The SME Assembly 2018 is officially open! Yesterday on 19 November 2018, this year’s Assembly, taking place in Graz, Austria got started with the highly anticipated business tours and the Mind the Bridge SME Matchmaking session.
Several Austrian enterprises opened their doors to the SME Assembly 2018 delegates, and welcomed them to learn about their processes, manufacturing, research, history and the products that they create. We would like to thank A&R Carton , Sappi , UP TO ELEVEN , XAL , Brauunion , Spitzer Dach , SUNNYBAG GmbH  and the WKO Steiermark Talentcenter  for participating in the tours and for letting the delegates experience their business environments.
During the business tours, some specially invited SMEs were given the chance to attend an exclusive matchmaking session run by Mind the Bridge . Chairman of Mind the Bridge, Alberto Onetti presented their work and the importance of creating links between SMEs, start-ups, scale-ups and existing corporations. Through these bridges, SMEs are able to progress faster and corporates can benefit from fresh ideas and impart their experience on new market entrants.
Day 1 continued into the evening with two spectacular events, the European SME Week Reception and the Schumpeter Lecture. The evening kicked off with the European SME Week Reception, which took place at the Old University of Graz. The Reception opened with speeches from Austrian dignitaries and was followed by traditional accordion music.
Later on in the evening the Schumpeter Lecture , the VIP event of the SME Assembly, took place at the Kunsthaus. The evening began with opening remarks from André Meyer from DG GROWTH, Deputy Director General for DG GROWTH Irmfried Schwimann and Dr. Margarete Schramböck, who spoke of the unique strength of Austria with its SME dominant culture, and the ever growing presence of and continued need for female entrepreneurs. After these remarks, this year’s lecturer Professor Bronwyn H. Hall opened the third Schumpter Innovation in Enterprise lecture, which centred on tax policy for innovation, including considerations for policy makers and SME actors.
Watch the Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise Lecture:
What a great start to the SME Assembly 2018, but that was just the beginning! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @EEPA_EU  for all the live coverage of the SME Assembly and we look forward to bringing you all the latest from the Helmut List Halle, this year’s venue here in Graz.
Don’t forget to have a look at all of the photos from the SME Assembly 2018 here on Flickr .