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Young voices, innovative ideas – Meet Youth Essay Competition winner Radu

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Time to meet the winner of the 2019 Youth Essay Competition…Radu Dumitrescu! Radu was chosen as the winner of the 2019 edition of the Youth Essay Competition during the finals which took place at the 2019 SME Assembly held in Helsinki, Finland.

In Radu’s speech that he submitted in Round 1, he demonstrated a keen understanding of the make-up of Europe’s economy, citing the traditional SME definition which goes up to 250 persons employed, as only being representative of 0.2% of the SMEs in Europe’s economy. He highlighted that a far greater number are micro enterprises, and thus are unable to influence through media connections or pressure governments on vital policy. Radu took a firm stance in his speech, presenting the Commissioner role as one that should support and advocate for all types of SMEs and encourage them to step outside of the box in order to foster a ‘Silicon Europe’ for 2030.

Read Radu’s speech here.

After successfully communicating his passion and drive during Round 1, the jury wanted to hear more of his ideas and chose him as one of their Top 10 submissions to compete in Round 2. In Round 2 Radu spoke of the paradox of the European Union, as both a daring project but constricted by regulation and jurisdiction. He touched upon the importance of incentives for SMEs and creating a nurturing environment for “the lungs of the European economy”, and ensuring “that they  grow, not perish”.

Read Radu’s second submission here.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I entered the Youth Essay Competition in order to reignite a few ideas, namely that European business leaders deserve the respect of the Union. I wanted to advocate for a more united approach towards companies in Europe as part of my vision of a European Federation, and I wanted to make my voice heard. 

How did you feel when you found out that you were going to Helsinki?

I felt extremely excited! I had never been to Scandinavia, nor had any member of my immediate family, so my excitement was doubled by that of my parents. I have to admit that flying is a personal fear for me, but I couldn’t let that get in the way of this wonderful opportunity.

What was it like to be announced as the winner of the competition?

As I saw it, by the morning of the speech I had already won. I got to visit Finland and the magical atmosphere of Helsinki near Christmas and I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all around the continent, most of all my fellow finalists, with whom I made friends immediately. It was a complete surprise, and I was glad to be able to make my University, my fellow Young European Federalists and my family proud. 

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2019?

The SME Assembly was unlike anything I’ve ever attended. Maybe the only comparison I can think of is the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels, which I had the honour of attending in 2018. In Brussels and in Helsinki I felt the same energetic vibe, the same multilingual, multicultural environment that enriches Europe culturally – and economically – every day. The hotel was stunning as well, and everyone was helpful and friendly.

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2019?

My main takeaway from the Assembly was the confirmation of something I already intuitively knew – that Europe is populated by extraordinary business leaders, innovators, and that EU, through its representatives, DGs and agencies, is listening to them. It even listened to a 24-year old from Romania when it came to the future of business in Europe. It is fresh ideas – they are what businesses depend on, and the SME Assembly managed to gather so many of them.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

I am now pursuing a doctoral degree in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Bucharest. I plan to read and write as much as I can and hopefully publish papers and even books within the field. That’s my dream. 

Congratulations Radu for winning the 2019 SME Week youth Essay Competition! Don’t forget to read our interviews with Radu’s fellow finalists Aureliano, Enzo and Estelle, to follow their journeys through the 2019 competition.

Romanian Radu Dumitrescu wins SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019

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Radu Dumitrescu, 24 year-old from Romania, was proclaimed a winner of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition during the European Commission’s SME Assembly.

Radu Dumitrescu is one of the Editors-in-Chief of The New Federalist web magazine. He has a Master’s in Comparative Politics and is interested in voter behaviour, European affairs, and corporate personhood.

In his speech as potential EU Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship he said: “So, what is our goal? To put the new industries at the heart of European SMEs – to create ‘Silicon Europe’. We can no longer afford to linger in coal, petrol, manufacturing jobs, farming and hard labour. They cannot be abandoned either, but the way to the future is through the digital, the online, the streaming and the virtual. That is where the state of the future will be, where voters will have their say, where poets will forge their dreams and where love will take hold of couples. But first, it is where money will be made – and European SMEs will pioneer the way during my term.”

The other finalists of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay competition were:

  • Enzo Ercole Ribagnac (France)
  • Estelle Beuve (France)
  • Aureliano Ulndreaj (Albania)

The four finalists presented their speeches on the stage of the SME Assembly in Helsinki.  This was followed by a live vote from the audience to determine the winner.

The SME Week Youth Essay competition, run by the European Commission, is in its fourth edition.  This year the competition asked young people aged from 18-25 to prepare a speech from the perspective of the new Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship addressed to Europe’s entrepreneurs. Entries were received from 20 different countries, with the top two being Albania and Romania, followed closely by Italy, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine . The top 10 applicants then had to propose concrete measures and initiatives that could benefit from the application of the ‘Think Small First Principle’.

Read Radu’s Submissions:

Read Enzo’s Submissions:

Read Aureliano’s Submissions:

Read Estelle’s Submissions:

More information on the Youth Essay Competition is available here.

About the SME Assembly

The SME Assembly is the annual flagship event of the European SME Week and is hosted by the current European Commission presidency. This year the Assembly was hosted by the Finnish Presidency of the European Commission in Helsinki on 25–27 November 2019. Delegates from across the world came together to hack policy, discuss enterprise and create the governance structure of the Small Business Act.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

SME Week Youth Essay Competition – Who is going to Helsinki?

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The 2019 Youth Essay Competition jury have decided who will be going to Helsinki to give their speech in front of the SME Assembly 2019 delegates. After much discussion and debate our jury narrowed it down to their Top 4 finalists and would like to congratulate:

  • Enzo Ercole Ribagnac
  • Radu Dumitrescu
  • Estelle Beuve
  • Aureliano Ulndreaj

Well done to our finalists! Read through their short biographies and speech summaries below and get ready to watch them compete at this year’s Assembly for the chance to be the 2019 SME Week Youth Essay competition winner.

Enzo Ercole Ribagnac

A French student passionate about the economy and issues related to SMEs, particularly issues related to internationalisation.

“Setting up an organization by taking risks in the hope of profits and results that we know will bring something new to the world”. This sentence could be either the definition of entrepreneurship or a short summary of the European Union construction. Indeed, coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I have recently been amused about how the life of entrepreneurs can be similar to European history. Like every success story, it all started with a great idea of a few that decided to put their qualities together and realize something greater. You entrepreneurs call them “founders” I call them “founding members”.

Read Enzo’s Submissions:

Radu Dumitrescu

Radu Dumitrescu is one of the Editors-in-Chief of The New Federalist web magazine. Radu has a Master’s in Comparative Politics and is interested in voter behaviour, European affairs, and corporate personhood.

So, what is our goal? To put the new industries at the heart of European SMEs – to create ‘Silicon Europe’. We can no longer afford to linger in coal, petrol, manufacturing jobs, farming and hard labour. They cannot be abandoned either, but the way to the future is through the digital, the online, the streaming and the virtual. That is where the state of the future will be, where voters will have their say, where poets will forge their dreams and where love will take hold of couples. But first, it is where money will be made – and European SMEs will pioneer the way during my term.

Read Radu’s Submissions:

Aureliano Ulndreaj

From a young age I had a distinctive curiosity for subjects related to politics due to the fact that politics are based on human relations and how the living standards of people can be improved from an economic and social perspective. Thus, I decided to engage in politics through my studies, and do a BA in Political Science and International Relations. Throughout my studies I had the opportunity to carry out and participate in different research projects with a focus on regional relations in the Balkans and Albania’s Integration process to the European Union. My main aspiration is to become active in politics and specifically have the privilege to be part of the group of people who will accompany and lead Albania to its long waiting destination, the European Union family.

My speech is focused on two leading factors. The first is to present the most integral areas which need an immediate improvement in order to raise the standards of EU entrepreneurship. The second is the presentation of my personal, strong motivation and belief that EU entrepreneurs have what it takes to succeed in this field and compete with the rest of the world. The messages derived from this speech are firstly to inform that the solutions to the issue of entrepreneurship will be discovered only by an intensive and truthful desire of the policy-makers to understand the challenges that EU entrepreneurs face in their ventures. Secondly, my message to the entrepreneurs themselves is to be courageous, take risks, have faith in themselves and their ideas and most importantly to not give up on their dreams and aspirations, no matter the objections.

Read Aureliano’s Submissions:

Estelle Beuve

I’m Estelle Beuve I’ve been aware of European issues since I started to get involved with the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) in 2016. When I was studying my Bachelor in Accounting and Management at Saint-Brieuc I started a mandate as a treasurer of Les Jeunes Européens Rennes. I helped the organisation find new partnerships with local institutions and started helping to raise awareness on the European Union in schools within their programme Europe at school. A year later, I became president of the association and launched a twinning with a local section in Aarhus, Denmark. In July 2018, we visited them to exchange our best practices. Once done with the bachelor, I wanted to go for a gap year and I decided to move to Chisinau, Moldova. As a European Voluntary service I worked for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova from October 2018 to June 2019 where I had the opportunity to promote European projects and learn both Romanian and Russian. Now I’m about to start my Masters in Strasbourg and I would like to become a chartered accountant and auditor.

I’ve imagined the next commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship taking into consideration the current environmental issues by offering a better set up for SMEs in Europe. For this, they introduce a new programme and will do their best to put forward legislative reforms so that “sustainable entrepreneurs” can be competitive in an open market context. Moreover, they pledge to bridge the gender gap in Europe as it is still deep by making clear that women are also the sustainable entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Read Estelle’s Submissions:

For more information on the Youth Essay Competition have a look at this year’s Top 10 and the 2019 competition launch.

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