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Who is our Estonian EEPA 2017 Jury member? – Meet Viljar Lubi

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Ready to find out who the Estonian representative on the EEPA 2017 Jury is? Meet Viljar Lubi, Deputy Secretary General for Economic Development for the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Today Viljar shares what he is looking for and also what it has been like to be involved with the organisation of this years’ SME Assembly 2017!

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?     

A project that has the capacity to achieve greatness and to create something innovative with limited resources will always stand out for me. It is special to see the passion and perseverance the people nominated for this award have had to show. I am often amazed at the regional and national differences that I see and how diverse the projects are.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?

First of all, it should be something unique and inspirational to be a good example for others. It is also important for the project to be transferable so that it would be possible to create something similar in other countries. Last but not least, the project should have a real and preferably measurable positive impact.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?      

A project that is worthy of the Grand Jury Prize must be truly excellent. It must offer a true positive influence and exhibit a remarkable achievement together with an innovative approach. I am glad to see that there is tough competition in this respect.

Which is your favourite category and why?

Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. In my job as the Deputy Secretary General for Economic Development a lot of my daily tasks revolve around entrepreneurship. It is the government’s job to help create the best possible conditions for enterprises to flourish. But this would be nothing without the enthusiasm and hard work of the entrepreneurs themselves. Therefore, I find it extremely important to have initiatives that help to promote this, especially among young people and women. However, it is difficult to just pick one – all categories highlight invaluable criteria.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?         

As I have been involved in the process of creating the SME Assembly in Tallinn, I am sure it will offer participants a varied programme that is exciting, offers new ideas and of course has an Estonian twist to it. We will hopefully be offering some innovative ideas and new ways of looking at things, while still keeping the traditions of the excellent forum that the SME Assembly is.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Good luck! You have already achieved a lot by getting this far and I hope that you take this experience as a positive reinforcement – vision, perseverance and, of course, a little luck, is the key.

Read about who else will be joining Viljar on this year’s Jury: Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl, Daniela Ölmunger, and Thomas Cooney.

The countdown for the #EEPA2017 shortlist begins

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The entry deadline for the European level of the EEPA competition closed on 3 July 2017. The entries are now being checked and prepared for evaluation by the Jury.

In 2017 305 National EEPA entries were received from 32 participating countries. 56 projects were then selected by the National Co-ordinators as the best of the best and were put forward for the European level of the competition.

Interested in finding out who will be competing for the European awards? What does each country have to offer this year? Promoting Enterprise will be introducing you to all the categories and national winners throughout the summer…so stay tuned!

Who will be judging the entries? This year the diverse EEPA 2017 jury is made up of eight representatives from across different sectors and professions:

Kristin Schreiber (Chair) – Director, SME Policy & COSME, DG Grow, European Commission
Mr Thomas Wobben – Director, Committee of the Regions
Mr Christian Cardona – Minister of Ministry of the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Malta
Mr Viljar Lubi – Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, Estonia
Karen BoersCo-founder & President, European Startup Network
Lisa Steigertahl – Co-founder & Director, European Startup Network
Ms Daniela ÖlmungerGrand Jury prize winner of 2016 edition, Entrepreneurial West Hisingen
Professor Thomas Cooney – Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology

The EEPA Jury will meet in Brussels in September to decide on a project shortlist for each of the EEPA categories. The shortlisted projects will be announced soon after the Brussels meeting, and the winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 23 November in Tallinn, Estonia.

Keep up with all the latest EEPA news right here on Promoting Enterprise, and good luck to all competing projects!

SME Assembly 2016 – Day 3

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That’s a wrap! The SME Assembly 2016 has come to an end after 3 days of networking, events, speeches, awards, masterclasses and most importantly bringing together people who value entrepreneurship and the creation of an SME friendly Europe.

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A look at where the world of entrepreneurship would be ‘Ten Years On’ was the opener for Friday, with delegates imagining what kind of world entrepreneurs, startups, scaleups and all those in between would encounter in 2026. The panelists included a range of experts from across Europe and industries, including: Michael Mellinghoff (TechFluence), Cristina Fernandez (Global Entrepreneurship Network), Ladislav Ambrovics (MINIT Slovakia) and Kenneth Ryan (KPMG Slovakia). They all shared their visions of entrepreneurship in 2026, with a common theme being a shift in entrepreneurial focus from solving an existing problem, to enhancing the customer experience. As part of the opening, Youth Essay Competition winner Andri Pandoura presented her winning entry and implored the audience to “Don’t only work for youth, but work with them. Ask them for their opinion and show you care”.

The fast paced and high energy programme from Days 1 and 2 continued on Day 3 with an array of masterclasses and policy sessions, covering topics from social enterprise to crowdfunding, from sustainable clothing to virtual reality. There was also the Scale Up Lab organised by Ideas From Europe, which challenged participants to form clusters on issues affecting scaleups. For pictures of these sessions have a look at the albums on Flickr!

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Then it was finally time for the SME Assembly 2016 to draw to a close. Costas Andropoulos, from DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, along with Sabine Soeder the Founder of CoCreative Flow, presented the conclusions and highlights of the Assembly. We were then treated to a sneak preview of what to expect next year, as the Estonian SME Envoy Viljar Lubi took the stage to get us ready and excited for the 2017 SME Assembly set to take place in Tallinn!

Thank you to everyone that joined us this year in Bratislava, and to all who couldn’t be there but followed our coverage, we hope you enjoyed it all and we look forward to seeing you in Estonia in 2017! 

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SME Assembly 2016 – Day 2

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After a packed programme on Wednesday, delegates were at Incheba Expo on Thursday morning for the official opening of the SME Assembly 2016 by Commissioner Bienkowska, Slovakia State Secretary Rastislav Chovanec and Estonia SME Envoy Viljar Lubi.

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The State Secretary highlighted in his keynote speech the importance of SMEs as ‘key pillars in the economy’ as well as the need for international markets in order to fully exploit the potential of SMEs. Commissioner Bienkowska delivered a strong speech, encouraging startups to look for ‘the silicon valleys of Europe’ instead of taking their ideas and innovation outside of Europe. She acknowledged the need to facilitate startups and scaleups and impressed us all with her  vision for an SME friendly Europe. The dynamic spirit continued when Mr Viljar Lubi challenged both speakers with insightful questions in preparation for Estonia’s hosting of the SME Assembly 2017.

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It was then the turn of Mr Hendrik Halbe, co-founder of startup pitching competition ‘Get in the Ring’, to introduce the entrepreneurs battling it out to go to the international final in Singapore. After two battles, and an extremely close final, it was Dutch startup Pearltect who came out on top with a unique bracelet designed to protect wearers from sexual violence.

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30855601410_910b412684_zAfter the excitement of Get in the Ring it was time to talk policy and stimulate debate around entrepreneurship. The high level roundtable on entrepreneurship education allowed SME Envoys and experts in the field to come together and discuss the issues faced with implementation, incentives and training for entrepreneurship education. Over in the plenary room the panel on International Ecosystems hosted an international array of speakers, with special international guest Ms Jenny Fulton from the USA (CEO of Miss Jenny’s pickles) who shared her inspirational story about what it means to follow your passion. Delegates were then challenged to help write the agenda for the Open Space session on ‘Startup to Scale Up’, where topics were taken from the floor and discussions got underway. With topics ranging from solutions for startups that fail, to changing the perception of internationalisation for SMEs, the discussions were fruitful and culminated in a quick fire pitching round. This round kept pitches short, limiting topic holders to 45 seconds in order to summarise their discussions.

The day closed with the gala dinner, followed by the long awaited EEPA 2016 awards. If you want to find out more about the winners, read the 2016 EEPA winners´ post. Also be sure to check out @EEPA_EU on Twitter and on Facebook and stayed tuned for upcoming posts in which we get to know these prize-winning projects from across Europe.

30401966284_1d0226c3f7_zThe day was long and full of events, from inspirational talks to battling entrepreneurs. What will the third and final day have in store? You will have to wait and see our next post! In the meantime, visit the photo gallery on Flickr.

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