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Young voices, innovative ideas – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Aureliano

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Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we are speaking to one of the 2019 finalists of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Aureliano Ulndreaj from Albania, first impressed the jury in Round 1 with his speech as the new EU Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship.

His speech highlighted his vision for the EU institutions and Europeans to collaboratively find the solution to enable Europe to keep up and exceed global entrepreneurial standards. He also presented his ideas for an educational system that embraces entrepreneurship, the need for EU policy makers to symmetrically develop SMEs throughout different EU regions and the administrative burden faced by European SMEs.

Read Aureliano’s speech here.

In Round 2 Aureliano came back with another strong submission which highlighted his belief that “a multidimensional problem requires a combination of various recommendations and solutions in order to be resolved” and showed his strong understanding of the “Think Small First Principle” with suggestions to use it to ease SME administrative burden and reduce SME VAT rates.

Read Aureliano’s second submission here.

We asked Aureliano to gives us some insight into what it was like to participate and be a finalist in Helsinki, as well as a sneak peek at some of his future plans.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I was intrigued by the essay topic. Being a student of political science, the format of the essay (a political speech) made it a very attractive opportunity for me to test my abilities. I also saw this competition as a very interesting challenge, as I was not very familiar with the field of SMEs. However I believe that the unknown (in this case the field of SMEs) is always worth exploring.

How did you feel when you found out that you were going to Helsinki?

Awesome! Receiving that kind of news gives you a great sense of achievement as it shows that the time and effort you spent on something has been appreciated and as such, you are given the chance to experience something new.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2019?

Prior to attending the Assembly, I thought that the people participating in this event would be focused only on the field of businesses, but to my surprise this was not the case. It was a great pleasure, because apart from discussions upon topics of an economic nature, I had the chance to discuss other subjects, such as politics and the future of EU, with other participants. These discussions brought up very interesting points of view regarding EU policy-making and were overall really insightful.

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2019?

The memory of that unforgettable freezing air which would hit my face every time I stepped out on my way to the conference building! Jokes aside, I would highly recommend participating in future editions of the Youth Essay Competition, as both the professional and personal benefits are hugely valuable.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

My main focus is now my post-graduate studies, which I plan to follow up with a Doctorate in the domain of international relations. I am also volunteering for an NGO in Albania which provides technical assistance to the state regarding the country’s EU Integration process.

Congratulations on being a 2019 finalist Aureliano! Want to hear from another 2019 finalist? Come back to the News Portal next week to find out who we will talk to next…stay tuned!

Romanian Radu Dumitrescu wins SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019

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Radu Dumitrescu, 24 year-old from Romania, was proclaimed a winner of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition during the European Commission’s SME Assembly.

Radu Dumitrescu is one of the Editors-in-Chief of The New Federalist web magazine. He has a Master’s in Comparative Politics and is interested in voter behaviour, European affairs, and corporate personhood.

In his speech as potential EU Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship he said: “So, what is our goal? To put the new industries at the heart of European SMEs – to create ‘Silicon Europe’. We can no longer afford to linger in coal, petrol, manufacturing jobs, farming and hard labour. They cannot be abandoned either, but the way to the future is through the digital, the online, the streaming and the virtual. That is where the state of the future will be, where voters will have their say, where poets will forge their dreams and where love will take hold of couples. But first, it is where money will be made – and European SMEs will pioneer the way during my term.”

The other finalists of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay competition were:

  • Enzo Ercole Ribagnac (France)
  • Estelle Beuve (France)
  • Aureliano Ulndreaj (Albania)

The four finalists presented their speeches on the stage of the SME Assembly in Helsinki.  This was followed by a live vote from the audience to determine the winner.

The SME Week Youth Essay competition, run by the European Commission, is in its fourth edition.  This year the competition asked young people aged from 18-25 to prepare a speech from the perspective of the new Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship addressed to Europe’s entrepreneurs. Entries were received from 20 different countries, with the top two being Albania and Romania, followed closely by Italy, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine . The top 10 applicants then had to propose concrete measures and initiatives that could benefit from the application of the ‘Think Small First Principle’.

Read Radu’s Submissions:

Read Enzo’s Submissions:

Read Aureliano’s Submissions:

Read Estelle’s Submissions:

More information on the Youth Essay Competition is available here.

About the SME Assembly

The SME Assembly is the annual flagship event of the European SME Week and is hosted by the current European Commission presidency. This year the Assembly was hosted by the Finnish Presidency of the European Commission in Helsinki on 25–27 November 2019. Delegates from across the world came together to hack policy, discuss enterprise and create the governance structure of the Small Business Act.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

SME Week Youth Essay Competition – Who is going to Helsinki?

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The 2019 Youth Essay Competition jury have decided who will be going to Helsinki to give their speech in front of the SME Assembly 2019 delegates. After much discussion and debate our jury narrowed it down to their Top 4 finalists and would like to congratulate:

  • Enzo Ercole Ribagnac
  • Radu Dumitrescu
  • Estelle Beuve
  • Aureliano Ulndreaj

Well done to our finalists! Read through their short biographies and speech summaries below and get ready to watch them compete at this year’s Assembly for the chance to be the 2019 SME Week Youth Essay competition winner.

Enzo Ercole Ribagnac

A French student passionate about the economy and issues related to SMEs, particularly issues related to internationalisation.

“Setting up an organization by taking risks in the hope of profits and results that we know will bring something new to the world”. This sentence could be either the definition of entrepreneurship or a short summary of the European Union construction. Indeed, coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I have recently been amused about how the life of entrepreneurs can be similar to European history. Like every success story, it all started with a great idea of a few that decided to put their qualities together and realize something greater. You entrepreneurs call them “founders” I call them “founding members”.

Read Enzo’s Submissions:

Radu Dumitrescu

Radu Dumitrescu is one of the Editors-in-Chief of The New Federalist web magazine. Radu has a Master’s in Comparative Politics and is interested in voter behaviour, European affairs, and corporate personhood.

So, what is our goal? To put the new industries at the heart of European SMEs – to create ‘Silicon Europe’. We can no longer afford to linger in coal, petrol, manufacturing jobs, farming and hard labour. They cannot be abandoned either, but the way to the future is through the digital, the online, the streaming and the virtual. That is where the state of the future will be, where voters will have their say, where poets will forge their dreams and where love will take hold of couples. But first, it is where money will be made – and European SMEs will pioneer the way during my term.

Read Radu’s Submissions:

Aureliano Ulndreaj

From a young age I had a distinctive curiosity for subjects related to politics due to the fact that politics are based on human relations and how the living standards of people can be improved from an economic and social perspective. Thus, I decided to engage in politics through my studies, and do a BA in Political Science and International Relations. Throughout my studies I had the opportunity to carry out and participate in different research projects with a focus on regional relations in the Balkans and Albania’s Integration process to the European Union. My main aspiration is to become active in politics and specifically have the privilege to be part of the group of people who will accompany and lead Albania to its long waiting destination, the European Union family.

My speech is focused on two leading factors. The first is to present the most integral areas which need an immediate improvement in order to raise the standards of EU entrepreneurship. The second is the presentation of my personal, strong motivation and belief that EU entrepreneurs have what it takes to succeed in this field and compete with the rest of the world. The messages derived from this speech are firstly to inform that the solutions to the issue of entrepreneurship will be discovered only by an intensive and truthful desire of the policy-makers to understand the challenges that EU entrepreneurs face in their ventures. Secondly, my message to the entrepreneurs themselves is to be courageous, take risks, have faith in themselves and their ideas and most importantly to not give up on their dreams and aspirations, no matter the objections.

Read Aureliano’s Submissions:

Estelle Beuve

I’m Estelle Beuve I’ve been aware of European issues since I started to get involved with the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) in 2016. When I was studying my Bachelor in Accounting and Management at Saint-Brieuc I started a mandate as a treasurer of Les Jeunes Européens Rennes. I helped the organisation find new partnerships with local institutions and started helping to raise awareness on the European Union in schools within their programme Europe at school. A year later, I became president of the association and launched a twinning with a local section in Aarhus, Denmark. In July 2018, we visited them to exchange our best practices. Once done with the bachelor, I wanted to go for a gap year and I decided to move to Chisinau, Moldova. As a European Voluntary service I worked for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova from October 2018 to June 2019 where I had the opportunity to promote European projects and learn both Romanian and Russian. Now I’m about to start my Masters in Strasbourg and I would like to become a chartered accountant and auditor.

I’ve imagined the next commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship taking into consideration the current environmental issues by offering a better set up for SMEs in Europe. For this, they introduce a new programme and will do their best to put forward legislative reforms so that “sustainable entrepreneurs” can be competitive in an open market context. Moreover, they pledge to bridge the gender gap in Europe as it is still deep by making clear that women are also the sustainable entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Read Estelle’s Submissions:

For more information on the Youth Essay Competition have a look at this year’s Top 10 and the 2019 competition launch.

Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Top 10

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Ready to find out who has made it into the top 10 for this year’s Youth Essay Competition? Firstly we would like to thank everyone again for their incredible entries, which were of a very high standard and made it difficult to narrow it down to only the top 10.

The top 10 applicants will now move onto Round 2 during which they must answer the following follow-up question from our jury:

The European Commission has recently published its political guidelines for the upcoming legislative term. Among those, newly elected Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has highlighted the importance of reinforcing SME Policy across the EU legislative board. What concrete measure or initiative would you propose to apply the “Think Small First Principle” to? And why?

Their answers will then be reviewed by the jury to narrow down the list again to the top three candidates that will travel to Helsinki to give their speech and defend their ideas in front of the SME Assembly 2019 delegates.

So who is moving on to Round 2? Have a look below!

  • Aleksandra Kochman (Poland)
  • Aureliano Undreaj (Albania)
  • Emilianos Panayiotou (Cyprus)
  • Lucia Ariel Hotti (Italy)
  • Frederik Kusse (Belgium)
  • Enzlo Ercole Ribagnac (France)
  • Estelle Beuve (France)
  • Giurca Paula Ioana (Romania)
  • Radu Domescu (Romania)
  • Magdalena Stoyanova (Bulgaria)

Well done to our top 10 and best of luck for Round 2! Don’t forget to keep checking the Portal to find out who the jury select to travel to Helsinki in November later this year…

The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity to make your voice heard and to take your ideas to a key SME stakeholders and policy makers on a European platform.

For more information read the launch post, or contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and follow @EEPA_EU on Twitter and @PromotingEnterprise on Facebook for the latest information.

Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Round 1 submissions closed

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 has closed for submissions. This year the competition has two rounds, with the first round open to public submission for young people aged from 18-25 from COSME and EU Member States.

This year we received submissions from 20 different countries, with the top two being Albania and Romania, followed closely by Italy, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine. Thank you for sending in your thought provoking answers to the following question:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”.

So what happens now?

This year all applicants will have to make it through two different rounds in order to be in with a chance of being in the top three that will travel to the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki this year. The round 1 submissions are now being carefully deliberated in order to choose a top 10. These top 10 round 1 winners will be announced right here on the Portal where they will have to get ready for their next challenge.

In round 2 our top 10 will have to convince the jury that they should be selected to go to Helsinki by answering three ‘follow up’ questions. These questions will be focused on ideas expressed in their speeches, and ask for further elaboration. Stay tuned to find out who will be going on to round 2…

Thank you to everyone that submitted their speeches, and good luck!

Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Marija’s Top Tips

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The Youth Essay Competition 2019 deadline is approaching and it is time to start finalising those essays! Today on promoting Enterprise we are back with last year’s Youth Essay Competition winner Marija Elena Borg. Last week she told us about what she has been up to since winning last year and what she learnt from taking part.

This week she is sharing her top tips for how to approach the 2019 question, and make your entry stand out. Read through her tips on how to write a winning essay below and don’t forget to submit your entry before 16 August 2019.

How would you approach the 2019 question?

This time round, the Youth Essay Competition is centred around the submission of an inauguration speech. Therefore, all participants should keep in mind the following two objectives when carrying out this task:

  • The need to make a good, lasting impression; and
  • The importance of leaving the audience with no more than three takeaways.

In all probability, we have all witnessed speeches that are overly technical or refer to pointless details. This should be avoided at all costs! Instead, make sure that the speech you’re drafting is clear, concise and founded upon a logical thought process. What is equally important is that your opening words are very carefully selected in order to instantly grasp the attention of the audience.

Do you have any advice for the 2019 competitors?

My advice is pretty simple: plan ahead! Do not wait till the last days of submission to draft your entry. Remember that the earlier you start planning for and writing your essay, the more time you have to research the topic, structure your thoughts and review the final product. Also, I highly recommend that you give your essay a personal touch – it is ultimately the key to ensuring that your entry stands out above the rest.

Don’t forget that you can read Marija’s essay or look at her final presentation for inspiration, and read her winner’s interview here. Missed our catch-up with her last week? Be sure to read it here to find out what she has been up to since winning the competition.

For more information on the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019, read the launch post to find out what we are looking for. Still have questions? Please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and follow @EEPA_EU on Twitter and @PromotingEnterprise on Facebook for the latest information.

Youth Essay Competition – Catching up with Marija

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity to make your voice heard and to take your ideas to a key SME stakeholders and policy makers on a European platform.

Today on Promoting Enterprise we are excited to be catching up with last year’s winner Marija Elena Borg! Marija impressed both the competition jury and then the SME Assembly 2018 delegates with her essay on the links between innovation and the holistic growth of organisations. So what has she been up to since winning the competition and what did she take away from the experience? Keep reading to find out!

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

As the Malta Business Bureau’s Senior EU Funding Executive, I am committed to continue developing my skills on both project writing and management. Therefore, over the last months, I have immersed myself in the submission of new proposals and the implementation of ongoing projects. A particular highlight has been my two-week experience in Brussels, working alongside an experienced entrepreneur on the project development front.

What was the best part about entering the Youth Essay Competition?

Definitely the opportunity to challenge myself! The Youth Essay Competition gave me a clear incentive to properly brainstorm on the topic of innovation and voice my thoughts and reflections in the form of an essay. Being one of the three finalists also meant participating in the SME Assembly in Graz, pitching my ideas directly to European entrepreneurs and policy-makers.

What did you learn from the Youth Essay competition experience?

To put it simply, this experience has taught me that nothing is really impossible as long as you value and believe in your strengths and capabilities. Time and experience play a crucial role in the process of building self-belief – one simply needs to be patient, treat failures as lessons learnt and keep on exposing oneself to new challenges and opportunities.

Don’t forget that you can read Marija’s essay or look at her final presentation for inspiration, and read her winner’s interview here. Still want more advice from Marija? Curious about how she would approach this year’s question? Come back to the News Portal next week to find out!

For more information on the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019, read the launch post to find out what we are looking for. Still have questions? Please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and follow @EEPA_EU on Twitter and @PromotingEnterprise on Facebook for the latest information.

Youth Essay Competition – What can you expect from the SME Assembly?

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity to make your voice heard in front of the people that matter for entrepreneurship and industry. Once a year, entrepreneurs, policy makers, innovators and other SME stakeholders, gather at the prestigious SME Assembly, to tackle issues facing industry, gather new ideas and share experiences to help create a more robust, innovative and SME friendly European ecosystem.

But what is it like to attend? What can you expect from the SME Assembly as a Youth Essay Competition finalist? We asked the finalists from last year’s edition what they thought of the SME Assembly 2018 to give you a sneak peek of what it is like to attend! Curious about what they thought? Have a read through their answers below:

“This year’s edition of the SME Assembly provided an excellent learning and networking platform for European entrepreneurs and policy-makers. The organisation of a variety of activities, including business tours, matchmaking sessions, debates and participatory workshops, sparked the interest of attendees and prompted their active participation.

My highlight of the SME Assembly was the Mentoring Workshop, during which experienced entrepreneurs spoke about promoting start-up mentoring. Considering that in comparison to other continents such as North America, entrepreneurs in Europe seem to be more reluctant to enter into a mentor-mentee relationship, this workshop showcased real success stories, proving that mentoring can be equally rewarding for both parties. ”

Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

“The SME Assembly was a fantastic event, with people from all over Europe (and indeed, the world) coming together for the purpose of supporting business, ideas, and innovation in Europe. People from all industries, and all different career levels, shared their stories with me, and it was a very humbling experience to be able to gain so much knowledge just by simply getting to know people. I made some great friends too! The speeches, debates, and policy sessions were varied and incredibly useful, my favourites were The Big Debate and Bridging the Skills Gap. The App made sure I knew exactly where to go and when to be there, and Graz was such a beautiful city to explore during my free time. Overall it was a life-changing experience that has inspired me to work on an entrepreneurial venture.”

– Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, 2018 finalist

“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!”

Joakim Davidsson, 2018 finalist

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu, read the competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition and don’t forget to SUBMIT before 16 August 2019.

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Why should you enter?

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is open for the fourth time and is asking applicants to:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”

If you are between the ages of 18-25 and are a citizen of an EU or COSME partner country, then this is your chance to have your voice heard. The Youth Essay Competition is a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform within the domains of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The competition is a great opportunity to voice your opinion, and should you be a finalist, to visit the SME Assembly 2019, but why else should you enter? Here on Promoting Enterprise we asked last year’s finalists and winner why they entered the competition. Read through their answers below, get inspired and be sure to submit your entry before 16 August 2019.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I have always believed that innovation – in its holistic sense – is the gateway to creating a smart and sustainable future. Therefore, when I came across the competition advert on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, I decided to put pen to paper and give this opportunity my best shot!

  • Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

I just happened to be surfing the web and looking at upcoming events in Europe, and came across the essay competition information by chance. At the time it was the middle of August and I was enjoying a break from my studies, but after reading the question I thought it would be an interesting challenge. I am very passionate about the EU and its values, and I wanted to discover what I thought about innovation. Truthfully, it was not something I had thought about a lot, but after my research it has really grown on me, and I’m now very interested in how I can create and find innovation in my career path.

  • Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, 2018 finalist

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.

  • Joakim Davidsson, 2018 finalist

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and read the competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition.

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Launch

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Youth of Europe, it is time to make your voice heard! If you are between the ages of 18-25 the European Commission wants to hear your ideas and thoughts on the topic of entrepreneurship, SMEs and the European entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Youth Essay competition, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is launching for the fourth time and is looking for submissions that answer the following:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”

The Youth Essay Competition is a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform within the domains of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

This year, the competition will be divided into two rounds:

  • Round 1: This is an open call to submit your speech. This submission is due by 16 August 2019
  • Round 2: You have given your inauguration speech and journalists are asking you for more details about your ideas. If you are selected for the top 10, you will receive three ‘follow up’ questions asking you to expand upon the ideas in your speech.

In order to win the prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the 2019 SME Assembly in Helsinki, submit your speech of no more than 2 500 words in English before 16 August 2019.

Don’t know what to write? Not sure where to start? Have a look at previous winning entries:

You can also have a look at the entries from previous finalists:

To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and SUBMIT!

If you have any questions please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 Launch

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 18 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Speeches should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All submissions must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for Round 1 submissions is 16 August 2019
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale in Helsinki as part of the SME Assembly, where they will give their speeches
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly in Helsinki, Finland for the three finalists, to deliver their speeches to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering speech live on stage at the SME Assembly 2019
  • Promotion of speeches across official social media channels

See Youth Essay Competition 2019 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and be sure to follow and use the hashtags #SMEWeekYouth and #YEC2019

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