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Hungarian Embassy Unveils Business Promotion and Development Campus

By Jared Gans

On June 12, the Embassy of Hungary unveiled its new startup center to accelerate Hungarian innovation and develop partnerships with the United States.

The Business Promotion and Development Campus (BPDC) will increase economic ties between the U.S. and Hungary by encouraging and supporting Hungarian companies in America and fostering high-tech collaboration, officials said.

Dorottya Mártonffy-Nagy, the commercial and economic attaché for the Hungarian Embassy, welcomed guests and mentioned a few in particular, including Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith and Jennifer Kane-Zabolotskaya, the commercial counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Hungary.

“We launched the BPDC project just late last year, first of all providing a physical campus and secondly, of course, professional assistance for Hungarian startups and companies with the aim of bringing the best and most innovative Hungarian technologies and products here,” Mártonffy-Nagy said.

Deputy State Secretary István Joó, Ambassador László Szabó, State Secretary László György
Deputy State Secretary István Joó, Ambassador László Szabó and State Secretary László György (left to right) officially open the campus at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Photos by: Matt Rybczynski

Hungarian Ambassador László Szabó noted many common items used by people in the U.S. are in fact Hungarian inventions, including the Rubik’s Cube, electric engines, color television and even the first version of Microsoft Word.

“We are really good at inventing things and really poor at marketing,” Szabó quipped. “This is where the U.S. comes very handy to us, and we become handy to the U.S. The synergies are great.”

He said representatives of many Hungarian startups he spoke to expressed a desire for assistance setting up shop in the U.S., noting that the embassy innovation incubator — located on the grounds of the former Hungarian Embassy on Spring of Freedom Street — will be able to host up to 12 people from different companies at one time.

“They bring all the beautiful ideas, and we know that there are partners who will be open and welcome them so they can do fantastic projects together,” he said.

David Cornstein, the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, congratulated Szabó for his work to turn the campus from an idea to reality. He said the campus will become part of the “wonderful relationship” between Washington, D.C., and Budapest.

“One of the avenues for that relationship is to have business coordination, and innovation is certainly a part of business,” Cornstein said, inviting U.S. companies to reach out to his embassy in Budapest to increase bilateral cooperation.

Ambassador David Cornstein
U.S. Ambassador David Cornstein speaks at the event before the embassy's guests. 

Hungarian State Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade István Joó said that the opening of the campus is a real-life realization of the proverb “mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”

“This expression is the motivation behind the establishment of this project [and] the objective of the American government and the government of Hungary to create an environment in which talent can grow and find innovative solutions to pressing problems,” he said.

He said that Hungary has experienced a “startup revolution” in the last few years and that several new startups are seeking to gain a “foothold” in the U.S. He added that America’s renown tech sector and favorable business climate will give Hungarian companies the know-how and chance to grow.

Joó praised the partnerships between Hungarian and U.S. businesses and said those alliances have been growing rapidly.

“Hungary is thrilled to be known for its tradition of innovation and discovery. Nurturing this tradition has been a top priority for the government,” he said.

László György, the Hungarian state secretary for innovation and technology, said his government chose to support this venture because it will aid “creative Hungarians and their innovative companies” that are beneficial to Americans as well.

“We want to create value for Americans in the greatest and most competitive market in the world, because if you can create value here, then you can create value all over the world,” György said. “We would like to help them make their American dreams come true.”

Jared Gans is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.



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