Hungarians continue to build a co-ed angel investors’ network

– The second of a new approach workshop by the WOMEN/BUSINESS/ANGELS association and its coalition partners was held with 80 participants (full house!) in the Kaptár Community Office in Budapest November 28, 2017. The series of workshops is designed to encourage women to want and be able to be involved in an increasing number in innovation-related business decision making. Hungary’s competitiveness and growth potential could be greatly improved by widening the pool of female entrepreneurs and angel investors. The collective take-away from the first workshop (w/ 20% men) was that the number of business angels can be increased through network and training. With that in mind, the second workshop provided an insight into two life strategies: how you can build your own innovative financial business, and how you can create companies in Hungary while pursuing your career at a global enterprise.

 “The Hungarian “angel training” model created by the WOMEN/BUSINESS/ANGELS Coalition working together with HunBAN is designed to be a trend-setting, networked economy-building process. It has been supported by a wide pool of collaborating female business organizations and co-working offices with a high innovation potential. We aim to involve additional Hungarian and global professional organizations in this pool, making a bigger impact through multi-stakeholder approach and by engaging experienced leaders to take part. As this is an open initiative, additional forward looking organizations from Hungary and the neighboring countries are welcome to join us” – said Eszter Szabó, founding President of the WOMEN/BUSINESS/ANGELS Coalition.

 The Hungarian model built on the above was already recognized as a European best practice by Candace Johnson, President of EBAN, the European Business Angel Network gathering, which gathers more than 200 member organizations and represents a sector investing EUR 6.7 billion a year (according to 2016 numbers). At the first CEE Women in VC meetup in Poland, Eszter Szabó gave a keynote on the Hungarian work-in-progress model, stressing the importance of collaboration for our post-communist region.

Attendees of the second workshop of the WOMEN/BUSINESS/ANGELS Coalition of November 28 met with Kristóf Baltay, who worked as senior HR manager at global companies across Hungary, the Middle East and Western Europe for 20 years. He shared why he started to make investments in Hungary and why he undertook to be a board member in HunBAN. Dr. Eszter Varga gave an insight in how you can found a competitive credit institution starting from zero and who you need as partners. The participants also met both the general managers and the main investor of PannonHitel Zrt.

 “Statistics from EBAN – European Business Angel Network – show that angels in Europe invested in 38,000 innovative businesses throughout 2016. The average annual investment amount per angel was EUR 23,000”, said Antal Károlyi, President of HunBAN. “The average age of angel investors in Central and Eastern Europe is 42, as opposed to France and Northern Europe where they are 20 years older, which means an opportunity for fast growth for the region I live in. In order to create new, innovative and competitive jobs in Hungary, financial and intellectual contribution from both female and male angels is essential. With the help of its coalition partners, the WOMEN/BUSINESS/ANGELS Association aims to contribute to this process by introducing the notion of angel investing to a wider audience. Our goal is to put angeldom in people’s life strategy in Hungary”, the President added.

The workshop also introduced two members of the Coalition, namely Beatrix Bedő, co-founder of ImpactHub, and Zsófia Barcsik, President of Business Women Network. The building of global connections was ensured by three presenters: Selma Prodanovic, one of the lead investors in Rising Tide Europe and EBAN Board Member via skype, Dita Přikrylová, founding general manager of Czeckitas (the Czech Republic), and Kathrina Ramberg, First Secretary/Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Embassy of Norway in Budapest.

The third public workshop designed to increase women’s participation in business decision making is planned to be held at the beginning of 2018.

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