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Roundtable event about the Hungarian start-up ecosystem and it opportunities in external markets

Hungary aims to be at the forefront of innovation in the region, and besides large enterprises the start-up ecosystem is also a major contributor in achieving that goal. The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade has organised a roundtable discussion in order to explore the role of start-ups in the country’s external economic relations and their opportunities in external markets. The event was moderated by Péter Goreczky, colleague of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Both invited experts agreed that a key feature of start-ups was to think at an international scale from the very beginning. According to Ferenc Pongrácz, business development director of IBM Hungary, a major obstacle in entering external markets is the lack of proper language skills and adequate references. Sebestyén Tamás, founder and CEO of Rocket Shepherd - which company is engaged in the development of the Hungarian start-up ecosystem - emphasised that start-ups had to be demand-driven and focus on well-defined and unresolved problems, which applied to the case of entering external markets as well. The network of economic and science and technology attachés can contribute substantially by identifying such demand in potential markets.

As for synergies with large enterprises, Ferenc Pongrácz highlighted that the presence of start-ups in certain sectors catalyse the innovative investment projects of large foreign companies, which is a key goal in Hungary’s economic strategy. Sebestyén Tamás underlined that several large companies aim to create the culture of “in-house entrepreneurship” to deal with certain tasks and challenges. Both invited experts agreed on that Hungary has the chance to become a regional innovation centre, nevertheless this means that the country still plays only “in the third league” at a global level.