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The EIPP – Providing connection opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs

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The European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is a virtual meeting place for project promoters and investors. This year the Portal was present at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, and came to life in the first ever EIPP matchmaking session during which investors, entrepreneurs and project promoters were able to meet in person and discuss future partnerships and investment opportunities.

But what did the participants think? Check out the videos below to see what everyone thought and be sure to go through the photo albums on Flickr to see, as Vice President Jyrki Katanien once put it, ‘the tinder of investment’ in action!

Ichó, Steffen Preuss, DE

Slow Mills, Erwin Meijboom, NL

Virtual Medicine, Tomáš Brngál, SK

EIPP Session highlights

Lights, camera, action…Conclusions from the 2017 SME Assembly

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CoCreativeFlow.com, Sabine Soeder and Johanna Ballmann

The 2017 SME Assembly has come and gone, but it certainly has not left us indifferent. It has been clear from this year’s edition that the focus has been much more on action and on the implementation of the SME-related policies developed in previous years. But what results are these policies producing? Here are some of the main conclusions from the event:

  • Let’s aim to solve problems rather than buy products in public procurement: different stakeholders worked together to generate innovative ideas responding to a real-life policy challenges at the Policy Hack It is a common practice in the EU that governments tend to buy highly specified products rather than solutions to their problems. This needs to change towards more participatory, solution-oriented approach, adding a new perspective to the public procurement process.
  • Public procurement is a key opportunity for SMEs: EUR 2 trillion is spent annually in the EU on public procurement. The EU Public Procurement Package of Measures is a step in the right direction, however, more work needs to be done in certain sectors to improve access to information, guarantee more transparency and use better fitting selection criteria.
  • A positive outlook for European SMEs in most countries: both the number of SMEs and their added value above the 2008 levels (pre-crisis) levels, though there is a clear north-south division with southern countries still struggling. Steady growth is expected for 2017 and 2018 according to the SME Performance Review 2016/2017, where a focus on self-employment will become ever-increasingly important.
  • Some tangible results of EC actions, but still a way to go: the Small Business Act has already generated tangible results. However, more has to be done in crucial areas for the future of SMEs, such as innovation.
  • Greater visibility of European investment opportunities: the EC is carrying out a number of actions to increase the visibility of investment projects with a focus on SMEs. Examples include the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) and the European Investment Fund. However, whether these initiatives will meet the real finance needs of European SMEs still remains to be seen. Decreasing a minimal ticket to 1 mln EUR is a move in the right direction, however, understanding how venture funds approach deals would be welcomed.
  • Access to finance is still one of the highlighted issues for SMEs in Europe: a fragmented legal and tax system in Europe are the main barriers to access finance. The development of regional co-investment funds, harmonisation of the regional cooperative framework and mutual recognition of existing fiscal incentives for business angels are some of the potential solutions to overcome these barriers.
  • Preparation for the future: SMEs have to prepare themselves for the market conditions of the future. 21st century enterprises should be experience-focused, outcome-based, agile & lean, service-oriented and ecosystem-driven.
  • Evidence of successful on the ground initiatives: such as the eResidency Programme in Estonia allowed entrepreneurs outside of the EU to start a business no matter where they reside.

The event may be over, but the online discussion continues here.

Written by Jon Switters and Katarzyna Jakimowicz

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 3

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The SME Assembly 2017 has drawn to a close after three action packed days of networking, policy sessions, masterclasses, tours and awards. As always, the SME Assembly brought together people from across the world all striving towards creating a European environment in which SMEs can thrive and grow.

The day began bright and early with the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) breakfast, which was followed by an engaging policy session featuring an address from European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katanien, a speech from Director of DG Growth Kristin Schreiber, and an in depth look at the EIPP presented by a member of Vice President Katanien’s cabinet, Florentine Hopmeier. The dedicated EIPP policy session was then followed by the first ever live EIPP matchmaking event which simulated the work of the portal in real life. This was the first event of its kind allowing investors and entrepreneurs to meet face to face and make valuable connections for the future.

In parallel to the EIPP sessions, the 21st Century Enterprise segment of the Assembly featured different speakers discussing pertinent topics such as female entrepreneurship and the need to adapt the education system to modern work trends and society. There was also lively discussion on the role of youth in the workforce and their different attitudes in comparison to older generations. Speakers agreed with each other in that these differences should be celebrated and utilised rather than used to divide, and spoke of the need to integrate the different generations that make up the present workforce.

On the subject of youth, the session was lucky enough to have three young panellists representing that very demographic on stage. These panellists were of course the three finalists of the highly contested Youth Essay Competition which this year focused on the skills that future entrepreneurs need. All three finalists took to the stage to make spirited speeches and covered topics such as: cultural fusion being the backbone of brilliant ideas, the necessity for soft skills and the need for patience on the way to success. After the audience vote Oksana Vedimdska was announced as the deserving winner of this year’s competition, congratulations Oksana! We will be bringing you more information on Oksana and the other two finalists right here on the Portal in the form of exclusive interviews, so be sure to keep following us weekly!

The Assembly continued on with the final policy sessions and masterclasses, on interesting topics such as Digitalisation for SMEs from the Watify project, a look at the Ideas from Europe alumni, the role of Ecommerce for SMEs and the hot topic of the Single Market and whether it poses new barriers.

It was then time for the Assembly to come to an end, and for host country Estonia to pass the torch to next year’s hosts…Austria! The SME Assembly 2017 may be over, but the connections made and the ideas shared will continue to inform our European SME discussions. We hope that you enjoyed this year’s SME Assembly as much as we did, and perhaps we will see you all again next year in Graz…

Access all the photos here.

What a difference an investment platform makes – What to expect of the EIPP session during the SME Assembly 2017

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Nowadays, apps and digital platforms are everywhere and have become a part of everyone’s lives: from ordering one’s takeaway dinner, to monitoring one’s fitness progress and well-being, to make romantic relationships and the entire process of going out and meeting new people much easier. Digital tools are also increasingly being used for business and work situations, and that is no exception when talking about SMEs and venture capital investments. Enter EIPP.

Sometimes referred to as “the Tinder for investments”, as European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen once put it, the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is an online matchmaking platform hosted by the European Commission (EC) – namely, DG ECFIN. As part of the Investment Plan for Europe initiative – which seeks to mobilise investment, promote economic growth and create jobs across the EU – EIPP is a database of viable projects with investment opportunities across the EU in virtually all industry areas. As with most platforms under EC tutelage, EIPP has a free-of-charge registration and bridges the gap between users: entrepreneurs can find potential investment partners with just a few “clicks”.

In 2017, EIPP will be one of the key initiatives during the SME Assembly in Tallinn (22-24 November 2017) and of Invest Week, a series of stimulating events that will examine the impact of investment on sustainable growth.

More specifically, a policy and matchmaking session dedicated to EIPP and its added-value in fostering venture capital investments for small and medium companies will take place on 24 November at the Kultuurikatel. After a panel discussion with experts on how to make a perfect venture capital pitch, participating SMEs will have the opportunity to put their pitching skills to the test by presenting their business ideas to a selected group of high-level investors in a small matchmaking session.

Each investor will be able to meet up to eight projects: three “preferred” ones – to be picked from a list of proposals – and five random others who will be given the benefit of their advice.  In order to maximise the opportunities for the attending SMEs, each participant will have the opportunity to meet at least three investors.

Participation in this EIPP policy and matchmaking session has been restricted to SMEs with projects which, after a careful screening process, have proven to be interesting to potential investors for their potential to tackle global challenges. This selected list of participants includes EIPP-listed projects; SME Assembly attendees; finalists from the Start-up Nations summit and the Ideas from Europe competition; and finalists from other EC awards schemes such as the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) and the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE).

For the complete EIPP sessions agenda at the SME Assembly 2017, please click here. For more information, please contact Guendalina Cominotti, Guendalina.Cominotti@LOWeurope.eu

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