SME Assembly 2021 – A Sneak Peek at This Year’s Programme

The countdown has begun to the No. 1 event of the year for SMEs and those who support them. The SME Assembly 2021 is set to take place in Portorož, Slovenia on 15-17 November 2021. So let’s take a sneak peek at what you can look forward to.

As we have already announced, this year’s Assembly will be among the first pan-European post-COVID European Commission conferences to be held in person. As such, it promises to be a lively event filled with optimism, showcasing the resilience of Europe’s SMEs.

After kicking off with the keynote Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture delivered by professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, the Assembly will proceed with a packed programme, filled with exciting panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses.

The programme for this year’s event has something for everybody. Among the topics of discussion, there will be a panel on the SME sustainable enterprise. Participants will assess recovery and transition toward a greener and more digital economy and how to continue supporting the enterprise ecosystem in that process.

Culture of enterprise

Another session will focus on how EEPA is helping to build a culture of enterprise. Here, 2021 finalists in the category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’, recognising initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially amongst young people and women, will talk about the challenges they have faced and about potential replication across Member States. 

The cherry on top will be the prestigious European Enterprise Promotion and Small and Mid-Caps Awards Ceremony.  Back in September the EEPA jury announced the shortlisted entries across the six categories. During the awards ceremony the EEPA jury will reveals the winner in each category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize.

Celebrating entrepreneur spirit, the SME Assembly will also be hosting the finals of the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards, which promotes best practices and encourages more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access capital markets via IPOs.  Check out the projects shortlisted for the 2021 finals.

Youth Essay Competition 2021

A key feature of the SME Assembly is the Youth Essay Competition, and this year is no different. There will be a presentation of the top 3 essays by the finalists in this year’s competition, with feedback from the Chair of the Youth Essay Jury and Sabine Kerssens, 2020 Youth Essay Competition Winner. After the presentations, the audience will vote on the winning essay.

This is just a taste of what you can expect at this year’s Assembly. Make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise portal regularly for updates on the Assembly, its speakers, programme sessions and so on. We are very much looking forward to meeting you in person in Portorož. Don’t forget that you could also follow online some of the key session after registering here.


The Assembly will be subject to a strict COVID protocol coordinated by the European Commission and the Slovenian Presidency. All in-person attendees will be required to present a valid EU Digital COVID certificate demonstrating full vaccination, having recovered or a negative test not older than 24 hours. In addition, there will be on-site testing to provide additional assurance to all SME Assembly delegates and participants.

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