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Archive for ‘SME News and updates’

European Youth Media Days will celebrate the 10th anniversary

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Invest Week 2017

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What skills do youth need for the future? – Youth empowerment specialist, Daisy da Veiga

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With the recent launch of the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2017, Promoting Enterprise interviewed youth empowerment specialist and guest contributor Daisy da Veiga to ask about her opinion on what skills she believes youth need to develop for the future. She also shared with us her latest work with Youth not in employment, education or training (NEET), including a vlog from her latest trip to an exchange program in Lisbon  about NEET youth work across Europe.

What skills do you believe that youth need for the future?

There are a variety of skills that youth must develop, however I think that soft skills come first and foremost. Firstly, you need to be able to love yourself and have self-confidence, from there you can build on other useful skills. Through self-confidence you will develop another critical skill for success, persistence, it is important to not give up, even when it gets difficult. Working on yourself is important, but it is also necessary to develop your social skills. The ability to connect with people will not only allow for the forging of relationships, but also the opportunity to learn and exchange with others, which is how we grow.

Soft skills should also be complemented with ‘hard skills’ such as creativity and audacity. I believe that youth are very creative, but they don’t always know how to express that creativity. This links to another important skill which may sometimes be overlooked: the ability to ask for help. Learn from and exchange with others, and don’t be afraid to be audacious. Dare to do, speak and change, dare to leave your comfort zone! Whilst it is important to ask for help, I also want youth to remember their ability to listen to their inner voice and go with their gut feeling. We can be easily affected and distracted by all the things that go on around us and the people in our network, but sometimes you need to distance yourself from that and think and act with a clear mind.

Based on your experiences with youth, both within and outside of education systems, do you think that the current education systems need to change? Should their focus be realigned to help develop the skills you have mentioned?

I recently attended a conference on how to re-organise education in Rotterdam where the participants were talking about the intention of education and the systems we have built to deliver it. Personally, I believe that education should prioritise ‘soft skills’ more than it does at present, and then complement that with the current ‘hard skills’ it teaches i.e. maths, science, foreign languages etc.

The intention of education is to help youth find their way in society, and develop them firstly as individuals and secondly as professionals. However, it seems that we have forgotten the intention and are now stuck in a system. The system which was created to help realise the intention, has now become the intention, in short we have forgotten what the system was for.

On the subject of youth, what other work have you been involved in recently with European youth?

One of the European ventures I am currently involved in, is the international exchange of the project Boulevard of Dreams, by the foundation Manage Your Talent. The foundation is based in Rotterdam and I am one of the youth empowerment trainers. This European project has participants from across five countries including, The NetherlandsUnited KingdomSwedenRomania and Portugal. The aim of the project is to exchange ideas, methods and information about working with and for NEET youth, and to offer them the best tailored training possible.

Boulevard of Dreams has three phases in its youth empowerment initiative. The first is to empower the participating youth and give them the ability to find out who they are, identify their talents, discover their dreams and ultimately give them some direction. Once the participants have a clear idea of what they want, they can choose to progress to the second phase where they are paired with a peer educator or ‘buddy’ who is a professional in the field they aspire to join and between the ages of 25-35. Depending on the buddy and the dream in question, this stage involves different activities, but the minimum is that the buddy offers information and guidance from their experience. In the final stage, the participants are offered the opportunity to present their ideas in front of a jury and win financial support for their idea or for education if that is what they wish to pursue.

As part of this project I recently attended a conference in Lisbon on how to work with NEET youth, which included the sharing of experiences from fellow trainers across Europe. As I enjoy vlogging I have included my journey in Lisbon for you right here so that you can experience my journey with me. I hope you enjoy it!

European Satellite Navigation Competition kicks off in Brussels

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The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) was launched, along with the Copernicus Masters, the leading innovation platform for commercial Earth observation applications, at a joint international kick-off event hosted by the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU in Brussels, on 5 April 2017.

From now until June 30, ESNC will be searching for the most forward‐thinking applications based on satellite navigation. The winners, which will be announced at a ceremony as part of European Space Week in Tallinn, Estonia, in November, will share in this year’s prize pool of more than EUR 1 million and will benefit from the ESNC’s unparalleled support network, including the ESA Business Incubation Centres and the brand new E-GNSS Accelerator, co-funded by the European Commission.

Speaking at the kick-off ceremony, Andreas Veispak, Head of the European Commission’s Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth Unit, noted that the EU had invested a lot of money in satellites, and now stakeholders, including Member States, were looking for a return on this investment. “This can only be yielded through satellite applications that are of use to end users in the public and private sectors,” he said.

Return on investment

This is where the ESNC plays a key role. Since 2004, the Competition has been fast-tracking the most ground-breaking ideas for Galileo-related applications across Europe and beyond and transforming them into market-ready products and new ventures. Each year, the Competition helps promote over 400 business ideas and has already awarded prizes to more than 300 winners over the years, which represent just a fraction of the more than 3,700 innovative concepts submitted by over 11,000 participants.

                Also read: KYNEO project moves closer to commercialisation

This year is no different. With an impressive prize pool of over EUR 1 million, the Competition will give entrepreneurs and start-ups with services, products or business ideas that use satellite navigation in everyday life access to more than 160 space-related stakeholders and allow them to benefit from support from over 40 incubators and the expertise of more than 250 experts.

Copyright: ©GSA

GSA special prize

Within the ESNC, there is the GSA Special Prize for the most promising application idea for European GNSS. The European GNSS Agency (GSA) works with the European Commission on a range of activities aimed at helping European entrepreneurs and businesses – especially high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), business incubators, and related networks – take commercial advantage of European GNSS (EGNSS). This year the focus of the GSA prize is on connecting Europe.

                Watch this: Europe for space, space for Europe

Now that EGNOS is performing very well, Reinhard Blasi, Market Development Officer at the European GNSS Agency (GSA), noted at the ceremony, the focus is shifting from not only embracing EGNOS on a European level, but Galileo on a global level. “Since December 2016 we have been progressing from deployment to user service provision, which means that users can benefit from Galileo right now,” he said. “In light of the 60th anniversary of the EU, and a milestone year when Galileo starts to provide services with the Declaration of Initial Services, we have been thinking about how we can use satellite navigation to showcase how European GNSS helps connect European citizens.”

E-GNSS Accelerator

The ESNC is now additionally equipped with the brand new E-GNSS Accelerator. This programme is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups to accelerate their business case on a broad scale and bring their products and services to market. The E-GNSS Accelerator will run for three years and will directly support the winners of the ESNC 2017, 2018 and 2019. As a result, the participants will receive even more prizes, services and three further business incubations worth an additional EUR 500,000.

For more information on the ESNC, including all relevant information on prizes, partners, and terms of participation, visit the Competition’s official website: Information on the Copernicus Masters can  be found here:


Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link the article back to the GSA website (

EIT Health’s Product/Market Fit open to e-health companies looking to expand

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With a good idea, some investment and hard work, start-ups in the health and life sciences fields can get started in their local market. But if these firms are going to achieve meaningful growth, and if their innovations are going to benefit a wider audience, they will have to go abroad – which means understanding new regulations, a different culture and an unknown set of market realities.

This is where Product/Market Fit comes in. An EIT Health Accelerator programme, Product/Market Fit helps start-ups that have already established themselves in one market and are ready to expand beyond their borders. The support this programme offers has an estimated market value of EUR 25 000, but the opportunities it provides can be worth much more than that.

“Based on our experience in the Accelerator, grownup start-ups start needing support with going to other markets,” according to Katrien Van Gucht, a Co-Coordinator of the EIT Health Accelerator Strategy and  Digital Health Program Manager at EIT Health partner IMEC. “We wanted to get in that sweet spot, right when they are ready to expand,’ said Johnny Waterschoot, who project manages European open calls for IMEC. “We are looking for companies that are ready to go beyond their borders, but lack the necessary funding to do just that. This programme will help them decide what markets to address next.”

According to Van Gucht, companies that are mature enough to qualify for this programme have typically raised about EUR 500 000 in investment and generally consist of two or three people. She said the companies obtain great value from the market testing that the programme can do. “The trial and error ratio of going out and seeing for themselves if they can make it in another market, we reduce this a great deal for them. They will see if they still need some work before they start growing in that market. Or the outcome could be that this market is not for them.”

If the entrepreneurs have the passion and drive to expand, the Product/Market Fit programme can provide them with many of the other tools they need.

Interested in finding out how to apply? Read more about the process here.

For more information:

Digital innovation – The online safety tools of the future

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Digital innovation has led to several technological advances, born in the minds of innovative entrepreneurs who go on to bring their ideas to life. With an increasing number of us online, both socially and professionally, cybersecurity is an issue that affects us all, consumers and entrepreneurs alike. How can you protect yourself? What information do you need to safely reap the benefits of our digitally innovative world? Today, Promoting Enterprise looks into the development of fraud detection systems, accessible cybersecurity and remote incident response platforms.

The tendency for people to be creatures of habit is being put to good use in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to new identification software that uses typical login times and locations, keystroke dynamics and in-app behaviour to verify if someone is who they say they are. It’s one of a series of innovations being developed by European businesses keen to claim their share of a growing cybersecurity market. Analysts predict that global spending in cybersecurity will be well over EUR 100 billion a year by 2021, yet according to a 2016 report despite being the most trusted area globally when it comes to data security and privacy, the European industry is only growing 6% annually, compared to growth of 8 % for the market as a whole.

One of the aims of the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) – the association implementing a cybersecurity public-private partnership set up by the EU in 2016 – is to create connections between industry players, national public authorities and users of cybersecurity solutions to identify priorities and increase collaboration in research and innovation. That connection – particularly between providers and end-users – is crucial if Europe is to grow the industry and take its place in the market. European businesses such as Czech-based cybersecurity firm ThreatMark (advanced fraud-detection systems developer) and German cybersecurity company Applied Security (apsec), could benefit from this connection which could manifest as business-to-business platforms and direct interactions between SMEs and potential clients.

With the development of the cybersecurity industry, there are still three areas to be addressed:

  1. Cybersecurity tools need to be considered as integral parts of computer systems. EU funded projects like CyberWiz, where users set up a model IT network and carry out various kinds of simulated attacks, allow for system development whilst exposing weak points and giving an overview of the network security.
  2. Skilled technical experts are important for the overall success of the industry, but especially in the small- and medium-sized sector. According to chief executive of Secon Cyber Security UK Robert Gupta, ‘In general, there is a lack of the right skills and when you are recruiting, technical experts in cybersecurity are very hard to come by’.
  3. The costs of implementing cybersecurity. Between the costly search for experts, their employment and the implementation and upkeep of a security system, many smaller businesses simply cannot afford this integral part of their online presence. However, EU funded project ConnectProtect could be the answer; a remote incident-response platform helping small- and medium-sized businesses to combat attacks and security threats – at a more reasonable cost. Through such a system and economies of scale for cybersecurity software licences, the total cost of security could come down dramatically for small businesses – perhaps by as much as 75 % per member of staff.

For more information:

Digital innovation is a key theme for this year’s SME Assembly 2017 taking place in Estonia, so stay tuned for more digital innovation content right here on Promoting Enterprise.

If you liked this have a read of: 2017 and beyond: How digital innovation will impact the world

The JADE Spring Conference 2017 – Gathering the professionals of tomorrow

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The European Conference for Junior Entrepreneurs (The JADE Spring Conference) takes place on 02‐05 March 2017, in Brussels, and is the main international Junior Enterprise event in Europe, bringing together over 300 Junior Entrepreneurs from over 14 countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, the United States and Tunisia. This year, 2017, marks the 25th anniversary of JADE and the 50th of the Junior Enterprise concept. The conference theme is “Co-create the future. Celebrate the past, act today, shape our tomorrow”, and will focus on the power of youth assuming a leadership role in shaping the society of the future.

Andrey Novakov, youngest Member of the European Parliament, will launch the conference, followed by high level panels and keynote speaker Dr. Georg Tacke, CEO of Simon Kucher & Partners. During the conference, the Junior Entrepreneurs will have the chance to foster their skills development with dedicated workshops delivered by the event’s partners, experienced professionals and chosen multipliers of the JADE network. The Gala Dinner will close the event, during which the best Junior Enterprises in the network will be awarded with JADE Excellence Awards.

Interested in the work of JADE? Have a look at their website, and read through the 2016 JADE conference report, to get ready for this exciting event.



The European Confederation of Junior Enterprises – Inspiring the next generation of business leaders

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What does it take to be an entrepreneur? At what age and how do entrepreneurs develop? Where can we learn more about the inspirational entrepreneurs of the future? Today Promoting Enterprise has the honour to present the success stories booklet from JADE, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises, which aims to inspire the next generation of business leaders.

6“For JADE, entrepreneurship refers to an individual ability to turn ideas into actions. Entrepreneurial competences must therefore include transversal skills and attitudes, as well as more specialised knowledge and business skills. In a broad sense, entrepreneurship should be considered as a mind-set that supports everyone in daily life at home and in society. In order to inspire entrepreneurship, we have to look closer at role-models, and learn from them. This is what Success Stories is about and this is why we have interviewed 13 former Junior Entrepreneurs about their experience within the Junior Enterprise network and how it helped them to start their own business or develop their entrepreneurial path.

1Our mission here at JADE, is to encourage entrepreneurship in Europe by fostering a unique concept: the Junior Enterprise, a non-profit civil social organisation, formed and managed exclusively by undergraduate and postgraduate students of higher education. They provide services for companies, institutions and society, under the guidance of teachers and professionals with the goal of consolidating and enhancing the learning of their members. Junior Enterprises are similar to real companies, with components such as corporate governance (e.g. management council and executive board), and self-regulation.

10By integrating a network of 280 Junior Enterprises in 14 European countries and supporting the growth of its 22,000 members, JADE is one of the most powerful European youth organisations that fights skills mismatch and creates great potential for a more entrepreneurial society and active citizenship. Outside Europe, Junior Enterprises are present in around 40 countries, with over 40,000 Junior Entrepreneurs across the world.

Interested in what we do? Dive in, and meet former junior entrepreneurs that turned what they learnt in their Junior Enterprise into a successful career!”

For more information:

European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017…are you ready?

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Now that 2017 is here it is time to start looking ahead to the 2017 edition of EEPA which launches in February! But first let us look back at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) from 2016…

In our next few posts we will be meeting EEPA 2016 winners and getting their take on what makes a winning project and their journey to becoming category and overall winners. This is chance to have a look at what makes a winning project and start getting your entries ready for submission in national competitions. Interested in applying? Don’t know where to start? On the blog we will be sharing key information about the process and giving you an insider’s look at what last year’s winners did to be selected as the most deserving projects in Europe.

Think you are up to the challenge? Well consider applying! Read the 2016 participation criteria here and keep following the blog for new information.

Can’t wait for the testimonials? Have a look at the EEPA 2016 compendium for an overview of all national candidates and their projects! EEPA 2016 winners videos are also available if you want to relive all the excitement from the SME Assembly 2016.

Be sure to follow all of our upcoming posts and we hope to see many applications this year.sme_instagram_05_01_2017

SME Assembly 2016 – Day 1

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What a great start! The SME Assembly 2016 is now well under way after kicking off yesterday on Wednesday 23 November in Bratislava, Slovakia. The day was full of events including business tours, the SME Week Reception and the Schumpeter Lecture to name a few. Missed out or couldn’t attend all sessions? Don’t worry here is a quick round up of yesterday’s highlights.

30396367203_4bccaec88b_zIt all started bright and early with the first business tour of the day to go and see none other than Slovakia’s flying car! Yes you read that correctly, the entrepreneurs behind this automotive innovation showed delegates the product of their efforts, a flying car that makes use of existing aviation and automobile infrastructure to offer a future with the possibility of real door-to-door travel. The second business tour took delegates to GA drilling. This innovative SME in the drilling sector is working towards revolutionising current drilling technology to allow for cheaper and more efficient drilling, with the idea of providing affordable and sustainable geothermal power to all. Delegates were treated to a very interactive demonstration of the unique plasmabit technology that is currently under development.

30396363193_7fbaf6809e_zThere was little time to rest as the next events got underway, with the SME Week Reception starting first in the Old Market Hall where the guests were welcomed by State Secretary  of the Slovak Republic Rastislav Chovanec. The reception was full of fun as national winners, exhibitioners and other attendees had the chance to meet, network and socialise. The Committee of the Regions introduced the 2018 EER Awards, and a regional polish project, Selvita (a drug research company) was also given the floor. Along with all these introductions, guests were treated to a taster of what is to come in the following days of the SME Assembly.

30397309743_ef1f04c0a9_zTo finish off an amazing first day with the presence of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowská over dinner at the Restauracia Hrad, a small group of delegates was invited to the Schumpeter Lecture. Special guest speaker Philippe Aghion from Harvard University delivered a captivating lecture. Professor Aghion addressed the trials of promoting innovation in Europe and the need for Europe to adapt and reform, saying that ‘If we want to revive the idea of Europe, we have to deliver abroad’, when speaking of Europe’s performance on the global market.

To see photos from the first day, visit our Flickr. It was an eventful day to say the least and with so much going on it was great to see everybody active on Twitter helping to promote #SMEassembly2016! So stay tuned, follow live Twitter updates if you just can’t get enough (@EEPA_EU) and bring on Day 2…

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    • JADE Spring Conference 2018 March 8, 2018
      The JADE Spring Conference, the main international Junior Enterprise event in Europe, will take place between March 8th and the 11th, in Brussels. This year’s edition will gather over 400 Junior Entrepreneurs – university students – from more than 14 countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, the United States and Tunisia. After celebrating the […]
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      In celebration of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) returning for another edition in 2018, Promoting Enterprise is bringing you a series of testimonials from the EEPA 2017 winners. Today’s winner – Internationalisation 2015-2020 from ecoplus International, shares with us their story of how they became the 2017 winners in the category ‘Supporting the Internationalisation […]
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