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SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021 Launch

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Imagine what a successful and sustainable start-up in 2030 looks like? Which crucial competences and skills do its founders and employees have? What has been the legacy of the COVID pandemic on entrepreneurship, and how have they responded? How have they been supported to meet the twin challenges of digitalisation and sustainability?

Make your voice heard!

In your essay, imagine the story of three different entrepreneurs embarking on a journey to become sustainable start-ups of the future. Describe their stories of success, their struggles, their needs and what key skills and competences they should have in order to start and grow sustainable, resilient SMEs.

The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is launching for the sixth time with a brand new question for the youth of Europe to answer:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? Think about the competences and skills needed in the future for an entrepreneur, describe three promising and sustainable start-ups in 2030.

The Youth Essay competition is organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. It is an opportunity for 18-25-year-olds to share ideas and viewpoints with key figures and stakeholders in the spheres of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Sounds like an opportunity for you? Then, all you need to do to have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2021 in Slovenia this November is to submit your essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 26 September 2021.

Don’t forget to read through the rules, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu if you have any questions, and SUBMIT before the deadline!

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 18 to 25-year-olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Essays should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All essays must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for submissions is 26 September 2021
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale as part of the SME Assembly, where they will present their essays
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An opportunity to attend and present at the SME Assembly for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering essay live at the SME Assembly 2021
  • Promotion of essays across our communication channels
  • A trip to the 2021 SME Assembly in Slovenia

See Youth Essay Competition 2021 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and make sure to follow and use the hashtag #YEC2021.

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EEPA 2021 – Entering The European phase of the competition!

The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) will shortly be moving into the next phase of the competition as we approach the European Deadline of July 16th. The EEPA Secretariat has received the vast majority of national winner projects from the National Coordinators for the jury to consider the European shortlist.  #EEPA2021 will see the top national projects competing across the six categories:

  • Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Investing in skills
  • Improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition
  • Supporting the internationalisation of business
  • Supporting the sustainable transition
  • Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

Congratulations to all the national winners and good luck in the European round, where the national projects will be reviewed by the prestigious EEPA 2021 jury!

About the EEPA selection process

The competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country selects up to two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

The EEPA 2021 European jury will choose a shortlist of nominees. The shortlisted nominees will then compete at the final awards ceremony, which recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

Stay Updated #EEPA2021

For information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website and for the latest updates follow Promoting Enterprise News, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

First phase of #EEPA2021 in progress!

The first phase of #EEPA2021 is in full swing and some countries have already passed the deadlines for their national competitions. Meanwhile, more countries are approaching their national deadline and getting ready to submit their winners for the European Deadline on July 16th!

Stay Updated #EEPA2021

For information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website and for the latest updates follow Promoting Enterprise News, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards #EEPA2021 were launched!

The annual edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) have been kick-started. The competition supports entrepreneurship and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through awarding innovative initiatives of public bodies and public-private partnerships.

How will it work?
The participating countries invite projects or initiatives to apply for the national competitions for the 2021 edition. Each national competition will announce two national winners, who will proceed to compete at European level prior to the European deadline of 16 July 2021. The prestigious EEPA jury of 2021 will then carefully review each of the national winners, whereof the top projects will make the European shortlist.

All shortlisted nominees, from both the national and European competition levels, will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly co-hosted by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council and the European Commission in November.

What are the categories of 2021?

Are you interested in participating? Find your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need to compete here.

Stay Updated #EEPA2021

For information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website and for the latest updates follow Promoting Enterprise News, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

SME Week 2021 – Upcoming events

The European SME week is a pan-European campaign that aims to promote entrepreneurship in Europe by helping and supporting entrepreneurs, as well as encouraging potential entrepreneurs to start their own business.

You can find out more about SME Week here on the News Portal, and watch the highlights of the annual flagship event, the SME Assembly, on our YouTube channel:

A large component of the SME Week campaign is the events included in the European SME Week event calendar. These events take place across Europe, at regional, national and cross-border level, and cover a variety of topics around the subjects of entrepreneurship, SMEs and business.

Current upcoming events include:

The calendar is updated regularly so be sure to keep checking back on events happening near you, or even online.

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DG GROW adapts to better support EU economy to recovery and beyond

The original article is available on the DG GROW website.

The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) is adapting its organisational structure to help Europe’s industrial ecosystems recover more effectively from the COVID-crisis and to achieve the EU’s digital and green goals.

A new focus on industrial ecosystems allows us to better design actions to help the European economy recover from the COVID pandemic. It also reflects the key role of networks, clusters and alliances in reinforcing our supply chains – helping us to strengthen Europe’s resilience in future crises

The new organisation reinforces our capacity to analyse the state of the economy in the single market. Europe is undergoing a digital and green transition in order to stay globally competitive. We want to make sure that both public and private investment contribute in the best way to economic recovery and this twin transition. We want to help all European businesses navigate this transition and ensure our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have access to opportunities across the single market. We will still prioritise innovation for our SMEs and stimulate innovation throughout all ecosystems.

We will continue to support citizens, industry, SMES and entrepreneurs to reap the benefits from a large, integrated and competitive single market. With its regulatory powers, spending programme and policy measures, DG GROW is well placed to foster opportunities and welfare for all.

The new organisational structure (PDF) is effective as of 16 March 2021.

In parallel, the executive agencies that the Commission entrusts with the implementation of spending programmes are also undergoing reform. From 1 April 2021, ‘EASME’ (The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) will become ‘EISMEA’ (European Innovation Council and SMEs) and a new agency, ‘HaDEA’ (Health and Digital) will be created.

For more information visit the DG GROW website and follow DG GROW on Twitter and Facebook.

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COVID Stories – Smart therapy company icho systems looks forward

We are back with part two of the icho systems story with CEO Steffen! If you missed part one make sure to go and read that right here on the News Portal. In our last instalment, Steffen introduced icho systems and the first impacts that him and his team felt on the business, including how their decision to re-locate their production at very short notice enabled them to continue even during the first lockdown.  

Today the story continues and we find out what 2020 was like for Icho systems, how they diversified their activities and their plans for the future.

How did you diversify your business in response to COVID-19?

In 2020, ichó was introduced in the professional elderly care sector in Germany. Here, ichó makes an important contribution in supporting the social care of nursing home residents and enhances their quality of life.

As we are still very much in the early stages with our product and ichó is in its roll-out stage, diversifying quickly was a big challenge for us. We have used the time to expand our product range for the many requests from the field of disability care and support for children. We had already identified this potential for diversification a while ago, and saw this as a good opportunity to expand the product range with new apps.

We are currently in various pilot testing stages with ichó in new settings. This includes the rehabilitation of stroke patients as well as speech therapy. The first feedback from the pilot phases looks very promising, but Covid also affects these specific use cases quite significantly and all processes run much slower than usual.

At the same time, we have noticed that our online formats for courses and product demonstrations are much more in demand and much better accepted. We are very happy that we had already gained initial experience in this area in 2019 and were thus able to build on it and continue to improve in 2020.

How do you see the future of your company?

I think we are have not seen the last of, nor are we over the Corona peaks, but overall these times have built up our confidence and resilience. We are very excited about the pilot stages of ichó and the upcoming results with people with disabilities and especially with children. We cannot wait to get going again, and for us that just means working with people directly.

I think that the pandemic has made one thing extremely clear: social care for people in need of assistance is not a luxury, but an essential part of life. I think many people have become aware of this through the periods of forced isolation. As humans we function in communities, we need them, for the social exchange and social environment. If we lack this, we fall apart and develop psychological health problems.

At ichó we all feel that we are on the right track to being able to make a big impact and to create an offering to improve the way we serve this demand. Things are slowly getting better thanks to vaccinations, but we are still far from getting back into a reliable planning mode. This modus may be a strength with young start-ups, but we are still very much looking forward to the first trade fairs and conventions being safely open again.

Thank you to Steffen to sharing the icho story with us! To find out more about icho and what they do, be sure to visit their website.  

Do you have a story to tell? Do you know of inspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs that have pivoted and adapted? Get in touch and help us tell their stories right here on the News Portal.

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COVID Stories – How a young smart therapy company is coping with market challenges

Today on the News Portal we are re-introducing you to a familiar face: Steffen Preuß, CEO of icho systems GmbH. We first met Steffen when he represented Germany during Ideas from Europe in 2017, and again when he was the German representative in the Secrets of Success brochure 2018-2019 edition.  

We are catching up with Steffen to see how icho systems GmbH has developed and how he and his company have been navigating the challenges and uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your company?

I am the co-founder and CEO of icho systems GmbH. Our young company develops smart therapy devices for the healthcare market, especially for people with dementia. The ichó therapy ball is our first product, the therapy ball combines different therapy methods with the advantages of digital products in one device. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensor technology, ichó detects all interactions, no matter whether it is caught, thrown, touched, shaken or just held. ichó reacts to these interactions with a colourful light, vibration, sound and music. On this basis, the ichó apps enable various individual training activities, according to the needs of the user.

What is particularly exciting here is the possibility of data logging. Since ichó can measure continuously during the application, the data obtained can provide useful insight into disease progression and developmental progress.  We have already received several awards for this innovation and have been able to succeed in a wide range of competitions. ichó has therefore already been exhibited in the USA and has also been able to gain recognition in Europe through “Ideas from Europe“.

It inspires us as much as ever to see how dementia patients start singing, laughing and dancing again with ichó. It is amazing what abilities can be brought back through the right encouragement and how vitalising this is for all involved. Not only do the residents benefit from this, but also the nursing staff. Relaxed residents and a less stressful environment simplify the work in many ways and enable a fulfilling and collaborative atmosphere with each other.

What was the first impact of COVID-19 on you and your business?

The ichó therapy ball was launched at the beginning of April 2020, but we experienced the first effects of Covid much earlier. We were just in the final stages of serial production at the end of 2019 when the first suppliers began to experience difficulties with delivery, which is why we transferred all ichó production to our offices at relatively short notice. This turned out to be the right decision, as we went into the first lockdown only two weeks later.

By transferring our production, we were at least able to maintain our serial production, even if only to a limited extent, and to produce the first ichós. This helped us to successively supply all pre-order ichós over the course of the next few months, even if only in stages.

The thing we immediately experienced was, obviously, the access to the market and to the customer. All the fairs and conferences we had planned for 2020 were cancelled, but what was particularly difficult was the closed care facilities and having no access, due to people in need of care naturally being part of a particularly high risk group for infection.

This put us in a difficult and complex situation, as our product and what it offers applies not only to the end recipients but also to all volunteer caregivers or relatives. With the lockdowns the need for social care increased enormously, especially for people suffering from dementia.

These were and are still very difficult times for all those in need of care.

To find out what came next for Steffen and the ichó systems team, and to learn more about the experience make sure to come back to the News Portal for the next part of our interview with Steffen.

Have you read our other COVID Stories featuring Catherine Lorent, a Belgian seamstress who helped out by making masks and hospital gowns, or the e-heath solutions developed in the Netherlands or COVID specific hackathons in Greece and Turkey? Read more right here on the Portal.

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Data 4 Healthy Recovery Hackathon launch

The European Commission is launching the new Data 4 Healthy Recovery Hackathon, which will be dedicated to solving the most pressing smart health challenges.  

This online hackathon will focus on smart health, and encourage participants to develop solutions and ideas in response to the following challenges:

  • Personalised predictive medicine
  • Telemedicine
  • Real-time health monitoring and remote care
  • Improved diagnostics
  • Data-driven insights for health
  • Improvements for medical manufacturing
  • Medicine demand forecasting
  • Improvement of on-site medical services
  • Safe use of medical data
  • Innovative mental health solutions for employees
  • Threat tracing
  • Information filter for public health

The full scale of challenges are still being developed so make sure to follow the hackathon channels, and check the challenge webpage for updates and more detailed challenge information.

The hackathon will take place between 18-20 June 2021, and participants will take part in brainstorming and other preparatory sessions in the lead up. During these sessions participants will meet challenge partners, learn more about the presented challenges and submit the solution they will work on during the hackathon.

Applications are now open and must be submitted by 15 April 2021.

Stay up to date with the hackathon developments by following the Facebook event page and stay tuned to the hackathon channels for upcoming information.

For more information visit the hackathon webpage and check out the hackathon FAQ section.

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EU Industry Days 2021

The EU Industry days will be taking place next week from 23-26 February and be an opportunity to listen to and be involved with discussions centring around the challenges facing industry, development opportunities and policy responses.

This year’s programme will feature sessions and speakers talking about green and digital transitions and the opportunities both transitions present for EU businesses and citizens. Top speakers will include European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Parliament David Sassoli and Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton.  

The large variety of sessions will also feature the Pact for Skills, circular procurement, lessons learnt from the COVID crisis and several specific masterclasses and parallel sessions.

Alongside the main programme the first fully virtual EU Industry days will feature a virtual exhibition showcasing 43 EU projects. Conference participants will also have opportunities to vote for their favourite projects across categories in the #EUIndustryDays competition.

In addition to the EU Industry days, affiliated events will be taking place across Europe under the EU Industry Week.

Registration for the EU Industry days is still open and the full programme is available on the website.

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    • SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021 Launch July 28, 2021
      Imagine what a successful and sustainable start-up in 2030 looks like? Which crucial competences and skills do its founders and employees have? What has been the legacy of the COVID pandemic on entrepreneurship, and how have they responded? How have they been supported to meet the twin challenges of digitalisation and sustainability? Make your voice heard! […]
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    • EEPA 2021 – Entering The European phase of the competition! July 7, 2021
      The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) will shortly be moving into the next phase of the competition as we approach the European Deadline of July 16th. The EEPA Secretariat has received the vast majority of national winner projects from the National Coordinators for the jury to consider the European shortlist.  #EEPA2021 will see the top national […]
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    • First phase of #EEPA2021 in progress! June 23, 2021
      The first phase of #EEPA2021 is in full swing and some countries have already passed the deadlines for their national competitions. Meanwhile, more countries are approaching their national deadline and getting ready to submit their winners for the European Deadline on July 16th! Stay Updated #EEPA2021 For information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit […]
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    • The European Enterprise Promotion Awards #EEPA2021 were launched! April 29, 2021
      The annual edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) have been kick-started. The competition supports entrepreneurship and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through awarding innovative initiatives of public bodies and public-private partnerships. How will it work?The participating countries invite projects or initiatives to apply for the national competitions for the 2021 edition. Each […]
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    • SME Week 2021 – Upcoming events March 25, 2021
      The European SME week is a pan-European campaign that aims to promote entrepreneurship in Europe by helping and supporting entrepreneurs, as well as encouraging potential entrepreneurs to start their own business. You can find out more about SME Week here on the News Portal, and watch the highlights of the annual flagship event, the SME Assembly, on […]
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    • DG GROW adapts to better support EU economy to recovery and beyond March 23, 2021
      The original article is available on the DG GROW website. The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) is adapting its organisational structure to help Europe’s industrial ecosystems recover more effectively from the COVID-crisis and to achieve the EU’s digital and green goals. A new focus on industrial ecosystems allows us to […]
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    • COVID Stories – Smart therapy company icho systems looks forward March 9, 2021
      We are back with part two of the icho systems story with CEO Steffen! If you missed part one make sure to go and read that right here on the News Portal. In our last instalment, Steffen introduced icho systems and the first impacts that him and his team felt on the business, including how […]
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    • COVID Stories – How a young smart therapy company is coping with market challenges March 2, 2021
      Today on the News Portal we are re-introducing you to a familiar face: Steffen Preuß, CEO of icho systems GmbH. We first met Steffen when he represented Germany during Ideas from Europe in 2017, and again when he was the German representative in the Secrets of Success brochure 2018-2019 edition.   We are catching up […]
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    • Data 4 Healthy Recovery Hackathon launch February 25, 2021
      The European Commission is launching the new ‘Data 4 Healthy Recovery Hackathon’, which will be dedicated to solving the most pressing smart health challenges.   This online hackathon will focus on smart health, and encourage participants to develop solutions and ideas in response to the following challenges: Personalised predictive medicine Telemedicine Real-time health monitoring and […]
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    • EU Industry Days 2021 February 18, 2021
      The EU Industry days will be taking place next week from 23-26 February and be an opportunity to listen to and be involved with discussions centring around the challenges facing industry, development opportunities and policy responses. This year’s programme will feature sessions and speakers talking about green and digital transitions and the opportunities both transitions […]
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