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Call for applications – Science is Wonderful! 2020

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Science is Wonderful! brings the world of science, research and innovation to the public. This year, the exhibition will take place fully online from 22 to 24 September as part of the second edition of the European Research and Innovation Days.

Through an array of digital activities, researchers will interact with children, students and citizens,explain what researchers’ role is in a post-crisis context and highlight how research impacts citizens’ daily lives. The event will also address hundreds of stakeholders from all over Europe in the framework of the European Research and Innovation Days.

This is a unique opportunity to put your outreach and communication skills into action, be impactful andshow how you are contributing to develop solutions addressing the current crisis, its consequences and the priorities that will be at the core of the recovery.

We are looking for EU-funded projects working in all disciplines and speaking all languages to participate in the online exhibition. If you are convinced that you are up to this exciting e-encounter with many fledgling future scientists, citizens and stakeholders, please fill in the online form by 5 July 2020.

If your application is successful, you will be contacted to prepare your activities.

For any questions concerning your application, please contact the EU R&I Days communication team.

Coronavirus Global Response: EU launches pledging effort

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In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the European Union (EU) has joined together with global partners to organise a worldwide pledging marathon, set to begin on Monday 4 May. The marathon is part of the Coronavirus Global Response, which is the response to the call to action launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other global health actors on 24 April to “Accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines”.

Read the call to action here.

To support this call to action the EU and its partners aim to raise €7.5 billion in initial funding via the worldwide pledging marathon starting on Monday 4 May 2020.  During the marathon countries and organisations around the world will be invited to pledge funds and support for the call to action.

European Commission President von der Leyen said: “We need to bring the world, its leaders and people together against coronavirus. We will launch a global pledging effort. A real marathon. Because beating coronavirus requires a global response and sustained actions on many fronts. We need to develop a vaccine, to produce it and deploy it to every corner of the world. And we need to make it available at affordable prices.”

The 4 May 2020 will mark the start of the marathon and pledges, and also see the European Commission announce the next milestones of a global campaign.

The collected funds will be allocated to three main strands:

  • Diagnostics
  • Treatments
  • Vaccines

Find out more about the effort and how to get involved on the Coronavirus Global Response website: europa.eu/global-response

Follow #UnitedAgainstCoronavirus across social media for updates and help raise awareness by sharing information and announcements surrounding the pledging marathon.

Read the original press release in the Commission press corner.

2019 innovation scoreboards: The innovation performance of the EU and its regions is increasing

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Europe needs to deepen its innovation capability to compete on global markets and maintain and improve the European way of life, as called for by the European Council as recently as June 2018 and March 2019. That is why the Juncker Commission has set a new level of ambition for the EU and its Eu countries and regions, and proposed horizon Europe, the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever. This will keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation.

The European Commission’s 2019 European innovation scoreboard and Regional innovation scoreboard published today show that the EU’s innovation performance has been improving for four years in a row. For the first time ever, Europe’s innovation outperforms that of the United States. However, the EU continues to lose some ground to Japan and South Korea, and China is catching up fast. The data complements the Commission’s recent country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the framework of the European semester, which highlight the role of research and innovation and include recommendations to enhance productivity growth and competitiveness.

The 2019 European innovation scoreboard: key findings

  • Based on their scores, EU countries fall into four performance groups: innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators and modest innovators. Sweden is the 2019 EU innovation leader, followed by Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom and Luxembourg dropped from the top rank of innovation leader status to the strong innovators group, while Estonia joins the strong innovators group for the first time.
  • On average, the innovation performance of the EU has increased by 8.8% since 2011. Since 2011, the innovation performance increased in 25 EU countries. Performance has increased the most in Lithuania, Greece, Latvia, Malta, the United Kingdom, Estonia, and the Netherlands, and decreased the most in Romania and Slovenia.
  • At the global level, the EU has surpassed the United States. The EU’s performance lead over Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa remains considerable. However, China is catching up three times as fast as the EU’s innovation performance is growing. Relative to Japan and South Korea, the EU has been losing ground.
  • In selected areas of innovation, the best performing EU countries are: Denmark – human resources and innovation-friendly environment; Luxembourg – attractive research      systems; France – finance and support; Germany – firm investment; Portugal – SME innovators;Austria – linkages; Malta – intellectual assets; Ireland – employment impacts and sales impacts.

The 2019 regional innovation scoreboard: key findings

The 2019 scoreboard is accompanied by the regional innovation scoreboard. It provides a comparative assessment of performance of innovation systems across 238 regions of 23 EU countries, while Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Malta are included at the country level. In addition, the regional innovation Scoreboard also covers regions from Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland.

The most innovative regions in the EU are Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland followed by Stockholm, Sweden and Hovedstaden, Denmark. For 159 regions, performance has increased in the 9-year observation period. This year’s regional innovation scoreboard demonstrates a strong convergence in regional performance with decreasing performance differences between regions.

Read the full article on the EASME website.

What are the YEC 2018 Jury looking for? – David Gomes

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is getting even closer…only 12 days to go until the deadline on 16 September 2018! Today on Promoting Enterprise we present David Gomes, another Youth Essay Competition jury member. David Gomes will be on the jury as the representative from the JADE Network (The European Confederation of Junior Enterprises), who are one of our competition partners.  Read on to find out what he is looking for in an entry and don’t forget to submit before the deadline!

What will you be looking for in an entry?

Innovation is the keyword – I will be looking for entries that suggest practical and concrete ways for entrepreneurs and governments to become more innovative. For me an entry needs to offer more than just sharing ideas and thinking about what we want in the future. I want the entries to really consider what we want to see in terms of innovation and how we can make this a reality. The writers should think about how we can foster an environment that promotes innovation on a constant basis. I am expecting really good answers as the question of innovation is one that we need to answer as fast as we can.

What are the top three criteria you will base your judging on?

I will judge each essay on the following three criteria: originality, feasibility, and presentation.

What will make an entry stand out for you?

An entry will stand out for me if it considers both the strengths and weaknesses of our present environment, and proposes solutions that are suitable for the problem identified. It is not enough to come up with ideas and expect them to be the best solution for the perceived problem. In order for an entry to be well rounded and thought provoking, the author will need to demonstrate a deep understanding of what is being done at the moment, and propose their solution in light of that.

What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?

Over time the younger generations are taking an ever increasing role in important societal discussions. This competition is an amazing opportunity to make an impact on what policy-makers are defining for our collective future and to make your voice heard. When we are invited to give our opinions we should embrace the challenge and speak up!

What steps do you think should be taken to foster and encourage innovation?

For me, it is much more about change management. Our society is ready for innovation, the problem simply lies with how people react to new ways of doing something or new products and services. We need to embrace innovation as a way to keep improving our lives for the better. Innovation should be a constant in our mindsets, in everything we do – both personally and professionally, and the leaders of this change should definitely be both governments and entrepreneurs.

Interested in entering this year’s competition? Find out more about the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition right here. Use the News Portal for all your competition questions and be sure to have a look at the previous winning entries for inspiration. Finally, don’t forget to submit your essays by 23 September 2018!

Youth Essay Competition – Advice from 2017 winner Oksana Vedmidska

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Oksana Vedmidska, most recent winner of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition in 2017, is back on the Portal! Last week she shared what she has been doing since winning the competition, the best part about entering and her advice on how to answer the 2018 question. Haven’t read it yet? Have a look here.

Today Oksana shares with us her advice for the 2018 competitors, what she learnt from her competition experience last year and finally her projects for the future.

Do you have any advice for the 2018 competitors?

I am convinced that our thoughts influence our actions in a material manner. That is why my advice would be to think practically. Let me demonstrate this. There is a young Ukrainian performing artist that uses the motto “Brave, Love, Freedom”. I would use this motto in a practical way in order to dwell upon the topic of this year’s competition.

Let’s take firstly the point “Love” I would interpret it in the following way: look around you, define the persons you care about, think about their needs and what innovative steps are required to improve the lives of your loved ones. Now let us look at “Freedom”: get rid of prejudice; let your critical mind absorb and analyse information around you; be open to any topic no matter if you agree with it or not, because firstly you have to listen to opposing opinions, then gather data and facts about the argument and finally build your own opinion. Finally, “Brave”: do not be afraid to talk with experts about topics like: Innovation, Political and Social strategies, Economics, and Entrepreneurship, do not be intimidated by their experience and look for seminars and conferences at which these topics are discussed. Finally, do not doubt yourself, sit down and write down all of your own ideas, because these ideas will one way or another influence the behaviour and way of thinking of those who will read or listen to them!

What did you learn from the Youth Essay competition experience?

The essays I read raise very important issues concerning the promotion of entrepreneurship, for example, questions about ethical norms or the way businesses and European officials communicate with youth. These ideas spoke to me and I will keep them in mind in order to use and implement them in terms of my future career and volunteering activities.

Furthermore, while at the SME Assembly 2017 I learnt a lot about the needs, problems and wishes of small and medium-sized enterprises and their suppliers. In addition, thanks to the diversity of the topics discussed I received information that helped me to identify issues that may become problematic and worth discussing in future.

In addition, I must admit that I miss the discussions that I had during the SME Assembly 2017 with the other finalists of the Youth Essay Competition 2017 Evlampia Karavangeli and Pavle Kostić.

Do you have any exciting projects that you would like to share?

For the time being my greatest project is to graduate on time and to carefully study the new EU General Data Protection Regulation about which everyone, and especially entrepreneurs, is anxious. I am also interested in seeing how relations between the EU and Latin American countries develop. My interest comes from both having friends in Latin America and my personal conviction that the development of relationships will only benefit both sides and especially youth from countries with emerging economies.

Interested in the 2018 competition? Find out more right here and read the 2018 advice from 2016 winner Andri Pandoura for more inspiration. Don’t forget to read Oksana’s first post here and don’t forget to keep coming back to the Portal for more exciting content on this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition.

Oksana Vedmidska – What is the 2017 Youth Essay Competition winner up to now?

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Youth of Europe, we are looking for your opinions! The SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2018 is underway and looking for inspiring and creative answers to:

Not sure how to tackle the question? Deciding whether to enter or not? In order to help anybody thinking about entering the 2018 competition Promoting Enterprise spoke to 2017 winner Oksana Vedmidska about her experience and her advice for the 2018 applicants. Read on to find out what she has been up to since winning the competition, what it was like to compete last year and finally her tips and tricks for answering the 2018 question. 

What have you been doing since winning the Youth Essay Competition?

Back when I won the Youth Essay Competition, I had started pursuing my second degree in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Applied Science in Darmstadt, Germany, which I am still doing. In addition, I am currently one of the volunteer translators in an international non-profit organisation “Global Voices”. This NGO is an international community of writers, bloggers and digital activists, whose aim is to translate and objectively report on what is being said in citizen media worldwide.

I am also continuing to improve my French and in March 2018 I began learning Portuguese. I actually had to put my knowledge to the test shortly after having started Portuguese. I was approached by Isabel Recavarren, an editor of an informative Euro-Latin American platform “Panorámica”, who invited me to participate in the seminar “Challenges of Euro-Latin American Women: Digital Agenda and Access to Markets”. The seminar was organised by the Women’s Forum of the Euro-Latin-American Parliamentary Assembly in the premises of the European Parliament, where I had an opportunity to listen to very interesting and informative presentations, but without much interpretative help. During the seminar I spoke in Spanish about the European youth’s visioning for digital economy.

What was the best part about entering the Youth Essay Competition?

The best part about entering the Youth Essay Competition was that I could present and share all my ideas that I had obtained from my observations. Moreover, I was able to read the ideas and visions of other young people and find out more about the way they think.

Do you have any advice on how to approach the 2018 question?

In my opinion, first of all, governments and associations of entrepreneurs have to agree to organise a round table let’s say every six months, so that governments can take into consideration issues that are important for entrepreneurs. For example, in December 2017 I visited one local seminar in Darmstadt which discussed topics such as: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Science. Participants included entrepreneurs, scientists, students, a local politician and those who were just interested in the discussion. During this seminar local start-uppers complained that because of a long and complicated bureaucratic process it is difficult for them to obtain a state subsidy for their innovative projects. I think that politicians should take this criticism seriously and develop ways to solve the problem mentioned. It is obvious that in the modern developed world we need regulations and a red-tape in order to guarantee that taxpayers’ money is put to good use and to control levels of corruption. However, politicians could reconsider, for instance, the necessity and effectiveness of certain bureaucratic steps, whether these steps be done online and perhaps whether more staff should be hired in order to process applications more quickly.

Secondly, the future of our economy lies in digital markets, so that governments need to make sure that the majority of their population has access to the Internet and is able to pass through the red-tape via secure Internet channels. Small and medium-sized enterprises, on the other hand, have to pay attention to their presence on the Internet and social media platforms. At the same time SMEs should carefully use the personal data of their customers, employees, suppliers, partners and make sure that their innovative ideas are not misused.

Thirdly, I believe that both parties have to open more opportunities for youth. For example, by providing more scholarships, cooperating with local educational institutions, creating new internship positions or mentoring programs.

Interested in the 2018 competition? Find out more right here and read the 2018 advice from 2016 winner Andri Pandoura for more inspiration. Don’t forget to come back to the Portal next week to read more about 2017 winner Oksana and her advice for the 2018 competitors!

 

Ready to grow with Enterprise Europe Network

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The Enterprise Europe Network is a support network that helps small and medium-sized business (SMEs) grow and innovate internationally. Active in over 60 countries worldwide, the network draws on the skills and services of 3 000 experts from over 600 member organisations to offer business support to SMEs.

Members of the network are varied and include: technology poles, innovation support organisations, universities and research institutes, regional development organisations and chambers of commerce and industry.

Today Promoting Enterprise will be showcasing one specific aspect of the Enterprise Europe Network, their extensive collection of SME Success Stories, which are all available on their website. These Success Stories come from across European Union Member States and COSME countries, and highlight the diversity of innovative businesses in need of financial and business support.

Have look through the Success Stories catalogue and look out for the individual companies across our social media!

Not following us yet? Head on over to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to stay up to date on all Promoting Enterprise activities.

European Innovation Council pilot to support 257 SMEs with 13 million EUR

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The EU will support 257 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 31 countries who aim to get their innovations faster to the market. The companies have been selected in the latest round of the SME Instrument, which is part of the recently launched European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. The funding of €12.65 million in total comes from Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.

Examples of the projects selected to receive EU funding include solar street lights, software that uses augmented reality to help industrial plants monitor their production chain, a diagnosis tool for sleep apnoea, an innovative mobile payment technology, a custom-made paint vending machine and a wrapping machine for sustainable packaging.

In this phase of the SME Instrument (the so-called Phase 1), each project will receive €50 000 to draft a business plan. There are 253 projects in total as several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also get three days of free coaching and business acceleration services.

Most companies selected for funding work in the field of health, engineering and information and communication technology (ICT). Most companies are based in Spain (45), Italy (28) and Israel (23).

The European Commission received 2009 proposals for this first Phase 1 cut-off of the SME Instrument this year. The next application deadline for SME Instrument Phase 1 is in May 2018.

Applications for phase 1 or phase 2 can be submitted at any time, as the SME Instrument is managed as a permanently open call with several cut off dates per year. Applications are evaluated as soon as there are submitted.

For more information, read the full article here and consult the Horizon 2020 online participant manual.

Towards industry 4.0: a unique pitching contest for Europe’s upcoming SMEs

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Are you a small fast-growing company working on Industry 4.0? The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot’s SME Instrument invites you to pitch your business cases and ideas to top investors in the South Moravian Innovation Centre (JIC) in Brno, Czech Republic. Apply before 13 May!

On 12 June, a limited number of SME Instrument companies working in Industry 4.0 smart factory solutions will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors and network with corporate representatives and other entrepreneurs in an exclusive event promoted by the SME Instrument Business Acceleration Services.

The event welcomes all innovative approaches to industrial automation and innovative manufacturing technologies. Prepare yourself to make a short pitch about your company (5 minutes), which will be followed by a brief question and answer session. If you are a Phase 1 or Phase 2 SME Instrument company with a solid international business strategy and are committed to participating in the event, we welcome you to apply.

Innovation is the best way to increase productivity and growth. Implementing industry 4.0 solutions and systems might generate enough momentum to ensure the EU’s position as a global manufacturing and industry leader. By enabling innovations across the entire value chain, start-ups and medium-sized companies are in a privileged position to tackle the new challenges posed by digitalisation and interconnection of products.

If you fit the description above then don’t miss out on this opportunity to join the next industrial revolution, and apply here until 13 May.

For more information on the competition, and to learn about similar events, read the full article on the EASME website.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Listen Up Foundation – Special Mention 2017

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Who else received an EEPA 2017 special mention? Meet the Listen Up Foundation from Bulgaria, who were recognised for their work for the deaf and hard of hearing communities in Bulgaria. Find out how they entered and the exciting opportunity that came their way after the EEPA 2017 awards ceremony…

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We first heard about the national competition via the Reach for Change Foundation network, of which we are a member. This network often notifies us of different opportunities, and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) was one of them.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

The main motivation for entering was to bring more visibility to the challenges that the deaf and hard of hearing students face in schools and universities. We specifically wanted to highlight the challenges posed by them having no access to information and communication. For us we needed to show how important it is to make all involved parties – students, parents, teachers, lecturers and many others involved in the training process at schools and universities – aware of these students and their needs.

How did you prepare your application?

In general we are constantly in the process of developing new activities and expanding on our work, specifically creating an environment with higher awareness on the need for accessibility for all. Our preparation simply consisted of accurately documenting what we do and being sure to include all of our latest activities. For us this meant including big developments such as the establishment of the Academy for deaf and hard of hearing children and youth by the Listen Up Foundation. Through the establishment of the academy we can continue to bring more empowerment tools for the deaf community in order to be actively involved in the change-making process.

What was it like to receive a special mention and how did it affect your work?

It was a complete surprise, we didn’t expect it and we are so thankful for it! It was really wonderful to be acknowledged and we truly appreciate it. Not only was it fantastic recognition for our project, but it was an opportunity for both the Bulgarian and wider European deaf communities to be in the spotlight and receive the attention they deserve.

Receiving the special mention also created some exciting opportunities for us. We recently signed a contract with the Ministry of Education in Bulgaria to provide accessibility services to the deaf and hard of hearing students at approximately 50 mainstream schools. This will come into force around the beginning of the next academic year from 2018-2019.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018 and what advice would you give them?

We strongly recommend entering the EEPA competition to anyone that is considering it! By entering such an important contest you will gain recognition for your project and doors will open for other opportunities.

What are your plans for the future?

Our future plans consist of us continuing our work through raising awareness of the deaf and hard of hearing communities, and advocating for their needs. We believe that video-relay services for deaf signers will cover all major institutions across the country in the future. We also hope that over the next two years all deaf and hard of hearing students will have access to speech-to-text services at both schools and universities.

Interested in the work of the Listen Up Foundation? Visit their website to find out more! Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

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