Czech institutions should support Investor's education more. There is a huge potential
While in the Baltics it is quite obvious that the local investment environment is supported by the Chamber of Commerce and other important institutions, in the Czech Republic we can only dream about it. Why should not only our Chamber of Commerce, but also various unions or associations of small and medium-sized enterprises actively participate in the startup business?
In recent days, the sixth year of an exceptional training program for startup investors has taken place in Latvia. The event, which aims to educate current and future business angels so that they can understand better the investing is called the Business Angel Leadership Program of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce. From the name it is already clear to what extent the Latvian Chamber of Commerce is actively involved in it. As a guest, I had the chance to participate in discussions with other investors and share my experiences with participants.
There is no interest in startup investments in the Czech Republic. Why?
The five-week intensive program, which involved experienced mentors from all over the Europe, was focusing on creating an ecosystem of business angels, helping them build their own strong investor network, sharing valuable experience and talking about issues investors may have. And while Latvia can look forward to further strengthening the already strong startup environment, in the Czech Republic, after similar events - let alone perhaps even supported by the Chamber of Commerce - it is desolate and empty.
It is difficult to find a clear answer to why Czech institutions in 2021 continue to pretend that the world of startup investments does not concern them. It is the example of the Baltic countries that demonstrates the extent to which this ecosystem can be important at the national level. One of the most important local companies such as Bolt or Pipedrive grew out of technology startups, and they also have the greatest wealth of countries in this region.
In our country, the so-called "traditional" industry plays a leading role rather than technological innovations. It is not possible to do all the things same for decades, it is necessary to modernize and improve to make a room for new ideas. And thus, to support the education of the investor base, which helps to create a driving force for the economy.
One of the reasons for the general mistrust in the startup environment is a leftover from the recent history. Most successful entrepreneurs have bad experiences with business partners, and they are reserved about investments where they have a minority stake.
A large part of the mistrust comes from the fact that believing in startups, especially at an early stage, is often very difficult and it can’t be guaranteed that invested money will return. But this is where the circle closes. If we want to grow as a society, we need to get rid of exaggerated fears once and for good. And the best way to get rid of them is to educate investors properly and lead them to keep investment risk to a minimum. If investors can make a distinction between what is reasonable risk and what is failure, then they can finally start investing confidently. And that is why we need similar educational events, such as the one in Latvia, to have the support of major state institutions. However, the support in the Czech Republic is none and this significantly affects the motivation to organize educational programs.
At the same time, it is not just about the financials which would make it much easier for business angels to organize events. Our company DEPO Angels plan to use the experience from the Baltics and together with partners from EBAN, launch a similar program for Czech business angels. Any visible form of support would be enough for us. An informed investor community that is not afraid to kick the economy through investments is in the interest of us all.