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SME Assembly 2020 – Day 2

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The second and final day of the SME Assembly 2020 was opened by Shona Murray, who brought together all of the conclusions and thought provoking ideas from throughout Day 1 and entered into conversation with renowned economist Maja Göpel.

In her keynote speech, Maja Göpel stressed how humanity plays a huge factor in economic success and the wellbeing of our planet, and the impact that humanity has had as a changing force on the entire planetary earth system. She also highlighted the need to ‘build forward’ rather than look to ‘build back’, which will require us to re-define where we want to go and put our purpose first.

In the session on intellectual property rights (IPR), our speakers made IPR accessible to all, explaining that IP is much more than just protecting but also about creating opportunities for innovation and growth. The theme of innovation was continued during the ‘Stories of Success’, a showcase of entrepreneurial individuals who use their expertise and companies to innovate during the crisis and provide useful products and services.

A high-level roundtable of experts, including DG GROW’s Kristin Schreiber, came together to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and specifically challenges and opportunities for SMEs, as well as what the future of policy making should focus on. Speakers touched on the importance of solo entrepreneurs, their contribution to societal cohesion and the need to sustain entrepreneurial diversity, as well as the importance of SMEs and how their survival determines Europe’s survival during this crisis. Other conclusions included the need to overhaul current thinking and a system that does not necessarily honour honest people.

Concerns about the current the current liquidity crisis being a pre-cursor for a solvency crisis for SMEs were shared during the presentation from the OECD and the European Commission. Among the main challenges for businesses going forward are labour costs, debt accrued during the peak of the crisis, and financing conditions in general, which all have a sizeable impact on the expectations for the year ahead.

Expert discussions around re-thinking value chains revealed that what SMEs need during the COVID crisis is reliability and transparency, and that the key focus areas when re-designing these chains should be: connected, automatic and electric vehicles, hydrogen technology, smart health, low carbon industry, industrial IoT and cybersecurity.

Our youth finalists for this year’s essay competition, Georgina Whiteman, Pablo Pastor Vidal and Sabine Kerssens took the floor with their ideas, whilst delegates listened to their speeches and voted. Young innovative engineer Sabine was crowned this year’s winner, as her ideas on cross-border collaboration and inclusive innovation spoke most to the delegates who selected her in the live vote. Well done Sabine!

So where do we go from here? The closing session highlighted the importance of continuing forward and not searching to simply return to the status quo. Closing speakers also impressed the need to recognise and support the strong societal role that our SMEs play and to start taking concrete steps. It is time for us to hand the SME Assembly torch to Slovenia, where hopefully next year we will be able to have the SME Assembly 2021 in person, and continue discussions on building a sustainable and resilient future together.

Catch up on moments and highlights from the SME Assembly 2020 on our YouTube channel:

Meet the EEPA 2020 Jury – Kristin Schreiber & Thomas Wobben

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) have moved into the next phase, the European level competition! Up until now the EEPA National Coordinators have been working hard to collect and select their top two national entries for the consideration of the EEPA 2020 Jury.

The EEPA 2020 Jury will now take the time to review all of the national winners and then collectively decide which projects they would like to include on their 2020 European shortlist. But who exactly are the EEPA 2020 Jury? Who are the people behind this important and difficult decision?

Time to meet two of our experienced jurors:

Coming back as our experienced EEPA Jury chair is Kristin Schreiber, Director for SME Policy & COSME, in the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the European Commission. Kristin has been involved in the SME Assembly and the EEPA judging process for many years, from hosting important SME Assembly keynote sessions and panels, leading the SME Envoy meetings, and chairing both the Youth Essay Competition and EEPA juries. This year we are welcoming her back once again to chair the EEPA 2020 jury and facilitate the final decisions.

Another veteran jury member who we are welcoming back is Mr Thomas Wobben, Director of the Directorate for Horizontal Policies and Networks at the Committee of the Regions. His responsibilities include monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, relations with the OECD and Eurostat, and prospective works of the Committee of the Regions. Thomas presented the 2019 Special Mentions at the EEPA awards ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.

Welcome back to Kristin Schreiber and Thomas Wobben! Come back to the News Portal to meet the rest of the EEPA 2020 jury: Professor Thomas Cooney, Mr Bastian Coes, Ms Sabine Hepperle, Mr Ben Butters and Ms Anke Wiegand. Most importantly stay tuned for their decision in September on their choices for the 2020 European shortlist.

Find out more about EEPA 2020 and read about specific updates to the 2020 edition from EEPA jury chair Kristin Schreiber here on the News Portal.

EEPA 2020 – What’s new?

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Dear EEPA Community,

I am writing this letter to announce some changes to the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA).

The EEPA has been running for 14 years, and whilst their goal to showcase the best in enterprise and entrepreneurial promotion from across Europe and COSME countries, remains the same, the EEPA are constantly updated and evolve to remain current and relevant.

With the beginning of 2020 and the start of a new decade, we have decided to make these changes to the EEPA in order for them to align with our current priorities and aims.

The first change to EEPA 2020 is the element of sustainability. The European Commission has been working across various fields and sectors to ensure that Europe is moving into the future sustainably. From the Plastics Directive to the Circular Economy white paper, to the annual sustainable energy week, Europe as a whole is building a sustainable future. In light of this, the EEPA jury will judge each project according to its category, but also on its environmental impact and consciousness. Not only does this complement the Green Deal, announced by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, but is also an important step for EEPA to continue recognising outstanding projects, and ensuring that they contribute to an increasingly circular economy.

The historic green category, “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency” is one that I strongly believe in and with the new increased emphasis on sustainability I hope to encourage projects from across all categories to adopt this greener and sustainable mind-set.

The second change to EEPA 2020, is the broadening of the category ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’. The jury would like this category to welcome more diverse projects, and as such, has expanded the category description to include employee skills. The jury is inviting applicants who have launched and championed initiatives to improve employee skills and better equip their employees both in terms of entrepreneurship and increasing digital literacy needs. This change has been introduced to expand the EEPA further and ensure that we are able to recognise more initiatives.

With each new edition I am reminded of how much I believe in the EEPA and with each change I am proud to see this award scheme grow and develop to accommodate the growing innovation and talent across Europe.

I look forward to reading the 2020 submissions and would like to thank the National Coordinators in advance for their hard work in bringing EEPA to life every year.

Sincerely,

Kristin Schreiber

EEPA 2020 Jury Chair

SME Assembly 2019 – Day 3

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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.

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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:

EEPA 2019 – Meet the Jury!

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The European EEPA 2019 deadline has passed, and the jury are reviewing all of the national applications ahead of their jury meeting in September. But who are the EEPA 2019 jury? Who will be judging this year’s EEPA competition?

It is time to meet the EEPA 2019 jury!

Every year the EEPA jury has some experienced faces that return to help and judge the new set of applicants. We are proud to welcome back Prof. Thomas M. Cooney (Professor in Entrepreneurship, Dublin Institute of Technology)Thomas Wobben (Committee of the Regions),  and Kristin Schreiber (DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) to once again sit on the EEPA jury.

In addition to our returning members, we also have several new faces that will be joining the jury this year and lending their experience and expertise to the judging process. In 2019 we are pleased to welcome Mr Darius Vodă (Romanian SME Envoy), Mr Petri Peltonen (Finnish SME Envoy), Ms Agnes Mathis (Director of Co-operatives Europe), Ms Anke Wiegand (Head of Unit Innovation Funding Financing at the Enterprise Europe Network Berlin Partner for Business and Technology) and Mads Váczy Kragh (CEO of Erhvervshus Sjælland, ‘Lean Landing’ Grand Jury Prize Winner 2018).

Promoting Enterprise will be presenting the newer Jury members over the next few weeks, so keep coming back to the News Portal to find out more. Read about our experienced jury members Prof. Thomas M. CooneyThomas Wobben and Kristin Schreiber right here on the News Portal!

EEPA 2018 – Meet the Jury!

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The European EEPA deadline is approaching, but who will be judging all of the national entries this year? Who is responsible for creating the EEPA 2018 European shortlist? Meet your 2018 EEPA jury!

On this year’s jury we have some familiar retuning faces and some new members. This year seven jurors from different disciplines and backgrounds will collaboratively review all of the national submissions before meeting in Brussels to decide the 2018 European shortlist. In addition to coming from different backgrounds our jury members also come from across Europe so as to bring their own national contexts and expertise to the judging panel.

This year we are pleased to welcome back Prof. Thomas M. Cooney (Professor in Entrepreneurship, Dublin Institute of Technology), Thomas Wobben (Committee of the Regions), Lisa Steigertahl (Entrepreneurship Consultant) and Kristin Schreiber (DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) to once again sit on the EEPA jury.

We would also like to welcome our new jury members Jesús Casado Navarro-Rubio (Secretary General of European Family Business), Dr. Matthias Tschirf (Austrian SME Envoy), Anna van Nunen (Director of Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017 Innofest) and Alexander Manolev (Bulgarian SME Envoy).

Stay tuned to Promoting Enterprise to meet all of the new jury members over the next few weeks and be sure to read up on our veteran jury members Prof. Thomas M. Cooney, Thomas WobbenLisa Steigertahl and Kristin Schreiber right here on the News Portal!

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 3

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The SME Assembly 2017 has drawn to a close after three action packed days of networking, policy sessions, masterclasses, tours and awards. As always, the SME Assembly brought together people from across the world all striving towards creating a European environment in which SMEs can thrive and grow.

The day began bright and early with the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) breakfast, which was followed by an engaging policy session featuring an address from European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katanien, a speech from Director of DG Growth Kristin Schreiber, and an in depth look at the EIPP presented by a member of Vice President Katanien’s cabinet, Florentine Hopmeier. The dedicated EIPP policy session was then followed by the first ever live EIPP matchmaking event which simulated the work of the portal in real life. This was the first event of its kind allowing investors and entrepreneurs to meet face to face and make valuable connections for the future.

In parallel to the EIPP sessions, the 21st Century Enterprise segment of the Assembly featured different speakers discussing pertinent topics such as female entrepreneurship and the need to adapt the education system to modern work trends and society. There was also lively discussion on the role of youth in the workforce and their different attitudes in comparison to older generations. Speakers agreed with each other in that these differences should be celebrated and utilised rather than used to divide, and spoke of the need to integrate the different generations that make up the present workforce.

On the subject of youth, the session was lucky enough to have three young panellists representing that very demographic on stage. These panellists were of course the three finalists of the highly contested Youth Essay Competition which this year focused on the skills that future entrepreneurs need. All three finalists took to the stage to make spirited speeches and covered topics such as: cultural fusion being the backbone of brilliant ideas, the necessity for soft skills and the need for patience on the way to success. After the audience vote Oksana Vedimdska was announced as the deserving winner of this year’s competition, congratulations Oksana! We will be bringing you more information on Oksana and the other two finalists right here on the Portal in the form of exclusive interviews, so be sure to keep following us weekly!

The Assembly continued on with the final policy sessions and masterclasses, on interesting topics such as Digitalisation for SMEs from the Watify project, a look at the Ideas from Europe alumni, the role of Ecommerce for SMEs and the hot topic of the Single Market and whether it poses new barriers.

It was then time for the Assembly to come to an end, and for host country Estonia to pass the torch to next year’s hosts…Austria! The SME Assembly 2017 may be over, but the connections made and the ideas shared will continue to inform our European SME discussions. We hope that you enjoyed this year’s SME Assembly as much as we did, and perhaps we will see you all again next year in Graz…

Access all the photos here.

How can you win the Youth Essay Competition 2017? – Find out what the jury is looking for!

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The deadline for the European Youth Essay Competition is approaching, but there is still time left for submissions! Today on Promoting Enterprise the 2017 essay competition jury are, offering their advice, top tips and what they will be looking for in an entry. Interested in what they have to say? Have a read through and be sure to submit an entry before the deadline on 08 September 2017.

This year the Youth Essay Competition will be judged by a competent and diverse jury, from different fields and with different expertise:

  • Kristin Schreiber (DG Grow)
  • Cristina Fernández (Global Entrepreneurship Network)
  • Przemysław Grzywa (The European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs)
  • Andri Pandoura (2016 Youth Essay Competition winner)

What will the jurors be looking for in an entry?

An entry should primarily answer the essay question, but what specific things should you include to catch a juror’s eye? Longer essays are not necessarily better, but this year the jury wants “fresh ideas… and a better understanding of young people and their vision of entrepreneurship”, as well as “a sincere passion and interest in the topic of the competition”. The jurors want entries to identify the issues that youth face, but also propose innovative and creative solutions that could be implemented by and inform policymakers. In other words: ” Is there a better and easily implemented way to ‘train’ and so ‘equip’ our future entrepreneurial leaders?”

What will make an entry stand out?

As the jury is so diverse what stands out for one juror may not for another, yet all of them have said that they will be looking for both innovation and truthfulness. Przemysław Grzywa, is looking for an essay that “comes right from the heart instead of Google search engine”, a sentiment echoed by Cristina Fernández, who sees the competition as “a chance to let the audience know where exactly the young are facing a roadblock to their path as entrepreneurs”.

Speaking from personal experience, Andri Pandoura (the 2016 competition winner), will be looking for a personal essay, as for her “it is important to be able to see the person writing the essay and their story in the essay itself”. Kristin Schreiber is “really looking for some out-of-the box thinking”. She will also pay attention to the way it is written: “Don’t worry if your English is not perfect, but do keep in mind that when you want to convince someone of your ideas, clear writing and keeping it sharp and simple always helps!”

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

“Often, when we hear about a given policy being made, we think – I would have done it much better. Here we offer you a chance to express and test your ideas in real life. To see if and how they can inspire policy makers who work on developing entrepreneurship across Europe. (…) Entering in the competition is a win-win for all!”

– Kristin Schreiber

“Decisions are shaped by those who weigh and get involved. The SME Assembly and this competition are a great opportunity to have the voice of young entrepreneurs heard. Only if entrepreneurs articulate their concerns and ideas, can we hope for entrepreneur-centric policies and programs.”

– Cristina Fernández

“If you have your opinion – try it. If you believe one can change the world – try it. If you think you won’t succeed – try it even harder.”

– Przemysław Grzywa

“Just do it and don’t overthink! I had the same doubts last year but you never know how things turn out.”

– Andri Pandoura

For more information about the competition have a look right here on Promoting Enterprise and we look forward to receiving your entries!

The countdown for the #EEPA2017 shortlist begins

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The entry deadline for the European level of the EEPA competition closed on 3 July 2017. The entries are now being checked and prepared for evaluation by the Jury.

In 2017 305 National EEPA entries were received from 32 participating countries. 56 projects were then selected by the National Co-ordinators as the best of the best and were put forward for the European level of the competition.

Interested in finding out who will be competing for the European awards? What does each country have to offer this year? Promoting Enterprise will be introducing you to all the categories and national winners throughout the summer…so stay tuned!

Who will be judging the entries? This year the diverse EEPA 2017 jury is made up of eight representatives from across different sectors and professions:

Kristin Schreiber (Chair) – Director, SME Policy & COSME, DG Grow, European Commission
Mr Thomas Wobben – Director, Committee of the Regions
Mr Christian Cardona – Minister of Ministry of the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Malta
Mr Viljar Lubi – Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, Estonia
Karen BoersCo-founder & President, European Startup Network
Lisa Steigertahl – Co-founder & Director, European Startup Network
Ms Daniela ÖlmungerGrand Jury prize winner of 2016 edition, Entrepreneurial West Hisingen
Professor Thomas Cooney – Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology

The EEPA Jury will meet in Brussels in September to decide on a project shortlist for each of the EEPA categories. The shortlisted projects will be announced soon after the Brussels meeting, and the winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 23 November in Tallinn, Estonia.

Keep up with all the latest EEPA news right here on Promoting Enterprise, and good luck to all competing projects!

Winners of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016 prove diversity of entrepreneurial spirit in Europe

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30415999933_56c9c9d966_zCongratulations! The seven winners of the 10th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) were announced by Peter Varinský with the Grand Jury Prize being awarded to a Swedish city project.

The six projects that each won their category came from France, UK, Portugal, Finland, Serbia, and The Netherlands. The categories covered the broad areas of entrepreneurship, enterprise start-up and growth, international market opportunities, and green markets. Three projects from Latvia, Ireland and Greece received Special Mentions from the EEPA jury, which comprised seven representatives from government, business and academia from the EU.

The top prize was awarded to the district of West Hisingen in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. The  project supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It is divided into three parts: Entrepreneurship in education; Start your business, a course for newly arrived refugees with a business background in their home country; and Develop your business, a comprehensive business training programme.

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To see photos from the yesterday´s joyous ceremony, visit our Flickr. We will present all projects fully in coming weeks, but if you can´t wait, you can have a look at the EEPA 2016 Compendium.

Speaking of the awards, Ms Kristin Schreiber, chair of the EEPA jury and Director for COSME programme at Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission, said: “The 57 projects selected to compete at European level, not just the winners, runners-up and special mentions, are a testimony to the passion and innovation that puts ideas into practice. These are examples that can inspire the creation of an ecosystem that helps entrepreneurial spirits, nurtures enterprises and helps them grow. All these projects have tangible results: they help to create new companies and new jobs. I hope they will be an inspiration to authorities, organisations and individuals across Europe to do more for entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

Next year’s awards ceremony will take place during the 2017 SME Assembly in Tallinn, under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

And by the way – the cake for the 10th EEPA´s birthday was delicious! 🙂

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