I’ve done this graphic recording for Romanian Business Leaders (RBL), a foundation that facilitates the connection between start-ups and experienced entrepreneurs. They had their third yearly summit in Bucharest, on February 13 and 14, at JW Marriott Grand Hotel.
Their summits had two objectives. On one hand, they wanted to draw a line under their activity in the past year and build the foundation for the future. They gathered project coordinators and people who enrolled to their programs and created the space for constructive feedback and decisions.
On the other hand, they tried (and pretty much succeeded) to reunite businesses and government officials on the same ground, so that a dialogue could take place. Politicians like Maria Grapini — Minister for Small and Medium Businesses, Liviu Dragnea — Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Regional development and Public Administration and Remus Pricopie — Minister for Public Education joined in.
The greatest thing RBL does, in my opinion, is bringing at the same table young entrepreneurs and experienced Romanian business owners. Most start-ups don’t usually have access to people who made it up to the top, the so-called role-models. Most leaders I’ve seen in RBL are people with great practical experience, grit and they are action-oriented. You can check up on them.
Now the graphic recording canvas posted above is done in the second day of the summit, during the morning plenary session. Here’s what’s on it:
– During the communism, Ionuț Soleanicov was mostly annoyed by the fact that the few cartoons broadcasted on TV were very often interrupted by speeches held by dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. Problem solved once Ionuț and his family emigrated to the USA just before 1989. He went to study in New York, finished two masters, and — because at that time he craved to be rich — got a job at Lehman Brothers. Until one evening when he realized that in a couple of hours he had spent more than her grandma’s monthly pension!
So he decided to make a change. He started traveling across the world in order to give help to people who needed it. He surprisingly discovered that, across, different nations and economies, the most profitable investments are those made in education and healthcare.
He then realized that a country where help was needed was Romania. So he came back in order to put up an educational project based on a model that was already deemed as successful in a few countries. He founded a company where right now a group of seven people is headhunting top graduates and subtly places them in public schools, aiming a systemic change. This is what it’s called „Teach for Romania”.
– Jonas Schäfer, ex-manager of German film maker and record company Laughing Horse Music, discovered at some point the Romanian villages of Transylvania and kept coming to visit them. When his wife suspiciously asked him why was he traveling to Romania so often, he invited her too. They fell in love with the land and bought a house in Cund (Mureș County), and turned it into a touristic attraction for foreigners, called Valea Verde Retreat. Afterwards, they supported the villagers to do the same with their homes and the number of Romanian tourists grew, changing the life of a little community that can be barely found on the map.
– Being the City Manager of Alba Iulia, Nicolaie Moldovan seems to have taken seriously his job title. Alba Iulia, where there’s officially the biggest citadel in the country, managed to efficiently invest more than €200 mil. from European funding to wake up the slow engine of the local economy, based on a budget of only €1.3 mil. per year. This way, they created 38 projects and 1.500 jobs. They received from Moody’s a rating equal to that of Budapest and got quoted by the World Bank in a report as a case study of good practice.
– You may know Marcus Orlovsky from TEDx Bucharest 2012, who’s with the British education consultancy company Bryanston Square. He helps schools to enhance their looks and content in order to adapt to the children of today. Orlovsky says that while most changes that take place in our society happen in terms of months and years, schools make them in decades. Even minor changes tend to be adopted in as long as five years — more than a child spends in a school cycle (like high school).
Moreover, Orlovsky asks, how can we turn school into a thing and a place that makes children enthusiastic. How can we leave them space to innovate in the classrooms and how can we help schools prepare them for growing their capacity to create revenue, rather than to get hired?
Great questions to end the session, I’d say. And great stories to start the 2nd day!