SME Assembly 2021 – Day 1

The 2021 SME Assembly, the first pan-European post-COVID EC conference to be held in person, is finally underway. The three-day programme, packed with panel discussions, workshops, masterclasses and award ceremonies, got off to a fantastic start on 15 November in the beautiful town of Portorož in Slovenia.

The 3-day event kicked off with a presentation from the Slovenian Digital Center showcasing some of the best and most innovative projects that the Slovenian business sector has to offer. The SME Assembly delegates learnt how the Slovenian companies are tackling the digital transition to ensure continued sustainable and green development.

The highlight of Day 1 was the Schumpeter’ Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture. For the first time this year, the lecture was delivered by a non-economist. The climate scientist Professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj delivered the speech in front of hundreds of delegates. As a pioneer in researching the impact of climate change and a joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, Professor Bogataj spoke about the effects of climate change on SMEs. She focused on the role of SMEs and enterprises in achieving the transition to a sustainable economy and explained how businesses could prepare and adapt to face climate change. Measuring and managing emissions from onsite operations, powering operations with renewable energy, and demanding more climate policy are some of the actions that SMEs could take to boost their environmental performance. You can find all about Professor Bogataj’s address in a separate blog post.

The opening day of the 2021 SME Assembly ended with the European SME Week Reception, where the Slovenian presidency presented some traditional crafts, arts and cuisine.

Welcoming guests on behalf of the presidency, the Slovenian Envoy Jernej Salecl spoke about the need to put the green economy and digital transformation is at the heart of all strategies for SMEs.

Hubert Gambs, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), highlighted the need to stay together and be resilient in order to achieve recovery.

What’s in store for Day 2? Follow the live streaming or take a look at the live coverage on Twitter via @EEPA_EU. Remember to use #SMEAssembly2021 to be featured on the feed and check out the photos on Flickr! Haven’t registered yet? Last minute registrations are still possible but be quick! You can register here.

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