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Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition finalist Frici Barabas

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This is the second in our series of blog posts presenting our winner and finalists of the Youth Essay Competition, which was held as part of the SME Assembly 2016 which took place from 23-25 November 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Today we get to know another runner up, Frici Barabas, a young ‘wantrentrepreneur’ and freelancer with both a t-shirt printing business alongside his online venture ‘digital lifestyle’. Digital lifestyle is an online space that offers courses on how to be a better entrepreneur, the basics of marketing and other services those seeking to build their online lifestyle may need. So far he has 5000+ students under his guidance, yet this is nowhere near the end point for this ambitious ‘wantrentrepreneur’!

Today Frici shares what drove him to participate, his experience at the SME Assembly 2016, where he sees the future of entrepreneurship going and his advice for others leaning towards entrepreneurship as a career.

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What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I first heard about this competition through Facebook and decided that not only was it interesting as an aspiring entrepreneur myself, but I also saw it as an opportunity. My essay was my chance to say something to the world and put my voice on the European stage.

 What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?

I really enjoyed the interactive sessions, they were useful and gave me an opportunity to meet people from all across Europe with different solutions to the same problems we are all facing. I have to say that there was not a lot of youth representation, which was something that I expected and would have liked. I did however like the Erasmus for young entrepreneurs booth in the Expo and enjoyed interacting and connecting with the people there. I also really liked the social media coverage and the ‘no paper policy’ of the assembly, which forced us to use the app and our blendology badges to interact with each other and move around the conference. Paper has its magic, you can see when you create or write something but we are heading towards a digital age and we need to follow the path that is leading us there.   

Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?

We are already starting to see a shift which I believe is the trend that will emerge as we look ahead. Currently most people are employees, with only a few in the position of employer. This balance is beginning to change as more workers becoming freelance or contractors, as opposed to staying within the traditional fixed position structure. I see this change continuing, with the future being comprised of small groups of people working together to create and give customers an experience. This element of experience ties into how I think we will evolve digitally. In the words of Gary Vee ‘the mobile is the new TV’, he is right, in 10 years anything that does not work on mobile is simply not going to work. The young generation is growing up with mobile devices, so everything should be possible on mobile and most importantly be user-friendly.

I also want to share advice which can be taken now in preparation for the future. In my view those that are 15+ should pursue entrepreneurship, it is the best moment to do it and the cost of starting a business in the digital era is much lower than it was say 20 years ago. Failure is also very important, it is acceptable because it ultimately helps you to progress and not just your failures, learn from other people’s mistakes as well.

Want to find out more? Read Frici’s Youth Essay Competition entry here.

Meeting the voices of tomorrow – Youth Essay Competition finalist Francesco Foglia

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This is the first in our series of blog posts presenting our winner and finalists of the Youth Essay Competition, which was held as part of the SME Assembly 2016 which took place from 23-25 November 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Today we get to know one of the runners up, Francesco Foglia, a journalist in European Affairs based in both Brussels and Italy. He is currently studying a Master in Business Administration and has been active on the European youth scene, through participating and winning youth competitions, and in 2015 founding a think tank on European regional policy in Italy.

Francesco shares what drove him to participate, his experience at the SME Assembly 2016 and finally where he thinks the world of SMEs and entrepreneurship will be 10 years on, in 2026.

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What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Every time that that young people have the opportunity to attend and participate in the debate of European policies, especially the sharing of ideas and proposals, I believe that it is necessary to participate. Young people very often ask to have their voices heard but then escape the discussion. When I decided to enter the contest I was studying business law and I noticed that there was no European youth company legislation. As such, my entry was my proposal for setting up the framework, with many features that could foster youth entrepreneurship in Europe.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?

The SME Assembly was a great opportunity to learn from within the world of European SMEs, the current state of affairs and future scenarios. I also took part in the inaugural lecture, held by Professor Philippe Aghion and it was really exciting. The assembly also offered useful networking moments, as well as high-level workshops.

Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?

The world is changing and of course so is the economy and entrepreneurship. Between now and 2026, an important demographic growth is expected, which is one of the key factors that will drive change. There will be more people, more needs to be met and probably more entrepreneurs. SMEs must, therefore, be of a proper size to meet the dimensional challenges to serve more diverse markets. The internet of things and future innovations will affect the speed at which there will be this change compared to now. I hope, however, that the most dynamic economy is shared, and that it serves to reduce inequities in our communities.

Interested in Francesco’s ideas and vision? Read his Youth Essay Competition entry here.

Come back every Tuesday of this month for another profile on our top Youth Essay Competition writers!

Youth Essay Competition – Final results

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Youth-banner--blog-600x150The results of the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition are in!

After careful deliberation by the judges, lengthy discussions have been had and the decision has been made.

This competition was created because we wanted to know what the young people of Europe think about entrepreneurship and the opportunities available to them in their country, and the wider European Union. The responses came from across Europe and not only did they give insight into the original question, but also what is on the minds of young people in Europe today.

Life is changing fast, and they are aware that in order to keep up they too will have to change. As one participant put it: “The ‘good old days’ mentality of getting an education and landing a steady job at a big company is over”, this reflects their view of education, that it is not designed to help meet the challenges of the present but is rather based on successful models of the past. This ties into their feelings on how they are perceived, with one essayist writing: “Even if we are young it does not mean we are stupid. It does not mean we are immature. We have a lot to offer if only you give us the chance”. They are realistic, demonstrating an understanding of the media and the tendency to feature the unicorns and multi million euro successes. One contestant wrote that “there is no need for a gigantic one-billion-dollar idea or a perfect professional business plan in order to successfully start up a business”; in other words , investment is not the only measure of success.

The variety of nationalities represented by the candidates was an early indicator of the importance placed on multilingualism and openness, a common theme throughout the essays, the authors of which recognised the importance of English for business alongside other languages on their path to success. In terms of the barriers faced, ‘red tape’ and bureaucracy are things they are aware of and frustrated by. These need to be addressed urgently. Coupled with these is the fear of failing, with one writing “we are full of energy and ideas but often lack the experience, skills and expertise to implement our plans successfully”. They need reassurance that failure is not the end of the world and that it can often signal the starting point for greater success.

It is now time for us to reveal the winner:

Congratulations to Andri Pandoura!

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Andri is a member of the Cyprus Children’s Parliament and has already developed an interest in human rights and advocating, which she plans to pursue in future by studying law and embarking on a career in human rights law.

The very close runners up are:

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  • Katie Williams, a multilingual young worker from the UK currently working in the field of International Trade.
  • Francesco Foglia, an Italian journalist in European Affairs currently studying a Masters in Business Administration.
  • Frici Barabas, a Romanian entrepreneur with an online business who also teaches others how to succeed in the professional online world.

Congratulations to all our finalists and be sure to stay tuned to find out more about them in forthcoming posts! We would also like to congratulate all those who submitted an essay as the standard was very high and the final results very close.

Youth Essay Competition was a success

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The deadline for submissions of September 2 is now past. Over the past months we have received an impressive number of high quality submissions from every corner of Europe, in which you have shared your ideas about how the EU can encourage young entrepreneurship. We were very impressed with the standard of work submitted and we would like to thank to all  Youth Essay competition participants.

Now the competition jury is faced with the challenging task of selecting the winning entries. Only the top three will be selected, and these winners will be announced by the first week of October. These three candidates will then have to prepare a short presentation of themselves and their submission by the 16th of October. If you are among the winners you will be given further instructions and information after the announcement.

These three winners will be promoted across all SME social media channels during the last two weeks of October, which we recommend you follow so you can keep track of all news, updates and coverage.

Twitter: @EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

Facebook: @European.Enterprise.Promotion.Awards

Finally, the overall winner will be invited to the SME Assembly in Bratislava in November (23-25), to present his/her essay at the event. Before the event the winner will receive special training in preparation for the event and the presentation. The other two winners will also be featured; their presentations will be broadcast on screens during the event.

We would love to share your news, photos and updates on our social media which can be done by tagging us or submitting content for publication (for example the ‘We@Work’ posts on Instagram, see an example here). We also want to see other people you think should be featured on our accounts so be sure to nominate others! If you have any questions about content sharing and promotion please do not hesitate to get in touch.

European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2016

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SUBMISSION IS CLOSED NOW
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR ESSAY
STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Do you have a bright idea about what the EU could do to help more young people become entrepreneurs? Would you like the opportunity to share your thoughts with policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European stage?

European SME Week, under the patronage of the European Commissioner for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, has launched a youth essay contest aimed at 16-25 year olds across Europe.

Write an essay of no more than 2,500 words under the heading: “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?” and you could be in with a chance of getting your voice heard on one of Europe’s most pressing economic questions.

The essay competition is part of European SME Week, an annual pan-European campaign to promote entrepreneurship in Europe. The flagship events of the Week are the SME Assembly and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards Ceremony.

The winner of the essay competition will receive an all expenses paid trip* to the SME Assembly in Bratislava, Slovakia, in November, where they will present their prize-winning entry before an audience of over 600 delegates from the world of enterprise and entrepreneurship. 

Submissions are due by 2 September, 2016 and winners will be announced in Brussels in November. The rules and conditions can be found below.

And spread the news! Download the flyer and share details of the competition with your friends and on social media.

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 16 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Essays must not exceed 2,500 words in length.
  • All essays must be in English.
  • Only one entry per applicant.
  • The deadline for submissions is 2 September, 2016.
  • The winners will be announced in November ahead of SME Week.

Prize

1st prize

  • An all expenses paid trip* to the SME Assembly in Bratislava, Slovakia, to present your essay to 600+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering your work live on stage at the SME Assembly.

2nd and 3rd prize:

  • A video of you presenting your essay will be streamed on the event wall at the SME Assembly.

All winners will receive promotion of their essays across SME Week social media channels.

Youth essay comp FLYER

Need more info?

Email smeweek.secretariat@lowassociates.eu.


* All travel and accommodation costs to and from Bratislava, Slovakia will be covered under the 1st prize.

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