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Archive for ‘Promoting Enterprise News’

EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019

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From 17-21 June 2019, the EU Sustainable Energy Week will be back for its 4th edition. The Week will take place in Brussels and is the biggest European event dedicated to efficient energy and renewables. The theme for 2019 is “Shaping Europe’s energy future” and will cover: the Policy Conference, Networking Village, EUSEW Awards, and the Energy Days.

The awards and Policy Conference applications have now closed, but there is still time to sign up for the 2019 Networking Village and to register a local 2019 Energy Day event.

The Networking Village will be a chance to meet and interact with stakeholders in sustainable energy innovation and will be hosted in the European Commission’s Charlemagne building and the Residence Palace from 18 to 20 June 2019. Find out more about the different elements of the Networking Village here and sign up to host a networking activity before 25 March 2019.

The Energy Days take place throughout May and June and collect together events that promote and focus on clean energy transition. Energy Day events are a chance for both citizens and businesses to learn about clean energy and sustainability, and to discover how it can impact and be incorporated into their daily activities and practices. Register your event as soon as possible and find out more about the Energy Days right here.

Get involved on social media with @euenergyweek and #EUSEW19, and become part of the EU Sustainable Energy Community for the latest updates.

Find out more about EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019 on the EASME website.

Investor Day for Women in Tech

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The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot of the European Commission is hosting an exclusive pitching event for Women in Tech. The event will take place on 4 April 2019 in Brussels, and will be an opportunity to meet female entrepreneurs and top tier European investors, as well as discuss the challenges facing female entrepreneurs and how to address the financing gap. 

By attending this EIC Investor Day, you will have a chance to:

• Pitch your technology and business case to a renowned jury of European investors;
• Be involved in discussions about the financing gap for women entrepreneurs;
• Network with fellow EIC pilot funded SMEs and engage directly with top European investors.

Who can apply?

The application is only open for small and medium-sized enterprises funded by the EIC pilot program and with the following criteria:
• Female founder or CEO; and/or
• A management team structure well represented by women; and/or
• Development of an innovative solution with a strong gender dimension.

Deadline for applications: 20 February 2019. Apply here.

For more information on the event and applications, read the original article on the EASME website.

Meet 20 pioneers transforming the future of healthcare

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On 28 and 29 November 2018, the European Innovation Council (EIC) and Medtronic, a leader in the world of medical technology, gathered 20 companies to discuss the transformation of healthcare and promote business partnerships.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been playing an increasingly crucial role in the development of new products in the medical device industry. Quick adaptability, the capacity to identify market niches and intrinsic innovative potential, have turned these companies into relevant players in the healthcare industry worldwide.

However, at the stage when SMEs are growing, they need considerable financial resources to continue investments in product development and clinical trials, in order to bring their products to market faster. To tackle these challenges the EIC pilot and Medtronic promoted a matchmaking and business acceleration event in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, home of Medtronic’s EMEA headquarters.

20 companies backed by the EIC pilot took the stage and shared their innovative health care solutions for medical devices and therapies, mobile and remote health, patient engagement, diagnostics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, data analytics and robotics.

At the event, we talked to Ger Hill, Senior Director Global Innovation at Medtronic, about Medtronic’s innovation strategy and learned that “For a company like Medtronic who has currently reached around 30B$ in revenue, maintaining revenue growth requires us to draw on innovation not only from our substantial organic internal innovation, but also from external partners. There are a lot of smart people who don’t work at Medtronic, and we want to collaborate with them to turn their ideas and concepts into products and solutions for patients and Medtronic.”

We also spoke with Charity Kufaas, Vice President, Business Development & Strategy EMEA at Medtronic, who shared her view on the quality of the companies attending: “The technologies of the companies I’ve seen today are truly innovative and address unmet needs. There were a number that we found really interesting and which I’m sure we’ll follow up after the event.”

Sourced from EASME.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

Business Generator becomes Navigator Scale-up

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Back in 2017, the project “Business Generator” from Sweden, won the EEPA Category “Investing in entrepreneurial skills” for their work in identifying the gap in the strategic management process for SME companies, as well as a way to reach SMEs and provide them with useful skills for their daily lives as entrepreneurs.

After initial struggles to keep the Business Generator going after the EEPA competition, this project, and specifically coordinator Anette Rhudin, are back with a brand new and improved ‘Navigator Scale-up’. The Navigator serves as a support for SMEs that need to have a board under Swedish law. Due to financial constraints it is normally a challenge for SMEs and entrepreneurs to have an external board not made up of family and friends, and thus miss the chance, to have that input, that the right matched, external competence can give. Having a competent board can help avoid bankruptcy, develop necessary company procedures and aid in the overall management of the SME.

Through the Navigator SMEs can be matched with externals that serve as a board or ‘navigators’, without taking away control from the SME. The Navigator is a particularly good option for SMEs looking to scale up, as the externals are there to coach, ask critical questions and offer guidance based on their extensive experience. Through their experience, external board members are able to make SMEs aware of ‘hazards’ and guide them so as to avoid expensive failures.

Positive changes can only happen in a safe environment, which is why a Navigator’s primary task is help the entrepreneur navigate a changeable environment and give them enough control to feel safe and be able to scale up their company. One of the crucial success factors in the Business Generator project was that the four external navigator members had all gone on their own scalable business journeys. Being able to understand the current entrepreneur’s experience enables externals to truly coach and give the best advice to the SME they are assisting.

The Navigator has already been helping several SMEs, specifically OptiPack, an SME in a typical small Swedish village which started last year. Optipack began with four young people who had no experience of owning a company and who required a bank loan to get started. In order to qualify for a loan they needed an external board with experienced members, which is where Business Navigator came in to help. After being assigned a Navigator team they began to advance, thanks to the collective experience of their external board members who between them are experienced businesspeople and own large international companies.

Thanks to help from their Navigator, Optipack were able to invest EUR 2 428 882 in their latest product and continue working and developing.

Optipak are a successful example of what a Navigator can do for an SME, and we hope to keep coming back with more success stories as the Business Navigator gets bigger and spreads its message, support and advocacy for SMEs.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019

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The 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is THE place to be for innovators, entrepreneurs and trailblazers from across five innovation sectors. Taking place from June 4-5 in the Netherlands, the GES 2019 will be focusing on Agriculture, Connectivity, Energy, Health, or Water, and is looking for transformative technological solutions in each sector.

This will be the first time that the GES comes to the European Union, and will be co-hosted by both the governments of the Netherlands and the United States of America. This 9th edition of this globally known event aims to drive global innovation and celebrate the free-market economy that supports jobs, growth, and transformative solutions to global challenges. It will also serve to build on strong transatlantic relationships and common values, promote economic growth, fair trade, and encourage investment in entrepreneurial activity that creates prosperity and jobs.

The event provides the ultimate networking opportunity for scale ups, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors to meet, discuss and ultimately innovate together to improve innovation across the five sectors.

Applications close on 30 January 2019 so if you want to be considered for a place at GES 2019 don’t delay and apply today!

For more details look at the GES 2019 application page.

Over 1750 small businesses seek funding under the EIC SME Instrument

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The European Commission received 1752 proposals for the European Innovation Council pilot’s SME Instrument Phase 2 before the latest cut-off date on 9 January 2019. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 37 countries submitted proposals. Selected projects will be announced in early March 2019 at the latest.

In this phase of the SME Instrument, each project will receive up to €2.5 million to finance innovation activities like demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up. The companies will also benefit from 12 days of free business coaching and acceleration services.

The biggest number of proposals for this batch were submitted by Spanish applicants (266), followed closely by Italian (182) and Israeli applicants (136).

Since 2018, the SME Instrument is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. A novelty under the EIC pilot is that applications are fully bottom-up. Therefore as there are no longer set topics, proposals are classified according to keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were Health, ICT and engineering and technology.

In addition, applications are evaluated in two steps, a remote evaluation and a face-to-face interview with a Jury of business and innovation experts. These interviews will concern around 135 companies, approximately half of which will get the funding. The interviews will happen in Brussels during the week of 11-15 February 2019. For more information read the tips for applicants.

Results are expected to be announced in early March 2019 at the latest.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

START2ACT Energy Saving Challenge

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New year, new resolutions, even for your office! By entering the START2ACT Energy Saving Challenge, you could reduce energy use in your office by up to 20% by using the simple and low cost measures recommended by START2ACT.

Entering the challenge only takes a couple of minutes and could result in not only important energy savings, but several exclusive prizes.

How to enter?

Step 1: Take a photo or film a video clip of how your company saves energy

Step 2: Write a description of the action(s) – just a sentence or a short paragraph

Step 3: Email step 1 and step 2 to info@start2act.eu or send it to @START2ACT using #S2Achallenge on Twitter or Facebook

The competition is open now and will close on Friday 15 February 2019. The earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win through the monthly prize draw.

For more information about the challenge, read the original article here.

About START2ACT

START2ACT is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and aims to support young SMEs and startups to save energy and cut costs at their workplace. The objective is to provide young SMEs and startups with the tools and knowledge to become more energy efficient and cost effective through free mentoring programmes, online support and training activities across nine European countries.

For more information on START2ACT have a look at their website.

The European Gateway for Women’s Entrepreneurship – Share your opinion

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The European Gateway for Women’s Entrepreneurship (WEgate) is an e-platform launched by the European Commission to support the female entrepreneur community. This e-platform allows female entrepreneurs to connect online, support each other and learn from their collective experience.

Despite making up 52% of the total European population, women only account for 34.4% of self-employed citizens and 30% of start-up entrepreneurs in the EU. The European Commission recognises that these figures are low, and launched WEgate to facilitate much needed discussion, and to put tools at the disposal of female entrepreneurs. On WEgate female entrepreneurs, women considering entrepreneurship as a career and others working to support female entrepreneurship, are able to network, exchange information and become more visible. In addition to being a form of search engine for information and contacts, the platform also encourages publication of updates, company stories, events and news in English, German and French.

The platform will be undergoing some changes and modernisation, and the European Commission would like to know what WEgate users think. In order to participate and give your opinion, make sure to fill out the feedback survey available here.

SME Performance Review 2018

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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.

Barriers for SMEs on the Single Market

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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.

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