On the Promoting Enterprise portal today, we are highlighting a call for expression of interest related to green, resilient and digital companies in the European Union, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. The ‘Get Digital – Go Green and Be Resilient’ initiative launches on Tuesday, 24 May, with the goal of creating a catalogue featuring innovative digital solutions.
The Russian aggression in Ukraine has refocused international efforts on energy dependence and supply chain resilience. In this context, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) along with the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), and the European Digital SME Alliance (DigitalSME) will create a catalogue with leading European businesses providing use cases to help industry become more resilient.
The initiative aims to put the spotlight on digital solutions and business models that can offer the most impactful approaches to become less dependent on oil, gas and raw materials, and more resilient within the global supply chain. If you have a start-up or SME from the EU, Ukraine, Moldova or Georgia that provides an innovative digital solution in this area, then this call could be for you! Sounds interesting? Then sign up HERE.
The initiative will be followed by two workshops to showcase the innovative solutions and facilitate their accelerated uptake on the market. The first “Get Digital: Go Green” workshop, will have a focus on digital solutions that can reduce overall energy consumption within business operations, while the second “Get Digital: Be Resilient” workshop, will zoom in on digital solutions supporting the supply chain resilience of European industry.
“We need to actively support SMEs to accelerate the digital transition. Through the “Get Digital” workshop series, we aim to ensure leading digital SMEs in Europe, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia can use the Single Market to scale digital solutions that help all our industries, including our many SMEs, become greener and more resilient. Our Single Market is the best lever to promote digitalisation and help our industries to thrive in today’s global context,” said DG GROW Director-General Kerstin Jorna.
The Commission also intends, with the help of all the participants in the initiative, to identify in very practical terms the barriers to the implementation of digital solutions and to the acceleration of digitalisation, with a view to tackling them with specific policy measures.
WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE?
Participating in the initiative would help you to:
• Promote your innovative digital business model and increase your business exposure;
• Receive information and advice on financing sources and support in accessing them; business support such as mentoring advice, IP registration and protection, sustainability advice and digitalisation support services etc. from specific European business and innovation support services;
• Receive tailored support based on your company’s needs from specific European business and innovation support services, if selected by the Jury;
• Match-make with other companies from across the continent;
• Learn about and get inspired by some of the leading solutions in the digital ecosystem;
• Mainstream and promote your digital solution to the traditional industry environment (e.g., through matchmaking);
• Find help to tackle key business obstacles and barriers when attempting to scale your digital business solution;
• Inform policymakers about your company’s specific needs.
All the digital business solutions that are submitted will be featured in an exclusive digital catalogue. A jury made up of independent investment and business managers will select the most impactful submissions who will get the opportunity to present at the workshops. These companies will receive tailored coaching from experts in SME support services, funded by relevant EU programmes based on the needs of each company’s project. There will also be webinars for all companies included in the catalogue at which the main SME support services offered by the EU will be presented.
Europe has seen millions of refugees fleeing Ukraine following Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against its neighbour. According to the United Nations, more than 12 million people are believed to have fled their homes in Ukraine since the conflict began, with 7.1 million Ukrainians displaced internally and 5.2 million fleeing to neighbouring countries and beyond. Here on the Promoting Enterprise portal, we reached out to SME Week National Coordinators for information on initiatives being implemented across the EU to support Ukrainian refugees and help them integrate. Read on to find out more!
English schools across Malta have offered sponsorships for English language courses to Ukrainians arriving in Malta having been forced out of their homes as a result of Russia’s war of aggression. The announcement came after FELTOM, (the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations in Malta) reached out to the Ukrainian Honorary Consulate to offer support to help displaced Ukrainians integrate into Maltese society once they have reached safety in the country.
Ukrainian refugees arriving in Malta can also turn to the country’s Foundation for Social Welfare Services for support. The foundation provides an array of 70 services ranging from domestic violence, human trafficking, child protection, alternative care, substance misuse, psychological services, to mention just a few. Everyone resident in Malta, including migrants, refugees and their children, can avail of the services it offers. In fact, FSWS is in contact with the Ukrainian community in Malta to offer its assistance as the need arises.
Meanwhile in Portugal, Portugal for Ukraine is a platform that acts as a one-stop-shop for information on actions being taken by the Portuguese government related to Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. The platform contains information on international action, humanitarian aid and the integration and hosting of displaced persons in Portugal.
Finally, in the Netherlands, the programme “Docentvluchteling voor de klas”, which roughly translates as “Teacher-refugees back in the classroom”, is being implemented by the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences together with a foundation that works with refugees, schools and other stakeholders. Originally set up to help teachers who fled Turkey for political reasons to get back in front of the classroom in the Netherlands, word is that it will be reshaped to also incorporate Ukrainian refugees. Lessons are aimed at teaching the Dutch language and Dutch teaching methods and systems.
As we receive more information on further initiatives being implemented across Europe to support Ukrainian refugees and integrate them into EU society, we will let you know about them here on the Promoting Enterprise portal, so make sure to check in regularly!
SME Envoys were invited to meet on 30 and 31 March in Luxembourg to discuss sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. The meeting was chaired by Hubert Gambs, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
After a first day of various visits, including the Belval Campus of the University of Luxembourg and the city of Schengen, the 55 Representatives of the national ministries in charge of SMEs (EU and COSME countries) met on the second day in Mondorf-les-Bains.
At the meeting, Luxembourg’s Minister for Small and Medium-sized Businesses, Lex Delles, emphasised that he particularly appreciates the work of the SME Envoys Network, which intensifies exchanges and cooperation between the EU Member States. “This work is all the more crucial, as small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the Luxembourg and European economy. However, we are facing new common challenges in Europe and around the world. Global warming, the depletion of natural resources and growing inequalities are climatic and societal challenges that we must all face,” Minister Delles said.
“In the context of energy crisis, reinforced by the war in Ukraine, it is essential to move towards more sustainable operating models. Corporate social responsibility plays a key role in this context and allows us to pursue intelligent and sustainable growth. The Luxembourg government is therefore actively committed to promoting CSR among small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said, adding: “Europe must do more to encourage and support small and medium-sized enterprises in their transition to sustainable growth.”
Responding to the challenges of the green and digital transition
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, participated in the meeting by video conference. “In a geopolitical context that is more volatile than ever, the resilience of the European economy depends to a large extent on the capacity of its industrial fabric, in particular SMEs, to respond to the challenges of the green and digital transition,” Commissioner Breton said.
“The European Commission, through its industrial policy, its regulatory simplification actions and its investment tools, in particular InvestEU, is continuing its efforts to offer SMEs a European framework that is conducive to their competitiveness, and to channel the necessary resources towards innovative, high-tech, growth-generating projects,” he said. The Commissioner added that, in this respect, the SME Envoys Network representatives constitutes a real transmission belt between the strategic objectives of the European Union and the economic vitality of its territories.
The network of representatives of EU Member States’ ministries responsible for small and medium-sized enterprises, SME Envoys, was created in 2011 to encourage and guide the development of SME-friendly regulations and policies in the European Union. This advisory group, which meets four times a year, works to improve the consultation process for European small and medium-sized enterprises. The SME Envoys meetings are an important channel of communication between the European Commission, small and medium-sized enterprises and their representative organisations.
For more information on SMEs in Europe, visit the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.