It’s one thing to dream about changing the world with your revolutionary business idea. It’s quite another thing to convince an investor to put up the money. Your supporters might praise your idea, but they won’t provide you 40 hours of labor each week until you offer them a paycheck.
Money has a way of making things real.
Part of our job, with CITT, has been to share a dream. Centrope designates the border regions of four countries (AT, HU, CZ & SK). The distances are short, but the cultural differences are big. This region has great potential for innovation, but most of this knowledge is locked away in research labs, divided by increasingly abstract national borders.
CITT’s dream is to knock down those borders. Fortunately, we are not the only ones at work on this vision. If CITT and similar projects are successful, the results will be measured in new products, new companies, new jobs and new opportunities.
This is a big dream, and big dreams need money.
The European Commission has already pumped big money into the Centrope dream, financing a wide range of projects, including CITT, in order to create a regional infrastructure for innovation. What’s been missing, up to now, is startup capital. The European Investment Fund’s Jeremie programme aims to fill this gap, providing badly needed startup capital, which has the potential to make the Centrope dream a reality.
Jeremie is now rolling out in Hungary with roughly €160M, distributed in eight new VC funds. By the end of 2010, Jeremie will be active in all four Centrope markets.
This money couldn’t have come at a better time. With the economic downtown, many talented people are now looking for opportunities. (Just about everyone I know had a down year in 2009. This includes me.) In the first quarter of 2010, the CITT project is coming to an end.
As a result, I am now turning my attention (and the focus of nowEurope) increasingly toward Jeremie.
Oddly, very little is being written about Jeremie in the Hungarian media. I’ve only found a handful of articles, mostly talking about the political delays in the Jeremie tender process and listing the newly created funds. Nothing much is being published in English, either.
In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be writing about Jeremie’s potential impact on the local tech scene. I’m now talking to startups and I intend to profile a few of them for nowEurope. I’m also talking to VCs and angel investors. I believe Jeremie could be the catalyst of a new, vibrant technology sector in Hungary and in Central Europe.
If you have a perspective on Jeremie, I’d be interested in talking. Please contact me in the comments, or directly by email (steve AT noweurope DOT com).