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Archive for ‘Promoting Enterprise News’

IP a critical issue for SMEs

April 26, 2022 is World Intellectual Property Day and, to mark the occasion, we would like to focus on the importance of intellectual property (IP) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and highlight the support that is available to enable SMEs to manage and valorise their IP.

IP is a business tool that allows SMEs to protect their investment in innovation and creativity. It can improve an SME’s competitiveness and provide a potential source of revenue. In fact, SMEs that own intellectual property rights generate 68% more revenue per employee than those who don’t, and are 33% more likely to become high growth firms. However, SMEs often lack the time, resources, or knowledge to address IP issues – but don’t worry, help is at hand!

Support is available

On the Promoting Enterprise portal, we have previously highlighted support available to SMEs in the area of IP protection. In particular, the IPA4SME programme from the European Commission which, since its launch in 2019, has been successfully accompanying SMEs on their path to IP valorisation, helping them to protect their valuable IP. To date, over 1,000 SMEs from 30 countries have benefited from the programme.

Support is also available free-of-charge through the European IP Helpdesk, which helps European SMEs to manage, disseminate and valorise their IP and supports IP capacity building – from awareness to strategic use and successful exploitation. For more targeted support and advice in relation to operations in China, South-East Asia, Latin America or India – see the International IP Helpdesks.

SMEs can also take advantage of co-funding for trade mark or design applications from the Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund – a European Commission grant scheme implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) that supports SMEs with their IP. EUIPO also offers free personalised IP support to SMEs.

Finally, the Horizon IP Scan is a tailored IP support service provided by the European Commission specifically designed to help European start-ups and other SMEs involved in EU-funded collaborative research projects to efficiently manage and valorise IP in collaborative R&I efforts.

Learning about IP and its associated rights is important, so if you are an SME that would like to protect your investment in innovation and know-how make sure you’re aware of the support available and benefitting from it! Learn more about European IP support for SMEs and discover further resources here.

IP in EEPA

If you are a project that offers IP support to SMEs along with other support, you might be eligible to take part in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The six categories in this year’s competition are:

  1. Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  2. Investing in skills
  3. Improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition
  4. Supporting the internationalisation of business
  5. Supporting the sustainable transition
  6. Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

For mFor more information, visit the the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

Luxembourg’s General Directorate for SMEs hosts SME Envoys meeting

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SME Envoys were invited to meet on 30 and 31 March in Luxembourg to discuss sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. The meeting was chaired by Hubert Gambs, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

After a first day of various visits, including the Belval Campus of the University of Luxembourg and the city of Schengen, the 55 Representatives of the national ministries in charge of SMEs (EU and COSME countries) met on the second day in Mondorf-les-Bains.

At the meeting, Luxembourg’s Minister for Small and Medium-sized Businesses, Lex Delles, emphasised that he particularly appreciates the work of the SME Envoys Network, which intensifies exchanges and cooperation between the EU Member States. “This work is all the more crucial, as small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the Luxembourg and European economy. However, we are facing new common challenges in Europe and around the world. Global warming, the depletion of natural resources and growing inequalities are climatic and societal challenges that we must all face,” Minister Delles said.

In the context of energy crisis, reinforced by the war in Ukraine, it is essential to move towards more sustainable operating models. Corporate social responsibility plays a key role in this context and allows us to pursue intelligent and sustainable growth. The Luxembourg government is therefore actively committed to promoting CSR among small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said, adding: “Europe must do more to encourage and support small and medium-sized enterprises in their transition to sustainable growth.”

Responding to the challenges of the green and digital transition

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, participated in the meeting by video conference. “In a geopolitical context that is more volatile than ever, the resilience of the European economy depends to a large extent on the capacity of its industrial fabric, in particular SMEs, to respond to the challenges of the green and digital transition,” Commissioner Breton said.

The European Commission, through its industrial policy, its regulatory simplification actions and its investment tools, in particular InvestEU, is continuing its efforts to offer SMEs a European framework that is conducive to their competitiveness, and to channel the necessary resources towards innovative, high-tech, growth-generating projects,” he said. The Commissioner added that, in this respect, the SME Envoys Network representatives constitutes a real transmission belt between the strategic objectives of the European Union and the economic vitality of its territories.

The network of representatives of EU Member States’ ministries responsible for small and medium-sized enterprises, SME Envoys, was created in 2011 to encourage and guide the development of SME-friendly regulations and policies in the European Union. This advisory group, which meets four times a year, works to improve the consultation process for European small and medium-sized enterprises. The SME Envoys meetings are an important channel of communication between the European Commission, small and medium-sized enterprises and their representative organisations.

For more information on SMEs in Europe, visit the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business

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We have already introduced you to the first three categories in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Today it is the turn of Category 4 – Supporting the internationalisation of business.

Access to international markets can play a critical role in the success of a start-up. With this in mind, Category 4 in the EEPA recognises projects that make it easier for enterprises, and particularly small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups, to get a foothold on international markets, both inside the EU and around the world, and to benefit from the internationalisation of their business.

Let’s take a look at the type of projects that have succeeded in this category in previous years. The Category 4 winner in 2021 was the Iberian Centre for Research and Forest Firefighting (CILIFO) in Spain. To expand Spain’s and Europe’s firefighting capacity, the Firefighting Open Innovation Lab-CILIFO (FOIL-CILIFO) accelerator is supporting entrepreneurs, technologies, companies and start-ups involved in forest management and forest fire prevention and fighting. The project offers companies the opportunity to test innovative technologies in a real environment, helps them find international partners to replicate their results, and provides legal advice and support in accessing European funding with the help of specialised mentors.

To visit the Supporting the Internationalisation of Business winners in 2020, we need to get on our bikes and head to Portugal, to meet with Portugal Bike Value, which is working to support and promote the potential of the Portuguese bicycle industry, establishing it as a player in the European supply chain. Portugal Bike Value is also promoting Portugal as a destination for foreign investment in the area of soft mobility. By investing in cleaner technologies that have a reduced environmental footprint, the project is also helping to support the European Green Deal.

Participation in the EEPA had a major impact on Portugal Bike Value. “First of all, it gave us a real perspective on the value of the project. Then, this victory gave us a major boost in terms of communication, both in Portugal and abroad. The EEPA awards are highly visible and boost the image of the participants.

So, what advice do the Portugal Bike Value team have for projects that might be considering taking part in this year’s competition? “In our experience, the best advice is – participate. As long as you have a solid, well-developed project, you can only win. The gains that you will receive in terms of experience and contacts with other projects are overwhelming. If you can reach the final, you will gain additional visibility and in the event of victory, then the return is massive.

From Portugal, we head northwards to meet with the Category 4 winners from 2019. HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 230 Nordic start-ups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The HealthTech community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources.

Asked about their EEPA experience, HealthTech were enthusiastic. “Amazing! It was really nerve-wracking sitting in the audience and listening to the presentations of the three category finalists. Both we and the project from the Netherlands were convinced that the Romanian project would win, their film was so good! When we heard our project announced as the winner we couldn’t believe it! Overall it was an amazing evening and experience.”

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Winning the EEPA award had a major impact on the project. “I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch.

Your project could also benefit from EEPA publicity. If you are interested in participating, check out your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

In our next blog, we will look at previous winners in EEPA Category 5 – Supporting the sustainable transition. In the meantime, if you would like some more information, visit the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

Interview with Eurochambres President, Luc Frieden

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The pandemic has left the global economy with two key points of vulnerability — high inflation and jumpy financial markets. A few months ago, entrepreneurs were optimistic about 2022, according to Eurochambres Economic Survey 2022 (EES2022), saying that it would be another tough year, but better than 2021. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February and subsequent escalation and developments have, however, led to a significant change in this outlook.

A key challenge identified by respondents to EES2022 was the price of energy and raw materials. This concern has heightened considerably as a consequence of the geopolitical tension with Russia.

We wanted to find out more about this, so we spoke to Mr. Luc Frieden, President of Eurochambres. We had an inspiring conversation with Mr. Frieden about how some of the challenges SMEs are facing have intensified from year to year, but also about the specific needs of SMEs for the navigation through the twin transition and the priorities of Eurochambres for this year.

I. What are the biggest challenges for SMEs in 2022?

Many European companies have already been impacted by the crisis, whether by closing down their production and distribution sites in Russia and Ukraine to keep their workers safe, as a result of unprecedented supply chain disruptions, or indeed further increases in already historically high energy, raw material and commodity prices.

While Eurochambres supports the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s military aggression, we cannot ignore the significant effect that they – as well as potential retaliatory measures from Russia – will have on Europe’s economy. Mitigating action is crucial to help European businesses absorb the impact. With the economy only just recovering after two years of deep recession, businesses need a favourable environment to help Europe get back on its feet.

The worsening of the overall situation of course strongly undermines business confidence, which showed a significant upturn a few months earlier in the Eurochambres Economic Survey 2022, based on responses from over 52.000 entrepreneurs in 26 European countries.

The survey showed that “affordable access to energy and raw materials” was seen as the greatest challenge for businesses this year, even before the impact of the Ukraine crisis.

The second main challenge that businesses highlight is the lack of skilled workers. The accelerating evolution of the labour market is exacerbating long-standing skills shortages in ICT and digital skills.

Labour costs rank third, followed by financing conditions, digitalisation of activities and lastly sustainability requirements. As most European Green Deal legislative proposals are still under negotiation, “sustainability requirements” are considered as a less important challenge for 2022. However, over the next few years, upcoming legislation in this crucial area – while primarily targeting big companies – will have an impact on SMEs and this needs to be measured and monitored carefully.

II. How did these challenges change in comparison to 2021?

The main challenges for European businesses identified for 2021 were labour costs, the repayment of debt accrued due to the COVID-19 crisis, and financing conditions. So energy and raw material costs as well as skills shortages are the two challenges that have heightened most year on year, while financial constraints abated somewhat compared to the height of the pandemic as businesses benefitted from a variety of instruments designed to increase their access to address liquidity shortages and stimulate investment.

These businesses challenges will unfortunately not be alleviated anytime soon. In the current circumstances, energy, raw material, commodity and product prices are increasing, and it will be critical to adequately support businesses financially, particularly in highly export-oriented sectors that need to maintain competitiveness.

The transformation to a climate-friendly and CO2-free economy requires great efforts from all companies in Europe. What do SMEs need in order to navigate through this transition?

Going green is not only a survival imperative, but also a business opportunity. For most SMEs, reaching zero or close to zero GHG emissions across the entire value chain would currently be very difficult. SMEs may not have the in-house sustainability expertise, time or resources to address their carbon footprint, and may find it difficult to measure and reduce value-chain emission reductions in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

The EU’s strategy of diversifying energy suppliers as quickly as possible, particularly with liquified natural gas deliveries from the US and the Middle East, is welcome. We must ensure that there is enough energy for consumers and businesses at reasonable prices. Failure to do so would have grave socio-economic implications across much of Europe.

SMEs need tailored and clear energy transition policies that incentivise investments in renewable and low carbon energy and hydrogen-based technologies. Considerable investments in research and development will be necessary – be it to align products with new requirements or new technologies – and they must come from both the private and the public sectors.

On the way to climate-neutrality, companies need planning security, a simple and clear legislative framework and minimised administrative burden, especially for SMEs.

To take the example of the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting, we believe that in the case of smaller companies, reporting should be exclusively voluntary as the scarcity of relevant information reported by smaller players is overwhelmingly linked to high costs and difficulties when it comes to illustrating ESG risks, scale breadth and complexity. Member States must adopt a bottom-up approach and uphold the use of the simplified standard across the supply chain, instead of forcing small businesses to comply with disproportional reporting requirements pushed by larger suppliers or buyers.

Moreover, competitiveness for European companies must be ensured, especially as long as other major economies have not reached and implemented equally ambitious measures in terms of climate policies.

Financing is a key prerequisite for SMEs to green their business models and drive the transition through eco-innovations; yet many small businesses lack the human and financial resources to undertake green actions.

European businesses are experiencing significant skill shortages, which will worsen as a result of the green transition. To avoid overburdening companies, which already fund most of employee training, new solutions must balance contributions while ensuring that training opportunities remain in line with labour market demands.

The green transition will be successful only if businesses receive the assistance they require to prepare their employees for new challenges and market developments.

III. What are the priorities of Eurochambres under your presidency?

Although this was not something I could have envisaged when my term started in January, our priorities right now relate to the war in Ukraine.

Most pressingly, we are working with the chamber network and humanitarian aid organisations to provide supplies to Ukraine and help displaced citizens to settle in other parts of Europe, building on chambers’ expertise in the integration of refugees in the workplace.

We are also gathering feedback from our members on how the war is affecting European businesses. This allows us to work with public authorities to mitigate the economic damage, not least at EU level.

The conflict in Ukraine is relevant also to the legislative agenda of the von der Leyen Commission. Priorities, timing and initiatives need to be reappraised and potentially recalibrated in consideration of the new economic shockwaves reverberating around Europe, just as the impact of the pandemic was abating. Eurochambres can play a key role in this process by providing information from the grass roots economy.

The crisis impacts on the pursuit of the twin digital and green transition; we fully support this, but will work with the institutions to ensure that it is pursued in a manner that takes into account the unprecedented increase in energy prices and concerns about supply chain security.

We will continue to contribute actively to the rollout of the Fit for 55 package, especially regarding the crucial availability of affordable green energy (including hydrogen) and a global level-playing field in CO2 pricing, thus defining critical legislative parameters for the energy transition and decarbonisation of the economy.

Global problems require global solutions, whether this is combatting the pandemic or addressing climate change. In this regard, Europe must work with its partners in the G20, the relevant UN bodies and the WTO to find multilateral solutions. Climate diplomacy and efforts toward a global CO2 price should be actively pursued. Eurochambres will thus continue to advocate for global economic cooperation and a proactive EU trade policy that will cement our links with key global growth centres such as the US, MERCOSUR, the ASEAN and others.

I firmly believe in the need to deepen the single market, a crucial tool in strengthening the European economy. It’s reassuring that the binary distinction between the single market and digital single market no longer prevails as these two aspects of our economy are inextricably linked. Several legislative files integral to the ‘Digital Decade’ are at different phases in their evolution; Eurochambres is working on each of these and the French and Czech Presidencies of the Council will be instrumental in their progress.

For more information on these topics, please follow the Eurochambres website. For the latest updates on SMEs, please follow the European Commission website, our Promoting Enterprise News Portal as well as our social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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About Luc Frieden, President of Eurochambres

Luc Frieden is President of Eurochambres, the Federation of the European Chambers of commerce, industry and services. He also serves as Chairman of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

Luc Frieden is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL) S.A., Luxembourg’s oldest bank. In addition, he is a qualified lawyer (avocat à la Cour) and a partner with Elvinger Hoss, one of the largest Luxembourg law firms, where he advises on international corporate and banking matters. He further sits on the Board of Directors of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

From 2016 to 2019, he served as Chairman of the Board of the media group Saint Paul Luxembourg SA, the publisher of the leading Luxembourg newspaper. From 2014 to 2016, Luc Frieden was Vice-Chairman of Deutsche Bank Group in London and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank Luxembourg.

For most of his professional career, from 1998 to 2013, Luc Frieden was a cabinet minister in the Luxembourg Government. He served as Minister of Finance, Minister of Defence as well as Minister of Justice.

During his ministerial tenure, he was Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Justice of the European Union (2005) and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the IMF and the World Bank (2013). He was a member of the Eurogroup and Ecofin Council of Ministers.
Luc Frieden was visiting professor in business law at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and has published numerous articles on legal and political topics. He is the co-author of the book Europa 5.0 on economic growth in Europe.

He sits on the board of the Luxembourg Red Cross, the Luxembourg Bankers Association and is a member of the Trilateral Commission.

Luc Frieden graduated in law from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and holds LLM degrees from the University of Cambridge and Harvard Law School. He speaks English, French, German and Luxembourgish fluently.

Petri Salminen, President of SMEunited, invited to hold a keynote speech at EU Industry Days

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The upcoming edition of the EU Industry Days, entitled “Unlocking the future: EU industrial ecosystems on the path to the green and digital transition”, aims to stimulate discussions across industrial ecosystems on their green and digital transition, in support of strengthening the resilience of EU companies including SMEs.

In this context, one of the most awaited moments is Petri Salminen’s, President of SMEunited, keynote speech on the 11th of February. The day will run under the Co-creating the green, digital and resilient transition theme and will include a series of meet-the-experts and stakeholder sessions.

Kuva: Markus Sommers

After his election, in December last year, Mr. Salminen stated that the focus of SMEunited would remain on the recovery of SMEs following the pandemic crisis and allowing them to make the digital and green transformation. We are sure you are as curious to find out more about this as we were, so here is what Mr. Salminen shared with us on this topic, but also about the priorities of SMEunited for 2022 and the recently launched Annual Theme “Youth and skills”:

What are the main challenges SMEs are facing at the moment that keep them from making the digital and green transformation?

Many SMEs move very actively towards digital and green transformation. They produce eco-friendly products, install charging stations for electric cars, create mobile apps, set up a webshop, etc. However, EU policy has to provide the right framework for this transition and guarantee a level playing field for all enterprises.

For instance, to support small and medium enterprises to become greener, the next EU Environmental Action Program should include support for eco-innovation and for finance of upfront investments. Another example: the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organisational Environmental Footprint (OEF) with mandatory information about the lifecycle of products would disproportionally increase red tape and costs for small and medium companies. Therefore, I believe that it must remain voluntary, at least for SMEs and the Commission must bring to life its idea to provide SMEs with an easy-to-use and cost-efficient tool.

The same goes for digital innovation: SMEunited asks the Commission to ensure that all new measures and services allow small and medium businesses to grasp the opportunities of digitalisation. Yes, some SMEs are champions in developing new technologies. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs and workers do not always possess the necessary digital skills, and some companies, especially in rural areas, struggle with access to and/or speed of the Internet. Thus, SMEunited demands that EU policy takes the SME perspective into account. This means that access to data must be ensured, digital training is provided for and standards include SME perspective to guarantee interoperability. Programs like Digital Europe and Horizon Europe must include a percentage of SMEs.

What does a supportive business environment look like in this context?

Apart from a level playing field for all companies, the EU should raise awareness about sustainability to reach all stakeholders, including public authorities, citizens, and SMEs. For example, to encourage repairing goods the VAT Directive recently was amended to allow for reduced VAT rates for repair work. Now, Member States should use this opportunity to make this “incentive” a reality.

93% of all companies in Europe have less than 10 employees. So, I think it is fair that regulations have to comply with the Think Small First principle, thus, limiting burdens and developing legislation based on the capacity of the smallest ones.

Red tape and compliance costs remain huge problems for SMEs. They do not have specialists in their staff for HR and other legal services like big companies do. Entrepreneurs take on these obligations next to their core task, which is running their business. Focus must be on providing quality products and services to their customers, otherwise, they won’t earn any money. The fact is that only businesses that are profitable can invest in renewal and development. Thus, we at SMEunited emphasize that small and medium enterprises demand less bureaucracy and more legal clarity for the green and digital transition. The clock is ticking, so let’s do it asap.

What are the priorities of SMEUnited for 2022 regarding the twin transition?

In the next year, SMEunited will focus on the recovery of small and medium businesses from the pandemic crisis and their twin transition, supported by the funds out of NextGeneration EU. We must build an environment where SMEs can innovate, invest, flourish, and create jobs. European Crafts and SMEs are crucial to succeed with the Green Deal. This means we will be vigilant in the discussions on the Fit for 55 package, the proposals on the sustainable product initiative and right to repair, for instance.

SMEunited will also fight for fair and transparent rules for access to data and SMEs’ activity on digital platforms. SME friendly standards will also have a key role in a smooth transition.

SMEunited just launched the new Annual Theme “Youth and skills”. What made you focus on youth entrepreneurship this year and what is the aim of this new theme?

We decided that it would be a good idea to focus on ‘Youth and skilled workforce’ and thus to work in unison with the European Commission that made 2022 the European Year of Youth. SMEunited will showcase the significant role played by Crafts and SMEs in Vocational Education and Training to equip young people with the right skills to thrive in the labour market. If young people receive apprenticeships in Crafts and SMEs, they experience a smoother transition from school to work. Small and medium companies can also cooperate with vocational schools and training centres to inform them what skills are needed for Crafts and SMEs. We will continue to promote youth entrepreneurship to incentivise young women and men to create their own businesses or continue the work of another entrepreneur after a business transfer.

We invite you to attend Mr. Salminen’s inspiring keynote speech on the 11th of February starting 9:45 CET by registering here. The 2022 edition of the EU Industry Days takes place in hybrid format and it gives you the possibility to join the conference online, from anywhere in the world. The full programme of Eu Industry days 2022 is available here.

Don’t miss anything out and follow all news on European’s Commission website, but also on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you follow and use the official hashtag #EUIndustryDays.

Inspiring Kristina Dimova invited to speak at the EU Industry Days

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Kristina Dimova, the SME Week 2021 Young Essay Competition winner, continues her journey in the entrepreneurial world and will be present at the upcoming edition of the EU Industry Days.

As you know, the 2022 edition that is entitled “Unlocking the future: EU industrial ecosystems on the path to the green and digital transition”, will take place from 08th to the 11th of February and aims to stimulate discussions across industrial ecosystems on their green and digital transition, in support of strengthening the resilience of EU companies including SMEs.

This year’s edition will also hold discussions on how the young generation can shape the future of EU industry in line with the Commission proposal to make 2022 the European Year of Youth.

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Kristina Dimova, who is 22 and an inspiring representative of her generation, is one of the speakers in the Plenary Session: Inspiring Dialogue with Young Europeans that will take place on 10 February starting 15:30.

Moderated by Olena Sullivan-Prykhodko, 2021 Junior Chamber International Vice President, Co-Founder and Director of Modelex Education Monaco and the British School of Monaco, the session gathers creative young business owners that will share their vision on the future of entrepreneurship.

“Change is inevitable. That’s why businesses must adapt or perish. The way they could adapt is by being as human as possible. The main thesis of my essay is that humanity is the key to sustainability not only for the business plan of the company but in the context of management. However, humanity should be combined with key factors such as digital transformation, ecology, and economic growth.” This is what Kristina highlighted when talking about the competences and skills needed in the future for an entrepreneur, during SME Assembly 2021.

She also added that “Every single business idea must be sustainable both for the environment and for society’s needs.”

With this in mind, we remind you that there it is still time to register and take part in the discussion on turning industrial challenges into opportunities for Europe.

Check out the full programme here and see what sessions are of interest to you!

Stay updated by following all news on European’s Commission website, but also on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you follow and use the official hashtag #EUIndustryDays.

Discovering Kristina Dimova, the winner of SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021

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Bulgarian Kristina Dimova won the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021 with an essay that highlighted that humanity is the key to sustainability not only for the business plan of the company, but in the context of management. We invite you discover what was the motivation behind Kristina’s participation in the Competition, but also what was her main takeaway from last year’s SME Assembly.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Ever since I started my higher education, I have been working and looking for ways to develop myself. From editorials, to academies, agencies – for the last four years I had the chance to see how the work process is constantly changing. Not only mine, but one of the biggest problems of other young proactive people I’ve been talking to, is the management system and the fact that, no matter how much it has changed regarding flexibility, home office, etc, it’s still strictly hierarchical and because of that it’s draining the creative force of youth and its talents. This is why, when I saw the theme of the SME Youth Essay Competition, I wanted to show that, no matter how genius and innovative a business idea can be, it is nothing without the people working for its happening.

Moreover, as I said in my gratitude speech, Sabine Kressens – 2020’s winner essay and how intriguing and complex her text was, inspired me even more to participate. I wanted to see if I can do what she did so gracefully – present such an innovative idea in a way everyone can understand it.

What was it like to be announced as a winner of the 2021 competition?

A moment of pure bliss. I have read the essays of the other finalists and until the announcement, I still was not quite sure if anyone will recognize my idea as a crucial one for the survival of the development of future SMEs’. This is mainly because management has always been looked over when people are talking about successful entrepreneurial projects. However, after my name was announced, I reassured myself that everyone who has voted for me has been feeling there is a crucial need for change in that field. Afterwards many representatives of various institutions and companies who were in the audience during the competition congratulated me on this thesis. The fact that they have appreciated the youth perspective is what truly made me happy and is the biggest success.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2021?

In person contact is irreplaceable. Because of the fact that the SME Assembly 2021 gave me the chance to meet people not only through a zoom square, the feeling of excitement was with me throughout the whole event. I’m still talking not only to friends of mine, but to colleagues about how eye-opening and inspiring the Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise Lecture which Professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj held. Of course, all of the fantastic and bright people I have met at the SME Assembly 2021 are making my memories of it even more unforgettable.

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What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2021?

Time is limited. Therefore, we must not only make the most of it, but make it worthy for us and the world we live in. Every single business idea must be sustainable both for the environment and for society’s needs. In a world where people are more divided than ever on so many topics, we need to find the way to the right solutions for each of us. The SME Assembly 2021 showed me that with the right steps, the path towards re-establishing unity is possible to be walked.

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

Currently, I am writing my Bachelor’s thesis and, fingers crossed I will be graduating in 2022. Afterward, as they say, hopefully, the future will become clearer and even brighter. 🙂 Besides that, the business academy I am part of – 9Academy is currently running its 9th season. The 9 circles of business we are looking through in the educational process (which is very practical on its own) are making the academy a unique piece of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria. In addition, who knows, maybe one day in Europe as well?).

You can find out more about Kristina from one of our previous materials and you can read Kristina’s essay here.

The other finalists of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay competition were Victoria Krah, half Spanish, half German, and Rui Teixeira from Portugal.

Check out the latest news on the SME Assembly and the Youth Essay Competition by regularly visiting the Promoting Enterprise blog. Subscribe to the SME Week Newsletter to stay up to date!

Launch of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards #EEPA2022

The time for a new edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) has come! Annually, EEPA identify and recognize the most successful promoters of enterprise and entrepreneurship around Europe.

The competition rewards the most innovative initiatives from public bodies and public-private partnerships, which support entrepreneurship, and small and medium sized enterprises.

How will it work?

The participating countries invite projects or initiatives to apply for the national competitions for the 2022 edition. Each national competition will announce two national winners, who will proceed to compete at the European level prior to the European deadline of 25 July 2022. The prestigious EEPA jury of 2022 will then carefully review each of the national winners, where 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 Czech Presidency of the Council and the European Commission in November.

Here are the six categories of this year:

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

Plus…

The Jury’s Grand Prize that can be from any category and will go to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

Want to participate? Find your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

Stay Updated #EEPA2022

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

SME Week Newsletter 2021: Issue #10

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Welcome back to the SME Week Newsletter!

It’s also time to welcome back the SME Assembly, which will be held live this year on 15-17 November, in Portorož, Slovenia. As the culmination of SME Week, the SME Assembly will see entrepreneurs, policymakers, and innovators gather in Slovenia to put sustainability at the centre of Europe’s recovery.

In this edition, we also talk to some previous winners of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition, who have excellent advice for anyone thinking of participating in this year’s competition. If you haven’t started your essay yet, there is still time to get creative, so read on!

We also look at European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2021 to meet the European shortlist.

Finally, don’t forget to share with us YOUR stories; how are you navigating these challenging times? Share your news and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue or on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal.

Read the full edition of our newsletter more >>

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Don’t forget to check our YouTube channel for the latest videos on the SME Assembly, the European Promotion Enterprise awards and the SME Week.

EEPA 2021 National Winners – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, we would like to introduce the national winners competing in the category Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit at the European level of the EEPA 2021.

Every year the top national projects are selected by national coordinators, and the most innovative continue to the next phase of the awards, during which the European jury reviews the entries and decides on the final shortlist. 

The Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people and women. Below you can find out more about which initiatives the jury will be considering this year.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2021 jury.

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    • Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Caroline Mischler August 3, 2022
      Following our interviews with 2022 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker, Outi Slotboom, Marian Piecha, Christel Delberghe and Thomas Wobben, we come to our final member: Caroline Mischler. Caroline is Director of the European and International Department of the Directorate General for Enterprise, at the French Ministry of Economy and […]
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    • Urban Tech, funding to develop new value chains in emerging Health Tech, Smart City and Greentech industries August 1, 2022
      Urban Tech, a 3-year project funded by European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is looking for SMEs and start-ups to compete for funding of up to EUR 54,350 by developing or improving products or services that address one of 300 challenges in three areas: health tech, green tech and smart cities. The deadline […]
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    • Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Thomas Wobben July 26, 2022
      Here on the Promoting Enterprise Portal, we have already featured interviews with several of the 2022 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members: Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker, Outi Slotboom, Marian Piecha and Christel Delberghe. Now it’s the turn of Thomas Wobben, who is representing the Committee of the Regions. He gives us his views on […]
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    • Inspiration from past YEC winners and finalists July 21, 2022
      The SME Week Youth Essay Competition (YEC) is now in its 7th edition, so the class of 2022 has a huge number of past winners and finalists from whom it can take inspiration. And as we saw last year, this can be the key to success. In her acceptance speech, YEC 2021 winner, Kristina Dimova, […]
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    • SME Week Newsletter 2022: Issue #16 July 19, 2022
      Welcome to the latest edition of the SME Week Newsletter In this edition of the SME Week newsletter, we have two important announcements: the launch of the 2022 SME Week Youth Essay Competition (YEC) and the launch of the new and improved version of the Promoting Enterprise App. Let’s take them one by one! The […]
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    • Youth Essay Competition 2022 – things to keep in mind July 14, 2022
      With the 2022 Youth Essay Competition (YEC 2022) having been launched on 30 June, we know that many of you will be steaming ahead with writing your entries. To help you avoid any pitfalls, we’ve put together a list of five things you should keep in mind before you send your essays in. Check you’re […]
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    • Revolutionize your SME Week experience with the new Promoting Enterprise App July 7, 2022
      The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) has launched a new and improved version of the Promoting Enterprise App, enabled by the SwapCard platform. The new app will revolutionize your SME Week and SME Assembly experience with its many novel features and will extend the benefits of SME Week […]
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    • Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Christel Delberghe July 5, 2022
      On the Promoting Enterprise portal, you have already met number of European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2022 jury members (Outi Slotboom, Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker and Marian Piecha). Today, let’s hear from Christel Delberghe, who will be the voice of business associations on this year’s jury. Christel tells us what this year’s jury will be […]
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    • YEC 2022 now open for entries! June 30, 2022
      The moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived! We are happy to announce the launch of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition (YEC). Now in its 7th edition, the YEC gives 18-25-year-olds a platform to share their bright ideas with key figures and stakeholders involved in enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs. Read […]
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    • SME Assembly 2022: Save the date! June 27, 2022
      We are back with news on the most significant event for small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe: the SME Assembly. And what better day to announce when this key event will take place if not on the World SME Day? We are 154 days apart from a 3-day journey on entrepreneurship, economy, policy and innovation. […]
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