ESIL Angel: Piroska Szalai

Bio at a glance

Piroska Szalai is the Chair of the Board of the Budapest Enterprise Agency since 2013, her task was to renew and transform the BEA. Piroska Szalai has obtained a degree (MSc) at Pannon University in 1987, where she studied Industrial Engineering and Management Studies. She is the member of the MTA (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) Knowledge Management Committee, since 2003. She was the Ministerial Commissioner responsible for improving the labour market prospects of women at the Ministry for National Economy in 2012-2014. Since 2014, she is the ministerial advisor of the Minister of the National Economy. Since 2017 she is the Hungarian representative of the European BIC Network (EBN)’s directory board.

Works at

Budapest Enterprise Agency was founded by the Budapest City Council in 1993 for the development and promotion of the micro, small and medium enterprises of the Hungarian capital. BEA aims to contribute to the development and expansion of viable, new and existing entrepreneurs based on the market needs, thus contributing to the creation and preservation of workplaces in Budapest and to the facilitation of the economic growth of the Capital.

Catch up with Monika

Monika is a colleague of Petra’s, working for the Budapest Enterprise Agency in Hungary. She joined us at the Local Leaders Summit on 5-6 November and told us about the early-stage investing scene in Hungary.


"We want to start a business dialogue between already existing business angels and wannabe business angels".

Early stage investing in Hungary today:

  • Hungary is rather an emerging country from the point of view of the maturity of the situation related to business angels than a consolidated and structured country.
  • Business angels are still rare in Hungary. 10 years ago the estimated number of business angels was fewer than 2000.
  • The situation is unfortunately not better at the moment: there are various and relatively young initiatives, and the time will show whether they are sustainable or not. 
  • There are dozens of venture capital funds in Hungary, however, the overall amount of venture capital is rather small in an international comparison, as a share of GDP it is only 6% of the EU average according to the OECD statistics.
  • Most of these funds are invested in non-innovative activities, with most of the private equity and venture capital industry based towards late(r)-stage, commercially proven ventures. 
  • Some investors have moved towards early-stage investment in technology-based firms. This is a promising sign, although the number of investments is still small. 

My goals in Hungary

  • Set business angel network and platforms
  • Provide both lowcost financial services for microbusinesses and non-financial business development services for SMEs, the target groups are female and young entrepreneurs.

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