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Tag ‘EU YEC 2022’

The voice of experience: some advice from 2021 YEC winner Kristina Dimova

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The deadline for participating in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition is almost upon us. But don’t worry – you can still enter, so get writing and make sure to submit your entry by September 26. To inspire you, the YEC winners from 2018, 2019 and 2020 have already shared their top tips and today it is the turn of 2021 winner Kristina Dimova, who offers some advice below.

Kristina, who is from Bulgaria, won the 2021 YEC with an essay that highlighted that humanity is the key to sustainability, both when developing a business plan for a small and medium enterprise (SMEs) and when it comes to company management. Kristina has described her participation in the competition as “a moment of pure bliss!” Read on to see what advice she has to give to this year’s participants.

How would you approach this year’s theme?

Energy has proven to be a crucial topic not only for policies in the coming years but also for our everyday lives. I would definitely try to think outside the box as I did in my essay last year and, honestly, as every single winner did in the previous years. For sure, showing examples connected to the problem will help the overall density of the essay – no matter if they are about real start-ups, or if they are focused on an imaginary entrepreneurial solution to the energy problem. However, focusing on a particular storytelling arch will bring out the originality of the idea that the participant is trying to showcase. Therefore, for me, as a representative of Bulgaria – a country that is highly dependent on fossil fuels, I’d probably think how this topic is related to my personal story. I’d ask myself what is important for me as a young person and what are the crucial steps that we have to take for a more sustainable future. However, for sure, all these ideas should be presented with an authentic story. The more authentic, the better.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

The people, the ideas, the future. These are the main pillars of the competition for me. During the Assembly, I had the chance to meet phenomenal people from all over Europe. As I have stated before, a great story can be a real game changer. Each one of these people had a great story to tell and therefore they inspired me to change my personal story arch.

When in Portoroz, I saw once again that ideas are everything, but they can be nothing without execution. All of the people there had their own cause. When you see how all these ideas have developed, that truly motivates you, especially when you are young and you have yet to test your ideas.

When talking about testing, SME Assembly 2021 was all about the future and what we could do to make it better. Lean thinking was key for most of the entrepreneurs that took part in it, and testing and validating during the process was crucial for them. However, when we talk about the future, I must say that there is a special place for youth during the event.

A lot of policymakers and entrepreneurs not only listened to my presentation but also came and talked to me afterward about the ideas I spoke about. I gained more knowledge about entrepreneurship from the event, but not only that – because of my win I was also a speaker during the EU Industry Days 2022 conference. The best is yet to come because I’m about to take the lead position in 9Academy – a platform and business academy for professionals and entrepreneurs in Bulgaria. YEC 2021 was the push for me to see that entrepreneurship is the way for me, and I’m more than grateful for the whole experience.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

Be brave. This is the only advice I can give to the competitors. Yes, the topic is important and it can be difficult to write a compelling essay for it. Yes, you might ask yourself – why am I writing something so complex? Because the only competition you have is yourself.

This competition was a way to figure out if I’m capable of showcasing complex ideas in a simple yet compelling way. However, it turned out to be a milestone in my career. Before it, I thought I’m only good at certain skills. Now, after the Assembly, I know that I have a skill set that has been growing after participating in the competition. So, be brave. You have nothing to lose. In addition to the competition, you will for sure win a broader perspective on a topic that is so important that it means everything to our lives.

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: 2019 YEC winner Radu Dumitrescu has some advice

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As the September 26 deadline approaches for submitting an entry in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition, on the Promoting Enterprise portal we have been speaking to previous winners to see what advice they have for this year’s participants. We have already heard from 2018 winner Marija Borg. This time it is the turn of 2019 winner Radu Dumitrescu.

In 2019, the competition asked young people aged 18-25 to prepare a speech from the perspective of the new Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship addressed to Europe’s entrepreneurs. Radu impressed the jury with his entry Silicon Europe 2030, outlining proposed measures to support European SMEs. Radu has some top tips for this year’s entrants, so read on to see what he has to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

Energy has proven to be a crucial topic for policies in the coming years. Young European entrepreneurs and their peers are among the most aware of our fossil fuel dependency, not to mention its environmental and even political costs. They see it as a heavy iron ball connected to our feet by a chain that is proving hard to break. As citizens and entrepreneurs, I believe they’ve realized that we’ve been using fossil fuels from countries ruled by authoritarian governments for far too long now, propping them up with our money.

A more sustainable European economy not only means smog-free cities, healthier food, and better overall quality of life. It means a safer, more democratic, freer Europe. A greener EU, and not one that simply exports its pollution, could have rendered Putin powerless, starved of funds and unable to invade a peaceful neighbor like Ukraine, uprooting millions.

If I were a contestant approaching this year’s theme, I would try to move past too familiar, albeit essential, arguments for sustainability. I would instead argue that we have a moral duty, as young entrepreneurs, to spearhead a more sustainable European economy not only for generations to come, but also for the countless people who now live under the boot of resource-rich autocrats that we subsidise.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

I still remember my time at the SME Week Youth Essay Competition in Finland. Simultaneously nervous and excited, I took to the stage and shared my thoughts on what mattered for our shared European economies. What’s more, I was doing it in front of Europe’s star entrepreneurs, representatives of various businesses associations, not to mention European officials. It’s a unique position to be in, especially when you’re young, and if I had the chance to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Winning gave me the confidence to speak in public more, to put my ideas on paper. I went on to be awarded the Charlemagne Prize Fellowship for 2020/2021 with a project on the future of manufacturing in Europe. I am not an economist, nor did I have heaps of experience when it came to the field, but I was confident in my abilities to formulate an idea that had to be heard, just like I had in the YEC.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

I think this year’s competitors should be bold, as befits youngsters. They should be confident in their ideas, even if they’re not the most mainstream ones. I am absolutely sure that I don’t need to remind young European entrepreneurs that innovation can come from anywhere, including themselves. They should let their voices be heard, because their absence would only make our Europe poorer.

Tell us a bit about where you are now, what winning the competition meant for you, how it benefited you.

It’s never easy to get on a stage and speak, and in some sense, after getting on it in Helsinki, I never got off. Winning YEC in 2019 gave me the confidence to apply for the Charlemagne Prize Academy Fellowship, and then press on with my doctoral thesis on populism, which I am finishing this year. It is almost as if I proved to myself that I can do well when I speak and write back then, because I’m now doing both professionally, you could say. I became a journalist at Romania Insider, writing news pieces in English on business, politics, and social topics each day. I also started a small YouTube channel, with some success. I’ve also grown personally, developing my knowledge in business and economy, which seemed somewhat off-limits to me beforehand, as domains that were only to be approached by those wiser and older. Participating, not to mention winning, in the YEC made me into a more well rounded individual. I wish that for every participant.

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

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