Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Hungary: Building Success Stories in the Heart of Europe

In focus: Government policies, schemes & initiatives for women entrepreneurs in Hungary

Unveiling Hungary’s entrepreneurial landscape shows that Hungary (a cornerstone of Europe’s economic tapestry) is more than just a picturesque destination. Nestled in the heart of the continent, this nation boasts of a vibrant market economy that thrives on export-oriented strategies, elevating it to the rank of the 36th largest export economy worldwide.

#HungaryEconomy #EuropeanEntrepreneurship #BusinessInnovation

Fueling business excellence through Government support is what we have here. Hungary’s competitive edge lies in its robust commitment to foster business growth. The government’s dedicated efforts towards simplifying business processes and enhancing competitiveness of both SMEs and large enterprises, have positioned Hungary as a fertile ground for entrepreneurs. A plethora of incentives are available for anyone seeking to establish their ventures, thus making Hungary an enticing destination for cross-border business development.

#HungarianBusinessSupport #EntrepreneurialAdvantage #BusinessIncentives

Hungary stands as a testament to the power of education in driving economic growth and innovation. In this dynamic environment, women entrepreneurs in Hungary are carving their path to success, contributing to the nation’s economic tapestry, and shaping its future. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the stories of these remarkable women who are making their mark in Hungary’s business arena.

#SkilledWorkforce #HungarianTalent #EducationForGrowth #WomenInBusiness #HungarianEntrepreneurs #EconomicEmpowerment

Here are some government policies, and initiatives that can be availed of by women entrepreneurs in Hungary.

> National SME Strategy

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Innovation and Technology share responsibilities with regard to entrepreneurship policies in Hungary.

A national SME strategy was published in November 2019 by the Ministry and it was a strategy for strengthening micro, small and medium-sized enterprises 2019-30. One of the main strategic objectives was supporting women entrepreneurs in developing their talent and risk-taking. Moreover, the SME strategy, clearly refers to young people, the unemployed, people living in segregated areas as well as enterprises in disadvantaged regions. The measures supporting these target groups are primarily mentoring, counselling and knowledge transfer.

> Digital Start-up Strategy

The Digital Start-up Strategy 2016-20 highlighted the need to support female-led start- ups and promoting entrepreneurship (especially among youth). The measures to be taken, to achieve this were – the development of programmes for the presentation of entrepreneurial lifestyles and self-employment in the system of education & to ensure the launch of competence development programmes supporting the successful entrepreneurship of women and start-up entrepreneurs.

It is evident that the development of entrepreneurial culture, mind-set and support in becoming entrepreneurs among young people also features in the the objectives of the National Youth Strategy (‘Nemzeti Ifjúsági Stratégia 2009-2024’). Plus, ongoing measures to support young people in becoming entrepreneurs will remain part of the operational programmes currently in the design phase for the next EU budgetary period 2020-27.

Similarly, the Strategy for the Development of Financial Awareness 2017-23 (‘Pénzügyi tudatosság fejlesztésének stratégiája’) focuses on youth. The objective for the second period of the strategy (2020- 21) is to cover the basics of financial awareness in subjects for the age group between 10 and 18 years old (Magyar Nemzet, 2019b). | Finally, the National Employment Strategy is also under revision and the new strategic priorities are expected to meet demographic (ie shrinking volume of active population), institutional (ie strengthening the public employment services via also capacity building and IT developments) and structural (eg digitalisation, labour shortage) challenges.

Overall, the national strategies highlight the need to focus on specific target groups in terms of entrepreneurial policy; however, they do not include any specific targets or objectives in relation to the disadvantaged target groups. There is a policy push towards growing share of microloans rather than grants in the case of start up support schemes, which is a positive development.

> Policy measures in response to COVID-19 – to support entrepreneurs and the self-employed

The Economy Protection Action Plan 2020 (“Gazdaságvédelmi Akcióterv”) introduced by the Ministry for Innovation and Technology in March 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic focuses on those areas that Policy measures up to mid-July 2020 have been considered, but there might be changes in duration with new measures upcoming. The aim is – preserving jobs, job creation, strengthening of priority sectors, providing funding for businesses, and protection of families and pensioners (Ministry for Innovation and Technology, 2020).

The measures to preserve jobs include besides wages subsidies, tax reliefs and the reduction of administrative burdens, and also the establishment of a webpage for entrepreneurs and online training for enterprises – to help in managing the challenges that emerged due to the pandemic.

In providing funding for businesses, the government plans to provide loans with preferential interest rate of 0.1% for several products and credit guarantees worth about HUF 500 billion (EUR 1.4 billion). The government also launches capital programmes to protect domestic companies (Ministry for Innovation and Technology, 2020).

> National Entrepreneurship Mentoring Programme 

One of the main target groups of the National Entrepreneurship Mentoring Programme (Országos vállalkozói mentorprogram) is female entrepreneurs. The SEED Foundation manages this programme as part of a multi-stakeholder consortium (including the Ministry for Innovation and Technology) and based on co-financing from the European Social Fund. The objectives of the programme are – to increase the entrepreneurial activity, the survival of SMEs, and to improve the entrepreneurial culture in Hungary.

Individual and group mentoring is provided by a network of mentors from the private sector – “National Entrepreneurship Mentoring Programme”.

> StartupHER programme

Another programme specifically for women is the StartupHER programme by Hiventures equity fund (member of the Hungarian Development Bank Group). It works like this – after receiving training and mentoring, the selected business ideas receive an incubation investment of HUF 15 million (EUR 47 000) (EC, 2019). The programme was launched in 2019 with over 400 applicants, from which 10 received training, 7 received mentoring and 2 an accelerated entry into the incubation portfolio (Hiventures, 2019).


> She’s Next Grant Program

Visa the launched of its global She’s Next initiative in Hungary – to economically empower local women entrepreneurs and SMB owners; basically to support women-led businesses. So, Hungarian female entrepreneurs were invited to apply for one of the five grants in the amount of HUF 2 mln; the winners would also receive mentoring and coaching for a year to support their growth.

According to a December 2022 research, half of the women surveyed in Hungary face challenges securing funding for their ventures. The problem areas were (as mentioned by the Hungarian respondents) – one’s own limits, lack of other resources and skills as well as overworking oneself as the other main pain points of further business growth, according to a recent Visa study.  

A point to be noted is that – there is a notable gender gap, there are still half as many women as men among the owners of Hungarian companies, and this ratio is slowly decreasing. Thus, Visa’s research uncovered some important insights on this gap.

The objective of She’s Next program remains – to support women entrepreneurs in reaching their ambitious business goals while helping both the local and the global economy grow. Around two-thirds of Hungarian female entrepreneurs stated that besides the financial support, they prefer being involved in a mentorship program. The areas Hungarian women entrepreneurs said they wanted to learn more about were – how to promote their businesses, and how to manage finances as well as their own time. The Initiative also includes a series of mentoring programs tailored to their businesses. Mentors have extensive experience not only in entrepreneurship and investment but also in business education.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like