The Grand Award of 2018 is the World Business Angels Investment Forum’s highest recognition for individual achievement. This award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary leadership that has made a significant and positive impact on implementing investments for the future of the world’s young generation. This award is made at the discretion of the WBAF Recognition Committee, which may choose to grant one award, no award, or multiple awards in any one year. At the official opening ceremony of the School for Young Leaders, His Excellency Dr Gjorgje Ivanov, President of the Republic of Macedonia, declared, ‘In the beginning it was only an idea, an idea aimed at educating youth for a promising future, but also at creating a promising future for youth. We need leaders not only in politics; we need leaders in economy, in culture, in business, in sport—everywhere’. The School for Young Leaders was organized upon the initiative of the President and is held every year in August in Ohrid. His Excellency has showed a unique vision for the future of young people and has set an outstanding example for all leaders in the world with this initiative, for which reason the Board of the World Business Angels Investment Forum unanimously nominated him as the recipient of the its Grand Award. It is a great honour to present this award to His Excellency Dr Gjorgje Ivanov, President of the Republic of Macedonia.
Policymakers are crucial drivers of the future of early-stage equity markets. Their decisions have an impact on the future of startups, scale-ups, SMEs and entrepreneurs. One of the most important functions of entrepreneurial ecosystems is connecting local entrepreneurs with global markets. One way to do this is to ease access to local markets by creating one-stop-shops for global investors. The Development Ministry of Turkey launched a unique initiative, Invest in Istanbul, to ease access to local markets. Invest in Istanbul is an excellent model for all development agencies, not only in Turkey but development agencies worldwide. The World Business Angels Investment Forum is proud to announce the Development Ministry of Turkey as the recipient of the award for the Best Ministerial Policy of Europe Supporting Economic Development. It is an honour to present this award to His Excellency Mr Lutfi Elvan, Development Minister of the Republic of Turkey.
Porto is a melting pot where people, tradition, history, and the amenities of a modern metropolis come together in one of Western Europe’s most vibrant cities. But Portugal’s second-largest city is not just a prime tourist destination—it’s also home to a burgeoning tech startup scene and a myriad of innovative ventures. And it is one of the few municipalities in Europe that has a startup programme to encourage and stimulate entrepreneurship. The World Business Angels Investment Forum is proud to announce Porto as the recipient of the award for the Best Startup-Friendly City of Europe. It is an honour to present this award to His Excellency Rui Moreira, Mayor of the city of Porto.
More than 96% of the world’s economy is driven by small and medium-sized enterprises. 200 million businesses worldwide need financing to invest, grow, and create new jobs. There are institutions all over the world that support SMEs, but one of those institutions is doing more in terms of support than producing specific reports; every year this special institution — the SME Finance Forum — brings together policymakers to find solutions and convenes stakeholders at its annual meeting. The SME Finance Forum was established in 2012 by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion as a knowledge centre for data, research and the promotion of best practices in SME finance. With its unique ways of supporting SMEs globally, the SME Finance Forum sets an outstanding example for NGOs. The World Business Angels Investment Forum is proud to announce the SME Finance Forum as the recipient of the award for the Best Global Organization of the World Supporting SMEs. It is an honour to present this award to Mr Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum.
The Global Youth Empowerment Fund taps into an often-forgotten renewable resource: the passion and energy of young people. This Fund is an initiative designed to inspire and empower young people around the world to make an impact in their communities by investing in grassroots community projects. Initiated by the Junior Chamber International, the Global Youth Empowerment Fund entered into a partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign. It offers grants, financing and training to youth-led projects and social enterprises that advance Global Goals for Sustainable Development in local communities around the world. Junior Chamber International has over 200,000 alumni in more than 100 countries and is a global movement that challenges the status quo by encouraging young people to take responsibility for creating a better world and by empowering them to drive change. The World Business Angels Investment Forum is proud to announce Junior Chamber International as the recipient of the award for the The Best Global Organisation of the World Supporting Young Entrepreneurs. It is an honour to present this award to two JCI world presidents, Ms Dawn Hetzel (2017) and Mr Ismail Haznedar (2015).
The Visegrad Group (also known as the ‘Visegrad Four’ or simply ‘V4’) reflects the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest within the all-European integration. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have always been part of a single civilisation, sharing cultural and intellectual values and common roots in diverse religious traditions, all of which they wish to preserve and further strengthen. Hungary is the current term President of Visegrad Group. All the V4 countries aspired to become members of the European Union, perceiving their integration into the EU as another step forward in the process of overcoming artificial dividing lines in Europe through mutual support. They reached this aim on the first of May 2004, when they all became members of the EU. Easing access to finance is crucial for creating global success stories for the Visegrag Four countries, so they launched a startup programme called a ‘startup campus’. The main objective of the Startup Campus V4 is to boost the discoverability of the V4 regional startup ecosystem, specifically by highlighting the economic and innovation potential of the V4 countries. At each event, 8 to 10 innovative startup companies operating within the V4 region are selected and given the opportunity to introduce themselves to international markets. The first stop on the roadshow of Startup Campus V4 is Istanbul, launched today at the World Business Angels Investment Forum. The next destinations after Istanbul are Berlin, New York, Vienna, London, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Dubai and Los Angeles. We wish them all the best for success in their endeavours! The World Business Angels Investment Forum is proud to announce Startup Campus as the recipient of the award for the Best Startup Initiative of Central Europe. It is an honour to present this award to His Excellency Mr Balazs Hendrich, the representative of the Hungarian government and the Consul General of Hungary in Istanbul, and to Mr Zsolt Kovacs, CEO of the Startup Campus.
Making a name for yourself in the business world is not easy, but for a woman, it can be especially challenging. Even though women make up 50.8% of the population, 60% of students receiving undergraduate degrees, and 44% of students receiving master’s degrees in business and management, these figures are not reflected in powerful positions in management. Only 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEO positions are held by women. In the finance, healthcare and social assistance industries, not a single CEO position is held by a woman. But there are game changers: Danela Arsovska, President of the Macedonian Chamber of Commerce, is one of them, and she is a perfect role model for women entrepreneurs. The World Business Angels Investment Forum is proud to announce Ms Danela Arsovska as the recipient of the award for the Best Business Woman Role Model of South East Europe. It is an honour to present this award to Ms Danela Arsovska, President of the Macedonian Chamber of Commerce.
The Qatari government is increasingly shifting its focus to small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups as it moves to expand economic diversification and non-oil growth in Qatar. One of the new support mechanisms specially designed to benefit start-ups and entrepreneurs is the Qatar Business Incubation Center, the largest mixed-use incubator facility in the MENA region. In its 20,000 square-metre installation, it offers targeted training programmes, facilities, and financial support, and it joins existing programmes offered by various stakeholders and government entities that nurture growth by providing facilities, training, low- or zero-interest loans, and mentorship. The World Business Angels Investment Forum is proud to announce the Qatar Business Incubation Center as the recipient of the award for the Best Incubation Center in the Middle East. It is an honour to present this award to Mr Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Qatar Business Incubation Center.