I believe I envisioned a future in entrepreneurship, but I ended up in politics instead. I do not regret that of course, but it’s always fun to think about what may have been. In many ways, though, being an entrepreneur and a politician has a lot in common.
I started quite a few businesses during my time as a student. To be honest, many didn’t fly. However, in 2002 I started a business intelligence company called Look Closer together with a friend. It is still very much active today.
What I could miss in politics is the simple thing of sending someone a bill - and by that I mean that someone is willing to pay you for something you have provided. Value is exchanged, voluntarily. It is a proof of gratitude and, as I know, in politics it’s often easier to get criticism.
But now my sister has come out as an entrepreneur, which is great also for me. At least once a week we talk about her ideas and I try to provide advice and tips. She works mostly with digital products, and that has made me realise the great need for a single market for digital products. Here, good EU harmonisation can really make it more simple and rewarding to be an IT entrepreneur.
To someone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur I would say: first, it is about ideas. You must have a good idea, and you must find a way to work with it. Then, it is about working with other people. You can’t be a successful businessman or woman without friends and people supporting you. Therefore, you must take your ideas and be ready to inspire others in the pursuit to make it real. And, it’s also about seeing a need and providing a solution.
All these tips I would give someone starting a career in politics as well. But starting a business and being a lawmaker made me realise the lack of knowledge of entrepreneurship among politicians. I mean, businesses produce all the wealth that we have. As a lawmaker, I believe it is good to have some experience from business, to better understand the conditions for entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow.