What an opening! Yesterday on 22 November 2017, the SME Assembly 2017 officially opened and the long awaited programme of events finally got under way.
Three Estonian enterprises opened their doors to delegates to show us all what goes on behind the scenes of some of Estonia’s top innovators. From finding out what goes into the making and running of a digital state with the E-Estonia showroom , learning what goes into Estonian defence with top supplier and manufacturer Milrem , to learning about super capacitors with ‘Estonia’s oldest startup’ Skeleton Technologies , this year’s business tours were certainly diverse and showed us the entrepreneurial, innovative and e-spirit of Estonia.
The day continued with the long anticipated Ideas from Europe semi-finals, during which all 28 candidates made their three minute pitches in front of a live audience and a high level jury. The jury, made up of Kristin Schreiber of the European Commission, Kaupo Reede from the Estonian Presidency, Ulrike Rabmer Koller President of UEAPME, and Cees Vermaas CEO of CME Europe, asked tough questions and challenged the candidates to defend their solutions on stage. Both the Jury and the audience voted on who should go through to the finals in the Hague next year…be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter to find out who they picked!
Ideas from Europe  was swiftly followed by two more high level events to round off the evening, the SME Week Reception at the stunning Seaplane Harbour Museum, and the Schumpeter Lecture given by Jan Fagerberg at the beautiful Kadriorg Art Museum.
The Reception included opening remarks from Costas Andropoulos of the European Commission, some SME insights from Kaupo Reed of the Estonian Presidency, and a showcase of Estonian culture, traditional folk dancing, music and a performance from Veronika’s Portsmuth Academy Concert Choir  and Uppsar dance show . The Schumpeter Lecture allowed Professor Jan Fagerberg to share his insights on the evolution of innovation policy and what it means for Europe’s future, which was complemented by speeches from SME Envoy Viljar Lubi, European Commissioner Bienkowska and Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
Day 1 certainly had a lot to offer, but this was only the beginning of this year’s SME Assembly activities. What is in store for today? Follow us on Twitter  for live coverage, and for those of you that are here…see you in Kultuurikatel!