I got a call from the Presidential Palace yesterday “Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic, will give the opening speech at your two events on September 29, 2015, CFO Forum Slovakia and Startup or Shutdown Slovakia”, the voice on the phone said.

EBCG will celebrate its 5th Anniversary on October 18, 2015. What a great birthday present for us, an appreciation of our hard work for the last five years!

While we can’t call ourselves a startup any longer, I believe we all still feel like one here. We enjoy the nimble working environment that comes with working in small teams. We did not invest our profits into a single tangible asset for the last 5 years other than our most important asset – people. “First Who, then What” has been our operating philosophy as is noted in the best-selling management book “Good to Great”.

We hire the right people for a team before we launch any new project. We also put our best people on our biggest opportunities, not on the biggest problems. We believe that this innovative business model we have created can have a positive impact on the conference industry as well.

As a result, the 10 best in class conferences we organize for people create connections and opportunities in an environment where world changing ideas are inspired!

I’m a businessman with a financial background. So, for me, there also is a second aspect to the success EBCG has enjoyed. The Kiska Aspect. In my mind, our recent history is split into two time periods, “before and after Kiska“. I believe that you, Mr. Andrej Kiska, represent a new era for Slovakia providing a great benchmark for ethics, morality, and integrity in our country and for our business community. I think this is particularly true for startups, where I see a new group of young businessmen, inspired by you and the team you have put in place to help manage the country for the benefit of all people.

Thank you, Mr. President, for accepting our invitation to deliver the keynote address at our upcoming events CFO Forum and Startup or Shutdown Slovakia, and – most important – for continuing to motivate us all on our good-to-great journey!