Good evening and welcome to the Women Start-Up Competition. I would like to thank the organizers of this event, GF Social Media, for inviting me to participate. I am delighted to sit with such a distinguished group of jurors from the technology and investment communities. I am sure we will learn here tonight about innovative ideas that will transform into successful start-ups here in Europe and in the world.
This competition, which has grown to become one of the premier start-up competitions in the region, provides a wonderful opportunity for determined female entrepreneurs to get a head start on their start-ups. Having served as a female executive leading an entertainment production company, I know how critical it is for young entrepreneurs to make connections to mentors and investors, both to receive productive feedback on their business plans and to obtain the financing necessary to make their ideas come to life. As part of this competition, teams from all across Europe have had the opportunity to meet with the start-up community here in Budapest.
Start-ups are the engines of economic growth. Supporting entrepreneurship – especially female entrepreneurs – is a key priority of the United States Government. Research shows that when women entrepreneurs succeed, they drive growth and investment, and give more back to their families and communities. As U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, I am spearheading efforts to support Hungarian entrepreneurs to develop skills, find funding, and partner with American companies. Later this month the U.S. Embassy will send a Hungarian female entrepreneur from Miskolc to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in San Francisco where she will have the opportunity to meet some of the leading mentors and investors in Silicon Valley.
But entrepreneurship is not just about job growth. Entrepreneurship enables us to think creatively, to resolve intractable global problems in healthcare, education, and climate change. President Obama captured the power of entrepreneurship when he said that “entrepreneurs embody a spirit that we need to take on some of the biggest challenges that we face in the world – the spirit of entrepreneurship, the idea that there are no limits to the human imagination; that ingenuity can overcome what is and create what needs to be.”
I congratulate all of the participants in the Women Start Up competition, and am especially eager to see the presentations of the contestants who have earned a spot on this year’s shortlist. Best of luck!