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Romanian Radu Dumitrescu wins SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019

Radu Dumitrescu, 24 year-old from Romania, was proclaimed a winner of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition during the European Commission’s SME Assembly.

Radu Dumitrescu is one of the Editors-in-Chief of The New Federalist web magazine. He has a Master’s in Comparative Politics and is interested in voter behaviour, European affairs, and corporate personhood.

In his speech as potential EU Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship he said: “So, what is our goal? To put the new industries at the heart of European SMEs – to create ‘Silicon Europe’. We can no longer afford to linger in coal, petrol, manufacturing jobs, farming and hard labour. They cannot be abandoned either, but the way to the future is through the digital, the online, the streaming and the virtual. That is where the state of the future will be, where voters will have their say, where poets will forge their dreams and where love will take hold of couples. But first, it is where money will be made – and European SMEs will pioneer the way during my term.”

The other finalists of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay competition were:

  • Enzo Ercole Ribagnac (France)
  • Estelle Beuve (France)
  • Aureliano Ulndreaj (Albania)

The four finalists presented their speeches on the stage of the SME Assembly in Helsinki.  This was followed by a live vote from the audience to determine the winner.

The SME Week Youth Essay competition, run by the European Commission, is in its fourth edition.  This year the competition asked young people aged from 18-25 to prepare a speech from the perspective of the new Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship addressed to Europe’s entrepreneurs. Entries were received from 20 different countries, with the top two being Albania and Romania, followed closely by Italy, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine . The top 10 applicants then had to propose concrete measures and initiatives that could benefit from the application of the ‘Think Small First Principle’.

Read Radu’s Submissions:

Read Enzo’s Submissions:

Read Aureliano’s Submissions:

Read Estelle’s Submissions:

More information on the Youth Essay Competition is available here.

About the SME Assembly

The SME Assembly is the annual flagship event of the European SME Week and is hosted by the current European Commission presidency. This year the Assembly was hosted by the Finnish Presidency of the European Commission in Helsinki on 25–27 November 2019. Delegates from across the world came together to hack policy, discuss enterprise and create the governance structure of the Small Business Act.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

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SME Assembly 2019 – Day 3

The third and final day of the SME Assembly started with an overview and discussion on the future roles for regions and cities in promoting both entrepreneurship and SMEs. The session was opened by Kristin Schreiber, Director for SME Policy and Entrepreneurship, European Commission:

“I believe we achieved a lot through the single market and now we to build on this momentum. I’m counting on you to come up with bright and innovative ideas for the new SME strategy”.

It was then time to review the annual performance of Europe’s SMEs for 2019, with the SME Economic Performance Review, led by Kristin Schreiber – Director for SME Policy, Ben Butters – Eurochambres, and Jan Bormans from the European Startup Network. For more information and to read the review and accompanying report in full, have a look here.

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The highly anticipated Youth Essay Competition session kicked off with inputs from members of the jury, including Kristin Schreiber from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Marija Elena Borg, last year’s competition winner. Congratulations to the three runners up, Estelle Beuve, Enzo Ercole Ribagnac and Aureliano Ulndreaj who gave excellent speeches to the SME delegates, and special congratulations to Radu Dumitrescu for being crowned this year’s winner!

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The Assembly closed with a look at the future of sustainable SME Growth, and the contributions from this year’s participants towards the new SME Strategy. The winner of the best tweet competition, was also announced and received a signed copy of Schumpeter Lecturer Mariana Mazzucato’s book “The Value of Everything”. To close the SME Assembly, it was time to handover the torch to the next host presidency, Germany, who will be hosting next year’s Assembly in November in Berlin.

SME-Assembly-Day-3

That’s a wrap for the 2019 SME Assembly! See you next year in…Berlin!

The SME Assembly may be over, but the discussion continues! Keep sharing your ideas on Twitter with #SMEAssembly2019 and by tagging @EEPA_EU and don’t forget to join and post in the LinkedIn group “Online SME Assembly” to keep the conversation going.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

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SME Economic Performance Review

Every year the European Commission analyses how much progress the countries made in implementing the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA).

The SME performance review is one of the main tools the European Commission uses to monitor and assess countries’ progress in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) on a yearly basis. With an emphasis on the measures from the SBA action plan, the review brings comprehensive information on the performance of SMEs in EU countries and other partner countries. It consists of 2 parts: an annual report on European SMEs and SBA country fact sheets.

The SBA fact sheets are developed on the basis of a wide range of indicators and national policy developments, grouped according to the SBA’s ten policy dimensions:

  1. Entrepreneurship
  2. ‘Second chance’
  3. ‘Think Small First’
  4. ‘Responsive administration’
  5. State aid & public procurement
  6. Access to finance
  7. Single market
  8. Skills & innovation
  9. Environment
  10. Internationalisation

It is important to note that the figures presenting trend charts in the EU SME sector represent estimates for 2017-2020, based on 2008-2016 figures from the Structural Business Statistics Database (Eurostat).

For more information and to read the latest annual report, country-specific factsheets and the accompanying study, visit the European Commission website.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

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SME Assembly 2019 – Day 2

Day 2 of the SME Assembly opened with inspiring and thought provoking speeches from keynote speakers Professor Daniel Isenberg, Alberto Onetti and Petri Peltonen.

Professor Daniel Isenberg spoke of the need to change our beliefs surrounding entrepreneurship and the fundamental need to focus on scaling up and ban unicorns from public discourse so as to ensure that this phenomenon does not skew relevant policy. Chairman and Founder of Mind the Bridge Alberto Onetti, followed on with his talk on how to get SMEs to innovate and the need to expose them to innovation and cross-border partnerships. Petri Peltonen closed the opening speeches with his call for SME policy to be more horizontal and cross-sectoral in order for SMEs to be recognised more strongly across different sectors.

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The day continued with a participatory session on Sustainable SME Growth where delegates shared their thoughts and ideas on how to build and move towards a sustainable economy that works for people.

It was then time for the parallel sessions which included workshops, masterclasses and policy sessions spanning the upcoming SME Green Deal, the value chain in the Finnish maritime ecosystem, sustainable finance, jobs of the future, the opportunities for SMEs in the field of space data and more.

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The day closed with the highly anticipated finals of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. The Awards were opened by Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, who announced the opening of the next call for the European Entrepreneurial Region awards. The ceremony that followed celebrated the achievements and wins of projects across six different categories as well as an overall Grand Jury Prize winner.

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Find out all about the EEPA class of 2019 right here on the News Portal.

Congratulations to all the winners, and be sure to check out the updates and activities from Day 2 using #SMEAssembly2019 and by following @EEPA_EU on Twitter.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

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EEPA Class of 2019

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2019 celebrated the best of the best in a ceremony on the 2nd day of the SME Assembly 2019. On 26 November 2019, six category winners were awarded with EEPA prizes, and an overall Grand Jury Prize winner was crowned as being the most outstanding project across the six categories for 2019.

Congratulations once again to the EEPA class of 2019!

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Haven Incubator CVBA-SO, a safe port for young experimentation, Belgium

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

IDEA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre, Cyprus

Improving the Business Environment

Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes, Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

TILOS, Greece

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Start-Up Your Future, Germany

Grand Jury Prize

Green PAC iLab, The Netherlands

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SME Assembly 2019 – Day 1

The SME Assembly 2019 is underway! Day 1 got the event off to a fantastic start and was full of events and experiences for this year’s delegates.

Kicking things off was the SME Envoy meeting, which also featured discussions on the future of SME Policy, including presentations and speeches from Amazon and Sugartrends representatives. Whilst the SME Envoys were hard at work discussing the upcoming SME strategy, other delegates had the opportunity to visit Team Finland house for an exclusive tour and showcasing of Team Finland’s work. Team Finland consists of a Finnish SME network that benefits from a variety of services, ranging from advice services to funding. Delegates were treated to an insight into what the network provides, some of the participating companies, and a traditional musical performance from Lauri Schreck on the traditional Finnish kantele.

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Next it was time to properly open the SME Assembly with the European SME Week Reception at the Finlandia Hall. At the reception, delegates listened to Petri Peltonen, Under-secretary of state – MEAE, and Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, European Commission, who shared ideas about the need to prepare SMEs for upcoming challenges like sustainability and skills shortages. The floor was then passed to Finnish music star Ida Elina, who delighted the delegates with her varied vocal and kantele repertoire.

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To close the evening, renowned thinker and academic Mariana Mazzucato from University College London gave the fourth Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise lecture at the House of the Estates. She spoke of the importance of state finance, particularly patient finance and the importance of government support for SMEs willing to innovate. During her speech she challenged the audience to think about and approach innovation from outside of their comfort zone, and critically analyse current approaches to SME finance and to steer away from blanket SME policy.

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What’s in store for Day 2? Don’t forget to have a look at the programme, follow the live coverage on Twitter via @EEPA_EU, use #SMEAssembly2019 to be featured on the feed and check out the photos from Day 1 on Flickr!

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

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Meet SME Assembly 2019 speaker – Alberto Onetti

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we are excited to introduce another speaker for the SME Assembly 2019, Alberto Onetti! Alberto is the chairman of the Mind The Bridge foundation which works to bring startups and corporates together to enhance growth and foster innovation. He is also the co-founder of Funambol, a white-label cloud solution provider, as well as a professor who specialises in research in entrepreneurship and corporate strategy.

Here on the News Portal we asked about his inspirations, what he is looking forward to at the upcoming SME Assembly 2019 and his advice for future founders.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by doing things that have an impact. Simply continuing to do things that I know I am quite good at, staying in my comfort zone, is no longer that exciting. If you look at the evolution of Mind the Bridge over the last ten years, you can probably see a similar pattern.

We started as a bridge between Silicon Valley and Europe. While we were supporting hundreds of startups and entrepreneurs to improve their vision and plans, we noticed that there was another gap to be “bridged”: connecting startups to established corporations. As a result, we decided to turn Mind the Bridge into an organisation that helps companies shape and execute their open innovation strategies.

This is quite an interesting and complicated challenge, but it is definitely an opportunity for us to make and have an impact, and that is what I care about and what is most important to me in the end.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2019?

I am looking forward to sharing insights on how we can help SMEs go beyond incremental innovation and capture the opportunities enabled by open innovation and startup-corporate collaboration.

Startups and scaleups can provide mid-size companies with radical and disruptive innovation, while established companies can help startups and scaleups to grow. It is a win-win opportunity. However, based on our experience in the field, SMEs are – most of the time – not aware of such possibilities and opportunities. As such, we need to collectively find a way to fully involve SMEs in open innovation which is currently limited to large corporates.

I hope to come back from the SME Assembly 2019 with some concrete plans on how to make this happen, and add to the ideas I already have.  

If you could give a founder a single piece of advice, what would it be?

To be ambitious and dare to be unconventional. It is hard to get something new if you follow other people’s paths.

Interested in what Alberto will say at the SME Assembly 2019? Make sure you are following @EEPA_EU on Twitter and #SMEAssembly2019 for live coverage from Helsinki! You can also follow Alberto (@aonetti) and Mind The Bridge (@MindTheBridge) on Twitter.

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Meet the 2019 Schumpeter Lecturer – Mariana Mazzucato

The SME Assembly 2019 is getting closer and it is time to meet this year’s Schumpeter Lecturer, Mariana Mazzucato! Read on to find out who she is and about her extensive work around entrepreneurship.

Who is Mariana Mazzucato?

Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). IIPP is dedicated to rethinking the role of public policy in shaping both the rate of economic growth and its direction—and training the next generation of global leaders to build partnerships that can address mission-oriented societal goals.    

She is winner of the 2014 New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy, the 2015 Hans-Matthöfer-Preis, the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought and the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values.  She was named as one of the ‘3 most important thinkers about innovation‘ by the New Republic, and is on The Bloomberg 50 list of ‘Ones to Watch’ for 2019. As part of her work, she advises policy makers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth including in her role as Special Advisor for Carlos Moedas, the current Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

Mariana Mazzucato – The author

In addition to a prize-winning thinker on innovation, Mariana is also the author of two acclaimed books:

Her second book from 2018, which brings value theory back to the center of economics in order to reward value creation over value extraction was a 2018 Strategy & Business Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year prize.

This year’s Schumpeter lecturer is not only inspiring but very accomplished, which made us wonder, where does she draw inspiration from? What influences Mariana Mazzucato’s thinking? We asked her what her favourite book was and why to which she answered:

“My favourite book is ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I love this quote in the book: ‘If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea,’ because it perfectly sums up how I feel about missions (where multiple state and private sector actors collaborate to achieve a shared mission) and the importance of mission-oriented innovation policy as the means to tackle societal challenges, which is the focus of my work at the Institute that I founded at UCL.”

To find out more about Mariana, her work and the Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose, be sure to visit be sure to visit her institute website and follow her on Twitter (@MazzucatoM).

To follow her Schumpeter Lecture on Day 1 of the SME Assembly 2019 on 25 November, make sure you are following @EEPA_EU & #SMEAssembly2019 on Twitter for live coverage and that you have subscribed to @PromotingEnterprise on YouTube to be notified when her lecture is available online.

Watch Mariana Mazzucato’s Schumpeter Lecture here:

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SME Assembly 2019 – The Programme

The SME Assembly 2019 will be taking place from 25-27 November in Helsinki, Finland. Hosted by the Finnish presidency, this year’s Assembly will gather participants from across the globe to discuss and innovate within the entrepreneurial and policy spheres.

Key speakers include: Mariana Mazzucato, Daniel Isenberg, Alberto Onetti, Jyrki Katainen and Kristin Schriber, along with many other experts.

But what exactly will be happening at this year’s Assembly? Check out the programme below!

Please note that this programme is still subject to change.

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Meet SME Assembly 2019 speaker – Daniel Isenberg

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we have an exciting guest! Daniel Isenberg is the founder of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Platform, adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, and former professor at the Harvard Business School. He wrote “Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value“, which discusses the valuable lessons that Dan has collected from entrepreneurs across the globe. Dan has also been an entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Israel and since 2009 has made personal investments in over two dozen technology startups in Europe, Israel and the US.

Let’s meet Daniel Isenberg!

What is your favourite book and why?

To be honest, I learn more about entrepreneurship from history than from books about entrepreneurship, which are often filtered through rose-coloured glasses. But my one of my favourite books about entrepreneurship is a lesser-known, candid and insightful memoir by the pioneer of private equity in Europe, Sir Ronald Cohen, called “Second Bounce of the Ball: Turning Risk into Opportunity.”

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2019?

I am very interested in dialogue with local leaders about how to increase the culture and practice of growth entrepreneurship (which we call “scale up”) in their communities or regions. Many of them are hearing nice stories about Silicon Valley from our profession, but I think they are hungry for practical ideas that will work anywhere, and have a short time to initial impact.

Entrepreneurship is seen as very hands on and learning from experience. Yet as a professor of entrepreneurship practice, in your opinion, how teachable is entrepreneurship and its accompanying skills?

There is a crucial difference between entrepreneurship being teachable and entrepreneurship being learnable. Entrepreneurship is definitely the latter. I have many dozens, maybe hundreds, of experiences with my students at Harvard, Columbia and the Technion who were committed to learning how to be entrepreneurs and went on to grow successful companies. That does not mean they learned the most from entrepreneurship classes – I believe they learned from a variety of experiences, including formal and informal education, mentors, life experience, positive and negative examples, role models, their own personal networks, and so on. The classes may have helped, but I doubt that they were as definitive as many of we professors would like to believe.

If you could give an entrepreneur a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Listen openly to as much advice as possible, but then evaluate it critically, but then learn mostly from practice and real life, honest examples. In order to learn from practice, you need to be what Noubar Afeyan calls a “paranoid optimist.” You need to continually shake up the “oil” of optimism and even passion, with the “water” of cool-headed realism and even self-doubt. Passion by itself is greatly over-rated, and can get you into trouble unless it is accompanied by often painful objectivity. I wrote about this in the Danger of Entrepreneurial Passion (HBR).

Don’t forget to follow Daniel on Twitter (@danisen), and make sure you are following us on Twitter (@EEPA_EU) and using #SMEAssembly2019 to listen to more of what Daniel has to share in Helsinki.

Watch Professor Isenberg’s speech from the SME Assembly 2019:

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    • Romanian Radu Dumitrescu wins SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 December 3, 2019
      Radu Dumitrescu, 24 year-old from Romania, was proclaimed a winner of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition during the European Commission’s SME Assembly. Radu Dumitrescu is one of the Editors-in-Chief of The New Federalist web magazine. He has a Master’s in Comparative Politics and is interested in voter behaviour, European affairs, and corporate personhood. […]
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    • SME Assembly 2019 – The Programme November 13, 2019
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