What will the investment environment in the region look like in the coming years?

The Hungarian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (HVCA) held its 24th annual investment conference on 21 September, 2023, which is the largest and most prestigious professional event of the Hungarian VC/PE market. The international presenters and experts discussed the future of the venture debt market, exchanged views about how to create the regional ‘CEElicon Valley’ and awarded European Investment Fund with the John Harsanyi Prize.  

The conference provided a forum for the most prominent players, investors, executives and business decision-makers of the Central and Eastern European venture capital and private equity sector to share and discuss market trends and the speakers have also showcased the most topical current issues.

The first panel discussion focused on non-conventional venture debt, where financial experts discussed the current role of venture debt in early-stage firms’ life cycle, outlining a number of positive synergies and the nature of complementarity between venture debt and venture capital finance.  

What ingredients does CEE needs to replicate the success of Silicon Valley? – that was the main question in the panel, where the region’s experts were looking into latecomer advantages of CEE Europe’s venture capital market and its capacity to catch up with the mature venture capital market of Silicon Valley.

By exploring the region’s current resources, regulatory environment, infrastructure and culture, as well as targeted actions needed to be taken, the discussion highlighted that processes in CEE Europe’s venture capital market can be radically improved as the region climbs the steep development curve.

European Investment Fund wins the John Harsanyi Prize

The European Investment Fund (EIF), one of the largest Fund of Funds, represented by Cyril Gouiffes, Head of the Social Impact Unit and Equity Investments, has taken the John Harsanyi Prize, which is HVCA’s award to one individual or an organization recognized for its exceptional contribution to the development of entrepreneurial processes worldwide.

„So far, we have supported through our investments more than 15,000 Hungarian SMEs corresponding to a total amount of 332 million in equity, guarantees, and securitization in Hungarian financial intermediaries. Receiving the John Harsanyi Prize is an enormous honour and even more so a very special recognition of EIF’s role to the Hungarian and wider European economy” – said Gouiffes at the award ceremony.

As in previous years, a social issue indirectly related to the private equity sector was also part of the full-day conference: Áron Szilágyi, a three-time Olympic champion sabre fencer introduced MEEF, the Hungarian Elite Athletes' Interest Protection Forum, an association with a purpose to develop programs for Hungarian elite athletes in cooperation with business partners and educational institutions and provide them with financial and legal advice during their active years and after retirement.

There was also an exciting panel discussion on how to explore the effects and benefits of featuring start-ups on TV, like SharkTank, Dragons’ Den, 2 Minuten 2 Millionen. The participants of the roundtable discussed what’s the benefit of such show for the investor community or is it even an effective way of promoting entrepreneurship. 

The leaders of HVCA/HunBAN/StartUp Hungary highlighted the role and initiatives of individual organisations within the regional VC and PE community including highlighting the impact of the three organisations on the startup ecosystem.


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