Archive for ‘European SME Week’
What an opening! Yesterday on 22 November 2017, the SME Assembly 2017 officially opened and the long awaited programme of events finally got under way.
Three Estonian enterprises opened their doors to delegates to show us all what goes on behind the scenes of some of Estonia’s top innovators. From finding out what goes into the making and running of a digital state with the E-Estonia showroom, learning what goes into Estonian defence with top supplier and manufacturer Milrem, to learning about super capacitors with ‘Estonia’s oldest startup’ Skeleton Technologies, this year’s business tours were certainly diverse and showed us the entrepreneurial, innovative and e-spirit of Estonia.
The day continued with the long anticipated Ideas from Europe semi-finals, during which all 28 candidates made their three minute pitches in front of a live audience and a high level jury. The jury, made up of Kristin Schreiber of the European Commission, Kaupo Reede from the Estonian Presidency, Ulrike Rabmer Koller President of UEAPME, and Cees Vermaas CEO of CME Europe, asked tough questions and challenged the candidates to defend their solutions on stage. Both the Jury and the audience voted on who should go through to the finals in the Hague next year…be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter to find out who they picked!
Ideas from Europe was swiftly followed by two more high level events to round off the evening, the SME Week Reception at the stunning Seaplane Harbour Museum, and the Schumpeter Lecture given by Jan Fagerberg at the beautiful Kadriorg Art Museum.
The Reception included opening remarks from Costas Andropoulos of the European Commission, some SME insights from Kaupo Reed of the Estonian Presidency, and a showcase of Estonian culture, traditional folk dancing, music and a performance from Veronika’s Portsmuth Academy Concert Choir and Uppsar dance show. The Schumpeter Lecture allowed Professor Jan Fagerberg to share his insights on the evolution of innovation policy and what it means for Europe’s future, which was complemented by speeches from SME Envoy Viljar Lubi, European Commissioner Bienkowska and Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
Day 1 certainly had a lot to offer, but this was only the beginning of this year’s SME Assembly activities. What is in store for today? Follow us on Twitter for live coverage, and for those of you that are here…see you in Kultuurikatel!
Invest Europe, the association representing Europe’s private equity, venture capital and infrastructure sectors, has once again joined forces with policymakers, the investment industry, policy–focused organisations and entrepreneurs to host Invest Week 2017. Supported by the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Invest Week 2017 will focus on how Europeans can work together to create a brighter future through investment and innovation. A variety of events throughout the week will look at the role of investment in stimulating sustainable economic growth.
Michael Collins, CEO of Invest Europe stated:
“Europe is a global standard bearer for sustainable investment and has an increasingly powerful entrepreneurship and innovation culture. With 30 organisations spanning finance, pensions, insurance and entrepreneurship involved, Invest Week exemplifies the cross-border, collaborative approach that makes Europe a special place to invest and build businesses.”
“Invest Europe is proud to once again lead the organisation of Invest Week, which has this year secured the backing of the Estonian Presidency, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. We look forward to a packed agenda sharing ideas to help the EU meet its sustainable investment goals.”
Consult the agenda to view already scheduled events covering topics ranging from funding for start-ups, female entrepreneurship, financial regulation and sustainability. Confirmed speakers include: European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen, serial entrepreneur and investor Hermann Hauser, Chairman of the European Innovation Council, and Roger Havenith, Deputy CEO for the European Investment Fund.
For events and the latest updates, follow Invest Week 2017 on Twitter.
Journalists are welcome to attend Invest Week events. For more information and registration, please contact Emma Thorpe on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the full press release here.
About Invest Europe
Invest Europe is a non-profit association located in Brussels, that represents Europe’s private equity, venture capital and infrastructure sectors, as well as their investors. Their members take a long-term approach to investing in privately held companies, from start-ups to established firms. This commitment helps deliver strong and sustainable growth, resulting in healthy returns for Europe’s leading pension funds and insurers, to the benefit of the millions of European citizens who depend on them.
Invest Europe aims to make a constructive contribution to policy affecting private capital investment in Europe, and provides information to the public on their members’ role in the economy. Their research provides the an authoritative source of data on trends and developments in their industry. It also promotes the industry’s professional standards, demanding accountability, good governance and transparency from their members.
The SME Assembly is the most significant event for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe, and gathers the best and most inspiring ideas with the potential to change the world for the better, from across the 28 Member States. The conference takes place once a year during the European SME Week. Together with the network of SME Envoys, the assembly creates the governance structure of the Small Business Act.
The 2017 edition of the SME Assembly will take place from 22 – 24 November 2017 in Tallinn, during and in cooperation with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It will be the main event of European SME Week 2017. The opening ceremony will take place at the Seaplane Harbour Museum and the assembly itself at Kultuurikatel.
The Assembly focuses on how to make SME policy work in the everyday European context, in order for Europe’s SMEs to really thrive. In this, the sixth year of the SME Assembly, the programme will again include:
- the Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ lecture, which will be held at the House of Blackheads;
- the 11th European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony;
- keynote speeches from high-level politicians and dignitaries;
- interactive sessions where participants get an opportunity to drive the policy agenda;
- practical masterclasses and boot camps;
- and an interactive expo to promote start-ups and scale-ups and those that support them.
There will also be the Ideas from Europe semi-finale, which will showcase the conclusion of a member state wide competition to find the ‘Top 10’ ideas from visionary entrepreneurs across Europe.
Entry to the SME Assembly and European Enterprise Promotion Awards is by personal invitation from the European Commission only. If you would like to register your interest, please contact: email@example.com.
So prepare yourselves to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, like the iconic barn swallows of Estonia, and follow us on the journey to Tallinn!
In order to keep up with updates, deadlines and news about the SME Assembly 2017, and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, make sure to follow all the different social media and information channels:
YouTube: Promoting Enterprise
Are you an SME Week National Coordinator? Need some inspiration for your campaign? Look no further! Start your planning for European SME Week 2017!
Today we share the action plan developed by the Portuguese Coordinator for the European SME Week 2016 to present some ideas and best practices. The action plan covers various topics, from communication tips and communication strategies, to possible target groups, dissemination practices and how to reach the audience using social media.
The report, which you may find here, resulted in a total of 39 Portuguese organised events being posted on the SME Week Event Calendar. Use the calendar as a European platform to get international exposure for your events, get posting and see the results!
For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/support/sme-week_en
Welcome back to the Promoting Enterprise blog! Are you ready for 2017? We have decided to kick off the year with a look at what you all thought of the SME Assembly 2016.
The response rate was 48%, with the most responses coming from Belgium, Slovakia, Netherlands and Greece. Of all the respondents, 98% believed the SME Assembly 2016 was worth attending, of which 47.44% said definitely. What does this mean for SME Assembly 2017? 92% of respondents indicated that they would definitely or were likely to attend, so we hope to see you in Tallinn!
We were happy to see that the event was perceived to be successful in “creating the environment when people are ready and willing for the real networking”, and “very well organised”. Other comments are also being used to improve our performance and your experience at the SME Assembly 2017.
Moving on to the business tours, which firstly took participants to see Slovakia’s flying car, an automotive innovation that makes use of existing aviation and automobile infrastructure to offer a future with the possibility of real door-to-door travel. The second tour featured an innovative Slovakian SME GA drilling, is working towards revolutionising current drilling technology to allow for cheaper and more efficient drilling, with the idea of providing affordable and sustainable geothermal power to all. It seems these tours were a hit with 97% of the tour attendees finding them extremely/relevant and useful.
Overall, SME Assembly 2016 attendees appeared very satisfied with the rest of the 3 day conference events, including; the SME Week Reception (94% found it extremely relevant and useful) and the EEPA ceremony (87% said it fully met or exceeded their expectations), although participants would have appreciated more networking time.
We also asked our delegates what they thought of the graphic recording of the SME Assembly, a real time depiction, which summarised the event with visuals, created by entrepreneur Sabine Soeder and fellow artist Martin Saive. 82% of delegates found this useful. The event app was also greatly appreciated with 92% of delegates believing it to be relevant and useful. The app can always be improved and with your suggestions regarding programme alerts, information about other attendees, networking facilitation and more.
Thank you to everyone who provided us with feedback and took time to fill in the survey. The preparations for SME Assembly 2017 are already underway…so stay tuned and see you in Tallinn this November!
What a great start! The SME Assembly 2016 is now well under way after kicking off yesterday on Wednesday 23 November in Bratislava, Slovakia. The day was full of events including business tours, the SME Week Reception and the Schumpeter Lecture to name a few. Missed out or couldn’t attend all sessions? Don’t worry here is a quick round up of yesterday’s highlights.
It all started bright and early with the first business tour of the day to go and see none other than Slovakia’s flying car! Yes you read that correctly, the entrepreneurs behind this automotive innovation showed delegates the product of their efforts, a flying car that makes use of existing aviation and automobile infrastructure to offer a future with the possibility of real door-to-door travel. The second business tour took delegates to GA drilling. This innovative SME in the drilling sector is working towards revolutionising current drilling technology to allow for cheaper and more efficient drilling, with the idea of providing affordable and sustainable geothermal power to all. Delegates were treated to a very interactive demonstration of the unique plasmabit technology that is currently under development.
There was little time to rest as the next events got underway, with the SME Week Reception starting first in the Old Market Hall where the guests were welcomed by State Secretary of the Slovak Republic Rastislav Chovanec. The reception was full of fun as national winners, exhibitioners and other attendees had the chance to meet, network and socialise. The Committee of the Regions introduced the 2018 EER Awards, and a regional polish project, Selvita (a drug research company) was also given the floor. Along with all these introductions, guests were treated to a taster of what is to come in the following days of the SME Assembly.
To finish off an amazing first day with the presence of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowská over dinner at the Restauracia Hrad, a small group of delegates was invited to the Schumpeter Lecture. Special guest speaker Philippe Aghion from Harvard University delivered a captivating lecture. Professor Aghion addressed the trials of promoting innovation in Europe and the need for Europe to adapt and reform, saying that ‘If we want to revive the idea of Europe, we have to deliver abroad’, when speaking of Europe’s performance on the global market.
To see photos from the first day, visit our Flickr. It was an eventful day to say the least and with so much going on it was great to see everybody active on Twitter helping to promote #SMEassembly2016! So stay tuned, follow live Twitter updates if you just can’t get enough (@EEPA_EU) and bring on Day 2…
Germany’s main SME conference ahead of this year’s European SME Week focused on the lively social enterprise scene that has developed in the country. According to the keynote speaker Kristin Schreiber, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, one in four new companies set up across the EU is a social enterprise.
The German national event, which took place on 28 June, brought together almost 130 experts from networks, funding bodies, science and academia as well as entrepreneurs. In line with the motto of this year’s conference – ‘Addressing social challenges. Undertaking dedicated action. Embracing responsible entrepreneurship’, the discussion focused on what social enterprises need in order to flourish.
The main idea behind this conference was to make social enterprises more widely known and to promote their interests and needs among established players, such as chambers of commerce, consultancy firms and funding bodies. A particular highlight of the conference was the four presentations given by social entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas:
< Andrea-Victoria Noelle is co-founder of Beliya GmbH, a designer label for bags and accessories that works for a good cause: for every bag sold, a child in Africa is sponsored for one school year.
Ralf Sange > from Gründer 50plus UG supports people over the age of 50 who are considering setting up their own business.
< Anne Kjær Riechert founded the ReDI School of Digital Integration gGmbH where refugees – mostly from Syria – become students, learning computer programming and coding so that they can find a job in Germany.
Martin Reh > co-founded the RSO Shift GmbH, a company that constructs a medical device for developing regions that cleans, disinfects and sterilises operating equipment using nothing but solar power.
The discussion also focused on the results of a study on social entrepreneurship published by the German Economic Affairs Ministry.
A video of the conference highlights, with subtitles in English, is available here below.
The Grand Jury Prize was awarded during the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony, during the SME Week 2015. It is an award that can be given to an initiative from any category, and was given to the entry considered to be the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.
We asked Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship, the winners of the 2015 Grand Jury Prize, a few questions about winning this prestigious award. The programme works to support responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship – from helping to develop business plans to advising on how best to obtain funding.
- What did you learn from your experience with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards?
It was a great experience with lots of visibility in the entrepreneur environment.
Taking part in the Ceremony was a fantastic experience, we met some very interesting projects and contacts. We also shared experience, challenges and solutions for the creation and growth of SMEs.
- What did winning the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 SME Assembly in Luxembourg mean to you?
Recognition (and more motivation) for the project, and also being recognised in Lisbon for the promotion of entrepreneurship and the economic development of the city.
Lisbon Micro Entrepreneurship is a programme developed by the municipality to help entrepreneurs to start small business in Lisbon.
The idea is to use the institutional power of the municipality to celebrate partnerships with public and private entities in order to promote business in Lisbon, facilitate access to finance and boost entrepreneurship.
Since 2013, we have made more than 1000 contacts, worked with more than 200 entrepreneurs with potential businesses and helped to establish more than 70 businesses, creating 160 jobs.
The main clients of Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship are unemployed people with skills (mostly people with college degrees and work experience), aged between 30 and 50 years old.
Our work is divided in 3 main sectors:
Mentoring – We help people to work on their business concept; business plans; and coaching through the whole process of the project development. Sometimes, this also includes further mentoring after the business is established.
Access to finance – We use partnerships with public institutions, private institutions and banks that permit access to credit products with very special rates.
Access to spaces – We help businesses to get access to either public (public offers in parish councils) or private spaces with special conditions (this includes collaborative work space and, business incubators, for example).
This award is very important to the project, because it gives it credibility and will help when negotiating new partnerships, particularly with the financial institutions that have better conditions for entrepreneurs. It also allows us to support more entrepreneurs.
- What advice can you give to other SMEs wanting to take part in the Awards?
We would advise other cities and/or regions to have a proactive strategy to support entrepreneurship; create networking among the various players; and partner up to meet the needs of SMEs.
It is important to participate in the EEPAs because it gives you the opportunity to meet new projects, potential partners, share and learn from each other about how to support the creation and growth of SMEs.
To find out more about Libson Micro-Entrepreneurship, watch this short video.
As part of European SME Week, the European Commission organised its annual conference, the 2015 SME Assembly. The event, which took place between Wednesday 18 to Friday 20 November 2015, is known as the most significant event for SMEs in Europe.
Figures from business, academia, policy-making and the media were invited to the event which was held in cooperation with the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The Assembly encouraged interaction and engagement between potential partners, SMEs and senior governmental figures during planned policy sessions and open discussions. The purpose was to encourage awareness of the business landscape and to highlight best practise within the field.
High level speakers included HRH Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. Also speaking at the event was Kristin Schreiber, Director for SME Policy and COSME, and Elźieta Bieńkowska, EU SME Envoy and Member of the European Commission for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
Open discussions and policy sessions
Over the course of event, a number of engaging open discussions and policy sessions took place involving policy-makers, academia, delegates and the media, some of which are listed below.
To celebrate the UN’s Women Entrepreneurship Day on Thursday 19 November, attendees joined together to listen to a discussion about female entrepreneurship. The discussion panel consisted of HRH The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, and female business leaders Henryka Bochniarz, Betty Fontaine, Amy Millman and Marianne Costigan, who discussed the successes and struggles they individually face in the industry, in their position.
‘Are our expectations limiting men and women in business? Do we prohibit ourselves from reaching the stars?’
‘We shouldn’t be afraid to fail! Failure may happen, but entrepreneurs should be prepared to be resilient and grow!’
‘What are the prime factors that enable long-term success for SMEs? TEAMWORK, TEAMWORK, TEAMWORK.’
‘Failure. Solidarity amongst Women Coaching.’
An OpenSpace session also took place during the SME Assembly, which aimed to encourage attendees to think creatively with others to share best practise. Feedback has been incredibly positive from this session, which helped many to network and listen to the ideas of those around them!
Policy sessions included Skills for SMEs, Making the Single Market Work for SMEs, From Refugee to Entrepreneur, and Alternative roads to finance for SMEs.
Further to the policy sessions, a number of Masterclasses were arranged for those at the SME Assembly 2015 to attend. The sessions are listed below:
- Creativity with Leonie Baldacchino, Director, The Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking, University of Malta.
- SMEs on the Stock Exchange with Eric Forest, Chairman and CEO, EuroNext, and two entrepreneurs.
- Crowdfunding with Kristine Pontoppidan, CEO, NinjaConsult.
- Circular Economy with Rien Otto, Founder and Creative Director, Dutch aWEARness.
- Digitising Government with Mel Ross, Director, Adapt2Digital; Tristan Wilkinson, Founder, Digital Citizens; Claire Allington, Head of Digital, Lloyds Banks.
- Twitter for Business with Viv Jemmett, Head of Digital, Hanover Communications
If you would like to view any of the slides from the Masterclasses, please click here.
To access slides from speaker presentations and masterclasses, please click here.
To access our SME Assembly 2015 compendium in all EU languages, please click here.
To access more photographs from the SME Assembly 2015, please click here.
To watch some of the key sessions from the SME Assembly 2015, please click here.
If you’d like more information about the SME Assembly 2015 in Luxembourg or the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia, please follow our social media channels linked below. Alternatively, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The seven winners of the 2015 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) have been announced, with the Grand Jury Prize being awarded to a Portuguese project.
The project, Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship, is a programme that works to support responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship – from helping to develop business plans to advising on how best to obtain funding.
Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship was set up in 2013 with the aim of invigorating the city’s economy and promoting job creation. It forms part of Lisbon Municipal Council’s global strategy to support entrepreneurship and brings together public, private, local and national bodies to enable anyone to get support for projects. The programme helps entrepreneurs develop ideas and business plans, assists in obtaining funding and provides support on project implementation. The organisation has already successfully set up 50 companies, created over 100 jobs and held over 550 meetings with entrepreneurs.
See Lisboa Empreende on Business Planet: Why Lisbon is luring entrepreneurs (video)
Six other projects from the Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Estonia, Spain and Germany were recognised for their work on fostering entrepreneurial spirit, improving and simplifying business creation and investing in skills. Projects from Denmark, Malta, Slovenia, and Greece also received Special Mentions from the EEPA jury. The Awards ceremony took place in Luxembourg on 19 November 2015 as part of the SME Assembly, the main event of the European SME Week.
Since 2006, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards have rewarded public bodies and public-private partnerships who have shown excellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses. Over 3100 projects have entered during this time, and have supported the creation of thousands of new companies. The awards’ objectives are to create a greater awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in European society and encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs. This is achieved by identifying and recognising successful activities and initiatives to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship, and then showcasing and sharing examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices.
Winners of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2015
Grand Jury Prize Winner
Portugal – Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship is a successful, inspiring and innovative programme stimulating micro-entrepreneurship in Lisbon through a comprehensive range of measures focusing on disadvantaged groups, while staying open to all future entrepreneurs.
Responsible organisation: Lisboa Municipal Council
Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit
Netherlands – ZomerOndernemer changes mind-sets and improve entrepreneurial skills of young people during their summer holidays. The project is based on ‘learning by doing’, and has impressive results with almost ¼ of participants deciding they want to be entrepreneurs.
Responsible organisation: The New Entrepreneur Foundation
Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Ireland – Going for Growth encourages female entrepreneurs to be ambitious and supports them in achieving their growth aspirations with a mix of measure encompassing role models promotion, networking and peer-learning.
Responsible organisation: Fitzsimons Consulting in association with the Gender Equality Division, Department of Justice and Equality
Improving the Business Environment
United Kingdom – Creative Quarter aims to support creative SMEs in generating prosperity and creating jobs by developing a highly-skilled local workforce ready to compete in the knowledge economy.
Responsible organisation: Creative Quarter Nottingham Limited
Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Estonia – GameFounders is a global game industry accelerator that aims to support technical teams in developing a product business model. The project has already supported 28 teams from 16 countries, all of whom are still operating.
Responsible organisation: GameFounders OÜ
Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency
Spain – Green Business Network is the first networking platform in Spain to specialise in green business. It follows a comprehensive approach, including support for start-ups, for business consolidation, for new green business lines of existing companies, and for environmental innovation.
Responsible organisation: Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Germany – Enterability is a project benefitting people with disabilities. It combines measures relevant for this group with a sound start-up expertise, employing a diversity of tools: seminars, mentoring, or peer-counselling.
Responsible organisation: Social Impact GmbH