Victor’s pledge is simple in words but extremely meaningful if you look deeper: he dreams to make a difference, to stay a purposeful entrepreneur, to surround himself with valuable people. With that in mind, note that he is only 22 years old, and already an important name in the event organizing industry worldwide. He currently prepares the greatest project of his career so far, which will turn him into the biggest supplier of live events in Romania!
Name: Victor Balaniuc
Abroad since: 2014
Living in: London UK, but often traveling to Timisoara, Bucharest or wherever my projects take me
Current position & company: Founder of Balvia Group
TGR: Victor, in preparing our interview I have browsed through your blog and I still cannot believe my eyes: I have lost track of the businesses you have launched by the age of 17... Give me a number please!
VB: To be honest, I don't really keep track. I've been involved in tens of projects by the age of 18 and have already organized hundreds of events. I launched my first company at 16. It was an entertainment company, organizing events and managing artists and venues in my hometown. By the age of 17 I was the Events Manager of one of the biggest clubs in western Romania. I was already working with all the pop superstars in Romania, booking them at different events and making strong connections that helped me in the future.
First company at the age of 16, hundreds of events in only 2 years, all while attending high school… That is world record material, don't you think?
I don't feel like that, I just wanted to make some money in high school and not depend on my parents. I was just making money having fun. Actually, that's what I'm doing now too! But at a much higher level.
So basically one thing led to another, boosting your image and expanding your network. Besides selling your old piano for financial reasons, which was the trigger for starting this journey?
As I said, the first trigger was money. It took me around 3 or 4 years from when I started doing business to figure out that money isn't everything in life. Now I consider that life is about making a difference. About helping and positively influencing the life of as many people as you can. About people. So I decided to build as many projects in different fields as I can - projects for people, with people. When I was younger, my main value was money. Now it's freedom.
Well, I am sure that this shift in priorities has helped you achieve even greater success. A good lesson for anyone listening, thank you! What else worth mentioning? Probably some people supporting you all along?
Yes indeed, I had several mentors that guided me through this journey. First of all, my parents supported me right from the beginning. I inherited my ambition, tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit from my mother, my perfectionism and cautiousness from my father. Educating children well is from my perspective one of the most important things in life. I am grateful that I have received an amazing education while I was young. They still are my mentors, along with Darren Robson, a serial purposeful entrepreneur and social innovator, who helped me discover my real values and goals. And the story of Richard Branson - it made me decide what I want to pursue for the rest of my life.
The University of Greenwich had a major role in my development as well. I have left my hometown having in mind that I want to get out of my comfort zone and grow really fast. I discovered in London, and especially in the university, a perfect environment to do that. The support I've received from the lecturers and tutors was amazing, right from day 1. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a committed group of people that genuinely cared about my education and progress.
Among all the amazing projects you have implemented so far, which one are you mostly fond of and why?
What I'm working on now is actually my biggest achievement so far. My events company at the moment, Balvia Entertainment, recently agreed a merge with another big event planning company in Romania (the merge is not public yet, it's our secret). Therefore, both brands will become one, with a new name and identity. The brand that will result from the merge will be the biggest live entertainment brand in Romania, active in different fields such as live concerts, stand-up comedy, special shows and artist management.
The merge will bring together under the same brand the highest volume of live events organized by a Romanian entertainment brand, having the biggest fan database in Romania. So far we have organized events in Romania and United Kingdom (for the Romanian communities) and planning to enter new markets this year: France, Spain, Italy and Austria.
The new brand will be part of Balvia Group, which is an international group of companies I develop, with activities in different fields. We already work at developing projects in totally different industries than entertainment, but they are in the initial phase.
That sounds so ambitious, can’t wait to see that become public! Who helps you bring it to life? Who is your team?
I have a partner and co-founder at Balvia Group, Darius. We work side by side since we were 16. We're the same age and we perfectly complete each other (this sounds so cheesy ). He's the practical one, who keeps my feet on the ground when I'm planning too far in advance and daydreaming. And it happens very often. He's the guy that makes things happen from the shadows and I'm the front of house, the storyteller.
Then, we have different business partners in our projects and of course, amazing teams, both in Romania and the United Kingdom. Our company's philosophy is built around the value of freedom. We have almost no rules, but we are highly effective and productive when we work. Our mindset is “we shall either find a way or make one”. On the other hand, we are extremely funny when we party. And we party and have fun a lot.
I’m sure you do, and I guess you also have the chance to travel a lot with so many events to organize…
I always travel wherever my projects take me. I've traveled a lot between the UK and Romania during university, managing to combine my studies with work. Sometimes I travel with artists on tour, but mostly just for fun, because we have local teams in all the cities where we organize events. Therefore, I'm most of the time on the road or on air. I know that I will continue to do business in the UK, so I'll still be around in London from time to time. Then, we collaborate with major festivals such as Untold, and we have to be in different places for this huge and amazing project.
At the moment I split my time between London, Timisoara, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, will stay for a few weeks at the seaside in Constanta this summer, working at another big festival and will travel to France, Spain, Italy, Austria and India with different projects until the end of the year. Hopefully I will get to go on a quiet holiday as well, even though I don't feel like I need one.
Do you still have some time left for yourself? How does an undergraduate entrepreneur spend his free time in a city like London?
Yes, I do. As I said, when we work, we do it extremely effective so that we don't spend time on useless activities that don't bring us closer to our objectives. In the first years in London, I mainly focused on developing my skills, meeting new people and making connections. It's worth every second.
Now things seem to be easy, because of the connections I've made in the past. Almost all of my achievements so far are due to the people I've met and the people that appreciated me and my work. As for leisure, I use to go to big events and concerts. No better place than London to do that.
Is there anything disappointing, maybe something you'd like to be different in your life?
I want things to happen faster. I know it's not possible, because there are things that don't depend on us. Some say that my perfectionism and eagerness are not good, but I disagree. I feel that time is passing very fast and I'm getting older too quick.
Geeeez, please don’t talk about getting older, you are one of the youngest successful persons I know! It’s not like you are a gymnast and your career will be over in 5-6 years, you can accomplish outstanding things for many years to come… Now, please tell me about your current feelings towards Romania!
I love Romania and consider that it's one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I wish foreigners see the beauty and romance of Romania. Living here is an adventure and I like challenges. We even have some ideas to actively promote Romania in the world, through different tourism projects in the future.
I gladly see that Romania is developing fast and many more multinational corporations are interested in opening subsidiaries here. That's a great sign of improvement in the business field. Also, it's great that the real estate area is growing very fast in Romania and a lot of big investors focus on this country. I would like to see more entrepreneurial support and start-up action though.
Please tell me something particular about Romania that you would usually say to a foreign friend.
I usually say that Transylvania is in Romania and everybody is shocked. Then they all want to hear more about the country and become eager to visit it. The Dracula brand is huge all over the world. We could use it more and leverage this tool in promoting Romania.
It's so nice to hear about you promoting Romania, we need people like you more often! Now, for the ending, can you share one piece of advice for a 15 year old who has a brilliant idea but lacks guts and financial resources?
I know that it sounds like a silly slogan, but it's very true and powerful: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - Lao Tzu. Just make a leap of faith and launch your ideas out there in the world, maniacally promoting them. Yes, there will be ups and downs, there always are, but discover and pursue your biggest goals and your life will eventually get on the right track. Last, but not least, meet a lot of people, smarter, wealthier and in better positions than you, spend time around them, offer your help and learn from every move you make.
Victor, it’s not silly if you believe it! As from my part, I am more than happy I have learned your story and proud to have met the soon-to-be greatest event organizer in Europe Thank you for your valuable insights!
The Golden Romania
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