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YEC 2022 – You have more time than you thought!

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Want to know some good news? The deadline for submitting entries to the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2022 is being extended to October 7! To the early birds who already submitted their applications – thank you and good luck during the selection process! The new deadline extension will give you the time you need to submit a winning entry.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

Don’t delay! Register here, and get writing!

Why and how to submit your essay?

Well, this year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! 

Are you up to the challenge? To have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2022 in Prague this November, all you have to do is to submit a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the new deadline of 7 October 2022.

So what are you waiting for? Get thinking about the future skills needed by entrepreneurs; get writing; and get in with a chance to be the winner of this year’s competition. Submit your essay  here before it’s too late!

Advice from last year’s winner

According to last year’s winner Kristina Dimova, “The people, the ideas, the future are the main pillars of the competition” and she says this competition “was a way to figure out if I’m capable of showcasing complex ideas in a simple yet compelling way”. Kristina adds that “the only competition you have is yourself” and “be brave”.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA 2022 National winners – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

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We have already introduced you to the national winners in Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, Category 4 and Category 5 in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Now it is the turn of Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship. In total, five projects were selected to advance to the European stage of the competition in this category, where they join 423 other projects spread across the six categories of the awards, from which the EEPA 2022 European jury will decide on a final shortlist.

The Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship category aims to reward projects creating innovative approaches for the promotion of socially and environmentally responsible business. Previous projects in this category have encouraged disadvantaged groups to take part in entrepreneurship, or promoted corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises, for example. So, let’s take a look at this year’s Category 6 national winners.

  • Bulgaria: Academy for Local Entrepreneurs, from the Rinker Centre for Entrepreneurship and Training, part of the BCause Foundation, is a training programme for people with entrepreneurial ideas who want to start their own business in the tobacco producing regions of the country.
  • France: French Tech Tremplin, from French Tech, has the promotion of entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of its actions.
  • Ireland: co:worx project, from Edgeworthstown Enterprise Hub clg, is an excellent example of social innovators fostering economic growth and digital change in their community.
  • Poland: Business Mentoring Sessions, from Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, is a cooperation platform enabling workshops and mentoring between foreign students and entrepreneurs and business representatives to promote an entrepreneurial spirit among young people.
  • Spain: Innovatia 8.3, from Instituto de las Mujeres y Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, aims to promote equal participation of women in science and research and to introduce the gender perspective in knowledge transfer processes at institutions and research centres.

The projects selected by the Portuguese national coordinators will be announced at a later.

All EEPA national winners will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly in November, where the winners in each category will be announced. This year the event will be co-hosted by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. At the SME Assembly, the jury will also announce the winner of the Jury’s Grand Prize. The winner can be from any category and the prize goes to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

If you would like to find out more about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website. For the latest updates, visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal – we  will let you know soon who the winners in the other five categories are so make sure to check in regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: some advice from 2021 YEC winner Kristina Dimova

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The deadline for participating in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition is almost upon us. But don’t worry – you can still enter, so get writing and make sure to submit your entry by September 26. To inspire you, the YEC winners from 2018, 2019 and 2020 have already shared their top tips and today it is the turn of 2021 winner Kristina Dimova, who offers some advice below.

Kristina, who is from Bulgaria, won the 2021 YEC with an essay that highlighted that humanity is the key to sustainability, both when developing a business plan for a small and medium enterprise (SMEs) and when it comes to company management. Kristina has described her participation in the competition as “a moment of pure bliss!” Read on to see what advice she has to give to this year’s participants.

How would you approach this year’s theme?

Energy has proven to be a crucial topic not only for policies in the coming years but also for our everyday lives. I would definitely try to think outside the box as I did in my essay last year and, honestly, as every single winner did in the previous years. For sure, showing examples connected to the problem will help the overall density of the essay – no matter if they are about real start-ups, or if they are focused on an imaginary entrepreneurial solution to the energy problem. However, focusing on a particular storytelling arch will bring out the originality of the idea that the participant is trying to showcase. Therefore, for me, as a representative of Bulgaria – a country that is highly dependent on fossil fuels, I’d probably think how this topic is related to my personal story. I’d ask myself what is important for me as a young person and what are the crucial steps that we have to take for a more sustainable future. However, for sure, all these ideas should be presented with an authentic story. The more authentic, the better.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

The people, the ideas, the future. These are the main pillars of the competition for me. During the Assembly, I had the chance to meet phenomenal people from all over Europe. As I have stated before, a great story can be a real game changer. Each one of these people had a great story to tell and therefore they inspired me to change my personal story arch.

When in Portoroz, I saw once again that ideas are everything, but they can be nothing without execution. All of the people there had their own cause. When you see how all these ideas have developed, that truly motivates you, especially when you are young and you have yet to test your ideas.

When talking about testing, SME Assembly 2021 was all about the future and what we could do to make it better. Lean thinking was key for most of the entrepreneurs that took part in it, and testing and validating during the process was crucial for them. However, when we talk about the future, I must say that there is a special place for youth during the event.

A lot of policymakers and entrepreneurs not only listened to my presentation but also came and talked to me afterward about the ideas I spoke about. I gained more knowledge about entrepreneurship from the event, but not only that – because of my win I was also a speaker during the EU Industry Days 2022 conference. The best is yet to come because I’m about to take the lead position in 9Academy – a platform and business academy for professionals and entrepreneurs in Bulgaria. YEC 2021 was the push for me to see that entrepreneurship is the way for me, and I’m more than grateful for the whole experience.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

Be brave. This is the only advice I can give to the competitors. Yes, the topic is important and it can be difficult to write a compelling essay for it. Yes, you might ask yourself – why am I writing something so complex? Because the only competition you have is yourself.

This competition was a way to figure out if I’m capable of showcasing complex ideas in a simple yet compelling way. However, it turned out to be a milestone in my career. Before it, I thought I’m only good at certain skills. Now, after the Assembly, I know that I have a skill set that has been growing after participating in the competition. So, be brave. You have nothing to lose. In addition to the competition, you will for sure win a broader perspective on a topic that is so important that it means everything to our lives.

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA 2022 National Winners – Categories 4 & 5

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We have already introduced you to the national winners in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) that have made it to the next stage of the competition in EEPA Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3. Today, we are happy to announce the national winners in Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business and Category 5 – Supporting the Sustainable Transition. From 186 projects that entered the national competitions, 47 projects will now advance to the European stage of the competition, including 11 projects in Categories 4 and 5.

Having easy access to international markets can be a critical factor in the success of any start-up. With this in mind, EEPA Category 4 aims to reward projects that make it easier for enterprises, and particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to break into global markets, both inside the EU and further afield, to benefit from the internationalisation of their business. Meanwhile, Category 5 recognizes initiatives that promote a circular economy approach or that have specific environmental features such as encouraging the use of recycled materials or renewable energy.

Every year the EEPA national coordinators select the top national projects, from which the most innovative are chosen to continue to the next phase of the awards, during which the EEPA 2022 European jury will review the entries and decide on a final shortlist. The projects selected by the Portuguese national coordinators will be announced at a later stage, in the meantime, let’s take a look at the projects in Categories 4 and 5 that have been selected to advance to the next stage of the competition:

  • Denmark: Aarhus’ Green Investment Fund, from the City of Aarhus, aims to provide funding and support collaboration between businesses and public organizations, to create and test new green technologies and solutions.
  • Estonia: sTARTUp Day, from NGO STARTUPDAY, is the biggest and most startup-minded business festival in the Baltics. It provides an opportunity to learn from world-class performers, network, participate in quick business meetings, and find new partners, clients, investors or career opportunities.
  • Germany: ScaleUp4Sustainability (S4S), from the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, develops and tests cooperation programmes between students and companies for the development of sustainable green products and business models.
  • Greece: Energy Cooperative WEnCoop, from the Halkidiki Chamber, Greek Association of Women Entrepreneurs – SEGE, is the first energy community for women entrepreneurs and their businesses in Greece and Europe.
  • Italy: EU Eco-Tandem Programme, from X23 Srl, is supporting European tourism SMEs towards green transformation and sustainable transition through innovation.
  • Malta: A fair Green Deal for Maltese Businesses, from the Malta Chamber of SMEs, aims to deliver accessibility to the Green Deal to every business in Malta.
  • Netherlands: The WaterCampus Innovation Ecosystem, from WaterCampus Leeuwarden, accelerates business and innovation in water technology and creates social and economic impact.
  • Portugal: – To be announced at a later stage.
  • Slovakia: Zelené strechy pre odolnejšie Slovensko, from Asociácia pre zelené strechy a zelenú infraštruktúru, supports adaptation to climate change by promoting awareness, good practices and implementing green roofs.
  • Sweden: HealthTech Nordic 2.0, from Innovation Skåne, is a world leading community for healthtech startup companies, improving health and quality of life for patients, relatives, and professionals. HealthTech Nordic changes the way of providing and receiving healthcare.
  • Sweden: The Total Concept, from CIT Energy Management, helps building owners to understand the financial benefits and opportunities of energy retro-fitting, making it possible to advance much further with energy improvements.

All EEPA national winners will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly in November, where the winners in each category will be announced. This year the event will be co-hosted by the Czech Presidency of the Council and the European Commission. At the SME Assembly, the jury will also announce the winner of the Jury’s Grand Prize. The winner can be from any category and the prize goes to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

If you would like to find out more about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website. For the latest updates, visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal – we  will let you know soon who the winners in the other five categories are so make sure to check in regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: 2019 YEC winner Radu Dumitrescu has some advice

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As the September 26 deadline approaches for submitting an entry in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition, on the Promoting Enterprise portal we have been speaking to previous winners to see what advice they have for this year’s participants. We have already heard from 2018 winner Marija Borg. This time it is the turn of 2019 winner Radu Dumitrescu.

In 2019, the competition asked young people aged 18-25 to prepare a speech from the perspective of the new Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship addressed to Europe’s entrepreneurs. Radu impressed the jury with his entry Silicon Europe 2030, outlining proposed measures to support European SMEs. Radu has some top tips for this year’s entrants, so read on to see what he has to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

Energy has proven to be a crucial topic for policies in the coming years. Young European entrepreneurs and their peers are among the most aware of our fossil fuel dependency, not to mention its environmental and even political costs. They see it as a heavy iron ball connected to our feet by a chain that is proving hard to break. As citizens and entrepreneurs, I believe they’ve realized that we’ve been using fossil fuels from countries ruled by authoritarian governments for far too long now, propping them up with our money.

A more sustainable European economy not only means smog-free cities, healthier food, and better overall quality of life. It means a safer, more democratic, freer Europe. A greener EU, and not one that simply exports its pollution, could have rendered Putin powerless, starved of funds and unable to invade a peaceful neighbor like Ukraine, uprooting millions.

If I were a contestant approaching this year’s theme, I would try to move past too familiar, albeit essential, arguments for sustainability. I would instead argue that we have a moral duty, as young entrepreneurs, to spearhead a more sustainable European economy not only for generations to come, but also for the countless people who now live under the boot of resource-rich autocrats that we subsidise.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

I still remember my time at the SME Week Youth Essay Competition in Finland. Simultaneously nervous and excited, I took to the stage and shared my thoughts on what mattered for our shared European economies. What’s more, I was doing it in front of Europe’s star entrepreneurs, representatives of various businesses associations, not to mention European officials. It’s a unique position to be in, especially when you’re young, and if I had the chance to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Winning gave me the confidence to speak in public more, to put my ideas on paper. I went on to be awarded the Charlemagne Prize Fellowship for 2020/2021 with a project on the future of manufacturing in Europe. I am not an economist, nor did I have heaps of experience when it came to the field, but I was confident in my abilities to formulate an idea that had to be heard, just like I had in the YEC.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

I think this year’s competitors should be bold, as befits youngsters. They should be confident in their ideas, even if they’re not the most mainstream ones. I am absolutely sure that I don’t need to remind young European entrepreneurs that innovation can come from anywhere, including themselves. They should let their voices be heard, because their absence would only make our Europe poorer.

Tell us a bit about where you are now, what winning the competition meant for you, how it benefited you.

It’s never easy to get on a stage and speak, and in some sense, after getting on it in Helsinki, I never got off. Winning YEC in 2019 gave me the confidence to apply for the Charlemagne Prize Academy Fellowship, and then press on with my doctoral thesis on populism, which I am finishing this year. It is almost as if I proved to myself that I can do well when I speak and write back then, because I’m now doing both professionally, you could say. I became a journalist at Romania Insider, writing news pieces in English on business, politics, and social topics each day. I also started a small YouTube channel, with some success. I’ve also grown personally, developing my knowledge in business and economy, which seemed somewhat off-limits to me beforehand, as domains that were only to be approached by those wiser and older. Participating, not to mention winning, in the YEC made me into a more well rounded individual. I wish that for every participant.

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: some wise words from 2020 YEC winner Sabine Kerssens

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We have already had some top tips from the winners of the 2018 editions of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Today, 2020 YEC winner Sabine Kerssens shares her wisdom, enabling this year’s entrants to benefit from her experience. If you are considering entering this year’s competition, perhaps Sabine can give you some inspiration, but make sure to submit your entry by the deadline of September 26.

Sabine impressed the competition jury with her ideas about the importance of cross-border collaboration and how learning from different cultures makes innovation more inclusive. Below, she has some tips on how to approach this year’s challenge and gives some advice to participants. Read on to see what she has to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an immense challenge to achieve because the many stakeholders all have incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements. People adapt, our economy adapts, and innovative entrepreneurs are closest to the scene. When I wrote about innovations contributing to a sustainable energy future in the past, I had not anticipated the emergency we are in today.

However, our entrepreneurs are already out there and adapting. I hope future essay writers will write about that adaptability. This year’s theme has three key ingredients: European economies, high dependency, and fossil fuel energies. To steer away from an unsustainable economy, one of the three needs to change, or perhaps all three of them. So what is it that we can adapt? I would approach this year’s theme with my hopes for a fair economy, fair for us and for the planet. I would continue by thinking about what entrepreneurs could change to help achieve this. In addition, bonus question: What do these entrepreneurs need from policy makers to think, dream and build big?

Why should young people participate in this competition?

Dear future writers, you have a voice worth listening to. Please speak up! Sometimes the brightest ideas don’t make an impact simply because they are not heard by decision makers. You can imagine, that some ideas don’t leave their social bubble. Recently a campaign went viral, because “In the Netherlands, there are more CEOs called “Peter” than female CEOs”. Like this, the voices of Peters might seem louder than yours, even when they shouldn’t. What if this Peter hadn’t seen your latest TikTok on climate change? Can they really represent your community? Take this platform offered to you, to help spark innovative ideas today. I know it made a difference in how far my ideas traveled, I hope it will for you too (even if you’re called Peter).

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

Take your time. Read old essays, see what still sticks some days later. It might be their key message, the structure of their arguments, their tone of voice, or anything else. Practice what you think captures your idea best, and most of all: keep your audience in mind! Easy right? So just enter! We promise that we won’t grade you. You can’t fail this class. You can only learn from it. Cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Oh, and possibly you will win a great experience. Dream big!

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA 2022 National Winners – Improving the Business Environment and Supporting the Digital Transition

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We have already had a look at the shortlisted projects in Category 1 and Category 2 of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Today we introduce you to the EEPA national winners in Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment and Supporting the Digital Transition. From the total 176 projects that entered the national competitions, 48 have been selected to advance to European stage of the competition, including 10 projects in Category 3.

Category 3 looks to reward innovative projects and solutions that help create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. It also aims to recognize initiatives that support the digitalisation of the European economy. Previous initiatives in this category included projects that support enterprise start-up and growth, or that simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses, for example. Let’s see what this year’s shortlist looks like!

  • Austria: Sharpen! Performance, from the Styrian Business Promotion Agency (SFG), aims to activate the regional ecosystem to make Styrian companies fit for international competition in digitisation and internationalisation.
  • Denmark: SME:Digital, from the Danish Business Authority, helps SMEs take advantage of business opportunities in digitalisation, automation and e-commerce, offering online guidance, individual advice, investment support, and skills and leadership development.
  • Germany: Support for the City Centre, from WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH (WFB), is implementing a specially developed, strategic concept to attract new users and property owners to shape the transformation process of the inner city.
  • Ireland: Enfuse, from Dublin City Council, inspires and fuses local enterprises and MSc. students who directly collaborate, innovate, learn from each other, generating mutual benefits.
  • Lithuania: Sutelktinės paskolos “Avietė”, from UAB Investicijų ir verslo garantijos, Investicijų ir verslo garantijos, Ltd (INVEGA), is enabling SMEs to borrow faster for riskier business projects through crowdfunding platforms.
  • Montenegro: Cooperation for Development of Cross Border Business Environment Enhanced, from Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre Tehnopolis, aims to strengthen the infrastructure and capacity of organisations, to improve services and to support the development of the business environment in the cross-border area.
  • Netherlands: LifeSciences@Work Venture Challenge, from Health-Holland; Topsector LSH, helps life sciences researchers to make an impact by translating their research results into a solid business case that can form the basis for a biotech or medtech start-up.
  • Portugal: – To be announced in September.
  • Serbia: StarTech: Innovation aiming for Stars, from the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED), aims to accelerate the growth of Serbian businesses and foster the transformation from a traditional to a digital economy.
  • Ukraine: Ukrainian national project Diia.Business, from the state institution “Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office” (EEPO) is a large-scale national project for the development of entrepreneurship and exports, implemented together with the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

All the EEPA national winners will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly in November, where the winners in each category will be announced. This year the event will be co-hosted by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. At the SME Assembly, the jury will also announce the winner of the Jury’s Grand Prize. The winner can be from any category and the prize goes to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

If you would like to find out more about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website. For the latest updates, visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal – we  will let you know soon who the winners in the other five categories are so make sure to check in regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: some top tips from 2018 YEC winner Marija Borg

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As the 26 September deadline for this year’s European SME Week Youth Essay Competition approaches, we asked 2018 winner Marija Elena Borg to share her advice with this year’s cohort and to give them the opportunity to benefit from her experience. You can also read about Marija’s own experience of the YEC here.

Marija impressed the 2018 jury with her essay on the links between innovation and the holistic growth of organisations, and then went on to win the audience vote when she presented her essay at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria.

Since her participation in the competition, Marija has moved to Brussels, where she is serving as a technical attaché at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union. We asked her for some advice for this year’s competitors, read on to see what she had to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

This year’s theme enables participants to reflect on how a more sustainable economy can be achieved in practice. A substantial reduction in our dependency on fossil fuel energy is therefore a must. From my point of view, great importance should be given to two primary factors: (i) energy-saving initiatives and inventions; as well as (ii) alternative energy sources.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

Besides giving participants the chance to share innovative ideas with changemakers, this competition also provides short-listed candidates with the opportunity to network and explore ideas directly with the (500+!) attendees of the SME Assembly. This bodes well for young people with a keen interest in EU and global affairs.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

My advice is rather simple: Think of YEC as the perfect channel to pitch your best ideas to an EU-wide audience. It’s naturally crucial to stay on topic and write concisely – do not simply regurgitate the information you come across but give it a personal twist!

Where are you now? How did winning the Youth Essay Competition inspire and impact your life?

EU affairs have always been of interest to me, even before I took part in the YEC in 2018. Since winning the competition, however, I have been inspired to contribute more actively to the policy-making process, especially in my capacity of Manager at the Malta Business Bureau, i.e. the EU advisory office of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. Earlier this year, I was given the opportunity to relocate to Brussels and have now assumed the role of Technical Attaché (EU Funds and Programming) at Malta’s Permanent Representation to the EU.

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed!  All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in Prague in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA 2022 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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We have already introduced you to the national winners in Category 1 of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) that have made it to the next stage of the competition. Today it is the turn of Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills. In total, 48 projects from this year’s 176 participating projects have been selected to advance to the European stage of the competition, including seven projects in Category 2.

EEPA Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills. This year, the national winners come from seven different countries and they will be competing for a place on the final European shortlist, to be determined by the EEPA 2022 jury.

So, let’s take a look at the shortlisted projects in Category 2. As we already mentioned in our post on the Category 1 winners – the projects selected by the Portuguese national coordinators will be announced only in September.

  • Belgium: Love to be Free, from Unie van Zelfstandige Ondernemers (UNIZO), connects and represents freelancers in Belgium, offering various online and offline events.
  • Cyprus: Cyprus Seeds from CS Cyprus Seeds, provides financial, mentoring, and networking support to Cypriot academics in an effort to commercialise their research.
  • Hungary: Vallalkozzokosan.eu – online education platform, from Junior Achievement Hungary, provides online tutorials on economic, entrepreneurial and financial topics free of charge, especially for 12-25 year olds.
  • Italy: Bravo Innovation Hub, from Invitalia S.p.A., is a business accelerator for innovative companies that helps start-ups and new businesses to speed up market entry.
  • Slovakia: Inovácia Learn & Lead, from Learn & Lead Innovation, s. r. o., connects the world of education and entrepreneurship, generating interest in entrepreneurship and leadership among educators.
  • Slovenia: Mosaic of Entrepreneurship, from Katapult d.o.o., is a step-by-step entrepreneurial course on turning a business idea to a successful business, with seminars, workshops and an open knowledge base.
  • Turkey: Atolye Uskudar Programme, from Uskudar Municipality, is an Entrepreneurship/Innovation and Industry 4.0 ecosystem programme that serves as a FabLab to more than 250 entrepreneurs and scholars.

All the EEPA national winners will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly in November, where the winners in each category will be announced. This year the event will be co-hosted by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. At the SME Assembly, the jury will also announce the winner of the Jury’s Grand Prize. The winner can be from any category and the prize goes to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

If you would like to find out more about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website. For the latest updates, visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal – we  will let you know soon who the winners in the other five categories are so make sure to check in regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

Celebrate International Photography Day with a look back to SME Assembly 2021

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It is International Photography Day! As we are counting the days for SME Assembly 2022, we wanted to commemorate the memories from 2021.

What a year! Relive more precious moments here.

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