On January 15, 2013, His Royal Highness Prince Daniel of Sweden, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), launched the Prince Daniel Fellowship and Entrepreneurial Programs at the Carlsforsskas Ekonomi and Handelsskola in Västerås.
Per the Swedish royal court:
“The project aims to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs and to support a number of companies through mentoring. Prince Daniel Fellowship has gathered a group of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in an expert who will visit high schools, universities and colleges in Sweden to inspire young people and share their experiences as entrepreneurs.”
And, finally, in an interview with the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) Prince Daniel explains why he started this important fellowship/project. Here is what he had to say (rough translation):
Why do you, Prince Daniel, believe this fellowship is important?
Getting young people to realize their potential, perhaps by becoming entrepreneurs, is a way to care about the future of Sweden. For society to function, we depend on people who dare to go and people who are prepared to spend a lot of time to realize their ideas. When the ideas successfully created jobs and many other positive effects.
What would you hope to accomplish?
I hope that our initiative will explore what it means to be an entrepreneur and that the project will inspire you to want more and dare to take the step to start your own.
Sweden is one of the leading countries in terms of innovation, but we are not as talented when it comes to implementing our ideas. It is important that we create a culture that encourages people to dare. A good contractor will help not only himself, but affects many people’s lives by also creating opportunities for others to develop.
Failure is a common and not totally unimportant element of the contractor’s life, much learning comes from there. Entrepreneurship is about taking risk. Anyone who is not willing to fail will never not be successful.
How can the Prince’s background as an entrepreneur contribute to the project? What has Prince taught himself on his business trip?
My main role in the project is to be a catalyst and to gather driving and experienced people in a common effort to entrepreneurship. It is inspiring to meet and listen to talented people. Through this project, we provide more that opportunity. I hope that many young people, who have the potential to create something good and important, dare to take the plunge, thanks to the project. I myself had very little knowledge of what it was like to run a business when I started. I’m not entirely sure it would have happened if I had not been surrounded by several talented entrepreneurs who encouraged me.
One lesson I have taken with me is that small business owners need to be prepared to do everything, from large to small, and especially in the boot.
Running a business is demanding, but few things are as rewarding as seeing dreams take shape.
What are your thoughts on how to increase the number of start-ups and successful businesses in Sweden?
According Tillväxtverket want more than one in two Swedish to be employed, so the desire is there. So you have to get those who want to also dare to invest.
I think we can improve the culture. Those who dare to invest should be encouraged and it is good to see good examples. It was not a coincidence that many young people wanted to be a tennis player during Pori heyday and who does not want to become a new Zlatan?
I hope that many young people to dream of becoming a new Daniel Ek, or a new Cristina Stenbeck.
What is your advice to young people who are looking to start their own, and on a general level, but possibly also, to make it as real as possible, in the industry in which the Prince himself worked?
Initially, it is important to have the courage to try to realize his idea. A concrete idea is to find a mentor, a wise person to talk to who can support and challenge ideas. To test their business ideas to people in their environment is also good. Is the target group interested in buying your product or service, it may mean that there is something to build on. Then you just have to roll up our sleeves and work on!
Photo courtesy of Kungahuset