Veronika Pistyur guest lecturer in professor Katalin Tardos’ CSR and Sustainability module
Veronika Pistyur, whom you most probably know as the winner of the Central European Startup Award in the category of the most influential woman in 2016, is the CEO of Bridge Budapest, a non-profit company that inspires and helps young entrepreneurs.
She began her lecture by describing the discrepancy between the really successful, globally acknowledged Hungarian companies and the attitude that one can experience in everyday life. Defeatism, cynicism, pessimism are attitudes of a previous era and generation which unfortunately have not totally disappeared. The aim of Bridge Budapest is to show that it is possible to overcome these attitudes, reduce negative factors and build a competitive, successful and engaged entrepreneurial community, and what is more, you do not even have to leave Hungary to do so. A new business community in Hungary can (and should) be based on knowledge, performance and achievement. Bridge Budapest, as the name clearly reflects, wants to bridge the gap between local and global, negative factors and factors that lead to success. Bridge Budapest is a non-profit company that was initiated by the most successful Hungarian startups, Prezi, Ustream, NNG and LogMeIn to encourage young, talented Hungarian people by sharing their own experiences, practices. Changing the mind-set has been the main aim of Bridge Budapest since its founding in 2013. Entrepreneurs can realize that to be an entrepreneur means freedom, having control over one’s own life.
Instead of Corporate Social Responsibility, she prefers to use Entrepreneurial Social Responsibility. This includes responsibility not only towards employees but also working with conscious entrepreneurs and suppliers. In the long run, this is not a moral question, rather an economic and a financial one, it pays off. It is important to emphasize that this is also a rational, economic choice, as so called morals are hard to grasp, hard to fix.
One of the major questions she raised was how to convince entrepreneurs that it is worth to play it right and be conscious. This is an especially challenging task in post-communist countries. She showed how Bridge Budapest celebrates to pay tax, and show that they are proud of being able to contribute to the community, no matter how their tax contribution is used. She also presented a few examples, the story of Skype among them. Skype was partly founded in Estonia in 2003, another post-communist country which used to be part of the Soviet-Union. Skype employees did not only receive their wages but also some shares, thanks to the success of Skype many people could receive really good money after selling the company, some got rich and could start their own businesses. As a consequence, in Estonia the esteem of entrepreneurs, as well as good reputation, self-confidence were built. Great example for us all.