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Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition winner Oksana Vedmidska

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‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, was the question that we posed to the youth of Europe for this year’s edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition.

Today, Promoting Enterprise is excited to present this year’s winner, Oksana Vedmidska from Ukraine! Oksana first impressed the Youth Essay Competition jury with her passionate essay and then went on to blow the audience away with her ideas at the SME Assembly 2017. Interested in what impressed the jury? Read her essay here and continue reading to find out more about her and her thoughts about the SME Assembly 2017.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Firstly, I decided to enter the competition, because entrepreneurship is a topic which is personal for me. Thanks to entrepreneurship, my family was able to survive difficult economic times in Ukraine in the 90s. Secondly, and this is probably because of the fact that my parents are involved in entrepreneurial activities, I myself adore the independence and passion that stands behind your freelance work or your own company.

In addition, this probably has something to do with my genes. I must admit that if one looks at Ukrainians from a historical perspective, they will see that we are used to being owners. This began from being owners of small agricultural plots, where we worked hard to cover the needs of our families. As a result we developed crucial skills like practical thinking, responsibility, independence and the ability to take risks – qualities and skills which are crucial for an entrepreneur. I believe Ukrainians inherited these skills and qualities and that is why we strive to establish our own small businesses/start-ups.

Thirdly, I considered the Youth Essay Competition to be a fantastic opportunity to spread my ideas and talk about problems and solutions concerning entrepreneurship that we face nowadays.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2017?

The SME Assembly 2017 was characterised by an incredible spirit of innovation and what the future holds. I was very delighted to see that we spoke about digitalisation as one of the keys of entrepreneurial success. Somehow in our ordinary lives we do not notice the importance of this topic and do not discuss opportunities it gives and the risks it involves, but during the Assembly we were really able to recognise the importance of e-governing, e-commerce, data exchange etc. not only for entrepreneurs and customers but for the society as a whole.

Moreover, a highlight of the SME Assembly 2017 was probably social entrepreneurship. I cannot remember any project of the Ideas from Europe which did not have some significance for society. Somehow the final purpose of each start-up was to guarantee benefits to a human-being. To my mind, that is a big step in the business environment, when a person is not simply seen as a customer by a business, but as a human-being with different specialised needs. If I had an investment fund, I would definitely provide venture capital, not only with the purpose to obtain some gains, but also because successful implementation of a social business project would improve the environment our global society lives in, and in which our kids will continue to live.

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

From a practical point of view, I would reinterpret it as ‘Develop an idea. Study your potential market niche. Write a business plan. And go for it, no matter what’. In my way of thinking, an entrepreneur is a dreamer, who respects the material bounds of our world. I would take this slogan and use it in schools to inspire teachers to change the old-fashioned science-oriented way we use to teach our children and also in order to motivate kids and adolescents to work on their entrepreneurial skills.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

Revealing personal plans is like revealing a sweet dream you had last night and since you want to keep the odds on your side you try to keep it secret… 🙂

In reality I am busy with my second degree that I have just started at the University of Applied Science of Darmstadt. So for the next 3 years I plan to study Information Law there. That is probably why all of my time will be devoted to studies, work and discussions concerning development and possibilities of improvement of our society. Anyway, we will see what is in store for me, one thing I know for sure is that there are still so many countries to visit, cultures and languages to learn, and experiences to gather and share, so I will not sit still!

That’s it for the 2017 finalists and winner! If you missed the finalist exclusive interviews be sure to read about Evlampia Karavangeli and Pavle Kostic on the News Portal. Where will these young finalists find themselves next? We will have to wait until 2018 to find out…

Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Pavle Kostić

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European youth certainly have a lot to say about entrepreneurship, at least judging by the large number of entries for the 2017 edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition. This year the essays had to answer ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, at first glance a simple question but which we discovered has many answers! 

Today, Promoting Enterprise continues to present this year’s talented finalists who we all met on stage in Tallinn at the SME Assembly 2017. Today’s interview takes us to Serbia to meet Pavle Kostić, a third year Management student at the University of Belgrade. Pavle impressed the jury with his passionate ideas and critique of current systems in his essay Ethics and a system as a prerequisite of regular competition, available for you to read in English and Serbian.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

The opportunity to go and see Estonia, was the first thing that attracted me to participate. Every trip has a big contribution in developing people` s skills and enhancing the power of observing the environment around themselves. I also like to express myself, and in that sense, I saw a great chance to express my opinion in front of the whole of Europe. Ultimately, my Management studies and interest in entrepreneurship were strong reasons to take part in the Youth Essay Competition.

Sabine Soeder & Johanna Baumann, CoCreativeFlow

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2017?

What a great event! Estonia did an excellent job in organising the SME Assembly. I especially liked the E- Estonia showroom business tour, where I could see the amazing results of digitalization in Estonia, which made me ask myself why Serbia is such a bureaucratic country.

I heard a lot of useful ideas in the “Ideas from Europe” session and met smart people who discussed very important topics. In my opinion one of the best sessions, was listening to the smart young ladies, who discussed entrepreneurship in the 21st century.

 

 

 

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

This theme made me confront the real situation in my country, and the incorrect government strategy that is based on attracting multinational companies where manual labour and poor salaries dominate, as I wrote in my essay. We need to restart. We need support in order to stay and spread our ideas and energy to all regions, and to make a better society. We need equal conditions for everyone.

It also made me think  about Queen’s song “Spread your wings and fly away, fly away, far away…” which to me signifies going abroad and creating a new start, because your country does not understand you.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

There are a lot of plans for the future. I am currently a member of the Case Study Club, and we are preparing for global competitions. I also take every moment possible to work on additional projects, cases, and activities because I feel that I am doing something valuable and useful. I would like to go on Erasmus+ student mobility, but we will see… I am not good at predicting my future. I try to do what I like, and who knows where these paths will take me…

Read about the other Youth Essay Competition finalist Evlampia Karanvegeli and be sure to come back next week for an interview with this year’s winner Oksana…

Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Evlampia Karavangeli

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What do Europe’s youth have to say about entrepreneurship? What skills do they think tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need? The 2017 edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition asked the youth of Europe for their answers to ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’. 

This year we were amazed by all of the entries from across Europe, all expressing different ideas and proposals to this year’s question.

Today, Promoting Enterprise presents one of the talented finalists who made it to Tallinn to present her idea live on stage at the SME Assembly 2017, meet Evlampia Karavangeli! 22 year old medical student Evlampia impressed the jury with her essay titled ‘Checkmate in Entrepreneurship’, which you can read here.

 

 

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Although at first glance it appears rather peculiar for a medical student to be interested in entrepreneurship, I saw this competition as a great chance to voice my firm belief that every future scientific breakthrough can only be achieved through the cooperation of people with various professional backgrounds, who possess certain talents and skills. My motive was to emphasise the importance of these qualifications on the road to professional success, regardless of the vocation one has chosen. Moreover, I wanted to convey a message to policymakers concerning the changes that need to be made, so as to promote youth entrepreneurship.

CoCreative Flow, Sabine Soeder & Johanna Baumann

 

What did you think of the SME Assembly 2017?

It was definitely a unique experience to be surrounded by so many inspiring people from all around the world, to discuss with them and exchange ideas about promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and research. I had the chance to participate in so many interesting conversations, learn new things and make connections. I also had the honour to present my own ideas in front of all the delegates and listen to their comments and point of view, which indeed helped me broaden my spectrum of thinking and motivated me for the future.

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

It reminds me of the last phrase in my essay, that there is no elevator to success, so you have to take the stairs. A profitable enterprise and a successful career don’t happen overnight, you have to start by building your own vision and putting in work and devotion, as you scale and evolve by accumulating knowledge and experience, until you’re ready to spread your wings towards success.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

For the time being, I am staying focused on getting my medical degree in 1,5 years. I am highly fascinated by neuroscience, so I plan on expanding my knowledge in this field, during the time of my residency. Apart from clinical medicine, my dream is to contribute to research programmes concerning neurodegenerative and neuroimmunological diseases. Of course, I always remain open to new prospects and opportunities that might come up and I’m excited to see what the future holds!

Be sure to read an exclusive interview with another Youth Essay Competition finalist, Pavle Kostic

 

Youth Essay Competition 2017 – Who is going to Tallinn?

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The Youth Essay Competition results are in! After a lot of deliberation and discussion, the Jury have selected their top three submissions who will go on to compete for first place at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn!

So who wrote the top three submissions? Congratulations to:

Evlampia Karavangeli

Evlampia Karavangeli is 22 and from the small town of Drama in northern Greece. She is currently studying at the Democritus University of Thrace Medical School and is very enthusiastic about her studies. She is multilingual and speaks Greek, English and German and is also studying Spanish, which she combines with her love for sketching and literature.

Find out what her essay ‘Checkmate in Entrepreneurship’ is all about when she presents it live at the SME Assembly 2017 next month!

Oksana Vedmidska

Oksana Vedmidska is from the small town of Pryluky, not far the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. After finishing her studies in Technical Translation, she went on to work as a translator of medical texts, working in English, German and Russian. She then went on to win a scholarship that took her to Germany to study a Masters in the areas of dubbing, subtitling, audio descriptions for the blind, and easy language. Earlier this year she was also selected to represent her home country of Ukraine at the UN General Assembly in New York as a winner of the 2017 edition of the Many Languages One World competition.

What skills does Oksana think an entrepreneur needs? And why does she think “entrepreneurship is one of the most effective tools, which our global society has to transform the world into a better place”? We will find out during her live presentation in Tallinn in November!

Pavle Kostic

Pavle Kostic is from Nova Pazova in Serbia and is currently in the third year of his Management studies at the University of Belgrade. He has been actively involved in several art, essay, photography and debate competitions, including the Serbian competition for ‘Best business ethics essay’ which he won in 2014.

What can we expect from Pavle’s essay ‘Ethics and a system as a prerequisite of regular competition’? Find out next month at the SME Assembly when he presents it live!

We would also like to thank all the other writers who submitted their work. This year the quality was very high and the Jury had a very difficult decision when narrowing it down to the top three. Be sure to follow Evlampia, Oksana and Pavle on their journey to Tallinn as they get ready for the live finale where the Youth Essay Competition 2017 winner will be revealed...

Youth Essay Competition 2017 – What’s next?

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The Youth Essay Competition 2017 submission period is now closed. Thank you to all the participants for all your hard work! This year the competition is getting even tougher, with submissions from across 23 countries and triple the number of entries from 2016. This year the top three countries were Ukraine, Serbia and the United Kingdom. We also received entries from Russia, Egypt and Nigeria. Unfortunately we can only accept submissions from citizens of COSME countries, but thank you for sending us your ideas!

So what happens now?

The Essay Competition jury will now deliberate and read through the entries to determine the top three submissions. These top three finalists will be announced right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media in the middle of October, so make sure to follow us to be the first to know!

The final step of the competition involves a live finale in Tallinn at the SME Assembly 2017. Each of the three finalists will present their essay to the 500+ Assembly delegates and the winner will be selected via a public vote.

What could you win?

Each finalist will win an all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, be given special presentation training before the event and finally have their essay and ideas promoted right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media.

Who were the 2016 finalists and what did they have to say? Read about Andri, Katie, Frici and Francesco.

Curious about who will be judging your entry? Meet the Jury!

Follow our social media so you don’t miss any news about the competition:

Twitter: @EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

How can you win the Youth Essay Competition 2017? – Find out what the jury is looking for!

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The deadline for the European Youth Essay Competition is approaching, but there is still time left for submissions! Today on Promoting Enterprise the 2017 essay competition jury are, offering their advice, top tips and what they will be looking for in an entry. Interested in what they have to say? Have a read through and be sure to submit an entry before the deadline on 08 September 2017.

This year the Youth Essay Competition will be judged by a competent and diverse jury, from different fields and with different expertise:

  • Kristin Schreiber (DG Grow)
  • Cristina Fernández (Global Entrepreneurship Network)
  • Przemysław Grzywa (The European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs)
  • Andri Pandoura (2016 Youth Essay Competition winner)

What will the jurors be looking for in an entry?

An entry should primarily answer the essay question, but what specific things should you include to catch a juror’s eye? Longer essays are not necessarily better, but this year the jury wants “fresh ideas… and a better understanding of young people and their vision of entrepreneurship”, as well as “a sincere passion and interest in the topic of the competition”. The jurors want entries to identify the issues that youth face, but also propose innovative and creative solutions that could be implemented by and inform policymakers. In other words: ” Is there a better and easily implemented way to ‘train’ and so ‘equip’ our future entrepreneurial leaders?”

What will make an entry stand out?

As the jury is so diverse what stands out for one juror may not for another, yet all of them have said that they will be looking for both innovation and truthfulness. Przemysław Grzywa, is looking for an essay that “comes right from the heart instead of Google search engine”, a sentiment echoed by Cristina Fernández, who sees the competition as “a chance to let the audience know where exactly the young are facing a roadblock to their path as entrepreneurs”.

Speaking from personal experience, Andri Pandoura (the 2016 competition winner), will be looking for a personal essay, as for her “it is important to be able to see the person writing the essay and their story in the essay itself”. Kristin Schreiber is “really looking for some out-of-the box thinking”. She will also pay attention to the way it is written: “Don’t worry if your English is not perfect, but do keep in mind that when you want to convince someone of your ideas, clear writing and keeping it sharp and simple always helps!”

What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?

“Often, when we hear about a given policy being made, we think – I would have done it much better. Here we offer you a chance to express and test your ideas in real life. To see if and how they can inspire policy makers who work on developing entrepreneurship across Europe. (…) Entering in the competition is a win-win for all!”

– Kristin Schreiber

“Decisions are shaped by those who weigh and get involved. The SME Assembly and this competition are a great opportunity to have the voice of young entrepreneurs heard. Only if entrepreneurs articulate their concerns and ideas, can we hope for entrepreneur-centric policies and programs.”

– Cristina Fernández

“If you have your opinion – try it. If you believe one can change the world – try it. If you think you won’t succeed – try it even harder.”

– Przemysław Grzywa

“Just do it and don’t overthink! I had the same doubts last year but you never know how things turn out.”

– Andri Pandoura

For more information about the competition have a look right here on Promoting Enterprise and we look forward to receiving your entries!

European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2017

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Are you between the ages of 16-25? Want to make your voice heard?

This is your chance!

The Youth Essay competition, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is launching again and is looking for creative and well thought out answers to this question:

Do you have an opinion on how European policy can help shape the future; or on what government, academic institutions and businesses can do to ensure that young people can acquire the skills they need for tomorrow’s world of work? Would you like to share it with policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European stage? All you need to do to have a chance of winning an all expenses paid trip to the 2017 SME Assembly in Tallinn, is submit an essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 8 September 2017.

Need some inspiration? Have a look at Andri Pandoura’s winning entry from 2016 and the entries from finalists Katie Williams, Francesco Foglia and Frici Barabas.

To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and

>> SUBMIT <<!

If you have any questions please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu.

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 16 to 25 years old from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Essays should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All essays must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for submissions is 8 September 2017
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale in Tallinn where they will present their essays
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An all expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly in Tallinn, Estonia for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering essay live on stage at the SME Assembly 2017
  • Promotion of essays across SME Week social media channels

Follow us for competition updates: #SMEWeekYouth

Twitter: @EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

>> FLYER DOWNLOAD<<

See Youth Essay Competition 2017 Terms and conditions.

Meet our partners:

      

Youth essay competition 2016 – Where are they now?

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andri-pandoura-turns

Happy Birthday to Andri Pandoura, last years’ youth essay competition winner! Winning the Europe wide contest at the age of only 16, we caught up with the now 17 year old Andri to see what she has been up to since winning the competition

What was it like to win the Youth Essay Competition?

There are no words to describe what winning the Youth Essay Competition was like. It was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity for which I will always be grateful. Speaking at the SME Assembly 2016 helped me mature and be more confident in myself. All in all, the experience of winning the Youth Essay Competition and attending the Assembly is unforgettable.

What have you been doing since winning the Youth Essay Competition in 2016?

In between school and homework, I still try to be involved in youth work through projects and workshops. On returning back home after the Assembly I was awarded by the Cyprus Employers & Industrialists Federation (OEB) and have had various newspaper and television interviews. Recently, I won the National “Erifili” Award for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, which was not only a big honour, but also an encouragement to carry on with my involvement in the youth sector. Sadly, my term at the Cyprus Children’s Parliament ended last month, but I am nonetheless still attending some of the sessions and trying to support the members of the new term as much as I can.

What is next for you? What are your plans for the future?

Other than my IGCSE exams that are approaching, I have a trip planned to Brussels for March. I will be attending the March Session of the European Economic and Social Committee, as well as the Your Europe, Your Say 2017 debate that follows. Other than this, we’ll just have to wait and see!

Read about Andri  and the 2016 runners’ up: Katie, Francesco and Frici.

Are you between the ages of 16-25? Got something to say about entrepreneurship in Europe? Be sure to keep checking here on Promoting Enterprise for information about the 2017 edition of the youth essay competition.

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition winner Andri Pandoura

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Are you ready to meet the winner of the Youth Essay Competition? At only 16 she is challenging us all to reconsider our thoughts on youth entrepreneurship and the opportunities offered to the younger generations to make their voices heard at the European level. Please welcome Andri Pandoura!

Andri is currently studying in her native Cyprus, but has already developed a keen interest in youth and human rights. She has further developed this interest through her membership of the Cyprus children’s parliament and plans to take it further by studying human rights law at university. Today she shares with us what drove her to participate, her thoughts on presenting at the SME Assembly 2016, where she sees the future of entrepreneurship and finally her words of wisdom for other ambitious young people.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I saw it as an opportunity to write about my interest in youth rights and voice my opinions as a young person in Europe. There is a lot of over complication, so my idea was to take a simple, even childlike approach to this topic and think about all the small steps that can lead us to something bigger. In general there are not many opportunities for those of us under 18 to participate in such competitions so I think that every time there is an opportunity like this one we should take it!

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What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?

I thought it was amazing and the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’. There was such a welcoming atmosphere and I got to speak to and interact with inspiring people who did not care that I was 16. Initially I thought that the presentation would be stressful, and honestly I was stressing about it since I found out, I thought I might even faint on stage. In the end though all the staff and other speakers really helped me to relax and feel comfortable and I just did it. I think the assembly is a great initiative as well as the competition itself and really hope it continues again next year so that others can have the same opportunity to make their voices heard.

Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?

I don’t believe that the actual definition of entrepreneurship will change, but it will become more accessible and anyone will be able to become an entrepreneur. I hope that there will be cross-generational cooperation as we have a lot to learn from each other and this can contribute to a constant flow of innovation and ideas. Education will also continue to play a big role 10 years from now, and it will develop alongside the advancement of technology. I think entrepreneurs will be coming up with things we can’t even begin to imagine!

Alongside this I think there will be a focus on working with clients to give them what they want, for example, working with students to see what it is they want and need for their education. This in turn will hopefully lead to an increase in the number of start-ups, particularly youth ones. Start-up and SME culture will have developed and we will see more support in the form of bodies, panels and organisations designed to foster entrepreneurship.

I want to take this opportunity to say to other young people that you should not be afraid of actually trying, and that if you fail then just try again. Winning this competition has made such a difference and given me such an amazing platform which has led to other opportunities. I would not be able to say I’ve been invited to attend a session of the European Economic and Social Forum in Brussels as the guest of Cypriot delegation if I had not entered this competition, so I wanted to say thank you and encourage everyone to take all the opportunities available to you.

Read Andri’s entry here.

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition finalist Katie Williams

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This is the third in our series of blog posts presenting our winner and finalists of the Youth Essay Competition, which was held as part of the SME Assembly 2016 which took place from 23-25 November 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Today we get to know the final runner up, Katie Williams, a young multilingual worker in the field of International Trade currently based in Brussels.

As a passionate language graduate who currently speaks English, French and German, Katie demonstrated her love and value of multilingualism and multiculturalism in her entry and how this has shaped her views. With this international, open mindset, Katie has worked in Great Britain, France, Germany and now Belgium and entered this competition to speak her mind about her generation and her ideas about what opportunities could be made available to them.

Today she shares with us why she entered the competition and where she sees the world of entrepreneurship in 10 years’ time…

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What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I entered the SME Youth Essay Competition because I felt it was a good opportunity to grapple with an interesting and relevant topic, which particularly has an impact on my own generation. I know a lot of people who are, these days, facing a countless number of difficulties when it comes to entering the job market. This initiative was a great chance to explore in greater detail the ways in which young people can progress in the professional world from a different perspective. It is true to say that these days professional prospects are channelled in one direction: going to university and obtaining a degree. I welcome the chance to explore the ways in which these prospects could be broadened for young people.

Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?

In 2026, I would like to see entrepreneurship take off more in developing countries in the world. In addition, I believe that entrepreneurship could be used as a means to enhance gender equality in the future. Currently there are fewer women involved in entrepreneurship than men in OECD countries, plus women-owned enterprises tend to reap lower profits. I hope that future policy makers introduce programmes specifically targeted at women in order to help them build their capabilities for business ownership.

Want to know more about Katie’s proposal for stimulating youth entrepreneurship in Europe? Read her entry here.

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      ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, was the question that we posed to the youth of Europe for this year’s edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition. Today, Promoting Enterprise is excited to present this year’s winner, Oksana Vedmidska from Ukraine! Oksana first impressed the Youth Essay Competition jury with her passionate essay and then […]
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      European youth certainly have a lot to say about entrepreneurship, at least judging by the large number of entries for the 2017 edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition. This year the essays had to answer ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, at first glance a simple question but which we discovered has many answers!  Today, […]
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