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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! 🙂

EEPA – our final Jury introduction

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Each year, in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, an independent high-level Jury is faced with the difficult task of drawing up a shortlist of projects that will compete for the first prize during the SME Assembly. This year is no different – the EEPA Jury should select three shortlisted projects in each of the six project categories by mid-September, a task that is made especially difficult by the high quality of the participating projects.

The EEPA Jury is typically made up of a representative from the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the countries holding the first and second semester EU presidencies (this year the Netherlands and Slovakia), a European SME organisation, the Grand Jury prize winner from the previous year (this year Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship) and a representative from academia.

We have been introducing you to the members of this year’s EEPA Jury in a series of blog posts over the past few weeks, So far, there has been Dublin Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Professor Thomas M. Cooney, Thomas Wobben from the Committee of the Regions, Pieter Waasdorp from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, UEAPME Vice President Alban Maggiar, Ana Margarida Figueiredo from Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship and Marián Letovanec from the Slovak Business Agency.

Last, but by no means least, this week it is the turn of the Jury member from the European Commission, represented this year by Kristin Schreiber from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).

Kristin Schreiber

DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

kristin-schreiber Kristin joined the European Commission in 1990 and has held a variety of positions since then. She was appointed Director of the COSME Programme and SME policy in 2015 having served as Director for Governance of the Single Market and International Affairs, first in DG MARKT and then in DG GROW since February 2014.

Previously, she was Head of Cabinet of Employment Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and a member of the Cabinet of Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen. She has also served as Head of Unit for International Affairs in DG Employment and as an administrator in various DG’s.

The judging process

For the EEPA Awards, individual countries were invited to conduct national competitions to determine the best projects to represent their nation. Hundreds of projects competed in these national competitions in 2016 for a chance to vie for an EEPA. Countries were allowed to nominate a maximum of two entries per category to the European competition. Each Jury member reads and assesses every entry against defined criteria covering: originality and feasibility, impact on the economy, improvement of stakeholder relations and transferability. The Jury then meets to discuss their top entries in each category, before agreeing on winners, runners up and any special mentions. The shortlist is published shortly after the jury meeting and the winners are announced during the Awards Ceremony at the SME Assembly.

For more information check the European Enterprise Promotion Awards

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