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Remarks by HRH the Prince of Asturias at the event 4YFN (Four Years From Now). Internationalisation Panel "Keys to be a Global Startup"

Barcelona, 25.02.2014

I​ am delighted to participate in this first edition of Four Years From Now (4YFN), an initiative launched by and for entrepreneurs which is only one of many activities being organised to support and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem all over Spain.

The last few years have not been easy at all. This might sound like an understatement; it is not. It has been tough, and for many it continues to be that way... But I won’t tire you further with the crisis. We all need to look ahead. Nevertheless, it turns out that during these same years, and despite many difficulties, both here in Spain and across Europe, a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit has emerged, has geared-in. This, I am certain, will catalyse progress in our societies, boosting economic growth and employment. The participants in today’s panel are proof of this entrepreneurial drive.

However, for this drive to lead to tangible results, not only do we need high hopes, but also a great deal of effort and hard work. Hard work is something that you, self-starters and entrepreneurs, know well because entrepreneurship means taking risks, learning from your mistakes, soldiering on without waiting for someone else to solve your problems, and constantly facing fresh challenges. Creating a company means walking a long, tough road, keeping your eyes on the goal of turning a business idea into a thriving reality.

I would like to highlight the training and positive mindset of our young entrepreneurs. They are—you are—men and women who not only have an excellent education, but are also full of determination, courage, and the drive to excel; which I believe is −and should be− contagious. With your efforts, you are building a personal and professional future, while also seizing the opportunity to contribute to the progress of your country and your society. All of this is the result of a great deal of hard work, and well-earned self-confidence.

We all need to look ahead. Nevertheless, it turns out that during these same years, and despite many difficulties, both here in Spain and across Europe, a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit has emerged, has geared-in. This, I am certain, will catalyse progress in our societies, boosting economic growth and employment

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to witness this, to see and listen for myself a proof of this, in the heart of Silicon Valley; where a growing number of young Spanish entrepreneurs are contributing, from abroad, to the progress of companies here in Spain. Some of them are doing so through the Spain Tech Center in San Francisco, our platform to facilitate the landing and commercial implementation of Spanish high-tech companies. I have also met in recent times many other Spaniards who are top executives in leading global corporations, something that is always rewarding and a great source of pride and hope for us.

One of the main characteristics distinguishing the members of today's panel is that the majority of your projects were born with an international vision from the very start. These projects were designed to compete with the very best, on a global level. There can be no doubt that today, internationalisation is not an option; it is an obligation, especially in the case of innovative, high-tech enterprise.

In a nutshell, now is the time to create, to innovate, and to launch new ideas and companies that can become worldwide references. We need more self-starters, more entrepreneurs. We must make it possible for entrepreneurial initiatives to consolidate into viable business projects in the areas of innovation and technology; for start-ups to become solid, innovative, competitive companies with high growth potential, creating jobs and added value, which we need so much in times like these. And must help and encourage them to do it, as you propose in this panel, on a global scale.

I have had the opportunity to see how some of the world’s leading corporations have acquired Spanish startups, or are now collaborating with them on projects and products. We must promote more of such collaborations, facilitating opportunities for these multinationals to establish in Spain centres of excellence, centres of R, D & i.

You can also count on the support of institutions like ICEX and others, which can continue to make a major impact by coordinating their efforts to help self-starters and entrepreneurs. We must, all of us, together, foster a favourable environment able to make our ideas and our companies grow, creating wealth and jobs, and achieving an economy of scale enabling them to better face challenges and difficulties.

I would like to end by wishing the greatest success to this Four Years From Now event, to all of you who have made it possible, and to all the self-starters and entrepreneurs whom it aims to serve.

Thank you very much.

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