Archive for ‘SME News and updates’
With the recent launch of the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2017, Promoting Enterprise interviewed youth empowerment specialist and guest contributor Daisy da Veiga to ask about her opinion on what skills she believes youth need to develop for the future. She also shared with us her latest work with Youth not in employment, education or training (NEET), including a vlog from her latest trip to an exchange program in Lisbon about NEET youth work across Europe.
There are a variety of skills that youth must develop, however I think that soft skills come first and foremost. Firstly, you need to be able to love yourself and have self-confidence, from there you can build on other useful skills. Through self-confidence you will develop another critical skill for success, persistence, it is important to not give up, even when it gets difficult. Working on yourself is important, but it is also necessary to develop your social skills. The ability to connect with people will not only allow for the forging of relationships, but also the opportunity to learn and exchange with others, which is how we grow.
Soft skills should also be complemented with ‘hard skills’ such as creativity and audacity. I believe that youth are very creative, but they don’t always know how to express that creativity. This links to another important skill which may sometimes be overlooked: the ability to ask for help. Learn from and exchange with others, and don’t be afraid to be audacious. Dare to do, speak and change, dare to leave your comfort zone! Whilst it is important to ask for help, I also want youth to remember their ability to listen to their inner voice and go with their gut feeling. We can be easily affected and distracted by all the things that go on around us and the people in our network, but sometimes you need to distance yourself from that and think and act with a clear mind.
Based on your experiences with youth, both within and outside of education systems, do you think that the current education systems need to change? Should their focus be realigned to help develop the skills you have mentioned?
I recently attended a conference on how to re-organise education in Rotterdam where the participants were talking about the intention of education and the systems we have built to deliver it. Personally, I believe that education should prioritise ‘soft skills’ more than it does at present, and then complement that with the current ‘hard skills’ it teaches i.e. maths, science, foreign languages etc.
The intention of education is to help youth find their way in society, and develop them firstly as individuals and secondly as professionals. However, it seems that we have forgotten the intention and are now stuck in a system. The system which was created to help realise the intention, has now become the intention, in short we have forgotten what the system was for.
On the subject of youth, what other work have you been involved in recently with European youth?
One of the European ventures I am currently involved in, is the international exchange of the project Boulevard of Dreams, by the foundation Manage Your Talent. The foundation is based in Rotterdam and I am one of the youth empowerment trainers. This European project has participants from across five countries including, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Romania and Portugal. The aim of the project is to exchange ideas, methods and information about working with and for NEET youth, and to offer them the best tailored training possible.
Boulevard of Dreams has three phases in its youth empowerment initiative. The first is to empower the participating youth and give them the ability to find out who they are, identify their talents, discover their dreams and ultimately give them some direction. Once the participants have a clear idea of what they want, they can choose to progress to the second phase where they are paired with a peer educator or ‘buddy’ who is a professional in the field they aspire to join and between the ages of 25-35. Depending on the buddy and the dream in question, this stage involves different activities, but the minimum is that the buddy offers information and guidance from their experience. In the final stage, the participants are offered the opportunity to present their ideas in front of a jury and win financial support for their idea or for education if that is what they wish to pursue.
As part of this project I recently attended a conference in Lisbon on how to work with NEET youth, which included the sharing of experiences from fellow trainers across Europe. As I enjoy vlogging I have included my journey in Lisbon for you right here so that you can experience my journey with me. I hope you enjoy it!
The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) was launched, along with the Copernicus Masters, the leading innovation platform for commercial Earth observation applications, at a joint international kick-off event hosted by the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU in Brussels, on 5 April 2017.
From now until June 30, ESNC will be searching for the most forward‐thinking applications based on satellite navigation. The winners, which will be announced at a ceremony as part of European Space Week in Tallinn, Estonia, in November, will share in this year’s prize pool of more than EUR 1 million and will benefit from the ESNC’s unparalleled support network, including the ESA Business Incubation Centres and the brand new E-GNSS Accelerator, co-funded by the European Commission.
Speaking at the kick-off ceremony, Andreas Veispak, Head of the European Commission’s Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth Unit, noted that the EU had invested a lot of money in satellites, and now stakeholders, including Member States, were looking for a return on this investment. “This can only be yielded through satellite applications that are of use to end users in the public and private sectors,” he said.
Return on investment
This is where the ESNC plays a key role. Since 2004, the Competition has been fast-tracking the most ground-breaking ideas for Galileo-related applications across Europe and beyond and transforming them into market-ready products and new ventures. Each year, the Competition helps promote over 400 business ideas and has already awarded prizes to more than 300 winners over the years, which represent just a fraction of the more than 3,700 innovative concepts submitted by over 11,000 participants.
This year is no different. With an impressive prize pool of over EUR 1 million, the Competition will give entrepreneurs and start-ups with services, products or business ideas that use satellite navigation in everyday life access to more than 160 space-related stakeholders and allow them to benefit from support from over 40 incubators and the expertise of more than 250 experts.
GSA special prize
Within the ESNC, there is the GSA Special Prize for the most promising application idea for European GNSS. The European GNSS Agency (GSA) works with the European Commission on a range of activities aimed at helping European entrepreneurs and businesses – especially high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), business incubators, and related networks – take commercial advantage of European GNSS (EGNSS). This year the focus of the GSA prize is on connecting Europe.
Watch this: Europe for space, space for Europe
Now that EGNOS is performing very well, Reinhard Blasi, Market Development Officer at the European GNSS Agency (GSA), noted at the ceremony, the focus is shifting from not only embracing EGNOS on a European level, but Galileo on a global level. “Since December 2016 we have been progressing from deployment to user service provision, which means that users can benefit from Galileo right now,” he said. “In light of the 60th anniversary of the EU, and a milestone year when Galileo starts to provide services with the Declaration of Initial Services, we have been thinking about how we can use satellite navigation to showcase how European GNSS helps connect European citizens.”
The ESNC is now additionally equipped with the brand new E-GNSS Accelerator. This programme is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups to accelerate their business case on a broad scale and bring their products and services to market. The E-GNSS Accelerator will run for three years and will directly support the winners of the ESNC 2017, 2018 and 2019. As a result, the participants will receive even more prizes, services and three further business incubations worth an additional EUR 500,000.
For more information on the ESNC, including all relevant information on prizes, partners, and terms of participation, visit the Competition’s official website: www.esnc.eu. Information on the Copernicus Masters can be found here: www.copernicus-masters.com.
Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link the article back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).
With a good idea, some investment and hard work, start-ups in the health and life sciences fields can get started in their local market. But if these firms are going to achieve meaningful growth, and if their innovations are going to benefit a wider audience, they will have to go abroad – which means understanding new regulations, a different culture and an unknown set of market realities.
This is where Product/Market Fit comes in. An EIT Health Accelerator programme, Product/Market Fit helps start-ups that have already established themselves in one market and are ready to expand beyond their borders. The support this programme offers has an estimated market value of EUR 25 000, but the opportunities it provides can be worth much more than that.
“Based on our experience in the Accelerator, grownup start-ups start needing support with going to other markets,” according to Katrien Van Gucht, a Co-Coordinator of the EIT Health Accelerator Strategy and Digital Health Program Manager at EIT Health partner IMEC. “We wanted to get in that sweet spot, right when they are ready to expand,’ said Johnny Waterschoot, who project manages European open calls for IMEC. “We are looking for companies that are ready to go beyond their borders, but lack the necessary funding to do just that. This programme will help them decide what markets to address next.”
According to Van Gucht, companies that are mature enough to qualify for this programme have typically raised about EUR 500 000 in investment and generally consist of two or three people. She said the companies obtain great value from the market testing that the programme can do. “The trial and error ratio of going out and seeing for themselves if they can make it in another market, we reduce this a great deal for them. They will see if they still need some work before they start growing in that market. Or the outcome could be that this market is not for them.”
If the entrepreneurs have the passion and drive to expand, the Product/Market Fit programme can provide them with many of the other tools they need.
Interested in finding out how to apply? Read more about the process here.
For more information: https://eit.europa.eu
Digital innovation has led to several technological advances, born in the minds of innovative entrepreneurs who go on to bring their ideas to life. With an increasing number of us online, both socially and professionally, cybersecurity is an issue that affects us all, consumers and entrepreneurs alike. How can you protect yourself? What information do you need to safely reap the benefits of our digitally innovative world? Today, Promoting Enterprise looks into the development of fraud detection systems, accessible cybersecurity and remote incident response platforms.
The tendency for people to be creatures of habit is being put to good use in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to new identification software that uses typical login times and locations, keystroke dynamics and in-app behaviour to verify if someone is who they say they are. It’s one of a series of innovations being developed by European businesses keen to claim their share of a growing cybersecurity market. Analysts predict that global spending in cybersecurity will be well over EUR 100 billion a year by 2021, yet according to a 2016 report despite being the most trusted area globally when it comes to data security and privacy, the European industry is only growing 6% annually, compared to growth of 8 % for the market as a whole.
One of the aims of the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) – the association implementing a cybersecurity public-private partnership set up by the EU in 2016 – is to create connections between industry players, national public authorities and users of cybersecurity solutions to identify priorities and increase collaboration in research and innovation. That connection – particularly between providers and end-users – is crucial if Europe is to grow the industry and take its place in the market. European businesses such as Czech-based cybersecurity firm ThreatMark (advanced fraud-detection systems developer) and German cybersecurity company Applied Security (apsec), could benefit from this connection which could manifest as business-to-business platforms and direct interactions between SMEs and potential clients.
With the development of the cybersecurity industry, there are still three areas to be addressed:
- Cybersecurity tools need to be considered as integral parts of computer systems. EU funded projects like CyberWiz, where users set up a model IT network and carry out various kinds of simulated attacks, allow for system development whilst exposing weak points and giving an overview of the network security.
- Skilled technical experts are important for the overall success of the industry, but especially in the small- and medium-sized sector. According to chief executive of Secon Cyber Security UK Robert Gupta, ‘In general, there is a lack of the right skills and when you are recruiting, technical experts in cybersecurity are very hard to come by’.
- The costs of implementing cybersecurity. Between the costly search for experts, their employment and the implementation and upkeep of a security system, many smaller businesses simply cannot afford this integral part of their online presence. However, EU funded project ConnectProtect could be the answer; a remote incident-response platform helping small- and medium-sized businesses to combat attacks and security threats – at a more reasonable cost. Through such a system and economies of scale for cybersecurity software licences, the total cost of security could come down dramatically for small businesses – perhaps by as much as 75 % per member of staff.
For more information: https://horizon-magazine.eu
Digital innovation is a key theme for this year’s SME Assembly 2017 taking place in Estonia, so stay tuned for more digital innovation content right here on Promoting Enterprise.
If you liked this have a read of: 2017 and beyond: How digital innovation will impact the world
The European Conference for Junior Entrepreneurs (The JADE Spring Conference) takes place on 02‐05 March 2017, in Brussels, and is the main international Junior Enterprise event in Europe, bringing together over 300 Junior Entrepreneurs from over 14 countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, the United States and Tunisia. This year, 2017, marks the 25th anniversary of JADE and the 50th of the Junior Enterprise concept. The conference theme is “Co-create the future. Celebrate the past, act today, shape our tomorrow”, and will focus on the power of youth assuming a leadership role in shaping the society of the future.
Andrey Novakov, youngest Member of the European Parliament, will launch the conference, followed by high level panels and keynote speaker Dr. Georg Tacke, CEO of Simon Kucher & Partners. During the conference, the Junior Entrepreneurs will have the chance to foster their skills development with dedicated workshops delivered by the event’s partners, experienced professionals and chosen multipliers of the JADE network. The Gala Dinner will close the event, during which the best Junior Enterprises in the network will be awarded with JADE Excellence Awards.
The European Confederation of Junior Enterprises – Inspiring the next generation of business leaders
What does it take to be an entrepreneur? At what age and how do entrepreneurs develop? Where can we learn more about the inspirational entrepreneurs of the future? Today Promoting Enterprise has the honour to present the success stories booklet from JADE, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises, which aims to inspire the next generation of business leaders.
“For JADE, entrepreneurship refers to an individual ability to turn ideas into actions. Entrepreneurial competences must therefore include transversal skills and attitudes, as well as more specialised knowledge and business skills. In a broad sense, entrepreneurship should be considered as a mind-set that supports everyone in daily life at home and in society. In order to inspire entrepreneurship, we have to look closer at role-models, and learn from them. This is what Success Stories is about and this is why we have interviewed 13 former Junior Entrepreneurs about their experience within the Junior Enterprise network and how it helped them to start their own business or develop their entrepreneurial path.
Our mission here at JADE, is to encourage entrepreneurship in Europe by fostering a unique concept: the Junior Enterprise, a non-profit civil social organisation, formed and managed exclusively by undergraduate and postgraduate students of higher education. They provide services for companies, institutions and society, under the guidance of teachers and professionals with the goal of consolidating and enhancing the learning of their members. Junior Enterprises are similar to real companies, with components such as corporate governance (e.g. management council and executive board), and self-regulation.
By integrating a network of 280 Junior Enterprises in 14 European countries and supporting the growth of its 22,000 members, JADE is one of the most powerful European youth organisations that fights skills mismatch and creates great potential for a more entrepreneurial society and active citizenship. Outside Europe, Junior Enterprises are present in around 40 countries, with over 40,000 Junior Entrepreneurs across the world.
Interested in what we do? Dive in, and meet former junior entrepreneurs that turned what they learnt in their Junior Enterprise into a successful career!”
For more information: www.jadenet.org
Now that 2017 is here it is time to start looking ahead to the 2017 edition of EEPA which launches in February! But first let us look back at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) from 2016…
In our next few posts we will be meeting EEPA 2016 winners and getting their take on what makes a winning project and their journey to becoming category and overall winners. This is chance to have a look at what makes a winning project and start getting your entries ready for submission in national competitions. Interested in applying? Don’t know where to start? On the blog we will be sharing key information about the process and giving you an insider’s look at what last year’s winners did to be selected as the most deserving projects in Europe.
Think you are up to the challenge? Well consider applying! Read the 2016 participation criteria here and keep following the blog for new information.
Can’t wait for the testimonials? Have a look at the EEPA 2016 compendium for an overview of all national candidates and their projects! EEPA 2016 winners videos are also available if you want to relive all the excitement from the SME Assembly 2016.
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…
Petar Isirov an entrepreneur who formed part of the creation of Kartner-M, a privately held label printing company. They are based in Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia and were founded in 2014. In this blog post, Petar talks about his motivation for starting a business and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
After talking with friends in the food and beverage industry, we realised that many local companies had problems with the quality of their labels. They couldn’t do marketing campaigns properly, and the quality of the labels made it difficult for them to export their products around the world. We saw an opportunity to bring something new to the printing industry in our country, something that would help many businesses.
We found the money we needed by pooling our resources and getting loans. We used it to buy the necessary machines and organise ourselves to work efficiently. Europe is a great place to be an entrepreneur because the business environment is always developing and improving. There are countless opportunities for entrepreneurs; all you need is the right idea. I believe Europe is very supportive of young entrepreneurs, which helps motivate young people to consider becoming entrepreneurs. However, more EU involvement in countries like FYR of Macedonia would benefit small and medium enterprises to develop their business more efficiently, and expand operations outside of their countries.
Persistence is essential for entrepreneurship because it’s difficult to succeed and even more so when you are a young, aspiring company. For me, a great leader is committed to a cause, outgoing and able to take responsibility and risks. They are able to motivate, have a vision for the company, have objectives and be aware of their surroundings.
For more information: www.kartner-m.mk
Brian D. Jones is the author of the bestseller, “Over 50? Start Your Business! Build Wealth. Control Your Destiny. Leave A Legacy.” In an interview with JumpStart Magazine, he talks about his three foundations for success and sets out five steps for the mature entrepreneur to follow in setting up a business.
What do Estée Lauder, Ferdinand Porsche, and Kawasaki Shozo have in common? They were each over 50 when they started the global business named for them. In fact, founders over 50 are the fastest growing segment of new company founders. And surveys have also shown that companies with founders over 50 enjoy a higher success rate.
A combination of factors, including the Connected Economy and falling business development costs, make it possible for anyone to create their dream business. This opportunity is especially important for those over 50. Increased longevity, retirement worries, and an uncertain future for older workers all combine to spur those over 50 to create their dream business. The question is how to get started.
The three Foundations for Success
Mindset: Business success over 50 requires a new mindset. Most important is that a Success Mindset is a mindset of service.
Health: You must make health a priority to have business success at any age, but especially when over 50.
Habits: New research has debunked the old saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Positive habits can be developed at any age. It just takes hard work and consistency.
The five Steps to Starting Your Business
With mindset, health, and habits in place as a foundation, success in starting a business over 50 can be achieved by taking the following five steps.
It’s no longer either a choice between following your dreams or pursuing other opportunities. Your dreams can be your opportunity. Brainstorm first to cast a wide net of possibilities. Then narrow it down to the best few. Evaluate these to find the business that’s perfect for you.
Step 2: Meet Your Customer
A successful business is a business that best serves its customers. This process starts by identifying your ideal customer. Develop a customer avatar. Understand and articulate everything you can about your potential customer. Then you will be in a perfect position to serve that customer.
Step 3: How You Will Serve
Businesses in the past would create what they considered great products and services, and then hope customers would buy. Today things are different. Listen to customers. Interact with customers. Let them tell you what they want and need. Don’t guess. Give them what they want.
Step 4: Critical Issues to Consider
There are only so many hours in the day. How do you decide where to focus? You must keep your fingers on the pulse of every issue that faces the customer. The lessons learned make this too valuable to outsource. Any issue that doesn’t face the customer is a candidate for outsourcing.
Step 5: Your 90-Day Action Plan
Bring your business to life by creating and implementing your first 90-day action plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Your plan needs to include a series of SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely. Make sure your goals also include building positive habits, especially in the areas of mindset and health.
For more information: http://www.thematurentrepreneur.com