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YEC 2020 – Catching up with 2019 winner Radu Dumitrescu

Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with last year’s Youth Essay Competition winner, Radu Dumitrescu. Since winning last year’s competition with his speech on the paradox of the European Union, as both a daring project but constricted by regulation and jurisdiction, he has been working on his doctorate degree, working for his university’s academic journal and working on some other very exciting projects.

What have you been doing since winning the Youth Essay Competition?

Since I won the Youth Essay Competition in Helsinki in November, I’ve continued to work in two domains close to my heart – civil society and academia. I’ve taken up a role as Editorial Assistant for my university’s academic journal, Studia Politica, and I’ve kept up my job of monitoring the statements of Romanian politicians, and fact-checking them together with my colleagues at Funky Citizens. Right now Romania is struggling to cope with the COVID-19 crisis while also heading into local elections, followed by parliamentary elections, so it’s an active time for NGOs that work in the field of politics.

What was the best part about entering the Youth Essay Competition?

I’m not usually the heart of any social event and I can’t say that travelling is my passion – I know, sounds like blasphemy from the part of a European in his 20s. However, the best part about entering the competition was that I got to meet so many wonderful people and to travel to a country like Finland, taking in another magical part of Europe. The weather might have been cold, but the warmth that I received from the team of organisers, from my fellow contestants, and from everyone that I met during the SME Week. It was truly a heart-warming experience. 

What did you learn from the Youth Essay competition experience?

Probably the main takeaway from my experience as a participant in the competition was that I have the ability to make my voice heard. It’s really no small thing to step outside one’s comfort zone and say something, write something, stand for something or to express an opinion, especially when the subject is one that affects so many people, such as markets and entrepreneurship in Europe. My essay did not have a grand, revolutionary idea and it didn’t propose major changes. Instead, I wrote about the gratitude that we all owe to Europe’s small business owners and how we should help them not only survive, but thrive. I had many doubts after I submitted my essay and you can feel really small before you take that first step, but after that it gets easier. You learn a lot about yourself when you step on a stage in front of a crowd.

Last time we spoke you told us about your doctoral degree at the University of Bucharest, how is it going?

Writing my doctoral dissertation has been like trying to find my way from point A to point B in a giant metropolis by relying on maps written by others and by asking around a lot, and then towards the end it seems that no one knows what the right path is. I should say that I’m studying the discourse of populist politicians in the United States and Europe and how they interact. No doctoral student will say that pursuing their degree is easy, but I still get excited like a child when I discover something. I can’t wait to have something new to say, to break theoretical ground in one direction and be able to explain a fraction of contemporary European politics.

Do you have any other exciting projects that you would like to share?

Stuck in the house, I’ve been reading and writing a lot. I had amassed quite a lot of books that I intended to read prior to this period, so I’ve taken my time with them in quarantine, reviewing many of them on my IG page. When it comes to writing, it is my doctoral dissertation that takes up most of my time, of course. Right now I’m looking at how the discursive practices of British politicians led to them influencing one another, particularly focusing on the figure of Nigel Farage.

My other project is where I am having more fun, however. Simply put, I’m trying to write a book about one of my Erasmus+ experiences, what I learned, what I felt and how it changed my world. A book for young Europeans, encouraging them to participate in Erasmus projects. Writing a book is a dream of mine and hopefully one day I’ll see my name in a library somewhere.

Congratulations Radu on everything you have achieved so far and good luck with your dissertation and book!

Could you be like Radu? Could you win the next Youth Essay Competition? Don’t forget to apply for this year’s competition and stay tuned to the News Portal for some tips and tricks from Radu on how to write a winning entry…

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EEPA 2020 National Winners – Supporting the internationalisation of business

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) reward projects from across participating countries that work to promote entrepreneurship and small business at a national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives. The EEPA have now moved to the European level of the competition and the national winners from each participating country have been selected by their National Coordinators. So far, we have introduced the national winners for Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills and Improving the Business Environment.

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in one of the six categories*; “Supporting the Internationalisation of Business”. This category “recognises initiatives that encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU”.

Find out more about the different competition categories on the EEPA website

Congratulations to the national winners of “Supporting the internationalisation of Business”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

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Why should I enter the 2020 SME Week Youth Essay Competition?

On 17 July 2020, the European Commission launched the 5th edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. The competition is open to 18-25 year olds from EU & COSME countries and is an opportunity to make your voice heard and share your opinion with key policy makers and stakeholders involved with European enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation.

More information on this year’s edition is available here.

This year applicants should write an essay answering the following question:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient, in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? How can EU policy best aid entrepreneurs?

If you are interested in expressing your opinion and submitting an answer to this year’s question, you have until 18 September 2020.

If you are still thinking about whether or not to apply for this competition, we encourage you to read through what last year’s winner Radu Dumitrescu, and his fellow finalists Estelle Beuve, Aureliano Ulndreaj, and Enzo Ercole Ribagnac, had to say about their reasons for entering.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I entered the Youth Essay Competition in order to reignite a few ideas, namely that European business leaders deserve the respect of the Union. I wanted to advocate for a more united approach towards companies in Europe as part of my vision of a European Federation, and I wanted to make my voice heard.

I was just finishing my European voluntary service, at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova, when I heard about the SME Assembly. I wanted to be a part of it and felt I had something to contribute, so I applied. I have a background in economics and accounting and want to use that to pave the way towards a greener economy. Specifically my vision of a greener economy is one that motivates companies to take the lead in reducing their carbon footprint rather than the green washing that is so common when you read any CSR report. 

I was intrigued by the essay topic. Being a student of political science, the format of the essay (a political speech) made it a very attractive opportunity for me to test my abilities. I also saw this competition as a very interesting challenge, as I was not very familiar with the field of SMEs. However I believe that the unknown (in this case the field of SMEs) is always worth exploring.

Several factors influenced my entry in the competition. When I first saw the advert, I was an intern in a European project funded by the DG Grow and related to SMEs. This experience helped me to accumulate a lot of knowledge concerning European SMEs struggles in Europe and abroad. After the internship I moved to Italy during the summer to study Italian. This gave me plenty of time to think about my essay, use the knowledge I had accumulated but also try to include my personal experience. Both my parents are small entrepreneurs in the French West Indies and their business is often part of our family’s discussions. All things considered, I think I entered the competition because I had a lot to say and time to work on a submission that I was proud of and that reflected my opinion and ideas.

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and read the 2020 competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition. Good luck and don’t forget to submit!

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EEPA 2020 National Winners – Improving the business environment

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) reward projects from across participating countries that work to promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives. The EEPA have now moved to the European level of the competition and the national winners from each participating country have been selected by their National Coordinators. So far we have introduced the national winners for Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills.

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in one of the six categories; “Improving the Business Environment”. This category recognises initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth and simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses.

Find out more about the different competition categories on the EEPA website

Congratulations to the national winners of “Improving the Business Environment”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

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Expression of interest – Interregional innovation projects to support coronavirus response and recovery

The original press release is available in the Commission Press Corner.

On 27 July 2020 the European Commission launched a call for expressions of interest for thematic partnerships to pilot interregional innovation projects that support the response and recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

This call serves to assist regions in identifying opportunities emerging from the crisis and using them to “build on green and digital transformation for the recovery of the most affected sectors, such as health and tourism”.

Transnational and interregional partnerships between regional authorities and other stakeholders (e.g. SMEs, universities, research clusters etc.) under the following four thematic areas are eligible for support under this call:

  • Development of the medical value chain
  • Safety and management of medical waste
  • Sustainable and digital tourism
  • Development of hydrogen technologies in carbon-intensive regions

Partnerships should be willing to pilot interregional innovation aimed at “facilitating the commercialisation and scale-up of interregional innovation projects and to incentivise business investment”.

The deadline for application is 7 September 2020.

More detailed information on the call, eligibility and how to apply can be found here.

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EEPA 2020 National Winners – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Time to meet some more EEPA national winners! Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”. This category recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial, managerial and employee skills.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

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EEPA 2020 National Winners – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

The National Coordinators have run their national competitions and submitted the best entries to the European jury to consider for the shortlist. But which projects are competing this year? What initiatives will the jury be judging?

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we would like to introduce the projects competing in “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”. This category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

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EEPA 2020 – The European phase of the competition

The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) are moving into the European phase of the competition. The EEPA Secretariat has received the vast majority of national winner projects from the National Coordinators for the jury to consider for the European shortlist. The remaining projects will be submitted in time for the jury meeting due to exceptionally granted COVID-19 national competition extensions.

EEPA 2020 will see the top national projects competing across the traditional six categories, but with an increased emphasis on sustainability across all categories:

All of the projects being considered for the European shortlist, the 2020 national winners, will be introduced right here on the News Portal so make sure to come back to find out which projects are being reviewed by the prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

Congratulations to all of the national winners!

About the EEPA selection process

The competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country selects up to two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

A shortlist of nominees will be chosen by the EEPA 2020 European jury. The shortlisted nominees will then compete at the final awards ceremony, which recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

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SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2020 – 5th edition launch

Do you have an opinion on the role that entrepreneurs can play in reshaping our future economy? Perhaps you have interesting ideas about what the EU needs to do to help entrepreneurs? Then this is the opportunity for you!

The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is launching for the fifth time with a brand new question for the youth of Europe to answer:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient, in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? How can EU policy best aid entrepreneurs?

The Youth Essay competition is organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and 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.

Sound like an opportunity for you? All you need to do to have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2021 in Slovenia is to submit your essay of no more than 2 500 words in English, before 25 September 2020.

Make sure to read through the rules, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu if you have any questions, and to SUBMIT before the deadline!

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 18 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Essays should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All essays must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for submissions is 25 September 2020
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale as part of the SME Assembly, where they will present their essays
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An opportunity to attend and present at the SME Assembly for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering essay live at the SME Assembly 2020
  • Promotion of essays across our communication channels
  • A trip to the 2021 SME Assembly in Slovenia

See Youth Essay Competition 2020 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and be sure to follow and use the hashtag #YEC2020.

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Meet the EEPA 2020 Jury – Kristin Schreiber & Thomas Wobben

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) have moved into the next phase, the European level competition! Up until now the EEPA National Coordinators have been working hard to collect and select their top two national entries for the consideration of the EEPA 2020 Jury.

The EEPA 2020 Jury will now take the time to review all of the national winners and then collectively decide which projects they would like to include on their 2020 European shortlist. But who exactly are the EEPA 2020 Jury? Who are the people behind this important and difficult decision?

Time to meet two of our experienced jurors:

Coming back as our experienced EEPA Jury chair is Kristin Schreiber, Director for SME Policy & COSME, in the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the European Commission. Kristin has been involved in the SME Assembly and the EEPA judging process for many years, from hosting important SME Assembly keynote sessions and panels, leading the SME Envoy meetings, and chairing both the Youth Essay Competition and EEPA juries. This year we are welcoming her back once again to chair the EEPA 2020 jury and facilitate the final decisions.

Another veteran jury member who we are welcoming back is Mr Thomas Wobben, Director of the Directorate for Horizontal Policies and Networks at the Committee of the Regions. His responsibilities include monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, relations with the OECD and Eurostat, and prospective works of the Committee of the Regions. Thomas presented the 2019 Special Mentions at the EEPA awards ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.

Welcome back to Kristin Schreiber and Thomas Wobben! Come back to the News Portal to meet the rest of the EEPA 2020 jury: Professor Thomas Cooney, Mr Bastian Coes, Ms Sabine Hepperle, Mr Ben Butters and Ms Anke Wiegand. Most importantly stay tuned for their decision in September on their choices for the 2020 European shortlist.

Find out more about EEPA 2020 and read about specific updates to the 2020 edition from EEPA jury chair Kristin Schreiber here on the News Portal.

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