Bridge Budapest: “We Wish That More People Will Establish Their Own Companies.”

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The NGO Bridge Budapest was brought to life by the founders of LogMeIn, NNG, Prezi and Ustream. Its goal is to support young Hungarians to follow their dreams and build their companies. Veronika Pistyur explains why:

When you are about to start your career and build something amazingly new entering the startup scene, having the confidence to get get started on the entrepreneurs’ field is vital. Bridge Budapest is an association that supports young talents to achieve their best and make their ideas come true.

We interviewed Veronika Pistyur from Bridge Budapest and talked about how the association supports entrepreneurs and innovators to develop and grow.

Describe Bridge Budapest in 50 or less words.

Bridge Budapest is a NGO founded by Hungarian entrepreneurs (LogMeIn, NNG, Prezi, Ustream) who can credibly (based on own experience) promote company strength for the purpose of building a Hungary that is confident in its ability to produce results and provide knowledge. Founded in 2013, we are an independent organisation.

The founders’ names are probably known worldwide. How did they come together and decided on founding the Bridge Budapest co-operation?

Péter Árvai, CEO and co-founder of Prezi and the President of Bridge Budapest came to Budapest to establish his company in 2008, he was born and raised in Sweden. His uncle waited for him at the airport and as soon as he heard about Péter’s intentions he suggested to go back to Sweden immediately. Péter didn’t think that going back is the solution. Later he convienced other entrepreneurs, like his co-founders Péter Halácsy, Adam Somlai-Fischer and Gyula Fehér, co-founder of Ustream and Márton Anka, co-founder of LogMeIn to work together against this huge problem – the majority of Hungarians don’t believe in themselves and they don’t believe in the possibility of a change, therefore they don’t work for it.

In Hungary we are constantly being told: don’t dream; you won’t succeed anyway. We would like to change this negative attitude. We have experienced that a global economy and growth of technology is an opportunity for Hungarians too, in reducing the negative factors. Technology and efficiency can help companies to go global and realize success easier and quicker as ever. That’s why Bridge Budapest, global success founding companies, NNG, LogMeIn, Prezi, and Ustream, joined in helping the 10 million people of Hungary to use this opportunity. Our intention is to provide evidence for people that it is possible to join the competitive world from Hungary. Bridge Budapest produces tools to catalyse the process of new opportunities for people to realize their ability and influence their future.

Why did you decide to support the new generation?

They are key players to desired change. We wish that more and more people will establish their own companies in the future in line with the regulations because we believe that creative and innovative companies are the most to be competitive and join the world. This way we would be able to show an increasing number of good examples that would prove that it can be done like this as well. You can be successful with a great idea, hard work and a bit of luck starting from Budapest.

What do you look for in a candidate who applies for the fellowship?

Actually to be honest we are restructuring and reorganising the fellowship program. It won’t be the same as it was in the last three years. Although I am not able to share more details yet because it is not totally developed yet. But we always look the motivation, the ambition and unusual solutions.

How does the community operate? Are you in regular contact with Alumni?

We are very proud of the Alumni group that we have thanks to the fellowship program. We have more than 400 members of the Alumni, who applied to be a fellow in the last three years. There are events called Bridge Bar which are organised specifically for them by our own Bridge Ambassadors, the Alumni group. They are the members of the Alumni who had the chance to spend some time abroad due to the fellowship program and in addition to the events we have a very active Facebook group for the Alumni.

What was your most memorable moment so far since you established Bridge Budapest?

There are many things, hard to choose 🙂

It’s always a wonderful feeling when you inspire and can see the change in people’s lives. All our communities, not just the young talent but the leaders in our executive program and the entrepreneurs in our other program gave us the feedback that our work influenced them a lot. Just some example about our results in numbers: The awareness of globally successful Hungary related companies founded by young talents has grown from 12% to 27% in 2 years. 1,5 million people know why creative and innovative companies are important for the society, it’s doubled since the beginning. In the executive program, Bridge Builders new cooperations has launched. For example, one started the reform for the education system of Hungary (Budapest Schools). We reach over 3m people in Hungary with our messages each year.

Our huge achievement was a model in 2015. We measure our activities systematically and consistently. That’s why we created our own Bridge Budapest Entrepreneurial Mindset Model. It measures the-attitude-needed-for-a-country-to-be-entrepreneurially-successful. To the best of our knowledge, Bridge Mindset Model and Index is the first ever actionable index that both measures and gives direction on how to support entrepreneurship (as opposed to indexes that only measures business/entrepreneurial friendliness of a country).

Tell us about the biggest success you have recently seen growing from Hungary.

The biggest success stories are definitely the stories of our founding companies: Prezi, Ustream, LogMeIn and NNG.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Our tagline is We dream. We do.

So we believe in dreaming, setting goals and make it happen. Our founding companies are the greatest examples that prove if you have a good idea, you work hard and have some luck, everything is possible, and you can conquer the world from a small country in the heart of Europe.



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