Romania’s “disobedient” GenZ shun employment for startups

Romania’s “disobedient” GenZ shun employment for startups
Generation Z is the first completely digitalised generation.
By Clare Nuttall in Bucharest September 26, 2018

A large share of the startups in Romania have been launched by people in the 29 and under age group, indicating Generation Z Romanians increasingly prefer to launch their own businesses, analysis from consultancy Cromwell Evan Global shows. 

The data from the National Statistics Institute reveals no less than 54.41% of shareholders in companies in Romania were in this age group as of July 31, 2018, up a dizzying five times compared to 2017. 

Distribution of shareholders/associates by age. Source: INS/Cromwell Evan Global.

“These are the representatives of generation Z, also known as the completely digitalised generation. Extremely ambitious, but with a low level of obedience, those can become successful entrepreneurs,” said a comment from newly launched Bucharest-based consultancy. 

There’s some ambiguity over when Generation Y, also known as the Millennial generation, ends and Generation Z begins. US-based think tank Pew Research Centre announced earlier this year it would apply the term “millennial” only to people born between 1981 and 1996, meaning that by its definition millennials are aged between 22 and 36.

According to that definition, many of the shareholders in the Romanian National Statistics Institute’s 29 and under category are actually Millennials, but wherever the line is drawn the figures show a startlingly large proportion of shareholders are in the youngest decade of adulthood. 

Cromwell Evan Global’s founder and co-managing partner Oana Motoi told a press conference this is a phenomenon seen all over the world, not just in Romania. 

The other observation made by Motoi is that a lot of the businesses launched by younger Romanian adults are "more oriented towards creatives, restaurants and things like this”. 

“They are the creators of the new business type: from specialty coffee shops and design studios, to IT hubs or fashion businesses,” the firm’s analysis said. 

This indicates that younger entrepreneurs are embracing sectors that fit in with a certain kind of lifestyle — rather than seeking to build groundbreaking businesses. 

“We have seen large multinationals starting to work with subcontractors because this generation doesn’t want to get stuck in the office, work eight hours a day and sometimes more, they want to be flexible, they want to have a flexible programme and so on,” Motoi told journalists. 

And while many of the businesses launched by young entrepreneurs may not have the potential for breakout success, the exception is the IT sector, which has been highly attractive for entrepreneurs in Romania, already a popular destination for international IT and outsourcing firms. 

Examples of successful companies launched by older generations of Romanians include robotic process automation (RPA) software  company UiPath, which raised $225 million in its latest series C funding in mid September, taking its valuation to $3bn. Bitdefender is another example of a company founded by Romanians that has achieved international success, but there are also strong examples across the IT hardware and game development segments among others.