Entrepreneurship and innovation are key economic drivers in Slovakia. The first reception I hosted as Ambassador was a kick-off event for this year’s Startup Awards, and in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve already heard a lot about how Slovakia is on the move – cybersecurity companies, offline navigation systems, and gaming giants – and is truly a country full of energy. I have enjoyed seeing some of these ideas in action and meeting the entrepreneurs behind them, both here in Bratislava and as I travel around Slovakia, including at the Tech University and Eastcubator in Kosice, and the Central European Institute of Technology in Zilina.
Entrepreneurship is one of our core missions at the U.S. Embassy, not only because it creates jobs and businesses, but also because it creates new ways of seeing the world: A healthy entrepreneurial spirit leads citizens to stand up for their rights and good governance. It puts them in control of their future.
The United States is Slovakia’s partner in building a more diverse and innovative economy. Through roundtable discussions and exchanges, we match American corporations with Slovak entrepreneurs. With speakers on women’s entrepreneurship, we are helping to empower the next generation of women business owners and entrepreneurs. And through a small grant from the Embassy, we are helping make this year’s Startup Awards a reality.
Last summer, three Slovaks also participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in California’s Silicon Valley to learn from some of the best entrepreneurs, startups, and venture capitalists in the world. These representatives of Slovak startups reminded everyone of the creative energy and talent this country brings to the marketplace, and I’m confident they will take what they learned and find ways to apply it here. They will also no doubt encourage other Slovak entrepreneurs to chase that new great idea, start that new company, and help drive the Slovak economy.
Later this month we’ll also commemorate Global Entrepreneurship Week by welcoming five American entrepreneurship experts to participate in a workshop on supporting entrepreneurial activities at universities.
I look forward to continuing our Embassy’s tradition of supporting Slovakia’s technology and entrepreneurship ecosystems while strengthening the relationships between the U.S. and Slovak markets. I cannot wait to see what new ideas Slovak innovators and entrepreneurs produce next, and I look forward to meeting even more members of this enterprising community as I continue my travels around Slovakia.