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Naples hosts the 2014 SME Assembly

Naples, Italy, hosts the 2014 SME Assembly [1]

Naples, Italy, hosts the 2014 SME Assembly

Preparations are being finalised for the the 2014 SME Assembly [2], taking place in Naples, Italy from 1-3 October, during European SME Week [3] are very much underway. The theme of the 2014 conference will be “Growth Through Enterprise: The Opportunities Ahead”.

In 2014, there will be two new sessions:

Entrepreneurship Forum

Whether it is funding for research and innovation, support in accessing new markets, or exchanges for new entrepreneurs, the European Commission runs a variety of programmes to help SMEs set up, grow and take on new people. This session will tell the story of how EC programmes have helped European SMEs to grow into world class businesses, have encouraged would be entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, and have empowered women in the workplace. The audience will hear testimonials from entrepreneurs and managers of successful SMEs and startups and will be able to quiz them on the realities of building an enterprise in the 21st century.

The Pitch

Ever wanted to be an angel investor? This is a chance for the audience to become investors for the day and for local entrepreneurs to rehearse their pitch to investors. Just as in the real world, teams of start up entrepreneurs will present the case for financial investment in their idea.  They will be quizzed by experienced serial entrepreneurs and then the audience will vote on which team they think would be worth funding.

Policy sessions and The Big Debate

There will also be a range of policy sessions based on topics such as “Access to Finance” with Ilja Laura, founder of GetJar. The “Entrepreneurship Forum” will feature live and recorded interviews with European entrepreneurs and managers of successful SMEs and startups along with testimonials from entrepreneurs that have benefitted from EU enterprise support programmes.

Throughout the SME Assembly, there will also be the annual exhibition “The Entrepreneur Expo,” which is a key focus for SME Week. Entrepreneurs from across Europe will gather to showcase their latest innovations.

One of the major sessions will be the Big Debate which is centred on the motion “Thanks to digital technology, everyone can become a successful entrepreneur.” Participants include Mike Sikorski, CEO of huggity and it promises to be a lively debate.