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The SME Assembly 2017 – eMagazine

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The SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, focused on starting, scaling and spreading your wings, and provided a platform for discussion, networking and knowledge sharing. The outcomes of this European flagship event are now available for you to read, and look at in graphic representations, in the eMagazine on the newly updated SME Assembly 2018 webpage.

In the magazine you will find summaries of the daily activities as well as the key messages from the various sessions, speakers and masterclasses. In addition to the key takeaways for 2017, you will also find a selection of images taken during the event, all of which are available on the Promoting Enterprise Flickr. The magazine also highlights and displays visual documentation from the CoCreative Flow team who captured everything in realtime on site.

Be sure to read through to learn about everything that happened in Tallinn and don’t forget to check the updated SME Assembly webpage for the latest news on the upcoming SME Assembly 2018 in Graz.

 

SME Assembly 2017 – Delegate Feedback

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Welcome back! We hope you have all had a lovely holiday season and are ready to start the new year with us right here on the Portal. To start 2018, we decided to bring you the results of the SME Assembly 2017 delegate survey and find out what everyone really thought about their experience in Tallinn last November. Firstly the overwhelming feedback indicated that the SME Assembly was worth attending (94% of delegates agreed) and 97% of delegates said they would be participating next year, so we hope to be seeing some familiar faces in Graz this year!

Overall feedback

Attendees really enjoyed both the networking and learning opportunities, sighting the chance to meet experts, the quality of the speakers, interaction between different actors and stakeholders and the gained insights into new projects, as positive aspects of the location. Whilst we are interested in what was good, the Promoting Enterprise team are always looking for ways to improve so as to continue delivering high quality SME Assemblies. The two main improvements on which delegates commented were: the need for more networking time (both pre-arranged and facilitated) as well as increased opportunities for audience discussion within the sessions.

Sessions and content

This year the SME Assembly continued to offer a variety of plenary and policy sessions as well as specialised masterclasses and the entrepreneur expo. In terms of relevance and usefulness, the top plenary sessions were Ideas from Europe and E-Estonia, with over 50% of delegates indicating these sessions as ‘extremely useful’. The top two policy sessions, which received 53% and 51% ‘extremely useful’ ratings, were Single Market: New Barriers? and E-commerce. The top masterclasses, which were more niche and specialised in nature also received high ratings with 86% delegates saying ‘Ideas from Europe: 2 years on’ was either relevant and useful or extremely relevant and useful, closing followed by ‘An Hour of Code’, which was also rated relevant and useful or extremely relevant and useful by 85% of delegates.

Now that 2017 is behind us the preparations for this year’s SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria are getting underway. Thank you to all the delegates who took the time to fill out the survey, your feedback is very important to us and helps to continually improve the SME Assembly!

So what is in store for this year? Follow the News Portal for the latest updates about everything to come and join us on the journey to the SME Assembly 2018…

The EIPP – Providing connection opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs

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The European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is a virtual meeting place for project promoters and investors. This year the Portal was present at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, and came to life in the first ever EIPP matchmaking session during which investors, entrepreneurs and project promoters were able to meet in person and discuss future partnerships and investment opportunities.

But what did the participants think? Check out the videos below to see what everyone thought and be sure to go through the photo albums on Flickr to see, as Vice President Jyrki Katanien once put it, ‘the tinder of investment’ in action!

Ichó, Steffen Preuss, DE

Slow Mills, Erwin Meijboom, NL

Virtual Medicine, Tomáš Brngál, SK

EIPP Session highlights

Lights, camera, action…Conclusions from the 2017 SME Assembly

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CoCreativeFlow.com, Sabine Soeder and Johanna Ballmann

The 2017 SME Assembly has come and gone, but it certainly has not left us indifferent. It has been clear from this year’s edition that the focus has been much more on action and on the implementation of the SME-related policies developed in previous years. But what results are these policies producing? Here are some of the main conclusions from the event:

  • Let’s aim to solve problems rather than buy products in public procurement: different stakeholders worked together to generate innovative ideas responding to a real-life policy challenges at the Policy Hack It is a common practice in the EU that governments tend to buy highly specified products rather than solutions to their problems. This needs to change towards more participatory, solution-oriented approach, adding a new perspective to the public procurement process.
  • Public procurement is a key opportunity for SMEs: EUR 2 trillion is spent annually in the EU on public procurement. The EU Public Procurement Package of Measures is a step in the right direction, however, more work needs to be done in certain sectors to improve access to information, guarantee more transparency and use better fitting selection criteria.
  • A positive outlook for European SMEs in most countries: both the number of SMEs and their added value above the 2008 levels (pre-crisis) levels, though there is a clear north-south division with southern countries still struggling. Steady growth is expected for 2017 and 2018 according to the SME Performance Review 2016/2017, where a focus on self-employment will become ever-increasingly important.
  • Some tangible results of EC actions, but still a way to go: the Small Business Act has already generated tangible results. However, more has to be done in crucial areas for the future of SMEs, such as innovation.
  • Greater visibility of European investment opportunities: the EC is carrying out a number of actions to increase the visibility of investment projects with a focus on SMEs. Examples include the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) and the European Investment Fund. However, whether these initiatives will meet the real finance needs of European SMEs still remains to be seen. Decreasing a minimal ticket to 1 mln EUR is a move in the right direction, however, understanding how venture funds approach deals would be welcomed.
  • Access to finance is still one of the highlighted issues for SMEs in Europe: a fragmented legal and tax system in Europe are the main barriers to access finance. The development of regional co-investment funds, harmonisation of the regional cooperative framework and mutual recognition of existing fiscal incentives for business angels are some of the potential solutions to overcome these barriers.
  • Preparation for the future: SMEs have to prepare themselves for the market conditions of the future. 21st century enterprises should be experience-focused, outcome-based, agile & lean, service-oriented and ecosystem-driven.
  • Evidence of successful on the ground initiatives: such as the eResidency Programme in Estonia allowed entrepreneurs outside of the EU to start a business no matter where they reside.

The event may be over, but the online discussion continues here.

Written by Jon Switters and Katarzyna Jakimowicz

Schumpeter lecture 2017 – Professor Jan Fagerberg

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The Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise lecture is one of the highlights of the SME Assembly and is given by a different guest lecturer each year. This year Professor Jan Fagerberg, from the University of Oslo gave a lecture on the current status of European innovation and how this is closely related to the issues of economic transformation and climate change.

CoCreativeFlow.com, Sabine Soeder

According to Professor Fagerberg, Europe is stuck in a partially self-inflicted stagnation and needs to transform accordingly. The European stagnation can be explained by globalisation, and the differing responses of European states, leading to a lack of homogeneity. The Euro in particular, meant that there was no specific need for policy coordination, which led to increased unemployment and different austerity policies. These outcomes mean that something must change, in order to rise out of stagnation, the economy must radically transform.

The need to transform the economy is particularly linked to climate change. European emissions are still at high levels, and must decline much faster than their current rates. This is where the link to renewable technology becomes relevant, both environmentally and economically speaking. Not only is it the answer to cutting down on emissions but due to: rapidly declining costs, unlimited availability, broad applicability and pervasive effects, it could arguably transform the current economy into a more sustainable model.

As both challenges are heavily influenced by each other, they require a coordinated policy response which should specifically have innovation policy at its heart. This entails innovation policy working across fields to promote, explore and provide opportunities in fields related to renewables. Through ICT and renewable technology there is a chance to not only transform the economy, but do so without causing further harm to the climate and possibly even remedy the current effects.

For photos from the lecture, please see the Flickr album.

For more information on his work and publications, please visit his website.

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 3

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The SME Assembly 2017 has drawn to a close after three action packed days of networking, policy sessions, masterclasses, tours and awards. As always, the SME Assembly brought together people from across the world all striving towards creating a European environment in which SMEs can thrive and grow.

The day began bright and early with the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) breakfast, which was followed by an engaging policy session featuring an address from European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katanien, a speech from Director of DG Growth Kristin Schreiber, and an in depth look at the EIPP presented by a member of Vice President Katanien’s cabinet, Florentine Hopmeier. The dedicated EIPP policy session was then followed by the first ever live EIPP matchmaking event which simulated the work of the portal in real life. This was the first event of its kind allowing investors and entrepreneurs to meet face to face and make valuable connections for the future.

In parallel to the EIPP sessions, the 21st Century Enterprise segment of the Assembly featured different speakers discussing pertinent topics such as female entrepreneurship and the need to adapt the education system to modern work trends and society. There was also lively discussion on the role of youth in the workforce and their different attitudes in comparison to older generations. Speakers agreed with each other in that these differences should be celebrated and utilised rather than used to divide, and spoke of the need to integrate the different generations that make up the present workforce.

On the subject of youth, the session was lucky enough to have three young panellists representing that very demographic on stage. These panellists were of course the three finalists of the highly contested Youth Essay Competition which this year focused on the skills that future entrepreneurs need. All three finalists took to the stage to make spirited speeches and covered topics such as: cultural fusion being the backbone of brilliant ideas, the necessity for soft skills and the need for patience on the way to success. After the audience vote Oksana Vedimdska was announced as the deserving winner of this year’s competition, congratulations Oksana! We will be bringing you more information on Oksana and the other two finalists right here on the Portal in the form of exclusive interviews, so be sure to keep following us weekly!

The Assembly continued on with the final policy sessions and masterclasses, on interesting topics such as Digitalisation for SMEs from the Watify project, a look at the Ideas from Europe alumni, the role of Ecommerce for SMEs and the hot topic of the Single Market and whether it poses new barriers.

It was then time for the Assembly to come to an end, and for host country Estonia to pass the torch to next year’s hosts…Austria! The SME Assembly 2017 may be over, but the connections made and the ideas shared will continue to inform our European SME discussions. We hope that you enjoyed this year’s SME Assembly as much as we did, and perhaps we will see you all again next year in Graz…

Access all the photos here.

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 2

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Day 1 was exciting, and Day 2 certainly did not disappoint! The first full day of sessions and masterclasses was opened with keynote speeches from Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Urve Palo, Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, followed by insightful questions from the session chair Mari Vavulski, head of Startup Estonia.

The opening was finalised with the highly anticipated results of the Ideas from Europe semi-finals were announced. So many good ideas meant the Jury had a tough decision to make, but the following finalists were selected: Julien Penders of Bloomlife (Belgium), Klaus B. Pederson of Too Good to Go (Denmark), Steffen Preuss of Ichò (Germany), Fiona Edwards Murphy of ApisProtect (Ireland), Aida Nazarikhorram of LuxAI (Luxembourg), Mark Offerhaus of Micreos (The Netherlands), Artur Racicki of SEEDia (Poland), Francisco Duarte of PavNext (Portugal), Mervi Pänkäläinen of Mightifier (Finland). Another project received a special mention from the Jury, Refugee{code} and as such will also be going to the finals in the Hague.

One place has yet to be filled, and is now down to a public vote which opened online during the announcement. Voting will be open until early 2018 and will decide which of the remaining 19 semi-finalists will take the final spot at The Knights Hall in The Hague in the Netherlands!

With an exicting kick-off the day continued with several policy sessions and masterclasses, ranging from a focus on invest and finance, to teaching practical skills like basic coding and the basics of cybersecurity for SMEs. There was also the annual SME Performance Review, presented by Costas Andropoulos from the European Commission. Have a look at the Live Tweet feed for the highlights of each session.

The night kicked off with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony, where all national winners received a certificate from SME Envoy Viljar Lubi up on stage. The host, Andres Torm, then went on to present the shortlist and invite several distinguished presenters to award each prize. For more details on the EEPA winners have a look at the EEPA winners post, and be sure to read the 2017 compendium to learn more in depth about each of the awarded projects.The night was far from over at the end of the ceremony and continued on as Kultuurikatel transformed for the EEParty where winners, delegates and attendees had a chance to continue networking and enjoy what the DJ had to offer.

Hopefully you are not too tired from yesterday’s sessions, and see you around for Day 3…

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 1

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What an opening! Yesterday on 22 November 2017, the SME Assembly 2017 officially opened and the long awaited programme of events finally got under way.

Three Estonian enterprises opened their doors to delegates to show us all what goes on behind the scenes of some of Estonia’s top innovators. From finding out what goes into the making and running of a digital state with the E-Estonia showroom, learning what goes into Estonian defence with top supplier and manufacturer Milrem, to learning about super capacitors with ‘Estonia’s oldest startup’ Skeleton Technologies, this year’s business tours were certainly diverse and showed us the entrepreneurial, innovative and e-spirit of Estonia.

The day continued with the long anticipated Ideas from Europe semi-finals, during which all 28 candidates made their three minute pitches in front of a live audience and a high level jury. The jury, made up of Kristin Schreiber of the European Commission, Kaupo Reede from the Estonian Presidency, Ulrike Rabmer Koller President of UEAPME, and Cees Vermaas CEO of CME Europe, asked tough questions and challenged the candidates to defend their solutions on stage. Both the Jury and the audience voted on who should go through to the finals in the Hague next year…be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter to find out who they picked!

Ideas from Europe was swiftly followed by two more high level events to round off the evening, the SME Week Reception at the stunning Seaplane Harbour Museum, and the Schumpeter Lecture given by Jan Fagerberg at the beautiful Kadriorg Art Museum.

The Reception included opening remarks from Costas Andropoulos of the European Commission, some SME insights from Kaupo Reed of the Estonian Presidency, and a showcase of Estonian culture, traditional folk dancing, music and a performance from Veronika’s Portsmuth Academy Concert Choir and Uppsar dance show. The Schumpeter Lecture allowed Professor Jan Fagerberg to share his insights on the evolution of innovation policy and what it means for Europe’s future, which was complemented by speeches from SME Envoy Viljar Lubi, European Commissioner Bienkowska and Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

Day 1 certainly had a lot to offer, but this was only the beginning of this year’s SME Assembly activities. What is in store for today? Follow us on Twitter for live coverage, and for those of you that are here…see you in Kultuurikatel!

Less than a week to go…SME Assembly 2017

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Less than a week to go until the start of the SME Assembly 2017! We’ve been telling you to get ready, shown you the programme, introduced the venue and given a few sneak peeks at what to expect from the assembly…so what is left?

Today we share with you the final programme and a quick re-cap of everything to have a look at and look forward to next week in Tallinn. Be sure to check out the latest version of the programme here for a look at the policy sessions, masterclasses, presentations and much more.

One of the big events at the SME Assembly 2017 will be the final European Enterprise Awards (EEPA) Ceremony where the European winners across all the different categories will be announced. All of the national winners as well as the EEPA shortlist have been introduced here on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, but don’t worry if you can not remember who is competing, have a look right here.

Interested in who judged all of these entries and selected the Grand Jury Prize winner? Re-meet the EEPA 2017 Jury here.

Another exciting part of the SME Assembly 2017 will be the live finals of the Youth Essay Competition, during which the top three entrants, Evlampia Karavangeli, Oksana Vedmidska and Pavle Kostic will be presenting their ideas to the Assembly delegates. We wish them the best of luck with their final preparations before next week!

Not one but two live finals! The SME Assembly 2017 will also play host to the semi-finals for the latest Ideas from Europe search, which will result in a live announcement of the Ideas from Europe finalists on the final day of the Assembly.

Be sure to follow us on all our social media platforms to get live coverage from the event including exclusive quotes, pictures and other exciting updates!

Twitter: @EEPA_EU @EuropeanSMEWeek

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

European ideas that will change the world

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On November 22, entrepreneurs from all around Europe will present their ideas to change the world for the better. 28 innovators from across the European member states will compete in the semi-finals of ‘Ideas from Europe’ in Tallinn and share their solutions to global challenges.

From tackling food waste, using innovative technology to diagnose health problems, cures for the common cold and antibiotic resistance, smart uses of renewable energy, diminishing CO2 emissions, programs for children with Autism, anti-bullying initiatives and refugee support systems – and more; these entrepreneurs have come up with innovative solutions to pertinent global challenges. This competition puts a spotlight both on the entrepreneurs and their ideas to help them grow their business and make an even bigger impact.

What is the next step?

The Ideas from Europe journey is ready for its next phase, the semi-finals, which will be held in Tallinn, Estonia during the SME Assembly 2017. Each European member state will be sending an innovative entrepreneur with a ground breaking business idea as their representative. The 28 innovators will deliver a three minute pitch in front of a renowned jury to compete for ten places in the finals. The jury, as well as the audience, will choose nine ideas to be showcased during the finals in The Hague in April 2018.  The choice of the tenth finalist is down to you, all Europeans – you can all vote, online for the tenth solution that you want to see in the Hague.

Program

The semi-finals of Ideas from Europe in Tallinn will start on November 22 at 16.00 UTC (GMT+2). The whole program will be broadcasted via a live stream. On November 23, at 09.00 UTC, the nine best ideas will be announced and the online public voting will open! The live stream can be viewed via ideasfrom.eu. 

Speakers

Do you want to know more about the entrepreneurs and their ideas? Have a look at the list of all 28 semi-finalists below, or visit www.ideasfrom.eu, to get familiar with their pitches and know for whom you wish to vote.  Public voting for the tenth finalist will be open from November 23 until mid-January 2018, on www.ideasfrom.eu.

Press release

Please download the Press Release Ideas from Europe 2017.

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