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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 second 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:

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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.

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Youth essay competition 2016 – Where are they now?

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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.

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition finalist Frici Barabas

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This is the second 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 another runner up, Frici Barabas, a young ‘wantrentrepreneur’ and freelancer with both a t-shirt printing business alongside his online venture ‘digital lifestyle’. Digital lifestyle is an online space that offers courses on how to be a better entrepreneur, the basics of marketing and other services those seeking to build their online lifestyle may need. So far he has 5000+ students under his guidance, yet this is nowhere near the end point for this ambitious ‘wantrentrepreneur’!

Today Frici shares what drove him to participate, his experience at the SME Assembly 2016, where he sees the future of entrepreneurship going and his advice for others leaning towards entrepreneurship as a career.

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What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I first heard about this competition through Facebook and decided that not only was it interesting as an aspiring entrepreneur myself, but I also saw it as an opportunity. My essay was my chance to say something to the world and put my voice on the European stage.

 What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?

I really enjoyed the interactive sessions, they were useful and gave me an opportunity to meet people from all across Europe with different solutions to the same problems we are all facing. I have to say that there was not a lot of youth representation, which was something that I expected and would have liked. I did however like the Erasmus for young entrepreneurs booth in the Expo and enjoyed interacting and connecting with the people there. I also really liked the social media coverage and the ‘no paper policy’ of the assembly, which forced us to use the app and our blendology badges to interact with each other and move around the conference. Paper has its magic, you can see when you create or write something but we are heading towards a digital age and we need to follow the path that is leading us there.   

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

We are already starting to see a shift which I believe is the trend that will emerge as we look ahead. Currently most people are employees, with only a few in the position of employer. This balance is beginning to change as more workers becoming freelance or contractors, as opposed to staying within the traditional fixed position structure. I see this change continuing, with the future being comprised of small groups of people working together to create and give customers an experience. This element of experience ties into how I think we will evolve digitally. In the words of Gary Vee ‘the mobile is the new TV’, he is right, in 10 years anything that does not work on mobile is simply not going to work. The young generation is growing up with mobile devices, so everything should be possible on mobile and most importantly be user-friendly.

I also want to share advice which can be taken now in preparation for the future. In my view those that are 15+ should pursue entrepreneurship, it is the best moment to do it and the cost of starting a business in the digital era is much lower than it was say 20 years ago. Failure is also very important, it is acceptable because it ultimately helps you to progress and not just your failures, learn from other people’s mistakes as well.

Want to find out more? Read Frici’s Youth Essay Competition entry here.

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition finalist Francesco Foglia

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This is the first 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 one of the runners up, Francesco Foglia, a journalist in European Affairs based in both Brussels and Italy. He is currently studying a Master in Business Administration and has been active on the European youth scene, through participating and winning youth competitions, and in 2015 founding a think tank on European regional policy in Italy.

Francesco shares what drove him to participate, his experience at the SME Assembly 2016 and finally where he thinks the world of SMEs and entrepreneurship will be 10 years on, in 2026.

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What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Every time that that young people have the opportunity to attend and participate in the debate of European policies, especially the sharing of ideas and proposals, I believe that it is necessary to participate. Young people very often ask to have their voices heard but then escape the discussion. When I decided to enter the contest I was studying business law and I noticed that there was no European youth company legislation. As such, my entry was my proposal for setting up the framework, with many features that could foster youth entrepreneurship in Europe.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?

The SME Assembly was a great opportunity to learn from within the world of European SMEs, the current state of affairs and future scenarios. I also took part in the inaugural lecture, held by Professor Philippe Aghion and it was really exciting. The assembly also offered useful networking moments, as well as high-level workshops.

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

The world is changing and of course so is the economy and entrepreneurship. Between now and 2026, an important demographic growth is expected, which is one of the key factors that will drive change. There will be more people, more needs to be met and probably more entrepreneurs. SMEs must, therefore, be of a proper size to meet the dimensional challenges to serve more diverse markets. The internet of things and future innovations will affect the speed at which there will be this change compared to now. I hope, however, that the most dynamic economy is shared, and that it serves to reduce inequities in our communities.

Interested in Francesco’s ideas and vision? Read his Youth Essay Competition entry here.

Come back every Tuesday of this month for another profile on our top Youth Essay Competition writers!

Youth Essay Competition – Final results

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Youth-banner--blog-600x150The results of the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition are in!

After careful deliberation by the judges, lengthy discussions have been had and the decision has been made.

This competition was created because we wanted to know what the young people of Europe think about entrepreneurship and the opportunities available to them in their country, and the wider European Union. The responses came from across Europe and not only did they give insight into the original question, but also what is on the minds of young people in Europe today.

Life is changing fast, and they are aware that in order to keep up they too will have to change. As one participant put it: “The ‘good old days’ mentality of getting an education and landing a steady job at a big company is over”, this reflects their view of education, that it is not designed to help meet the challenges of the present but is rather based on successful models of the past. This ties into their feelings on how they are perceived, with one essayist writing: “Even if we are young it does not mean we are stupid. It does not mean we are immature. We have a lot to offer if only you give us the chance”. They are realistic, demonstrating an understanding of the media and the tendency to feature the unicorns and multi million euro successes. One contestant wrote that “there is no need for a gigantic one-billion-dollar idea or a perfect professional business plan in order to successfully start up a business”; in other words , investment is not the only measure of success.

The variety of nationalities represented by the candidates was an early indicator of the importance placed on multilingualism and openness, a common theme throughout the essays, the authors of which recognised the importance of English for business alongside other languages on their path to success. In terms of the barriers faced, ‘red tape’ and bureaucracy are things they are aware of and frustrated by. These need to be addressed urgently. Coupled with these is the fear of failing, with one writing “we are full of energy and ideas but often lack the experience, skills and expertise to implement our plans successfully”. They need reassurance that failure is not the end of the world and that it can often signal the starting point for greater success.

It is now time for us to reveal the winner:

Congratulations to Andri Pandoura!

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Andri is a member of the Cyprus Children’s Parliament and has already developed an interest in human rights and advocating, which she plans to pursue in future by studying law and embarking on a career in human rights law.

The very close runners up are:

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  • Katie Williams, a multilingual young worker from the UK currently working in the field of International Trade.
  • Francesco Foglia, an Italian journalist in European Affairs currently studying a Masters in Business Administration.
  • Frici Barabas, a Romanian entrepreneur with an online business who also teaches others how to succeed in the professional online world.

Congratulations to all our finalists and be sure to stay tuned to find out more about them in forthcoming posts! We would also like to congratulate all those who submitted an essay as the standard was very high and the final results very close.

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