HRH Crown Prince Alexander Interview for Balkans.com
Published: 2013 / 03 / 11
Balkans.com: Your Royal Highness, Startup Weekend is a global initiative for organizers to create weekends in order for entrepreneurs or budding entrepreneurs to share ideas, form teams and launch startups. Can you tell us why you thought it was a good idea to bring the initiative to Serbia?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia: In order for Serbia to move ahead, everyone needs to unite to create opportunities. As part of my education initiative, I thought this would be a brilliant way to launch an entrepreneurship initiative through this program within my education foundation. Did you know that roughly 80% of participants in startup weekend plan to continue working with their team after startup weekend and that 5000 startups have been created just because of this global initiative. Startup weekend has already held over 672 events involving 57,000 entrepreneurs in over 100 countries. It should have taken place in Serbia a long time ago. www.belgrade.startupweekend.org
Balkans.com: Your son, Prince Petar, also has become involved in this initative, can you tell us his motivation?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia: Peter is very insightful and sees the same picture I do. He believes strongly in building a future for Serbia. As his career is in graphic design, he can appreciate what it takes to build a business and the necessary branding involved in it. He looked at the program and the idea of collaboration and felt strongly he wanted to be involved in it to help Serbia.
Balkans.com: Tell us about the Weekend, how does it work?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia: It is quite fun as well as educational. On Friday night, anyone who participates can pitch their idea and then over the weekend groups are formed to create the idea. Since we have a mix of different skill sets, the idea is created with technical, marketing and business in mind. Throughout the weekend we have some top Serbian minds in various fields come and mentor the participants and help them build their ideas. On Sunday evening, the top ideas are pitched. Judges then award the top idea. The winner get to go to the final of startup weekend globally. We also have some great prizes for the participants.
Balkans.com: What is your next steps for entrepreneurship in Serbia?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia: My foundation, www.pafond.rs , is planning to continue to educate by setting up programs not just for startups but to assist entrepreneurs or budding entrepreneurs learn about how to setup a company, manage a company and build their business.
Balkans.com: What is your ultimate goal in regards to entrepreneurship in Serbia?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia: My ultimate goal is for citizens to have jobs and a future. The backbone of all economies is entrepreneurship. I believe that part of this could be accomplished by Serbia becoming a startup scene which has propelled many other cities or countries globally. I think with the brilliant minds we have here in technology, science and art as well as low overhead costs, it will be a perfect place for startups. We need to create jobs and part of doing that is to create entrepreneurs, but education is needed to do that. We already have some notable companies that have been born here and that raise the interest of investors. The government has put a funding program together for startups so I think we can safely say that we are taking a step towards this. Startup weekend is one of those steps that will help facilitate this.
Balkans.com: Tell us more about your education foundation and how can companies help?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia: Social responsibility is key. I believe that businesses have a role to plan in helping a country especially in education. These are their future employees. I would hope that all companies in Serbia would look to invest in education for the future of Serbia.