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Tag ‘Elzbieta Bienkowska’

The EEPA 2017 Compendium

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017 edition was exciting to witness and be a part of, and congratulations to all of the category winners. Before Promoting Enterprise begins to share the upcoming EEPA 2017 winner testimonials, refresh your EEPA memories by reading through the 2017 compendium, available here.

The EEPA compendium

Every year, the EEPA compendium is produced to celebrate the achievements of the shortlisted projects on European level. The compendium provides an insight into the Awards process including: what is means to become an EEPA winner, the Jury, the judging process and how the EEPA are promoted.

As well as an insight into the process, the compendium is a chance for each of the five category winners, and respective runners up, to be showcased and put in the spotlight. It also provides additional and more extensive coverage of the Grand Jury Prize winner, in accordance with the accolade that this award represents.

In addition to all EEPA results and information, the compendium also contains a foreword from the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, in which she details her commitment to European SMEs and her opinions on the latest EEPA edition. This is followed by a section on the status of SMEs in Europe, including an introduction to the Small Business Act for Europe and the role of the national SME Envoys.

To find out more about the EEPA, visit the EEPA website, and look through the previous compendiums from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

SME Assembly 2016 – Day 2

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After a packed programme on Wednesday, delegates were at Incheba Expo on Thursday morning for the official opening of the SME Assembly 2016 by Commissioner Bienkowska, Slovakia State Secretary Rastislav Chovanec and Estonia SME Envoy Viljar Lubi.


The State Secretary highlighted in his keynote speech the importance of SMEs as ‘key pillars in the economy’ as well as the need for international markets in order to fully exploit the potential of SMEs. Commissioner Bienkowska delivered a strong speech, encouraging startups to look for ‘the silicon valleys of Europe’ instead of taking their ideas and innovation outside of Europe. She acknowledged the need to facilitate startups and scaleups and impressed us all with her  vision for an SME friendly Europe. The dynamic spirit continued when Mr Viljar Lubi challenged both speakers with insightful questions in preparation for Estonia’s hosting of the SME Assembly 2017.


It was then the turn of Mr Hendrik Halbe, co-founder of startup pitching competition ‘Get in the Ring’, to introduce the entrepreneurs battling it out to go to the international final in Singapore. After two battles, and an extremely close final, it was Dutch startup Pearltect who came out on top with a unique bracelet designed to protect wearers from sexual violence.


30855601410_910b412684_zAfter the excitement of Get in the Ring it was time to talk policy and stimulate debate around entrepreneurship. The high level roundtable on entrepreneurship education allowed SME Envoys and experts in the field to come together and discuss the issues faced with implementation, incentives and training for entrepreneurship education. Over in the plenary room the panel on International Ecosystems hosted an international array of speakers, with special international guest Ms Jenny Fulton from the USA (CEO of Miss Jenny’s pickles) who shared her inspirational story about what it means to follow your passion. Delegates were then challenged to help write the agenda for the Open Space session on ‘Startup to Scale Up’, where topics were taken from the floor and discussions got underway. With topics ranging from solutions for startups that fail, to changing the perception of internationalisation for SMEs, the discussions were fruitful and culminated in a quick fire pitching round. This round kept pitches short, limiting topic holders to 45 seconds in order to summarise their discussions.

The day closed with the gala dinner, followed by the long awaited EEPA 2016 awards. If you want to find out more about the winners, read the 2016 EEPA winners´ post. Also be sure to check out @EEPA_EU on Twitter and on Facebook and stayed tuned for upcoming posts in which we get to know these prize-winning projects from across Europe.

30401966284_1d0226c3f7_zThe day was long and full of events, from inspirational talks to battling entrepreneurs. What will the third and final day have in store? You will have to wait and see our next post! In the meantime, visit the photo gallery on Flickr.

SME Assembly 2016 – Day 1

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What a great start! The SME Assembly 2016 is now well under way after kicking off yesterday on Wednesday 23 November in Bratislava, Slovakia. The day was full of events including business tours, the SME Week Reception and the Schumpeter Lecture to name a few. Missed out or couldn’t attend all sessions? Don’t worry here is a quick round up of yesterday’s highlights.

30396367203_4bccaec88b_zIt all started bright and early with the first business tour of the day to go and see none other than Slovakia’s flying car! Yes you read that correctly, the entrepreneurs behind this automotive innovation showed delegates the product of their efforts, a flying car that makes use of existing aviation and automobile infrastructure to offer a future with the possibility of real door-to-door travel. The second business tour took delegates to GA drilling. This innovative SME in the drilling sector is working towards revolutionising current drilling technology to allow for cheaper and more efficient drilling, with the idea of providing affordable and sustainable geothermal power to all. Delegates were treated to a very interactive demonstration of the unique plasmabit technology that is currently under development.

30396363193_7fbaf6809e_zThere was little time to rest as the next events got underway, with the SME Week Reception starting first in the Old Market Hall where the guests were welcomed by State Secretary  of the Slovak Republic Rastislav Chovanec. The reception was full of fun as national winners, exhibitioners and other attendees had the chance to meet, network and socialise. The Committee of the Regions introduced the 2018 EER Awards, and a regional polish project, Selvita (a drug research company) was also given the floor. Along with all these introductions, guests were treated to a taster of what is to come in the following days of the SME Assembly.

30397309743_ef1f04c0a9_zTo finish off an amazing first day with the presence of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowská over dinner at the Restauracia Hrad, a small group of delegates was invited to the Schumpeter Lecture. Special guest speaker Philippe Aghion from Harvard University delivered a captivating lecture. Professor Aghion addressed the trials of promoting innovation in Europe and the need for Europe to adapt and reform, saying that ‘If we want to revive the idea of Europe, we have to deliver abroad’, when speaking of Europe’s performance on the global market.

To see photos from the first day, visit our Flickr. It was an eventful day to say the least and with so much going on it was great to see everybody active on Twitter helping to promote #SMEassembly2016! So stay tuned, follow live Twitter updates if you just can’t get enough (@EEPA_EU) and bring on Day 2…

What kind of (Single) Market do start-ups and SMEs need?

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Businesses across Europe already benefit from the European Single Market, but there are still challenges to tackle before SMEs and start-ups can fully gain from it. This was discussed during the final Single Market Forum, held in Amsterdam in June. Start-ups, SMEs, experts and government officials all agreed that it should be easier for businesses to start-up, hire talent, comply with administrative issues, win public tenders, scale-up and trade cross-border in Europe.

SIMFO classical market

These were the main takeaways for start-ups and SMEs:

Strengthen cross-border trade in the EU

SIMFO cooperationA services passport will be created to harmonise and unify procedures, in particular for business services such as accounting, architecture and engineering, ensuring they only need to complete them once and can cross-borders. This will make it easier for service providers who want to offer their activities in other Member States. There is also an ongoing plan to tackle VAT in E-commerce. This means business owners will have an easier time selling online with less paperwork. Additionally this means customers will receive a better service and lower prices when shopping online. A double win!

Start-ups and SMEs to have an easier access to public tenders

Public contracts and tenders offer many opportunities for SMEs to grow, yet many SMEs rule themselves out due to burdensome and diverging national rules on public procurement. This should not be the case! SMEs and start-ups’ participation in public tenders means that public money is better spent, but also results in better competition for public contracts, which essentially boosts growth, transparency and accountability.

A single information info point for all businesses

How do businesses find the information they need to navigate cross-borders? A single digital gateway is being developed to allow for business owners to access all the information they need to benefit from cross-border trade in a one-stop-shop. In order to know what information is needed, a collaborative discussion needs to take place. We need you on board to help us develop it.

Better education and access to finances are needed

Finally, how to support entrepreneurs and provide them with the tools they need to grow in the Single Market? Let’s talk about lifelong learning. In today’s economy it is clear that learning skills by itself is no longer enough for a successful career, and entrepreneurs need to hire staff that are adaptable. Additionally, we should support capital markets, making it easier for investors to invest in businesses cross-borders, and for start-ups to get more cross-border funding opportunities.

SIMFO Bieńkowska

Let’s not stop here. Let’s continue debating and finding the right solutions for start-ups and SMEs. What more do you think can be done to support start-ups, SMEs and entrepreneurs trade cross-border? Join the discussion in LinkedIn Group or tell the Commission what you think.

More photos from the event on Flickr.

The 2015 SME Assembly Programme

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The 2015 SME Assembly begins today (18-20 November, Luxembourg) and the full conference programme is now available (please see below). Hosted in partnership with the Luxembourg Presidency, the Assembly, which is the main European SME Week event, will feature speakers from the Government of Luxembourg and the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, academia and the private sector. Key speakers include: HRH, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Pierre Delsaux, Deputy General of DG Growth, European Commission, Amy Millman (President of Springboard Enterprises), and Corinne Vigreux (Co-founder of Tom Tom).

The Assembly will be opened formally on Thursday 19 November by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU SME Envoy and Member of the European Commission for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and Francine Closener, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

This year for the first time, there will be an Open Space session where participants will have the opportunity to agree together new ways of implementing and promoting the principles of the Small Business Act. All delegates to propose and debate ideas for moving SME policy forward.

The SME Assembly will also feature the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony where the 19 nominees will compete for their chance to win either in one of six categories or the Grand Jury Prize. You can find out more about the 2014 winners here.

The Ideas From Europe Finals will take place on Friday 20 November, where the nine most inspiring ideas from entrepreneurs with the potential to change the world will be chosen from across Europe’s 28 Member States. Following the selection at the SME Assembly and the online vote, the top ten ideas will then go through to a final judging session at The Hall of Knights on 31 March 2016 in The Hague.

Programme 1Programme 2Programme 3
Programme 4

Programme 5Programme 6

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