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It’s that time of year again – Youth Essay Competition (YEC) 2022 is launching soon!

The launch of the seventh edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is imminent. Work is continuing on the concept for this year’s competition and we will make an announcement soon – so make sure to check the Prompting Enterprise portal regularly for details. In the meantime, read on to learn about the competition and be inspired by previous winners.

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Organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, the YEC is an opportunity for 18-25-year-olds to share their ideas and viewpoints with key figures and stakeholders in the spheres of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs. More generally, the goal of the competition is to raise the profile of entrepreneurship as an attractive career choice for young Europeans. European young people have been enthusiastic in their engagement with the competition, so let’s hear from some of them.

Kristina Dimova [2] from Bulgaria won the 2021 edition of YEC with an essay that highlighted that humanity is the key to sustainability, both when developing a business plan for a small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and when it comes to company management. We asked Kristina what it was like to be announced the winner of last year’s competition. Her response? “A moment of pure bliss!”

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

Kristina was declared the YEC winner at the 2021 SME Week Assembly, which was held in the beautiful city of Portorož in Slovenia. Her main takeaway from the Assembly was that time is limited and that we should spend our time in a worthwhile way, making the most of life for ourselves, other people, and the world in which we live. “Every single business idea must be sustainable both for the environment and for society’s needs. In a world where people are more divided than ever on so many topics, we need to find the way to the right solutions for each of us. The SME Assembly 2021 showed me that with the right steps, finding the path towards re-establishing unity is possible,” she said.

You can read Kristina’s essay here [4]. In her acceptance speech, Kristina said that she had been inspired to participate by the previous year’s winner – Sabine Kerssens [5]. Sabine impressed the jury with her ideas about the importance of cross-border collaboration and how learning from different cultures made innovation more inclusive. Sabine won the live vote at the SME Assembly after presenting her ideas.

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2020 SME Week YEC winner Sabine Kerssens

Sabine was very positive about her SME Assembly experience. “Through the Youth Essay Competition, the finalists shared the stage with some of the most fascinating speakers within and beyond the European Union. It was inspiring and uplifting to learn from the engaging sessions.” She had some words of advice for potential participants: “To all the young change makers out there: participate in events like this to make sure that you give yourself the chance to find your strengths and make your voice heard in different ways. You can do it!” You can read Sabine’s essay here [7].

In addition to the winners, finalists from previous years have also shared their experience of the competition with us. Victoria Krah was a finalist in 2021 and, in this interview [8], she talks about what motivated her to enter the competition and about her plans for the future. You can read Victoria’s essay here [9]. Likewise, Pablo Pastor Vidal [10] was a finalist in 2020, having impressed the jury with his ideas on sustainability and resilience. You can read Pablo’s essay here [11].

In 2022, it could be you receiving the Youth Essay Competition prize! We will be announcing the competition details soon, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal [12] regularly and to follow us on Twitter [13], Facebook [14] and Instagram [15] accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter [16].