Financial Times on George Soros' recent visit and $7.55 million donation to CEU Business School
Márton Szõke , a Hungarian entrepreneur and angel investor, learned his trade the hard way. “When I started my first business, I was a fool. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have started it.” Nevertheless, he made enough money “to burn most of it in my second venture, which failed.”
But next time round, Szõke got it right and a few years later he sold Indextools, his analytics software company, to Yahoo! and made his first bundle.
There were, though, “many, many things I could have done better,” he says today.
Help is now at hand for budding new Szõkes: on Wednesday, George Soros (pictured), the Hungarian-born financial-guru-cum-philanthropist, announced a $7.55m donation to found a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the CEU Business School in Budapest.
Soros, who since 1988 has given more money to the School than anyone can work out (note to MBA finance course director – smarten up), hopes the grant will nuture start-ups and impart to their naïve founders some sound business savvy.
“I think the business school is in a very strong position to foster entrepreneurship. It’s very much in our mission to help entrepreneurs, to incubate new businesses… I think the demand for this kind of support in this region is very great and I hope we will see a culture of entrepreneurship develop,” Soros said.
Mel Horwitch, dean of the CEU Business School, said innovation was the key to economic growth for Hungary and the region:
“Hungary can’t be successful on the basis of manufacturing and it can’t be successful on the basis of natural resources – but it can be successful on the basis of creativity, brainpower, initiative, doing new things for which people will pay money,” he said.
And the CEU Business School, which will devote space to an incubator room where students and entrepreneurs can work together, should be at the heart of this process.
“This is a serious initiative our our part. It’s not show business, meant to make you feel good. We believe that it’s important, one of the few ways that a country like Hungary, a city like Budapest, a region like CEE, can be [economically] successful,” he said.
“Our incubator, we call it a business accelerator lab, will be a place to nurture new companies, a place where our students can work with real entrepreneurs, a place where we can develop curricula and materials. We have the room upstairs,” he said, then, with a nod to Soros, he added: “with very inexpensive IKEA furniture – we are trying to save you money.”
23 May 2013, 18:00Mirjam Simpson-Logonder
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