Special Talks with Mr. Alexandru Borcea – President of the Board, ARIES
I have personally met Mr. Alexandru Borcea on the occasion of Romania’s country presence at the major international ICT events in Germany. With a discrete elegance and a courteous attitude, Mr. Borcea – President of the Romanian Association for Electronic Industry and Software (ARIES) has been one of the most active and perseverant promoters of Romania’s information technology capabilities and potential on the global market, in the last decades.
Founder of ARIES in 1992, Mr. Alexandru Borcea has coordinated the association in order to ensure the high visibility of Romanian ICT abroad. His constant efforts have managed to attract important partners form the public and private sector, such as: the Electronic Industries Association, Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance, ZVEI, OPIC, Chambers of Commerce from USA, Denmark, Netherlands, CNA Veneto, The Romanian National Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, The Romanian Ministry of Economy, EICTA, BITCOM, ZVEI, JISA, IAESI and many more.
In the current edition, Mr. Borcea agreed to share with us some of his thoughts on the Romanian ICT industry and to speak about the association’s plans and objectives.
1.Based on your long term experience in developing international partnerships, how do you view Romania on the future global ICT map?
I can thoroughly declare that the Romanian ICT industry may be considered as one of the most redoubtable industries at global level. The above statement is based on our country’s exceptional results of IT exports (1.5 billion EURO in 2013, starting from 30 million USD in 1999; unfortunately I did not yet receive the data for 2014) and of electronics export (2.7 billion EURO in the same year), and also on the interest that many foreign companies manifest in order to invest in Romania. This last month only (!), we have been visited by TELUS Canada (which has already started its investment) and BAUMER from Switzerland, for the same purpose.
Another encouraging fact for me and a strong argument for our members’ business partners is the considerable increase in sophistication and innovation of the Romanian ICT counterparts. If a few years ago I could rely only on skills (outsourcing) when establishing the ICT exports promotion programs, today, I can barely count a member who could not provide evidence of competencies in one of the following: mobile applications, transportation, health, Security, automotive, education and others. In such context the number of European Research projects has meaningfully increased and they currently support a set of competencies and products acknowledged at international level.
2.What are challenges that ARIES is facing today, compared to similar associations form Europe?
The biggest challenge that we are facing is the frail associative and entrepreneurial culture, doubled by the weak capacity of sharing trust among the communities in our country, including ARIES community. We have a culture focused on individualism, specific to the southern regions with warmer climate and a low engagement in the European community. Considering the human potential that we have and the opportunities that constantly appear from around the world, should we demonstrate the community and entrepreneurial culture from the Western Europe, we could definitely raise up to the most developed countries’ results.
3. You are one of the most active promoters of Romania as a software development and IT services partner; what determined you to persevere in your actions with ARIES?
I have founded in 1992 and I have promised my cofounding friends that I will turn this association into a viable and durable organization. During the 24 operating years we have faced many challenges, including the threat of abolishing the association. I did not and will not give up my initial promise, no matter whom and what will promise me. It is not about me, but about the community I represent. I think that this attitude is rooted in my family’s culture, in my region of provenience’s culture – Făgăraș and in the German school that I attended to. I strongly hope that these values will not disappear from the Romanian ICT community after my retirement, even if I am aware that this attitude is still disturbing for some people in Romania, including some ARIES members.
4.What are your expectations from ARIES members for the upcoming years?
My most ardent expectations relate to adjusting ARIES members’ culture to the new innovation paradigms and to the new societal and Communitary challenges. I strongly hope that in the following years we all understand that we cannot live in a world and in a community from which we receive without giving something durable in return. This attitude will help not only to consolidate their self-confidence, but also to win the trust of the partners and communities they belong to; thus they will be able to evolve into durable and consolidated organizations, maybe multinational, and to build their wealth based on their reputation.
5. Which are ARIES objectives at the featured 2015 international fairs and events?
One year ago, when we were building the ARIES international events plan, the Ministry of Economy from Romania has asked the same question. I answered that I commit to demonstrate a minimum 10% growth of the Romanian ICT exports through this plan. The proposed program has been developed with our offices from Timișoara and Craiova. Cluj and Brașov offices did not suggest any particular events. Yet, we also took into consideration some discussions we had with the more active members of the association. Hopefully, the program will present enough diversity and scope in order to satisfy the majority’s objectives. By the opening of ARIES Iași office, I hope that in 2016 we will have a more consistent programe, tailored on the regional specializations.
6. In your opinion, what segments of the Romanian ICT exports will be more likely to grow? Any foreseeable changes?
I can gladly observe signs of ICT industry restructuration and consolidation. Good examples of competitive segments are the mobile applications and security. Emerging segments are, in my opinion, e-health, e-government and e-learning. Considering the great university centers from Romania and the competencies that they are currently shaping, I believe that in a few years from now we will speak of clusters that will point out the technology advancements in which Romania will be quite competitive. The ever growing appetence – be it conscientious or not – for innovation, determines me to hope that in the coming years we will have a clearer view on the ICT domains where Romania will be competing.
7. A few thoughts about Cluj-Napoca and its’ local ICT community? (What impressed you the most, and what would you recommend us?)
Even though, personally, I did not managed yet to build a trustful enough relationship with our members from Cluj-Napoca, therefore sometimes I feel that the information I have are not enough to give me a clear view on their needs and aspirations, through my contacts with the Technical University form Cluj-Napoca, I can declare that this center has an extraordinary potential, in my opinion.
It is in Cluj-Napoca that we have certified the first engineering program according to the EUR-ACE standard and I would like to grant the first Euro Inf certificate for university IT programs in Cluj, also. Actually, Cluj is the city where my grandfather has graduated university, more than one century ago, and even if I personally graduated in Bucharest, I have wide knowledge about the universities from Cluj.
As I visited the Technical University from Cluj-Napoca, I was strongly impressed by the research capacity of this university. I think that our Cluj members have one of the best innovation resource pools in the country.
As a closing note, I would recommend to trust more in your own capacities, to trust more the communities where you belong in order to effectively respond to their needs and aspirations and to trust our Romanian ICT community that we will not let you down when difficult times occur. Be more clear in your options and stop inventing challenges; put more effort to understand the people and the communities that surround you in order to find durable and viable solutions. With such conduct, I sincerely believe that you will be invincible.
In the end, we would like to thank Mr. Alexandru Borcea – President of the Board, for his 24 years activity at ARIES and we hope to further cooperate on common projects.
ARIES is the Romanian Association for Electronic Industry and Software. Founded in 1992, ARIES currently counts more than 250 members and has 5 regional branches: Timisoara, Brasov, Cluj, Craiova and Iași.
The premise that created ARIES is the support for the informational competitiveness of Romania at the same level with other countries of the world.
Partner of the central and local Romanian authorities, ARIES has become the symbol of the sustainable development of the information society. Considered to be the largest association of its kind in South-Eastern Europe, it is presently the most important and reliable source of information for the ICT business community.
The ARIES community grew in the same time as the SMEs and large enterprises of Romania and is continuously developing through innovation, partnerships, clustering, technical support services and technological transport, all of these being communicated in a sustainable and transparent manner.
Moreover, it proves involvement in the economic life of the industry by initiating legislative projects, direct participation in CSR campaigns, organizing the most important events for promoting the field globally (workshops, fairs and exhibitions) and access to European projects, human resources, quality and consultancy.
For cooperation opportunities or information about ARIES projects we invite you to use the following contact details:
Address: Splaiul Independentei nr 202 A
sector 6, Bucharest, Romania
Phone: +40 21 313.41.20
Interviewer: Diana Ciorba.
For interview republication purposes please write at firstname.lastname@example.org