As we prepare for SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, let us not forget about the success of the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava! The presentation from the SME Assembly 2016 is now available for you to look at here.
Want to have a look at some of the presentations from the SME Assembly 2016? Browse the list below to refresh your memory:
10 Years On
Ladislav Ambrovics (MINIT Slovakia)
Scale Up Lab
Pieter Waasdorp (NLGroeit)
Policy Session – Skills for SMEs
Rosanna Kurrer (Digital Leadership Institute)
Alberto Onetti (Mind the Bridge, SEP)
Masterclass – Crowdfunding: Yannig Roth (Marketing Director, WiSEED)
Policy Session – Single Market Lab
Stefan Vratny (EEN)
Policy Session – Creating a Collaborative Economy
Marco Torregrossa: Rethinking Work in the Collaborative Economy (Secretary General, European Forum of Independent Professionals Managing Director, European Sharing Economy Coalition)
Julia Rzepecka (VVA – Europe)
Policy Session – Accessing Alternative Finance
Pim de Bokx (Founder PIONEERZ Chairman DIA – Dutch Incubators & Accelerators)
Kristof de Buysere (Eucaps)
Philippe Gluntz (Business Angels Europe)
Policy Session – The Growth of Social Enterprise
Roger Spear (OU&RUC)
Nils Dreyer (Hilfswerft GmbH)
Joseba Sagastigordia (Mondragon corp.)
Ariane Rodert (EESC)
This year the SME Assembly 2017 will take place in Tallinn, Estonia! Keep up with all the latest information, preparations and exciting announcements right here on Promoting Enterprise and we hope to see you in Tallinn…
We continue our showcase of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist with an introduction to the national winners competing in Category-3 – Improving the Business Environment. These three projects, each with their own specific focus, have in common the fact that they improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem in their respective countries – Denmark, Portugal and Slovenia. Two of the projects are based on a competition/award scheme, while the third is a co-working space that motivates young entrepreneurs.
So, in no particular order, the first in our list this week is Denmark’s Next Step Challenge (NSC). NSC is an ambitious European startup competition focusing on Smart Energy & Digitalisation and Sound & Home Integration. Ambitious startups are offered the chance to access a one-of-a-kind business development programme in direct collaboration with big corporations, SydEnergi and Bang & Olufsen. Along with EUR 250 000 in prize money, the winners are also supported by SydEnergi and Bang & Olufsen, who open up their organisations, share knowledge and strategy, and assist with product and/or business development. Check out their video!
The next project takes us to Portugal and the Leader SME programme, which annually rewards SMEs with the best financial performance and risk levels, as viewed by IAPMEI and Turismo de Portugal. The award offers public recognition of their successful growth strategies and competitive leadership, and winners benefit from more favourable conditions for accessing finance and other specialised business management support. In just eight years, the number of companies recognised has more than doubled from around 3 000 in 2008 to approximately 7 300 in 2015! Have a look at their video!
KIKštarter was established to encourage young people in Slovenia to develop their entrepreneurial ideas. A co-working space in the deprived area of Kamnik, it provides entrepreneurs with a supportive environment and is home to 27 startups. The startups receive assistance and guidance in developing their ideas, have access to workspace, and participate in a series of motivational events. The project is contributing to the promotion of entrepreneurship to all residents in the area, which is undergoing regeneration, and helping to unlock the potential of the area and its people. The initiative has directly resulted in seven new businesses and at least as many new jobs with minimal financial investment.
Only one of these projects can be declared the ultimate winner in the category and, given the high standard of all three, the EEPA Jury is faced with a difficult choice. But choose they must, and their eventual choice will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia, when the Grand Jury prize-winner will also be announced.
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
Part of the Business Wales service, the Big Ideas Wales campaign aims to support the next generation of young entrepreneurs in Wales. On the initiative’s website, young Welsh entrepreneurs share their experience and give their top tips for other young entrepreneurs aiming to achieve success in the business world.
Abi Carter – Forensic Resources
My business is Forensic Resources Limited, and my big idea was to set up a forensic science consultancy firm. My top tip for young entrepreneurs would be to have self-confidence and to take whatever your gut tells you as a very, very good warning sign, be it good or bad.
Dan Lewis – PHP Genie
Our big idea was to be the best in web design in the very early days. My top tip for young entrepreneurs would be to be passionate about what you do.
Phillippa Tuttiet – Female Building and Interiors
My big idea was to set up an all-female building company called Female Building and Interiors. My top tip for young entrepreneurs would be to get a job, no matter what the job is, even if it is a paper-round. Go out and get some work experience, find out what it is like to be in the real world.
Geraint Hughes – BWTRI
My big idea was, and still is, to develop a food business in my local area. What is my top tip for young people? Well, I’d say, if you can, try to trial your idea on a small scale initially. You will learn, because something unexpected always comes up.
Gareth Jones – Welsh ICE
My big idea was to bring together passionate and committed entrepreneurs. My top tip for young entrepreneurs is: don’t ask for permission, just get on with it. It is a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission in the first place.
Adam Amor – Buffoon Media
My big idea was to set up a video production company. My top tip for young entrepreneurs in Wales is to do your homework, research your area and competing businesses and make sure your idea is unique.
Sarah Reast – Timberkits
My big idea was to work in a business where I could run a team, because for me that’s where the fun is in running a business – seeing a team coming together, with all their different skills and ideas, and to bring that together in a way that creates something interesting. Top tip for young entrepreneurs is to do something in a different way; do something different in a different way.
Shaun Roberts – Creative Catalysts
My top tip is: just do it! There is never a perfect time to start a business, there is only the present.
Andrew Evans – Artist
My big idea was to become an artist. Top tip – go for it!
Nicola Hemsley – Organised Kaos
My big idea was to turn my hobby into a viable business and to involve the community. My top tip – my first one would be: ‘don’t give up!’ My second and third one would be: ‘don’t give up!’ The fourth is: trust yourself. The fifth would be to listen to your own advice, don’t let other people tell you what to do. The sixth would be to get out there, find your market. Seven – don’t give up! Eight – don’t give up! Nine – it’s going to be really hard sometimes, but still don’t give up. Number ten – reach for the stars, because you will get half-way there.
For more information: https://businesswales.gov.wales/bigideas/video/top-tips-young-entrepreneurs
The German national EEPA winners for 2016 have been announced! Egon, an enterprise guiding project, and Network with Courage, which works with refugee entrepreneurs, were the triumphant projects in the tightly contested competition. Promoting Enterprise spoke to Juliane Kummer, German National EEPA Coordinator about running a successful national campaign and enduring the difficult task of picking a winner from a crowded, competitive field.
How many entries to your national competition did you receive this year?
We had 30 applications this year.
How did you promote your national competition?
We did a number of things:
- The federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy issued a press release, as did RKW Kompetenzzentrum, a national SME support and development organisation.
- Immediately after the national competition was announced, we sent letters about the competition to more than 1200 institutions (Ministries, chambers of commerce, trade associations, foundations, Chairs of Entrepreneurship at universities, startup and technology centres etc. We asked them to spread the news about the competition and/or to apply if they had appropriate initiatives.
- Additionally, we sent ready-made text for newsletters and a factsheet to about 50 public relations contacts and asked them to publish the information on their websites, via newsletters, in journals, and through other communication channels.
- Moreover, we contacted about 150 interesting initiatives and invited them to enter the competition.
- There were ongoing social media activities on our Facebook and Twitter channels.
- We also distributed materials at fairs for entrepreneurs.
What were you looking for in winning entries?
We were looking for interesting projects in each of the six competition categories that were innovative, inspiring, and with an economic impact.
Who was the jury made up of and why these particular members?
The jury was made up of representatives from Ministries, chambers of commerce, associations, corporations, and public institutions. They are our national experts, with expertise in supporting entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystems, SMEs in general, and other aspects, like internationalisation, that are covered by the EEPA. This is why they’re qualified to select our national winners.
Juliane Kummer, front left, with the German national EEPA jury (Image source: RKW Kompetenzzentrum)
Why did you choose the winning entries?
EGON is a guiding project based on voluntary/honorary guiding activities. The Mayor of the commune, together with other guides, helps entrepreneurs to build up a company and works to ensure their success in the region. The project was chosen because of its great transferability, even for structurally weak regions, and because of its success: In a region with 320 companies, 30 were founded with the help of EGON in the last four years. Other European countries can adapt the initiative easily with minimum cost and can make their region more attractive in the international competition for business locations.
Network with Courage is an initiative from an enterprise network in Berlin. Our national jury was very convinced by the network’s comprehensive and sustainable activities to combat xenophobia/racism and discrimination, and to support refugees’ integration by providing internships and participating (on a voluntary basis) in projects against discrimination and racism. From managers to apprentices, everybody helps to support tolerance and diversity. The initiative’s inspiring model and its transferability, as well as its economic and societal success and impact, makes it a national winner.
What was their reaction to being winning the national competition?
Their reaction was somewhere between happy and incredulous! They are full of passion for their initiatives and want to make them more known. And for sure they want to win the international competition.
What do you think your chances are of winning at the European level?
Our national jury made a great decision by selecting these winners. I think our chances of winning at the European level are high because of the fantastic transferability of both projects, their success, and their economic and political meaning and impact.
To find out if EGON and Network with Courage win big at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards this November, keep visiting the Promoting Enterprise blog and follow us on Twitter.
Garage48, a tech hub and coworking space, and innovation centre, Innokas are the winners of this year’s Estonian national EEPA competition, beating seven other projects that were in the running for this year’s contest.
After winning the competition, Head of Innokas, Angela Leppik said, “This kind of competition is necessary as it helps entrants to see their organisation’s performance through the eyes of an outsider. It allows you to see more clearly what your business needs are so that you can focus on those activities in the future. It also helps you to understand even more how important it is to work at the county level, nationally, and to find partners outside Estonia.” Leppik also acknowledged the need to involve county development centres in the competition process since they are familiar with various activities at the local level.
Garage48 board member, Maarika Susi said that she was pleased that the national EEPA process recognised entrepreneurial thinking and good ideas. “We are happy to win this competition, and for the acknowledgment. Our organisation supports entrepreneurship promotion and this recognition motivates us even more to contribute to the development of the start-up community and entrepreneurial awareness. We’re also happy to see that both female entrepreneurship and increasing opportunities in the IT sector were important to the jury, who supported our efforts and urged us to continue our activities,” said Susi.
The jury had a difficult decision to make from a strong field, according to Deputy Secretary General of Economic Development, Viljar Lubi, who acted as Chair. “It was a pleasure to have so many strong candidates from organisations dealing with business promotion activities on different levels and in different areas. In the end, the jury decided to select an organisation with a strong international dimension and the originality of the Garage48 idea that expedites the move from idea to first prototype stood out. Innokas has achieved a remarkable qualitative leap at the local level, and their close cooperation with other private enterprise networks is exemplary.”
In a recent interview, Jan Vanherck, a well-known Belgian entrepreneur and Dean of the United International Business Schools in Belgium, Spain, and Switzerland, took the opportunity to look into the future.
In 1975, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation and Fairchild Semiconductor, forecast the doubling of computer power every two years. Will this continue and how will it affect the world of the future?
His prediction has proven to be accurate over the past 40 years. It has led to an ever-accelerating progression and miniaturisation in all chip-based technologies, and this evolution has huge consequences for the world of tomorrow. Experts have forecast that computer hardware will match the human brain, in terms of creative design and analytical capabilities, in 15 to 20 years. The interaction between brain science and information technology will create artificial intelligence, a research field crucial to future generations.
Already, this increased computing power is delivering better understanding of the human body, and DNA sequencing is a good example. In 1970, Nobel laureate, Jacques Monod, said: “The molecular size of DNA prohibits, without any doubt, modification of the genome. The sequencing of the human genome is impossible, or, anyway, unreachable in three to five centuries”. How wrong he was! Only six years later, the first genetic manipulation took place and in the first years of this century, the first full sequencing of human DNA was achieved. Just ten years later, the consumer genomics company 23andMe began offering genome sequencing for $999 and soon it will be available for as little as $100. This is the gateway to personalised medicine, particularly for the treatment of all hereditary diseases, and cancer.
Do you see other technologies having a similar effect?
Absolutely! For example, nanotechnology. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. To give you an idea of what a nano size is, the thickness of printer paper is about 100 thousand nanometres. On a comparative scale, if a marble were a nanometre, then one metre would be the size of the earth.
Nanotechnology will allow us not only to develop medicines that act on the level of our cells and tissues, repairing defects on an inconceivably small scale, but also to build micro engines and micro sensors.
The technology will be widely available in a few years time and will extend our life expectancy dramatically. Neuro-genetic scientist, Laurent Alexandre, in a now famous TED-talk entitled, “Le recul de la mort” (“The retreat of death”), summarised this evolution by saying that he believes that the first person who will live to be 1000 years old has already been born.
What about globalisation and entrepreneurs?
Globalisation is a term that has been politicised so let’s talk about global networks instead. They already exist, facilitated via the Internet and, from the point of view of society, it will make us interact with a lot of people, spread over the world, exchanging ideas, thoughts, and concerns. Political power will shift and emerging countries, such as China and India, will take a dominant role. New players and new markets will emerge. We’ll need to cope with different cultures, each with their own set of values.
Internet technologies, another area for innovators and entrepreneurs, are causing rapid changes in the world with the rise of Big Data. The world is becoming dominated by an all-knowing network. The fact that it gathers an enormous amount of data and, more importantly, has the computing power to actively process it and get information out of it, will force us to rethink a lot of things, privacy, for example, and freedom, family, friendship, love, and honesty.
Intellectual property is another issue. Billions of people thinking, generating ideas, writing papers, books, songs… Inventing new applications, offering new commercial services and products. Can individuals or companies claim the knowledge and decide whether they will use it, or simply put it in the fridge? Should we allow organisations to gather and process our individual data? How will we define ownership and plagiarism? These concepts were developed in the last century by a world where communication was done using handwritten letters, then wired phones and facsimile machines. Are these concepts strong enough to overcome the tsunami of the Internet and Big Data?
What is the role of business education in all this?
We need to make sure that future entrepreneurs can handle the big, unknown challenges. Let me quote Gordon Moore again: “The technology at the leading edge changes so rapidly that you have to keep current after you get out of school. I think probably the most important thing is having good fundamentals.”
Learning does not stop. Only a few decades ago, the teaching of students was considered complete when they graduated. In the best case, people took a few refresher courses during their professional life and that was it. Today, with the vast amount of new knowledge in front of us, learning is a continuous activity. It doesn’t stop today, it simply goes on. It is important to realise that every theory and model we teach is only a statement of current knowledge and is only true in certain circumstances and those circumstances are subject to radical change at ever increasing speed. We need to teach our students – the entrepreneurs of the future – how to think because they are going to have to answer questions we’ve not yet even thought of. We need too re-think ourselves and our environment, and challenge everything.
Entrepreneurs, national EEPA winners, competitions, and more about business in the EU
This month is a busy one as we continue to gear up for SME Week this November. June sees the closure of all national European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) competitions in time for the European closing date of 1 July. Find out if you still have a chance to enter and win one of the prestigious European awards by searching the deadlines in the article below. Also, meet Kenny, our new Entrepreneur in Residence, and enter or promote our youth essay competition. Read more >>
At Expo Milano 2015, TEDx Binnehof 2016 launched its search for the most inspiring entrepreneurs and world changing ideas. The 2015 SME Assembly, taking place in Luxembourg on 18-20 November, will also be part of this search for ideas worth spreading. During the SME Assembly, entrepreneurs from all 28 EU Member States will pitch their ideas. Ten entrepreneurs will be selected to present their ideas at TEDx Binnenhof 2016 “Made in Europe” in The Hague.
Follow the conversation on Twitter: #TEDxB16 and #MadeInEU
One of the most effective instruments to help create more businesses and jobs is to give students an opportunity to gain practical experiences before leaving school. Educators, business people, entrepreneurs and policy makers are convinced of the impact it has on young people’s self-confidence and their eventual employability and entrepreneurial potential.
The Entrepreneurial School (TES) and the TES guide are part of a large entrepreneurship education initiative in Europe, which now includes participation from 18 countries. The TES guide supports teachers’ professional development in applying entrepreneurial learning in the classroom.
The TES guide includes a database containing more than 125 entrepreneurial tools and methods in nine languages, as well as good practice examples and self-assessment tools. In addition, the guide provides educators with materials to support entrepreneurial learning in any subject area and for any age group.
So far, TES has reached 4,000 teachers in 22 countries.
The TES consortium has also established The Entrepreneurial School Award, a national and European recognition of the best schools in entrepreneurship education.
TES received funding from the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and is supported by Accenture, Clifford Chance, HP, Intel and Virke. The initiative is led by JA-YE Europe in partnership with a consortium of 10 European and national organisations.