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SME Assembly 2018 – The countdown begins

The SME Assembly 2018 is just around the corner! Next week we will all be in Graz, Austria for the next edition of the flagship conference of the European SME Week. Today we have some exciting news to share…the final version of the SME Assembly 2018 programme.

Have a look at the latest version for the programme here and find out about the policy sessions, masterclasses, presentations and other exciting sessions on offer.

As usual the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) will be a key part of the SME Assembly, and we are looking forward to finding out who the six category winners and the Grand Jury Prize winner are for 2018. All of the national winners will be present at the Assembly as well as the shortlisted projects who will be competing for the European prizes during the final ceremony. Just as important as the projects is the highly qualified jury that selected them, don’t forget to go through all of the EEPA 2018 Jury introductions right here on the Portal and look out for them during the SME Assembly.

There are many things to look forward to at the SME Assembly 2018 and one of them is the third edition of the Youth Essay Competition. The top three entrants, Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, Marija Elena Borg and Joakim Davidsson will be competing in a live final to convince the Assembly audience of their ideas and why they should be chosen as the 2018 winner. Best of luck to our top three before the Assembly and let’s see which of these outstanding candidates is named our next winner!

Be sure to follow us on all our social media platforms to get live coverage from the event, including exclusive quotes, pictures and other exciting updates!

Twitter: @EEPA_EU

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

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Call for participants in the Young Leaders of Industry Forum

The first Young Leaders of Industry Forum, organised by the European Commission, is looking for applicants! The forum will take place during the annual ‘EU Industry Days’ event, on 5-6 February 2019 in Brussels. This Forum looks to attract young people aged between 21-30 years old interested in industrial careers to discuss the future of EU industry with the workforce of the future. 

The Young Leaders of Industry Forum will be comprised of 2 main parts:

  • Day 1: An interactive forum relating to the a variety of key themes for the future of European industry (globalisation, sustainability, digitalisation and innovation), where you will have the opportunity to engage in discussions with fellow participants and high-profile industry leaders.
  • Day 2: An innovation hack, where you will be split into teams to deliberate what should be the main missions of European industry today in relation to the economy, society and local communities. All teams will then have the opportunity to present their conclusions to the main Industry Day participants.

How to apply

  • Fill in the online application form
  • Submit a short video (maximum 2 minutes) answering the following question (in English): How can the future of industry contribute to a better society and environment?

Apply before Friday 30 November to be among the 30 selected participants in the very first Young Leaders of Industry Forum, and to have the opportunity to share your ideas with the European Commission and industry professionals, and shape the future of EU Industry.

Read the original article here on the DG GROW website. 

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Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

We have reached the final EEPA 2018 category, Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship. This category recognises projects and initiatives that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities. For the 2018 competition, projects competing in this category come from France, Germany and Ireland.

Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, Category 3: Improving the Business Environment, Category 4: Improving the Business Environment and Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

France: Initiative remarquable

The Remarkable Initiative operates within the ‘Initiative France’ network and specialises in loans that are interest-free and without a guarantee. These are granted in addition to local loans received by the entrepreneurs from the local ‘Initiative France’ platform. The interest-free loan increases the enterprise funds, facilitates access to bank funding and is repaid over a maximum of five years. It also comes with a mentoring and sponsorship plan established jointly between the entrepreneur and the local platform. The loan favours enterprises that combine job creation, economic success, innovation and responsible commitments to their local communities and environment.

Germany: ProjectTogether

ProjectTogether is a leading digital incubator for social start-ups. As the first contact for young founders of social projects, ProjectTogether identifies functioning approaches and builds bridges between the active young generation and social institutions in order to actively shape social development. The incubator empowers young founders by supporting and training them, but also by obliging them to play a decisive role in shaping our society. Project leaders receive digital coaching through webinars and an active online community of founders and experts, as well as access to networks to connect with government bodies, companies and foundations.

Ireland: Laois Start Your Own Business Programmes

Laois Start Your Own Business Programmes cover the adaption of mainstream training and mentoring programmes into pilot programmes to meet the needs of groups traditionally excluded from enterprise opportunities. Identified groups include older people, ex-prisoners, migrants and asylum seekers. The programme includes the first of its kind delivered in an asylum seeker provision centre, as well as similar programmes delivered in several prisons. Each programme is adapted to the audience and addresses the different challenges and circumstances faced by each group. Trainers are also specifically selected and trained so as to be relatable for participants.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz at the SME Assembly 2018.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

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SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #7

Who is going to Graz? – Youth Essay Competition 2018

It is now October, meaning that the SME Assembly 2018 is just around the corner. Next month we will be travelling to current European Presidency country Austria to the beautiful city of Graz for the flagship conference of the European SME Week. As the SME Assembly gets closer, be sure to keep checking the News Portal and all the social media for updates, important information and exclusive behind the scenes content.

In this edition we will be looking at the EEPA 2018 European shortlist, and finding out more about the projects competing for a European prize. We are also proud to announce some of the younger guests of the SME Assembly 2018, the top three Youth Essay Competition finalists!

We hope you enjoy this edition and make sure to follow us on the journey to Graz and our live coverage from the SME Assembly.

Read more >>

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Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

Only two more categories of EEPA 2018 shortlisted projects to present, and today we are finding out about the green and ecological projects. Last year the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category was temporarily suspended, but it is back for 2018! This year the competing projects in this reinstated category come from The Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia.

Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, Category 3: Improving the Business Environment and Category 4: Improving the Business Environment.

The Netherlands: HAS Food Experience

The HAS Food Experience, run by the HAS University of Applied Sciences, acts as launch platform for innovative projects in the food sector. This includes promising food concepts with social impact, and the further development of socially relevant projects in the food sector. The HAS Food Experience also works to stimulate innovation in food and profile start-ups and businesses established by HAS students. During the past 10 years, over 499 food projects have been presented at the HAS University College, and more than 40 promising concepts have become start-ups or entered the market, of which 80% are still successful.

Portugal: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market

The Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab tests sustainable and innovative solutions, products and services to foster a local carbon market in an industrial coastal municipality. Local residents and businesses are encouraged to develop and propose projects, which are then implemented and made available for municipal use. The local carbon market uses CO2 emissions credits gained through the adoption of sustainable solutions such as bike sharing, sustainable lighting or artificial intelligence applied to building management. The credits can be exchanged for goods and green services and are an incentive for sustainability in the municipality, which previously had a high carbon footprint.

Slovakia: Green bicycle

The Zelený bicykel project is a bicycle sharing system focusing on smaller cities in Slovakia that are uninteresting for large bike-sharing companies. The main objective is to provide citizens with an environmentally friendly, healthy and economical transportation alternative for shorter distances across their cities. The project also aims to educate citizens on leading a healthy active lifestyle and improve their overall quality of life and environmental consciousness. The initiative has also resulted in numerous partnerships with several institutions including secondary schools and businesses, ensuring extensive involvement across different demographics of the city communities.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz at the SME Assembly 2018.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

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Portuguese National EEPA ceremony – IAPMEI announces the national winners

On 26 September 2018 in Vila Nova de Gaia, IAPMEI, the Portuguese coordination organisation for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Portugal, announced their national winners with a national ceremony.

For this session, organised under the European SME Week umbrella, IAPMEI invited project representatives from all EEPA 2018 national projects, the Jury members, entrepreneurs of the StartUP Voucher and StartUP Visa programs, incubators of the Incubators National Network, the Mentors National Network, national and local stakeholders of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and entities of the Ministry for Economy framework, among others. IAPMEI also disseminated a public invitation via an advertisement in “Jornal de Notícias”, a daily and national newspaper and through the IAPMEI website and social networks.

The event, attended by over 150 participants with a large representation of EEPA candidates, was chaired by Nuno Mangas, the President of the Board of IAPMEI the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation. Nuno Mangas, thanked all those who submitted projects and highlighted the large number of applications received, 82 in total, a European record. Other notable attendees included the Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral and the Secretary the State for Industry, Ana Lehmann.

The event also included a panel titled “To be entrepreneur”, with testimonials from StartUP Voucher and StarUP Visa entrepreneurs; Francisco Duarte, elected by public vote as the best of Ideas from Europe 2017 competition and a representative of “Douro Boys”, an EEPA awarded project, also participated in this panel.

Have a look at the event photo gallery and don’t forget to follow the shortlisted Portuguese project Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, as they compete for a European title at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz.

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Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Who is going to Graz?

Today is the day that we all find out who is going to Graz to the SME Assembly 2018 from the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition!

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone that submitted an entry for this year’s Essay Competition. The standard was very high and the jury spent lots of time and effort deliberating the shortlist, which was then narrowed down to the final top three candidates.

We would firstly like to give special mentions to the following entrants who made it onto the competition jury shortlist:

  • Antonios Vasilakis Kinalis
  • Babatunde Onabajo
  • Georgina Whiteman
  • Klemens Okkels
  • Roberta Dobra
  • Rory Daniels

These entries were of a high quality and received much praise from the judges, so congratulations on being on the shortlist!

Now comes the time to announce the top three finalists who will be joining us at the SME Assembly in Graz to present their essays and compete for the public vote. Please congratulate:

So who will be this year’s winner? We look forward to meeting the top three and finding out next month in Graz!

The Youth Essay Competition jury would also like to give a special mention to Vincent Straub from Germany. The jury were only able to select three finalists, but felt that his essay was very strong and well written and as such deserved recognition.

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Supporting the internationalisation of business – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

Who else is on the EEPA 2018 shortlist? We are up to Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business, which focuses on projects that encourage enterprises and SMEs to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. This year the competing projects come from Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and Finland. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills and Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

Bulgaria: Supporting the internationalization and digitalization of SMEs in Bulgaria and Europe

This project facilitates both the internationalisation and digitisation of Bulgarian SMEs through the organisation of high profile events like a National Business Forum, a Balkan Conference and an International SME Summit, each of which typically involves over 200 SMEs from Bulgaria. The initiative also enables the participation of Bulgarian SMEs in international exhibitions and specially organised B2B matchmaking meetings, through which SMEs can meet and find clients, partners, investors and market opportunities. The project also proactively promotes the benefits of business digitisation through skills training and access to information and good practice examples.

Denmark: Lean Landing

Lean Landing have developed and implemented an innovative and lasting soft-landing network between micro SMEs, business incubators and business development organisations in six North Sea countries. The soft-landing network enables SMEs to break into international markets via direct discussions with potential customers and partners in the target country. The project focuses on micro SMEs and early internationalisation, as opposed to the traditional focus on medium sized SMEs. Traditionally SMEs rely on detailed and lengthy market studies before attempting to enter, however through Lean Landing they can learn directly the local experience and knowledge of incubators in several countries.

Estonia: Development of the Estonian timber sector as the biggest exporter of wooden houses in the European Union

The Estonian Wooden House Cluster has been working to become the largest wooden house exporter in the European Union, and aims to increase the both the international competitiveness and exports of Estonian wooden house producers. Actions have included target market mapping, coordinated activities to support entry into the market, organised activities to promote producer products and competence building seminars and conferences. Results have included stable growth in sector turnover and exports, as well as raised awareness and preservation of traditional Estonian building practices. The initiative has also sustained many jobs and increased the value of products produced by the sector.

Finland: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme

Kasvu Open offers sparring to companies interested in growth, free of charge. The goal is to promote company growth and business development, thus improving the SMEs’ chances of achieving international growth. Through sparring the companies’ growth plans are challenged, adapted and supported by experts representing several different fields. The selected companies come from all industry sectors across Finland and receive access to expert networks. The experience also includes a tailored growth path, run by several partners who facilitate free participation at events, provide funded support for the participating SME and ultimately guide the enterprise in the right direction.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz this November.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

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Improving the Business Environment – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

Ready to meet the next set of shortlisted EEPA 2018 projects? Today it is time to introduce the projects in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment. This year the competing projects come from Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills.

Romania: Start up Nation Romania

This programme encourages the establishment and development of SMEs, and seeks to improve their economic performances, create new jobs and insert into the labour market disadvantaged persons, the long term unemployed and graduates. The programme has overseen increased investment in new innovative technologies, and as a result 21 000 new jobs have been created, of which more than 16 000 were for disadvantaged people. The programme has also facilitated SME access to finance, and introduced electronic automation systems for business plan registration and company founding. The project activities also stimulated new trade register registrations, which increased by 28.98% in 2017. 

Spain: Open Innovation 4.0.

This public-private cooperation programme aims to improve the business environment of Asturias by: Strengthening business leadership through technology; Acceleration and growth of start-ups; Reinforcement of business cooperation; Encouraging the open innovation concept; and Attracting investment. Selected start-ups join a 4.0 acceleration programme featuring both group and individual tutorials with sector experts. As well as obtaining initial funding to prepare joint proposals, they have access to specific funding for Open Innovation to implement collaborative projects. To date, 123 ideas and solutions have been presented with 14 going on to form companies that implement technical solutions.

United Kingdom: Anchoring economic growth in the Tees Valley

This project has achieved significant results in helping the Tees Valley region overcome the loss of key industries. Working closely with public and private partners, particularly Tees Valley Combined Authority, the project, coordinated by Teeside University, has delivered targeted support that has seeded new enterprises and helped existing businesses in the Tees Valley to tackle the barriers to economic growth. The targeted support has been supplemented by University provided expertise and talent, particularly in the areas of adopting digital technologies and innovation. Project results include 1446 university-business projects, growth of a technology business cluster and a stronger entrepreneurial culture.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz this November.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

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EEPA at national level – Find out about the 2018 German national winners

©RKW Kompetenzzentrum

The German EEPA national awards ceremony took place on 12 October 2018 in Berlin as part of the deGUT-fair, one of the most important German entrepreneurship fairs. The ceremony was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, within the ministry’s fair forum. After Germany’s national EEPA Coordinator Juliane Kummer presented the European Competition and spoke about the 2018 national EEPA campaign, the two winners “Nachfolge in Deutschland” (Business Succession in Germany) and “ProjectTogether” were announced. Both projects received congratulations and a winner’s certificate handed out by the Ministry. Following the award presentation, each winner was invited to present their innovative and inspiring initiatives by giving a short interview on stage.

The online platform “Nachfolge in Deutschland” deals with the topic of business succession. It provides innovative digital instruments and tools for entrepreneurs who are planning to transfer their business as well as for business successors. It uses a simple but holistic approach and offers a low participation threshold.

“ProjectTogether” received an additional special congratulation for being one of the shortlisted projects for the 2018 European level of the competition. The digital incubator for social start-ups combines progress and responsibility. It empowers young founders with ideas that can make the world being a better place through support and training from an active online expert community and provides access to networks to connect with government bodies, companies and foundations.

The two winners were selected by a national expert jury who evaluated a total of 31 national entries in June 2018. The jury has also selected a “German EEPA TOP 10” which has been published in a best practice brochure.

Both projects will be present at the SME Assembly, so if you are interested in finding out more visit their websites and see if you can spot them at the event next month!

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    • SME Assembly 2018 – The countdown begins November 15, 2018
      The SME Assembly 2018 is just around the corner! Next week we will all be in Graz, Austria for the next edition of the flagship conference of the European SME Week. Today we have some exciting news to share…the final version of the SME Assembly 2018 programme. Have a look at the latest version for […]
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    • Call for participants in the Young Leaders of Industry Forum November 13, 2018
      The first Young Leaders of Industry Forum, organised by the European Commission, is looking for applicants! The forum will take place during the annual ‘EU Industry Days’ event, on 5-6 February 2019 in Brussels. This Forum looks to attract young people aged between 21-30 years old interested in industrial careers to discuss the future of EU […]
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    • Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship – EEPA 2018 Shortlist November 8, 2018
      We have reached the final EEPA 2018 category, Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship. This category recognises projects and initiatives that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities. For the 2018 competition, projects competing in this category come […]
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    • SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #7 November 6, 2018
      Who is going to Graz? – Youth Essay Competition 2018 It is now October, meaning that the SME Assembly 2018 is just around the corner. Next month we will be travelling to current European Presidency country Austria to the beautiful city of Graz for the flagship conference of the European SME Week. As the SME Assembly […]
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    • Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency – EEPA 2018 Shortlist November 1, 2018
      Only two more categories of EEPA 2018 shortlisted projects to present, and today we are finding out about the green and ecological projects. Last year the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category was temporarily suspended, but it is back for 2018! This year the competing projects in this reinstated category come […]
      promotingenterprise
    • Portuguese National EEPA ceremony – IAPMEI announces the national winners October 30, 2018
      On 26 September 2018 in Vila Nova de Gaia, IAPMEI, the Portuguese coordination organisation for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Portugal, announced their national winners with a national ceremony. For this session, organised under the European SME Week umbrella, IAPMEI invited project representatives from all EEPA 2018 national projects, the Jury members, entrepreneurs of […]
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    • Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Who is going to Graz? October 26, 2018
      Today is the day that we all find out who is going to Graz to the SME Assembly 2018 from the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition! Firstly, a big thank you to everyone that submitted an entry for this year’s Essay Competition. The standard was very high and the jury spent lots of time […]
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    • Supporting the internationalisation of business – EEPA 2018 Shortlist October 23, 2018
      Who else is on the EEPA 2018 shortlist? We are up to Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business, which focuses on projects that encourage enterprises and SMEs to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. This year the competing projects come from Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and Finland. […]
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    • Improving the Business Environment – EEPA 2018 Shortlist October 18, 2018
      Ready to meet the next set of shortlisted EEPA 2018 projects? Today it is time to introduce the projects in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment. This year the competing projects come from Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Category […]
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    • EEPA at national level – Find out about the 2018 German national winners October 16, 2018
      The German EEPA national awards ceremony took place on 12 October 2018 in Berlin as part of the deGUT-fair, one of the most important German entrepreneurship fairs. The ceremony was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, within the ministry’s fair forum. After Germany’s national EEPA Coordinator Juliane Kummer presented the […]
      promotingenterprise