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Entrepreneurship in Southeast Europe: A View from Vienna

March 22, 2011

 Political and economic opportunities showcased in Chicago

On March 17, 2011, the American Southeast Europe Chamber of Commerce AmSECC in partnership with the Austrian Consulate General and the Austrian Trade Commission presented a discussion of current political events, economic challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurship in Southeast Europe. Austrian Consul General in Chicago Thomas Schnöll spoke about the status of various countries in the European Union (EU) integration process with the Western Balkans. One of the past responsibilities of Mr. Schnöll was “Head of Unit for the Western Balkans” at the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna. As a member state of the EU, Austria has significant private sector economic interests in the region. In his speech, Consul General Schnöll concluded that “Southeastern Europe is a region with tremendous potential and its people have always excelled in creativity”.

Dr. David Pistrui Ph.D. spoke about the economic theory of the “Austrian school of economics ”. The Austrian school of economics theory was developed in the late 19th century by Austrian economists who, in determining the value of a product, emphasized the importance of its utility to the consumer. Pistrui pointed out that the theory is as valuable as it was when it was developed. Not only is the Austrian School of Economics relevant for Southeastern Europe but for the entire world and Entrepreneurship has to be seen as the principal force in economic development. Pistrui´s look Southeast from Vienna and the challenges confronting entrepreneurship from an economical, political and geopolitical perspective are certainly relevant and viable.

The favorable political and economic conditions discussed by the speakers seem to indicate the Southeast Europe´s natural inclination to better their situation by pursuing their own path to prosperity. Dr. David Pistrui currently serves as the Managing Director of Acumen Dynamics, LLC, a strategy-based education, training, and research firm. Dr. Pistrui has held several scholarly appointments in the US and Europe, including the Coleman Foundation  Chair in Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. In 2009 he was appointed as a Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna.