The third and final day of the SME Assembly 2022 had a full morning of sessions, panel discussions and the awaited Youth Essay competition, which 20-year old Hulgarian Viktória Vass won!
The morning panel “New Ways of Working” explored the best practices that SMEs can adopt to upskill their workforce and equip. One of the 33 under 33 Stories of Succes Kosima Kovar said: “If we want our future to be a masterpiece, we need to give our artists more colors to paint with than just what it takes to create blue suits and brown shoes.”
In the policy workshop “Green Investment”, the investing in green and renewable energies was discussed and how it has never been more critical.
The session “Rise of the Creative Class” heard from Alessandro Rancatci, former Senior Policy Designer, who discussed the challenges around sustainable transition for SMEs.
A highlight of the final day of this year’s SME Assembly was the presentation of the top three essays by the finalists in this year’s Youth Essay Competition, with feedback from the Chair of the Youth Essay Jury and Kristina Dimova, 2021 Youth Essay Competition winner.
After the presentations, the audience voted on the winning essay, with the prize going to Viktoria Vass. Congratulations to Viktoria for her exceptional essay!
You can find out more about her essay and the other two YEC 2022 finalists here.
The final discussion on Day 3 of the SME Assembly focused on SME Economic Performance. Speakers shared and explored recently published data on the performance of SMEs in 2022 with a view to discussing how which priority policy measures need to be better implemented or designed to help SMEs meet the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.
“SME Definition in Practice” workshop aimed to discuss the implementation of the existing SME Definition, its usefulness and applicability in the current situation. Policy makers focused on problematic areas that Member States face when implementing the SME definition. The main two topics were relations through natural persons and practical impacts and experience with judgement T745/17 Kerkosand.
Policy Conclusions of SME Assembly 2022 took over in Hall C of O2 Universum with most of the participants to finalise the successful event with the debate and exchanges of this year’s Assembly. Speakers and attendees shared concrete ideas that have been put forward for the SME Relief Package; as well as their prescriptions for the longer-term transition to a digital and net zero future.
SME Assembly 2022 is over, but learned so much for the future of SMEs and cannot wait to see the next actions will be.
Meanwhile the torch has been handed over to Spain! We are looking forward to seeing you all again next year in Spain.
This evening, we celebrated the 10th edition of the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards, organised by the Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE), EuropeanIssuers and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs during the SME Assembly in Prague (Czechia).
The Awards highlight excellent SMEs from across the EU that have accessed capital markets via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the preceding two calendar years. They display the diversity of European markets and aim to promote stock listings on EU public markets, in particular targeting SMEs and growth companies.
Nominated companies are assessed by an independent, expert jury via four categories:
- the Star of 2022, awarded to an outstanding corporate citizen that stands out in a broad range of areas (e.g. ESG, financial and economic performances, reputation) as an exceptional leader in its class
- the Star of Innovation, awarded to a newly listed small or mid-cap company that places innovation (i.e. in corporate strategy and/or marketing strategy and/or the use of new technology) at the centre of its strategy for business development
- the International Star, awarded to a newly listed small and mid-cap company that boasts impressive results in terms of international sales, profit and market share growth
- the Rising Star, awarded to an SME with a market capitalisation up to €200m that displays remarkable growth potential
The Jury also assigns a Special Mention, to recognise an initiative, an individual or a company that has had a significant impact on small and mid-cap issuers accessing capital markets.
And the winners are…
Star of 2022
GreenVolt (listed on Euronext Lisbon) is a leading Portuguese renewables company operating across three segments: (1) Biomass; (2) Utility scale wind & solar projects; (3) Distributed generation. In Portugal, GreenVolt operates 5 electricity biomass plants (98 MW installed capacity) using exclusively forestry residues and, in the UK, holds a waste wood plant (42 MW installed capacity). GreenVolt is also a major EU developer of utility scale wind & solar projects.
Star of Innovation
SECO (listed on Borsa Italiana ) is a centre of excellence in the field of innovation and technological integration. It develops and manufactures cutting-edge technological solutions, from miniaturized computers to fully customized integrated hardware-software systems. SECO also offers Clea, a proprietary end-to-end IoT (Internet of Things) AI analytics software suite that allows customers to gather real-time data from their on-field devices.
NACON (listed on Euronext Paris) was founded in October 2019, following the consolidation of all components of Bigben Gaming Division into a new entity. The company specialises in the development and publishing of so-called AA video game software (games with sales of between 0.2 and 3 million copies) in both physical and digital format across the action/adventure, racing, sports, and simulation genres.
EiDF (listed on BME, SIX Group) was founded in 2008 and is based in Galicia. The Spanish company specialised in photovoltaic (PV) solar energy installations. Its main activity is energy self-consumption aimed at small and large companies in order to offer them an efficient and profitable saving alternative with which to reduce energy costs and improve their competitiveness.
Rosinger Group (nominated by Wiener Börse) is an internationally successful financial group, which is operating as both professional investor and independent specialised advisory service, it facilitates access for SMEs to capital, know-how and a network of contacts, focusing on IPOs, listings, financial engineering, corporate finance and strategy.
Merete Clausen, Director Investment, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, commented: “Access to public capital markets is key for the growth of EU companies and complements the support offered by private sources. The quality of the nominations this year was impressive, and the Jury has done a great job. The awarded SMEs stood out because of their growth performance, the innovativeness of their business models, the products or services they offer, or their successful internationalisation strategy. I hope the awarded companies will inspire other European businesses to take the leap and seek access to the EU capital markets.”
Petr Koblic, President of FESE, added: “Many congratulations to this year’s winners. Even if ultimately we only crowned one winner per category, being listed on capital markets is already a big achievement – one that makes every public company a winner in their own right. These Awards showcase successful IPOs from all over Europe and provide clear examples of the advantages of listing on exchanges for companies seeking to access finance.”
“SMEs are the foundation of the European economy. They are vitally important in creating jobs, supporting growth and boosting innovation. Supporting companies such as those celebrated last night to grow is essential to the green and digital transitions.”
Luc Vansteenkiste, Chairman of EuropeanIssuers, commented: “Small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the European economy. They are vitally important in creating jobs, supporting growth and boosting innovation. It is pleasing that the CMU Action Plan includes important actions to help these companies support their journey through their access to finance on capital markets. The challenge for the future is to find the perfect balance between the need of European harmonization and the respect of the local SME’s specificities.”
“Today’s award ceremony showcases example of successful small and mid-cap companies, they are an example of vision and courage to go for stock exchange in order to make their companies grow and prosper. So let me congratulate them and wish them a successful future.”
You can find out more about the European Small & Mid-Cap Awards website.
The SME Assembly 2022 is nearly here! In anticipation of this year’s event, we’ve listed some of the best things to see, buy, eat, and (of course) drink in the beautiful Czech capital.
What to See
Take a walk along the Royal Route to check out some of the city’s most dazzling sights. Although less than three kilometres in length, the Royal Route is home to such attractions as:
- The Municipal House — A classic example of Art Nouveau architecture built in the early twentieth century. There’s so Mucha to see here (pardon the pun).
- The Old Town Square — It might be old and square, but the people you’ll find here are anything but
- The Astronomical Clock — We bet your watch doesn’t also show you the positions of the Sun, phases of the Moon, astronomical cycles, and Christian holidays (unless there’s a new Apple Watch we don’t know about).
- Charles Bridge — Visit the oldest surviving bridge built over the Vlatva River for some very pretty views of the capital.
- The St Vitus Cathedral — Prague’s largest church, which also houses an impressive array of holy relics.
- Prague Castle — Prague’s most visited monument and the seat of the President of the Czech Republic (and here we are sitting on office chairs …)
What to Buy
Leave some room in your luggage, because there are loads of goodies you’ll want to bring back!
- Bohemian crystal — There’s crystal, and there’s Bohemian crystal. As Sade would say, this. Is. No. Ordinary glass.
- Bohemian garnets — A hallmark of royal Bohemian jewellery for centuries, these red stones are truly dazzling. Just make sure to request a certificate of authenticity before buying any, as there are quite a few fakes out there.
- Oplatky — Wafers that melt in your mouth (but hopefully not in your suitcase)
- Beer cosmetics — Guerlain, Schmerlain. Dose up on some vitamin B with all-natural cosmetics (as well as shampoos and shower gels) made of beer. Your skin will thank you.
What to Eat
You’ll also want to leave some room in your stomach. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
- Chlebíček — Scrumptious open-faced sandwiches you can find just about anywhere
- Koláče — Pastries, traditionally filled with poppy seeds or jam
- Buchty — These sweet yeast dough buns are straight out of a Bohemian fairytale. Literally. Legend has it that the Bohemian dragon slayers of old would snack on these. If buchty was good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
- Svíčková — Whipped cream, cranberry sauce, and beef. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but tastes heavenly. As far as Czech dishes go, it doesn’t get more iconic than this.
What to Drink
- Beer — Obviously. A trip to Prague wouldn’t be a trip to Prague without the golden pilsners (named after the city of Pilsen) the Czech Republic is famous for. By all means, indulge in pints of Pilsner Urquell and other local brews; just do so responsibly. Otherwise, you might find yourself constantly asking your friends, like Steve Urkel (no relation), ’Did I do that!?’
- Kofola — We’d love to buy the world a … Kofola! One sip is all it takes to see why this Communist-era take on Coca-Cola is still around.
- Moravian wine — Pair a glass with some svíčková and watch the magic happen
- Becherovka — The Czech are so secretive about the recipe of this herbal aperitif that only two people in the world know it at any given time. Have a sip and you’ll see why.