Tag ‘European SME Week’
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Each year, in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, an independent high-level Jury is faced with the difficult task of drawing up a shortlist of projects that will compete for the first prize during the SME Assembly. This year is no different – the EEPA Jury should select three shortlisted projects in each of the six project categories by mid-September, a task that is made especially difficult by the high quality of the participating projects.
The EEPA Jury is typically made up of a representative from the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the countries holding the first and second semester EU presidencies (this year the Netherlands and Slovakia), a European SME organisation, the Grand Jury prize winner from the previous year (this year Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship) and a representative from academia.
We have been introducing you to the members of this year’s EEPA Jury in a series of blog posts over the past few weeks, So far, there has been Dublin Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Professor Thomas M. Cooney, Thomas Wobben from the Committee of the Regions, Pieter Waasdorp from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, UEAPME Vice President Alban Maggiar, Ana Margarida Figueiredo from Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship and Marián Letovanec from the Slovak Business Agency.
Last, but by no means least, this week it is the turn of the Jury member from the European Commission, represented this year by Kristin Schreiber from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Kristin joined the European Commission in 1990 and has held a variety of positions since then. She was appointed Director of the COSME Programme and SME policy in 2015 having served as Director for Governance of the Single Market and International Affairs, first in DG MARKT and then in DG GROW since February 2014.
Previously, she was Head of Cabinet of Employment Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and a member of the Cabinet of Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen. She has also served as Head of Unit for International Affairs in DG Employment and as an administrator in various DG’s.
The judging process
For the EEPA Awards, individual countries were invited to conduct national competitions to determine the best projects to represent their nation. Hundreds of projects competed in these national competitions in 2016 for a chance to vie for an EEPA. Countries were allowed to nominate a maximum of two entries per category to the European competition. Each Jury member reads and assesses every entry against defined criteria covering: originality and feasibility, impact on the economy, improvement of stakeholder relations and transferability. The Jury then meets to discuss their top entries in each category, before agreeing on winners, runners up and any special mentions. The shortlist is published shortly after the jury meeting and the winners are announced during the Awards Ceremony at the SME Assembly.
For more information check the European Enterprise Promotion Awards
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.
This month, we’ll be focusing on the new generation of entrepreneurs taking European enterprise into the future and taking the world by storm. Featuring young businesspeople under the age of 30, we’ll be finding out how they do it, why they do it, and what advice they would give to others wishing to follow in their footsteps. And if you’re aged between 16-25 and have a big idea about what Europe can do to encourage youth entrepreneurship, enter our youth essay competition to win a trip to the SME Assembly in Bratislava this November.
Name: Tania Habimana
Country: United Kingdom
Business name: Tailored Business TV
Year started: 2015
What kind of business are you in?
I run a dual business. The first is a television series called Tailored Business. The second is a suit business specialising in the African body-type. Unusual? Let me explain a bit more. The television series is about my journey trying to set up a suit business on the African continent. I visit countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and more making suits for my clients and trying to grow my business. While I’m taking my clients’ measurements, I interview them on how to grow a successful business on the continent. So, in a nutshell, I’m a dual entrepreneur: a media entrepreneur and a fashion entrepreneur.
Why did you decide to start your own business rather than work for someone else?
I was already halfway there when I took the decision. I had been working as an intrapreneur (an employee within a company who promotes innovative product development and marketing) for a Dutch menswear company for three years, with as my main task being to bring the suit label to Africa for the first time and set-up its operations. Whilst doing this, I felt an increasing desire to share my experience with the world and also showcase all the entrepreneurial activities that are happening on the continent. I was truly amazed. The state of entrepreneurial innovation in Africa is far beyond what we would expect from “emerging” markets. It’s a solutions-based innovation; innovation occurs because people need alternative solutions than that which exist, and this makes Africa very exciting, this makes entrepreneurship very exciting. So I took the leap and tried it out for myself completely.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Pacing myself. When you’re no longer restricted by company guidelines and policies, there’s a temptation to go in multiple directions and try everything.
Why did you decide to set up in Europe and Africa?
I registered my television production business in London because of its strong media hold globally and because I knew there were many start-up supports in the form of funding and advice available in the UK to young entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, we haven’t qualified for financial support yet, but the assistance has already been beneficial for us. And with the suit business in Africa, we’re still deciding on which country to set it up in.
What advice would you give to other young people thinking of starting their own business?
I’d say to start as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have all the answers. The reality is that you’ll never have all the answers and, on top of that, even if you do, you have to make mistakes – that’s part of entrepreneurship. If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you don’t improve.
The 2015 SME Assembly begins today (18-20 November, Luxembourg) and the full conference programme is now available (please see below). Hosted in partnership with the Luxembourg Presidency, the Assembly, which is the main European SME Week event, will feature speakers from the Government of Luxembourg and the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, academia and the private sector. Key speakers include: HRH, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Pierre Delsaux, Deputy General of DG Growth, European Commission, Amy Millman (President of Springboard Enterprises), and Corinne Vigreux (Co-founder of Tom Tom).
The Assembly will be opened formally on Thursday 19 November by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU SME Envoy and Member of the European Commission for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and Francine Closener, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
This year for the first time, there will be an Open Space session where participants will have the opportunity to agree together new ways of implementing and promoting the principles of the Small Business Act. All delegates to propose and debate ideas for moving SME policy forward.
The SME Assembly will also feature the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony where the 19 nominees will compete for their chance to win either in one of six categories or the Grand Jury Prize. You can find out more about the 2014 winners here.
The Ideas From Europe Finals will take place on Friday 20 November, where the nine most inspiring ideas from entrepreneurs with the potential to change the world will be chosen from across Europe’s 28 Member States. Following the selection at the SME Assembly and the online vote, the top ten ideas will then go through to a final judging session at The Hall of Knights on 31 March 2016 in The Hague.
A vote by delegates at the recent SME Assembly in Naples found that Europe must do more than provide digital technology for entrepreneurs. 73% of those who voted via the conference app disagreed with the motion ‘Thanks to digital technology, everyone can become a successful entrepreneur’.
Watch the Big Debate yourself and let us know which way you would have voted, in the comments below.
The 2014 SME Assembly, which took place in Naples Italy on 1st – 3rd October, was the highlight of this years’ European SME Week.
The theme for the event was ‘Growth Through Enterprise: Exploiting the Opportunities Ahead.’ As with previous years, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) Ceremony was a key feature of the Assembly. The SME Assembly brought together SMEs, business organisations, European, national and regional government, academia and the media.
More than 800 delegates participated in policy sessions, expert workshops, interactive discussion and an ‘Entrepreneur Expo,’ which featured entrepreneurs from across Europe. The event was also a useful networking opportunity. The interactive badging system recorded around 10,500 contacts during the conference. This equates to an average of 15 new contacts for each delegate at the SME Assembly.
For the first time, the Assembly was paperless. The conference app, which was made available to all participants, contained the conference programme, speaker profiles and their presentations as well as policy documents, live social media feeds and information on the EEPA candidates and winners.
Find out more about the SME Assembly:
- Conference programme
- SME Assembly Conclusions [PDF]
- Highlights video on YouTube
- Tweets from the European Commission and delegates
This year’s successful European SME Week saw participating countries around the continent hold a range of exciting events and initiatives in order to promote SMEs and entrepreneurship across Europe. We’ve rounded up some interesting examples below.
In Slovakia, European SME Week focused on promotion of business micro loans and more diverse events. This was coordinated by the Slovak Enterprise Europe Network, which has been supporting Slovak SMEs for more than 20 years.
Business support organisations from across Slovakia worked on a range of activities to boost entrepreneurship and motivate the general public to start their own enterprises. For example, the Europe4Business conference focused on ensuring people are aware of the EU support they are entitled to from 2014-2020. In October the Slovak Business Agency began to promote the value of innovation in businesses, as well as the opportunities for family businesses.
Similarly, as part of the Slovak Business Agency’s drive to offer more favourable micro loans to Slovakia-based SMEs, small businesses can ask for financial support of up to €50.000. The deadline for this is 31 October 2014.
SME Week in Malta was organised by the Ministry for Economy between 17-28 October.
One of the central national events, the Youth Entrepreneurship Conference, was aimed at students in tertiary education to encourage them to consider entrepreneurship as a career and allow them to meet and network with Maltese entrepreneurs.
Another central event was the ‘EU Access to Finance Day,’ hosted by the European Commission in the capital, Valetta on 24 October. In this session businesses and representatives from government received information on the EU financial instruments, and assessed the situation of access to finance in Malta. This was followed by a new pilot project ‘Business Clinics,’ where businesses were able to receive an on-the-spot diagnosis for problems they are facing.
Other events included a Crafts Conference which addressed challenges in this niche market. Two interesting seminars on business transfers and crowdfunding were hosted by Maltese business organisations, with another two organisations.
Malta introduced two new concepts during its SME Week. First, a Pitching Event took place, where eight teams of potential start-ups sold their ideas to investors. Secondly, a Start-Up Village was set up on the island of Gozo, where youth (and those young at heart) were able to browse through various business support services for advice and listen to established entrepreneurs during forums on various subjects related to starting up. The week ended with the annual Female Business Cafe, which gave the opportunity for women entrepreneurs and those interested in starting a business to network, sought advice from various business support services and attended training sessions.
More information on all of these events can be found here.
European SME Week in Austria was co-ordinated by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the Institute for Economic Promotion (WIFI) of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. There are a number of initiatives that these organisations have launched to help SMEs and promote entrepreneurship.
For instance, by the end of 2014 more than 150 SME focused events will have been held in Austria under the umbrella of the European SME Week. The main event of the European SME Week 2014 in Austria took place in Salzburg on 2 October. The event, ‘Austrian Business Opening: New impetus for our economy,’ saw around 400 experts from business, academia and politics come together.
The ‘Experteninfo kompakt’ series is an online knowledge-sharing platform. Through webinars, PowerPoint presentations and interviews with leading entrepreneurs, small businesses asked questions and learned more about starting up a business. The first in the series focused on innovation, content marketing, and working with employees.
Finally, the free ‘Hotspot SME 2014’ booklet was designed for European SME Week by the WIFI SME Support Centre. It shows the latest facts and figures on the performance of SMEs and also features their expectations for the future. The ‘Hotspot’ also includes information about the special services available for SMEs in Austria and for the first time ever, features data about the life cycle of specific companies. You can download the brochure here, or order a printed version here.