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Tag ‘Youth Essay Competition’

Youth essay competition 2016 – Where are they now?

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Happy Birthday to Andri Pandoura, last years’ youth essay competition winner! Winning the Europe wide contest at the age of only 16, we caught up with the now 17 year old Andri to see what she has been up to since winning the competition

What was it like to win the Youth Essay Competition?

There are no words to describe what winning the Youth Essay Competition was like. It was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity for which I will always be grateful. Speaking at the SME Assembly 2016 helped me mature and be more confident in myself. All in all, the experience of winning the Youth Essay Competition and attending the Assembly is unforgettable.

What have you been doing since winning the Youth Essay Competition in 2016?

In between school and homework, I still try to be involved in youth work through projects and workshops. On returning back home after the Assembly I was awarded by the Cyprus Employers & Industrialists Federation (OEB) and have had various newspaper and television interviews. Recently, I won the National “Erifili” Award for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, which was not only a big honour, but also an encouragement to carry on with my involvement in the youth sector. Sadly, my term at the Cyprus Children’s Parliament ended last month, but I am nonetheless still attending some of the sessions and trying to support the members of the new term as much as I can.

What is next for you? What are your plans for the future?

Other than my IGCSE exams that are approaching, I have a trip planned to Brussels for March. I will be attending the March Session of the European Economic and Social Committee, as well as the Your Europe, Your Say 2017 debate that follows. Other than this, we’ll just have to wait and see!

Read about Andri  and the 2016 runners’ up: Katie, Francesco and Frici.

Are you between the ages of 16-25? Got something to say about entrepreneurship in Europe? Be sure to keep checking here on Promoting Enterprise for information about the 2017 edition of the youth essay competition.

What lies ahead? – Looking back on 2016 and where 2017 will take us

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We are coming to the end of 2016…and what a year it has been! This year on the blog we have met some inspiring entrepreneurs, who showed us what it means to be innovative, creative, daring and more. From the seasoned to the new, from older to younger, we have been very lucky here on Promoting Enterprise to have met and featured so many inspiring individuals.

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We must also not forget all the winners we have met! Starting with the hotly contested European Enterprise Promotion Awards where we had 6 category winners and a Grand Jury Prize winner. Read all about them here. Let us also not forget all of the amazing national projects that made it onto the shortlist, find out about them here.

This year for the first time there was an opportunity for young Europeans to participate, that’s right we are talking about the Youth Essay Competition, which received many outstanding entries, of which only 3 finalists and 1 winner were selected. The finalists, Francesco Foglia, Frici Barabas and Katie Williams all differed very much in their approach as to how to motivate young Europeans to become entrepreneurs, and all pushed the Jury to think about the opportunities available. The winner of the competition, Andri Pandoura, from Cyprus impressed the jury with her simple approach and advice on how to connect with youth on their platforms and terms.

Finally, our biggest event of the year was the SME Assembly 2016 held in Bratislava, Slovakia from 23-25 November 2016. If you missed it, read our daily posts (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3) and have a look at our Instagram for images of one of the biggest European gatherings of entrepreneurs, facilitators and innovative thinkers!

It has certainly been an eventful and entrepreneurial year, and we look forward to seeing what 2017 will bring! So from all of the Promoting Enterprise team, thank you for supporting us and reading our posts, we hope you have enjoyed them! Curious about what we will bring you in 2017? Not long to wait, so Happy Holidays and see you back here in 2017!blog-happy-new-year

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition winner Andri Pandoura

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Are you ready to meet the winner of the Youth Essay Competition? At only 16 she is challenging us all to reconsider our thoughts on youth entrepreneurship and the opportunities offered to the younger generations to make their voices heard at the European level. Please welcome Andri Pandoura!

Andri is currently studying in her native Cyprus, but has already developed a keen interest in youth and human rights. She has further developed this interest through her membership of the Cyprus children’s parliament and plans to take it further by studying human rights law at university. Today she shares with us what drove her to participate, her thoughts on presenting at the SME Assembly 2016, where she sees the future of entrepreneurship and finally her words of wisdom for other ambitious young people.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I saw it as an opportunity to write about my interest in youth rights and voice my opinions as a young person in Europe. There is a lot of over complication, so my idea was to take a simple, even childlike approach to this topic and think about all the small steps that can lead us to something bigger. In general there are not many opportunities for those of us under 18 to participate in such competitions so I think that every time there is an opportunity like this one we should take it!

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What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?

I thought it was amazing and the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’. There was such a welcoming atmosphere and I got to speak to and interact with inspiring people who did not care that I was 16. Initially I thought that the presentation would be stressful, and honestly I was stressing about it since I found out, I thought I might even faint on stage. In the end though all the staff and other speakers really helped me to relax and feel comfortable and I just did it. I think the assembly is a great initiative as well as the competition itself and really hope it continues again next year so that others can have the same opportunity to make their voices heard.

Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?

I don’t believe that the actual definition of entrepreneurship will change, but it will become more accessible and anyone will be able to become an entrepreneur. I hope that there will be cross-generational cooperation as we have a lot to learn from each other and this can contribute to a constant flow of innovation and ideas. Education will also continue to play a big role 10 years from now, and it will develop alongside the advancement of technology. I think entrepreneurs will be coming up with things we can’t even begin to imagine!

Alongside this I think there will be a focus on working with clients to give them what they want, for example, working with students to see what it is they want and need for their education. This in turn will hopefully lead to an increase in the number of start-ups, particularly youth ones. Start-up and SME culture will have developed and we will see more support in the form of bodies, panels and organisations designed to foster entrepreneurship.

I want to take this opportunity to say to other young people that you should not be afraid of actually trying, and that if you fail then just try again. Winning this competition has made such a difference and given me such an amazing platform which has led to other opportunities. I would not be able to say I’ve been invited to attend a session of the European Economic and Social Forum in Brussels as the guest of Cypriot delegation if I had not entered this competition, so I wanted to say thank you and encourage everyone to take all the opportunities available to you.

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition finalist Katie Williams

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This is the third in our series of blog posts presenting our winner and finalists of the Youth Essay Competition, which was held as part of the SME Assembly 2016 which took place from 23-25 November 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Today we get to know the final runner up, Katie Williams, a young multilingual worker in the field of International Trade currently based in Brussels.

As a passionate language graduate who currently speaks English, French and German, Katie demonstrated her love and value of multilingualism and multiculturalism in her entry and how this has shaped her views. With this international, open mindset, Katie has worked in Great Britain, France, Germany and now Belgium and entered this competition to speak her mind about her generation and her ideas about what opportunities could be made available to them.

Today she shares with us why she entered the competition and where she sees the world of entrepreneurship in 10 years’ time…

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What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I entered the SME Youth Essay Competition because I felt it was a good opportunity to grapple with an interesting and relevant topic, which particularly has an impact on my own generation. I know a lot of people who are, these days, facing a countless number of difficulties when it comes to entering the job market. This initiative was a great chance to explore in greater detail the ways in which young people can progress in the professional world from a different perspective. It is true to say that these days professional prospects are channelled in one direction: going to university and obtaining a degree. I welcome the chance to explore the ways in which these prospects could be broadened for young people.

Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?

In 2026, I would like to see entrepreneurship take off more in developing countries in the world. In addition, I believe that entrepreneurship could be used as a means to enhance gender equality in the future. Currently there are fewer women involved in entrepreneurship than men in OECD countries, plus women-owned enterprises tend to reap lower profits. I hope that future policy makers introduce programmes specifically targeted at women in order to help them build their capabilities for business ownership.

Want to know more about Katie’s proposal for stimulating youth entrepreneurship in Europe? Read her entry here.

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition finalist Francesco Foglia

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This is the first in our series of blog posts presenting our winner and finalists of the Youth Essay Competition, which was held as part of the SME Assembly 2016 which took place from 23-25 November 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Today we get to know one of the runners up, Francesco Foglia, a journalist in European Affairs based in both Brussels and Italy. He is currently studying a Master in Business Administration and has been active on the European youth scene, through participating and winning youth competitions, and in 2015 founding a think tank on European regional policy in Italy.

Francesco shares what drove him to participate, his experience at the SME Assembly 2016 and finally where he thinks the world of SMEs and entrepreneurship will be 10 years on, in 2026.

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What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Every time that that young people have the opportunity to attend and participate in the debate of European policies, especially the sharing of ideas and proposals, I believe that it is necessary to participate. Young people very often ask to have their voices heard but then escape the discussion. When I decided to enter the contest I was studying business law and I noticed that there was no European youth company legislation. As such, my entry was my proposal for setting up the framework, with many features that could foster youth entrepreneurship in Europe.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?

The SME Assembly was a great opportunity to learn from within the world of European SMEs, the current state of affairs and future scenarios. I also took part in the inaugural lecture, held by Professor Philippe Aghion and it was really exciting. The assembly also offered useful networking moments, as well as high-level workshops.

Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?

The world is changing and of course so is the economy and entrepreneurship. Between now and 2026, an important demographic growth is expected, which is one of the key factors that will drive change. There will be more people, more needs to be met and probably more entrepreneurs. SMEs must, therefore, be of a proper size to meet the dimensional challenges to serve more diverse markets. The internet of things and future innovations will affect the speed at which there will be this change compared to now. I hope, however, that the most dynamic economy is shared, and that it serves to reduce inequities in our communities.

Interested in Francesco’s ideas and vision? Read his Youth Essay Competition entry here.

Come back every Tuesday of this month for another profile on our top Youth Essay Competition writers!

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 Week Newsletter: Issue #7

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SME Assembly 2016, EEPA Awards Ceremony

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The month of the SME Assembly 2016 is finally upon us – it is set to take place in Bratislava on 23-25 November, 2016. It will gather experts and entrepreneurs from across Europe with a common goal to collaborate on helping European enterprises strive and scale up in Europe and beyond.

The event will kick off with the Business Tours and the European SME Week Reception, both hosted by the Slovak Presidency.

The second day of the Assembly will include keynote addresses by EU SME Envoys and European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Slovakian Minister of the Economy Peter Žiga.

After that – Get in the Ring! As part of the Global Start up competition we will challenge entrepreneurs to a pitching competition like no other seen before. The day will culminate in the presentation of the nominees and announcement of the winners in the EEPA Awards, followed by a gala dinner.

Friday will begin by celebrating the EEPA’s tenth birthday. The session Ten Years On will be dedicated to predictions on how the world of SMEs, start-and scale-ups will look like in 2026. The winner of the Youth Essay Competition ‘What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs’ will present their prize-winning entry before an audience of delegates from around the world.

The rest of the day, participants will have the opportunity to participate and collaborate during the many policy sessions, workshops and master classes.

With seminars, pitch battles, an exhibition and so much more, this event is one to look forward to! Read more >>

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SME Week Newsletter: Issue #6

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Startups in the spotlight, EEPA shortlist

portrait_karen_boersLast month, our blog focused on female entrepreneurship, with some interesting insights into the challenges women face in business and how they overcome them. This month, we are putting the spotlight on startups.

Startups are invaluable drivers of the European economy. They are particularly important in times of economic constraint. By responding to a need identified in the market, startups have the potential to generate new wealth, produce innovative products and services and create jobs.

To highlight the important role played by startups in the European economy, throughout October our Entrepreneur in Residence and other bloggers will share their stories on the Promoting Enterprise blog. If you know of any startup entrepreneurs with inspiring stories to tell, let us know and we’ll do our best to feature them among others across our social media channelsRead more >>

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