Two Romanians have launched a DIY immigration campaign to tempt British entrepreneurs who are unhappy with the EU referendum result to relocate to Transylvania.
“Transylvania Beyond” is pushing promoted ads on Facebook saying: “If you don’t fancy the idea of being stuck on an island with Boris & Nigel for the rest of your life, we might have a plan.”
The post then links to a website encouraging people to move to Transylvania, the Romanian region famous for its association with Dracula. The website, specifically tailored to British citizens, then lists reasons to move such as great scenery, healthcare, good airport connections, fast internet speeds, and a large number of tech specialists.
The website ends with this message: “If you’re interested to build a company in Transylvania, let us know and we can introduce you to the startup & tech community in Cluj, Transylvania.”
The outreach is tinged with a sad irony — much of the right wing press’ campaign against EU immigration has focused around the number of Romanians who have come to the UK. It’s heartening to find they still have a place for Brits in their home.
The Transylvania Beyond website is the handiwork of the Transylvania Tourist Board, but that organisation turns out to be a private creative agency, not a government body.
Adrian Docea, one of the two Romanian entrepreneurs behind the project, told Business Insider over email: “We realised Transylvania exists for a thousand years and never had a touristic brand. Or a campaign. Or any kind of marketing strategy.
“We thought it might be the right time, as the Ministry of Tourism didn’t do anything about it for the last quarter of a century. So we did it ourselves. Transylvania is most probably the most famous region in the whole eastern half of the continent. It deserves to be known for more than just vampire stories.”
Docea, 35, set up the campaign with his cofounder Elena Hurjui, also 35, through their creative agency Heraldist & Wondermarks, which he describes as “half-agency-half-startup-factory.”
Docea says Transylvania Beyond began its Brexit-specific Facebook advertising last week to target “British entrepreneurs who are not happy about the whole Brexit story and consider moving abroad.
He says: “We want them in Transylvania. We’ve got a lot of great things waiting for them here — from excellent tech talents that cost 3 times less than in the UK, low taxes, great broadband connections, high quality of life; all in all, an excellent place to create a tech startup.
“What we don’t have here is a solid entrepreneurial culture. If we can get a few hundred British entrepreneurs to move here and start a business here, we might solve the problem and create the spark that this region needs, in order to become a major tech hub in Europe.”
Docea says the campaign has already been “more successful than we could have expected”, adding: “Every 9 minutes there’s a new email coming from a British entrepreneur impressed by the story and interested in relocating to Transylvania.
“If we keep going like this, we expect to reach a thousand British entrepreneurs interested in Transylvania in less than a month. If 5% of them will actually start a business here this year, it’s already an amazing achievement for our region.”
As well as the Transylvania Beyond campaign, the Guardian reports that Bucharest newspaper Gandul has launched a “Romanians for Remainians” campaign calling for Brits to “leave the Brexiters, the quarrelling and the weather behind” and “start brand new life.”