Prince Daniel at the launch of Prince Daniel's Fellowship. In the foreground, Ebba Blitz speaks with Melker Andersson. Photo: Jessica Gow/Scanpix
On Tuesday 15 January, Prince Daniel and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) launched Prince Daniel's Fellowship and an entrepreneurial programme.
The aim of the project is to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs, and to support a number of companies through mentoring. Prince Daniel's Fellowship has brought together a group of successful entrepreneurs and managers to form a council of experts who will visit upper secondary schools, universities and university colleges in Sweden to inspire young people and to talk about their experiences as entrepreneurs. The project was launched at Carlforsska Upper Secondary School in Västerås, where Prince Daniel and the experts spoke on stage about their experiences as entrepreneurs. The Prince and the experts then met a number of pupils for a round-table discussion. The expert council includes Daniel Ek, CEO and founder of Spotify, Cristina Stenbeck, Chairman of Investment AB Kinnevik, Niklas Zennström, CEO of Atomico and founder of companies including Skype, Filippa Knutsson, founder of Filippa K, and Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson AB. In an interview with IVA, Prince Daniel explained more about the background to the programme. What does Your Royal Highness hope to achieve? I hope that our initiative will provide knowledge about what it means to be an entrepreneur, and that the project will inspire more people to take the first step and start their own businesses. It is important that we create a culture that encourages people to dare to be bold. Not only do skilled entrepreneurs help themselves, they also affect many other people's lives by creating opportunities for others to develop. Failure is a common and not entirely unimportant element of an entrepreneur's life, and we can learn a great deal from failing. Entrepreneurship is all about daring to take risks. If you're not prepared to fail, you'll never succeed. How can Your Royal Highness's entrepreneurial background contribute towards the project? What has Your Royal Highness learnt along the way? My main role in the project is to act as a catalyst and to bring together driven, experienced people in a joint focus on entrepreneurship. Meeting and listening to talented people is inspiring. With this project, we're giving more people the opportunity to do so. I hope that many young people who have the potential to create something useful and important will dare to take the next step thanks to our project. I myself didn't know very much about what it would be like to run my own business when I first started. And I'm not entirely sure that it would have happened if I hadn't been surrounded by a number of talented entrepreneurs who encouraged me. One thing I've learnt is that small business owners need to be prepared to do everything, big things as well as small, especially during the start-up phase. Running a business is highly demanding, but few things are as rewarding as seeing your dreams take shape.