Promoting Enterprise is back with exciting interviews from the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition finalists and winner. Today we are getting to know Joakim Davidsson, who wrote a compelling essay on Cooperation and Competition: Steps towards sustainable innovation, in answer to this year’s question: “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”
Joakim is from Sweden, and grew up on the Swedish west coast in the small town of Kungshamn. After studying social sciences at school, he developed an interest in social questions and the world at large, which is what led him to pursue further studies at The University of Warwick in England, where he currently studies Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?
The topic was very interesting, and one that I had thought a lot about beforehand. Therefore, I felt very inspired to write a contribution to the competition. It was a good opportunity to address questions about sustainable and environmental innovation, which are quite dear to me, and the chance to attend the SME Assembly was one that I also did not want to miss.
What did you think of the SME Assembly 2018?
It was a fantastic opportunity to listen to many interesting debates and speakers, and to network with policymakers, SME leaders, and other interesting people. I left the event filled with inspiration and ideas which made it such a wonderful trip. Moreover, I had never been to Austria before so I was also glad to have the opportunity to see the beautiful city of Graz!
The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Connect. Share. Innovate’, what does that mean to you?
To move forward and innovate upon the existing paradigm, we must connect with each other and share. This is vital on both interpersonal and global levels, which is why I found the theme to be more than adept considering current climates.
What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?
Whilst there are many exciting plans in the pipeline, I cannot announce anything concrete right now…
What I can say however is that both my studies and extracurricular activities mean my schedule is quite busy. As a second year student doing Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, this year’s grades will count towards my final degree; meaning that it is imperative to not lose focus! In the future I believe I would like to acquire a master’s degree in economics, and maybe even a doctorate, but that is thinking far ahead…
Don’t forget to come back next week to meet fellow competition finalist Ngaio Olsen-Stahl!
SME Assembly 2018 – The highlights
That’s a wrap…for the SME Assembly 2018! Last week, from 19-21 November, the SME Assembly 2018 took place in Graz, Austria under the Austrian presidency of the EU. The theme for this year’s Assembly was ‘Connect.Share.Innovate’ and saw delegates, SMEs, startups and key policy makers bridging gaps, sharing skills and laying the foundations for future innovation.
We hope you enjoy this edition of the SME Week newsletter where we give you a snapshot of this year’s Assembly, including highlights such as the European Enterprise Promotion Awards final ceremony, and the SME Week Youth Essay Competition.
The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) celebrated 6 individual category winners, 1 Grand Jury Prize winner and 4 Special Mentions. All of these highly deserving projects are now available for you to read about in the 2018 EEPA Compendium in English available here.
The EEPA compendium
Every year, the EEPA compendium is produced to celebrate the achievements of the shortlisted projects on European level. The compendium provides an insight into the Awards process including: what is means to become an EEPA winner, the Jury, the judging process and how the EEPA are promoted.
As well as an insight into the process, the compendium is a chance for each of the six category winners, and respective runners up, to be showcased and put in the spotlight. It also provides additional and more extensive coverage of the Grand Jury Prize winner, in accordance with the accolade that this award represents.
In addition to all EEPA results and information, the compendium also contains a foreword from the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, in which she details her commitment to European SMEs and her opinions on the latest EEPA edition. This is followed by a section on the status of SMEs in Europe, including an introduction to the Small Business Act for Europe and the role of the national SME Envoys.
The third and final day of the SME Assembly 2018 took place on Wednesday 22 November 2018, and featured numerous policy sessions, masterclasses, the youth essay competition final and the handover to the next EU Presidency.
Day 3 started out with the Youth Essay Competition final, during which the three finalists, Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, Marija Elena Borg and Joakim Davidsson, took to the stage to present their essays and answers to: “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?” Each finalist was also quizzed live on stage about their essay during which the audience participated in a live vote to select the winner. Congratulations to our SME Week Youth Essay competition winner Marija Elena Borg from Malta! Have a look at Marija’s, Ngaio’s and Joakim’s presentations and don’t forget to read their essays linked above.
Wednesday featured 10 different sessions, including a variety of policy sessions, unique masterclasses and a Scale up Lab. Once delegates had connected, shared and exchanged best practices it was time to bring the SME Assembly 2018 to a close. During the conclusions session, hosted by André Meyer from DG Growth, delegates witnessed the unveiling of the tailor-made innovation manifesto, created by SMEs and for SMEs, under which European innovation can grow and thrive. It was also the time to hand over the preparation of the next SME Assembly, which will take us to Helsinki in Finland in November 2019.
That’s a wrap for the SME Assembly 2018! Thank you all for following us both here on the News Portal and across our social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr). Keep following us for more exclusive content for the SME Assembly 2018 coming very soon and don’t forget to go and have a look at the videos from the event.
Day 1 was great, but that was just the beginning of the Assembly. Day 2 of the SME Assembly 2018 certainly had just as much to offer and took place in this year’s venue the Helmut List Halle in Graz.
This first full day of sessions, workshops and masterclasses opened with keynote speeches from Günther H. Oettinger, Member of the European Commission for Budget and Human Resources, Margarete Schramböck, Austrian Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs and Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Steiermark Regional Minister of Economy. The speakers covered the importance of supporting SMEs, building their digital capacities and the need for larger corporations and SMEs to cooperate rather than compete for the benefit of the economy.
The speeches were then followed by ‘The Big Debate’ and a mentoring workshop to encourage start-up mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs. The Big Debate saw two expert teams discuss the role of innovation in tomorrow’s sustainable business models. The experts expressed their views on needed changes to advance, including the need for an overhaul of our culture and competences, and encouraged SMEs to be bold and focus on the positives of change. The Mentoring Workshop followed previously mentored entrepreneurs, who encouraged the audience to invest in the mentoring process in order to become stronger and better entrepreneurs.
The morning continued with, ‘Building our Land of Enterprise’ and an Invest EU policy session. Building our Land of Enterprise took on the global perspective of what it means to be an entrepreneur and featured entrepreneurs from around the globe who shared their experiences of building companies within different enterprise ecosystems. The policy session explored the Invest EU initiative and featured expert speakers who encouraged Europe and its talent to not shy away from outside investment and attention. In order for European companies to thrive they need to be noticed, and not hindered by barriers.
The afternoon hosted two sessions, Innovative Europe and a matchmaking session within the Invest EU framework. Innovative Europe gave delegates a change to interact with expert speakers and each other in order to build innovative solutions to encourage SMEs to flourish. Over in the matchmaking session a select group of entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to meet with experienced investors and form long lasting connections and matches for the future of their businesses.
Day 2 closed with one of the most exciting events, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! The EEPA 2018 recognised six different category winners, a grand jury prize winner and four special mentions. Hosted by Ina Sabitzer, the ceremony was full of excitement, emotional speeches and of course an appreciation for the hard work of all of the recognised European projects. Be sure to have a look through the EEPA 2018 photo album to experience both the ceremony and the after party, and watch the winning moments here.
Don’t forget to come back to see what happened on Day 3, and keep following us on Twitter @EEPA_EU for all the live coverage of the SME Assembly.
The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is now over, and after months of waiting we now know which projects were crowned best in Europe. Congratulations to all of the winners in the EEPA ‘Class of 2018’, your hard work has paid off! Have a look below to find out more about this year’s winners, and click on each project to see their video presentation from the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria.
Grand Jury Prize: Lean Landing, Denmark
Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, Greece
Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills: i2c STARTacademy, Austria
Improving the Business Environment: Open Innovation 4.0., Spain
Supporting the Internationalisation of Business: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme, Finland
Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, Portugal
Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship: ProjectTogether, Germany
Stay tuned for the publication of the 2018 Compendium of winners brochure (in English) to find out more about this year’s winning projects, and don’t forget to have a look at the EEPA 2018 ceremony photos here.
The SME Performance Review is one of the main tools the European Commission uses to monitor and assess countries’ progress in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) on a yearly basis. With an emphasis on the measures from the SBA Action Plan, the review brings comprehensive information on the performance of SMEs in EU countries and other partner countries. It consists of two parts: an annual report on European SMEs and SBA country fact sheets.
Today, on 20 November 2018, the latest SME Performance Review for 2018 was published by the European Commission and presents encouraging news, the SME recovery continues.
The annual report, prepared on a yearly basis, provides a synopsis of the size, structure and importance of SMEs to the European economy and an overview of the past and forecasted performance of SMEs from 2008 to 2019. Comparisons with partner countries outside the EU and with the large enterprise sector are also included.
Read the full report here.
Find out more about the SME Performance Review and read supporting documents here.
25 years after its creation, the Single Market is a vast success. It has improved the living standards for EU citizens and 56 million jobs within the EU depend on trade created by the Single Market. Furthermore, it has increased the competitiveness of the European businesses globally and made the EU the largest exporter of goods and services in the world.
Nevertheless, the Single Market is neither perfect nor complete. In fact, increasing regulatory complexity is challenging European businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Each year, the amount of national technical regulation keeps piling up which makes it more difficult for SMEs to expand their activities across Europe. At the European level SME’s also experience confusion from partially overlapping rules. This means that SMEs do not necessarily know which rules apply to them – they simply do not understand which rules to follow.
To further increase the complexity of the regulatory environment, the traditional divide between goods and services is also disappearing. From a business point of view, the division between a Single Market for Goods and a Single Market for services no longer exists. In reality, a good is often sold with an accompanying service. Unfortunately, the legislation has not followed this development which often makes the legislation out of touch with reality.
The Single Market was created to benefit citizens and businesses, but too often the legislation is purely made from a law-makers perspective. This leads to rules and procedures that are difficult for the end user to understand and to comply with. Another problem is the lack of focus on digitisation. More user-friendly digital solutions would make life much easier for SMEs. Looking ahead we need to think digital first, but when we digitize we need to think small first.
To address the above-mentioned challenges and to create a less complex Single Market to the benefit of European SMEs, this report suggests the following three approaches to enhancing the Single Market:
A one-stop shop coordinating replies across contact points
European businesses are met by many different portals, entrances and information websites. Some are national, while other are European. Created with the best intentions, these contact points have not succeeded in giving the SMEs an overview of the rules and procedures which they need to comply with, as there are many different contact points, and they occasionally give answers pointing in different directions. There is a need for the European Commission to ensure a one-stop shop in every Member State that can effectively provide businesses with the necessary overview of which rules they need to comply with, how they comply with the procedures, which documents they need to provide, and which authorities they must contact. The information available through the one-stop shop should cover all business-related aspects. The one-stop shop should therefore provide a coordinated answer across the existing contact points established by EU regulations. The one-stop shop will provide a coordinated answer from all the relevant contact points after having coordinated with the competent authorities behind the contact points, thereby making it easier for businesses to understand and comply with the relevant administrative and legislative procedures.
Future legislation made with the end user in mind
All future legislation must be made with the end user in mind. It must be easy to understand which rules and procedures the SME’s must comply with, and the corresponding administrative steps should be easy to follow. Often the procedure rather than the regulation creates problems for the SME’s. Therefore – in order to make the procedures as easy as possible – the end user’s perspective should be incorporated from the drafting stage of the regulation. A specific way of doing this is through so-called “life events” where an end user’s journey through for example an administrative process is mapped step by step. When such processes are mapped, it is possible to see which steps are more burdensome for businesses and where there is a need for simplification.
Legislation that is digital by default
One of the clear advantages of digitisation is how it can reduce the complexity of the Single Market by helping businesses through digital solutions. However, in order to fully reap the benefits of digitisation, it must be taken into account already when drafting new legislation and used to reduce complexity for SMEs. Furthermore, the development of the digital SME Envoy network economy such as Internet of Things, sharing economy and cloud computing will only create a higher demand for digital infrastructure and the very user-friendly solutions set out by legislation. However, it can be difficult to establish user-friendly digital solutions for cross-border businesses due to various factors. One of them being that EU regulation is often created in regulatory silos.
The Single Market is one of the greatest achievements of the European Union. It solves problems and enables trade, jobs and well-being every day. But the time is ripe to take a user perspective on the rules and update them to the everyday reality of businesses and consumers.
Read the full report from the European SME Envoy Network here.
The SME Assembly 2018 is officially open! Yesterday on 19 November 2018, this year’s Assembly, taking place in Graz, Austria got started with the highly anticipated business tours and the Mind the Bridge SME Matchmaking session.
Several Austrian enterprises opened their doors to the SME Assembly 2018 delegates, and welcomed them to learn about their processes, manufacturing, research, history and the products that they create. We would like to thank A&R Carton, Sappi, UP TO ELEVEN, XAL, Brauunion, Spitzer Dach, SUNNYBAG GmbH and the WKO Steiermark Talentcenter for participating in the tours and for letting the delegates experience their business environments.
During the business tours, some specially invited SMEs were given the chance to attend an exclusive matchmaking session run by Mind the Bridge. Chairman of Mind the Bridge, Alberto Onetti presented their work and the importance of creating links between SMEs, start-ups, scale-ups and existing corporations. Through these bridges, SMEs are able to progress faster and corporates can benefit from fresh ideas and impart their experience on new market entrants.
Day 1 continued into the evening with two spectacular events, the European SME Week Reception and the Schumpeter Lecture. The evening kicked off with the European SME Week Reception, which took place at the Old University of Graz. The Reception opened with speeches from Austrian dignitaries and was followed by traditional accordion music.
Later on in the evening the Schumpeter Lecture, the VIP event of the SME Assembly, took place at the Kunsthaus. The evening began with opening remarks from André Meyer from DG GROWTH, Deputy Director General for DG GROWTH Irmfried Schwimann and Dr. Margarete Schramböck, who spoke of the unique strength of Austria with its SME dominant culture, and the ever growing presence of and continued need for female entrepreneurs. After these remarks, this year’s lecturer Professor Bronwyn H. Hall opened the third Schumpter Innovation in Enterprise lecture, which centred on tax policy for innovation, including considerations for policy makers and SME actors.
Watch the Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise Lecture:
What a great start to the SME Assembly 2018, but that was just the beginning! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @EEPA_EU for all the live coverage of the SME Assembly and we look forward to bringing you all the latest from the Helmut List Halle, this year’s venue here in Graz.
Don’t forget to have a look at all of the photos from the SME Assembly 2018 here on Flickr.
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!