Thursday, November 22, 2007

AIA at the Student Business Forum 2007 in Hradec Králové

Today, Veronika Špačková of Inovia and Martin Dittrich of the Technological Centre of Hradec Králové University have organized an engaging and inspiring day for students fancying financial indepence and starting up their own business. They put together some 11 savvy speakers who tackled the issue of start-up entrepreneurship from each angle.

When I entered the room, Václav Bittner (in the picture below), founder of Et Netera, was speaking. I was impressed by the frankness and ease with which he was talking to the students and sharing his experience of starting his first business during his college years. He was recounting meetings with his classmates when ideas would float in the air about what kind of business to start first. He encouraged the attending students not to be held back by fear and to be entrepreneurial while still at university.

Mr Mareš of the Bohemian-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (ČMZRB) presented the possibility of obtaining government-backed loans for beginning enterprises, but lamented the end of the requirement for applicants to attend the Basics of Entrepreneurship course. He mentioned receiving a big amount of... badly prepared business plans after it was allowed to apply without attending this course. Also, he warned of the increasing strictness of criteria for granting the loans: whereas until last year 80% of applicants were successful, the reverse is true now. Undoubtedly, he said, dropping the entrepreneurship course requirement is part of the reason.

On my part, at the start I made an informal survey among the students to find out how many were familiar with the concept of business angels. Given that only a minority knew what is meant by this phrase, I described the typical angel profile of the entrepreneur who successfully sold his first business with a nice return and who can now mentor new adventurers, whilst enjoying the benefits of a share in their promising firm. I illustrated the concept through the shining examples of the Body Shop, Apple and Amazon, together with one of the best angel investments in the Czech Republic, Eduard Míka's Internet Mall. I mentioned the EASY project where AIA is a partner, with the upcoming February Milan investment forum (more information above).

To learn more about the Student Business Forum 2007 in Hradec Králové, please visit

AIA's mission is entrepreneurship promotion, and if you have an audience eager to learn more about angel investing, we'll be more than happy to assist you. Send me an email at to learn more.

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