreneur.”

A speaker on the same panel, American-born Patrick Gates warned that “what Romania really lacks is management. One of the problems is that young people, or people my age as well think too much in Silicon Valley terms and are too tied up in American culture.”

According to CCIFER Executive Manager Adriana Record, the tools needed to bridge the gaps in development are education and innovation in education. “We want a digital Romania, but this label should not be one of marketing, but one of substance.”

“Education is not a responsibility of all factors involved taken separately, namely the state, the schools, the parents and the students, but of everyone taken as a whole,” Oana Toiu, State Secretary with the Labour Ministry said.

Georgeta Gheorghe