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SME ASSEMBLY 2021: Professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj to Deliver the Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture

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The highlight of the SME Assembly 2021 – the Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture will be delivered by professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj. Professor Bogataj is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the United Nations for more than 16 years  and a joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts towards raising public awareness about the fatal consequences of the warming of the atmosphere. She is one of Slovenia’s pioneers in researching the impact of climate change.

Reflecting on the new social and political dynamics brought upon by the pandemic, professor Bogataj will focus on the role of SMEs and enterprise in achieving the transition to a sustainable economy.

We reach out to her for an exclusive interview ahead of the SME Assembly 2021.

Prof. Bogataj, how important do you think is the role of small and medium-sized businesses in the green transition? What incentive could be offered to them to take part in the transition having in mind we are yet to see the big business do their fair share?

So far, the big business has in my mind failed to understand the dimensions of environmental crisis. But small and medium-sized enterprises can pave the way for greening across ecosystems, including industry and manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and even energy. I believe that entrepreneurs drive social and economic innovation and can revolutionize patterns of production. If motivated they can also address climate change in a sustainable, meaningful, and profitable way. But they face larger challenges when it comes to the capacity to green their operations, due to limitations in size. For instance, small businesses often lack confidence to invest in environmental-friendly technology. In many EU countries small and medium-sized businesses need more political backing and monetary support. Governments can provide incentives for small businesses to be proactive through financial support and educational resources. Financial incentives, including tax breaks and carbon offset programmes, reward entrepreneurs for their time in creating sustainable businesses. To achieve all that, at this moment we need a mix of top-down and bottom-up approaches. We do not have enough time to only rely only on bottom-up way. Action by governments and business leaders is also urgent.

If you could give one piece of advice to an entrepreneur striving to make their business more sustainable, what would it be? 

My advice would be – do not underestimate climate change risks. Decarbonise! Decarbonisation is both profitable and environmentally friendly. Set carbon targets to achieve and deadlines. Once this is completed, look again at how you operate and think how your business could be even more sustainable. There is always room for improvement. Environmentally conscious practices are entrepreneurship’s hottest innovation.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2021?

To meet people, to listen, to get new ideas from small businesses world and to get infected by entrepreneurial spirit. I am especially interested in success stories, embodied by successful women entrepreneurs. Also, I am looking forward to discussions at policy workshops.

How hopeful are you about the prospects of the tackle climate change given the new social and political dynamics brought upon by the pandemic?

Pandemic so far did not help climate change action, but post covid stimulus might. The Recovery and Resilience Plans can be once in a lifetime chance to mitigate climate change and also to adapt small and medium-sized businesses to climate change impacts. To really tackle climate change means to transform our economies in an unprecedented way. The EU recovery package pays attention to fighting climate change and also to fair climate transition. I really hope that post-COVID Europe will be greener, more resilient and better fit for the forthcoming challenges. Also, I believe that small and medium-sized businesses can really benefit from the EU budget.

In 2012, you were named in the group of Women inspiring Europe – has Europe inspired you back with its actions on climate change ever since?

Europe is trying really hard to tackle environmental problems. Europe listens to science and takes warnings and proposed scientific solutions seriously. In spite of that, “living well within environmental limits” is still far away. The EU is not yet able to achieve really fundamental transitions in the systems of production and consumption that are the root cause of environmental and climate pressures. Our institutions, practices, technologies, policies, lifestyles and thinking still favour a ‚Culture of Growth‘ instead of a ‚Culture of Sustainability‘. It is high time to move beyond a simple ‘green growth’ narrative.

Which book or documentary do you think could change people’s opinion on the urgency to act on climate change?

There is a huge choice of really good stuff.  Climate change is already prominent part of our lives and it is increasingly reflected in arts and literature. but is hard to say which is the best book to change our mindset. Personally I still prefer real books but I would recommend to read on line The 2013 Late lessons from early warnings report produced by the European Environment Agency.  It illustrates how damaging and costly the misuse or neglect of the precautionary principle can be and how to maximise innovations whilst minimising harms. My second choice is potent and evocative book The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wellst.

Don’t miss out!

Interested to hear more about what Professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj will say at the SME Assembly 2021? Make sure you are following @EEPA_EU on Twitter and #SMEAssembly2021 for live coverage. You can also still register to follow the live stream online here.

Schumpeter Lecture with Joseph Stiglitz at the SME Assembly 2020

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Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz says, “We need to transform our economic system from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables and to do that we need rapid innovation” and calls for a new partnership between the public and the private sector.

This year’s Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture was given by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winner and Professor at Columbia University.

Professor Stiglitz’s lecture covered topics such as the problems caused by the emphasis on markets without sufficient government regulation markets; the economic effects of the COVID pandemic and the effect of cutbacks in science budgets; the rise of the tech giants; the role of innovation in  transforming our economic system from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables; and his hopes for the new US administration.

Speaking on the balance of markets and government, Professor Stiglitz stated that “in recent decades we’ve lost that balance under neoliberalism under the ideas of Thatcher and Reagan, we put all the emphasis on markets but without government, without government investment, without government regulation, markets don’t work well. In fact, we saw in the 2008 crisis how poorly they worked. The financial sector even though it was absorbing 8% GDP up from 2.5% of GDP,  wasn’t allocating resources more efficiently, it wasn’t creating higher growth, it was creating more instability and so it was the absence of government regulating the market that led to the disastrous outcomes we saw.” 

Professor Stiglitz also addressed the COVID pandemic, describing it as a ‘natural experiment’ of ‘historical proportions’. Speaking about the pandemic he went on to say that “it’s becoming a field for social scientists, for economists, for epidemiologists, as they study what kinds of actions led to controlling the pandemic and controlling the economic aftermath of the pandemic.” 

He closed the lecture by speaking about Schumpeter and his vision of what a dynamic market economy was like.

“Thank you for inviting me to address you in this Schumpeter lecture, Schumpeter had a vision of what a dynamic market economy was like, it was a good vision, that dynamism leads to the flourishing of the human spirit.

That entrepreneurial spirit has the potential, as it has in the past raising standard standards of living for all, but we won’t live up to that potential unless we have the right balance between the government, market and civil society. A new social contract which embraces public investments, strong regulations, including on the environment, and the right rules. We are at a critical point in time, we are recovering hopefully from the pandemic or we will be in the not too distant future, we should have learned a lot of lessons and among the lessons are the importance of science, the importance of good institutions, the importance of global cooperation, the importance of innovation and as I emphasized those things which made for success in addressing the challenge of the pandemic I believe will also make for success in achieving long-term shared prosperity. 

Watch the Schumpeter Lecture in full:

Top billing at this year’s SME Assembly – introducing Joseph Stiglitz

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As you are probably already aware, U.S. economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz will be delivering the Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ lecture at the SME Assembly 2020, to be held online on 16 and 17 November during European SME Week. This promises to be a riveting address, so if you haven’t already saved the date, make sure to do so immediately. Ahead of the Assembly we are publishing a short introduction to Mr Stiglitz and his work on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal.

Joseph Stiglitz is an American economist, public policy analyst, and a professor at Columbia University. His CV is formidable – he is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and a former member and chair of the US president’s Council of Economic Advisers. In 2000, Stiglitz founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD), a think tank on international development based at Columbia University, where he has been a faculty member since 2001.

Stiglitz has also served as chair of the international Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, appointed by President Sarkozy of France, and currently serves as co-chair of its successor, the High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. In addition, from 2011 to 2014, Stiglitz was president of the International Economic Association (IEA).

Excellence rewarded

In addition to his impressive work Stiglitz is the recipient of a long list of international awards. Chief among these are the John Bates Clark Medal, which he was awarded in 1979 by the American Economic Association, and later, in 2001, he was recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Stiglitz received the Nobel Prize along with George Akerlof and Michael Spence for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information.

The economic theory of asymmetric information proposes that an imbalance of information between buyers and sellers can lead to market failure. Analysis of these markets looks at questions such as why interest rates are often excessively high on local lending markets in Third World countries, or why rich landowners don’t bear the entire harvest risk in contracts with poor tenants.

Stiglitz and his co-laureates proposed a common explanation and extended the theory, augmenting it with the realistic assumption of asymmetric information: agents on one side of the market have much better information than those on the other side – tenants know more than landowners about their work effort and harvesting conditions, for example. For more information on markets with asymmetric information, check out the Nobel Prize site.

Stiglitz is also the author of several books, most recently The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future. His other books include People, Power, and ProfitsThe Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About ThemRewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity; and Globalization and its Discontents.

Don’t miss out!

In 2011, Time magazine named Stiglitz as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Delivered by such a formidable keynote speaker, the Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ lecture at this year’s SME Assembly is a not-to-be-missed event that promises to be full of valuable insights for innovative businesses. 

Register for the SME Assembly and contact the SME Assembly Secretariat for more information.

Meet the 2019 Schumpeter Lecturer – Mariana Mazzucato

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The SME Assembly 2019 is getting closer and it is time to meet this year’s Schumpeter Lecturer, Mariana Mazzucato! Read on to find out who she is and about her extensive work around entrepreneurship.

Who is Mariana Mazzucato?

Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). IIPP is dedicated to rethinking the role of public policy in shaping both the rate of economic growth and its direction—and training the next generation of global leaders to build partnerships that can address mission-oriented societal goals.    

She is winner of the 2014 New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy, the 2015 Hans-Matthöfer-Preis, the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought and the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values.  She was named as one of the ‘3 most important thinkers about innovation‘ by the New Republic, and is on The Bloomberg 50 list of ‘Ones to Watch’ for 2019. As part of her work, she advises policy makers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth including in her role as Special Advisor for Carlos Moedas, the current Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

Mariana Mazzucato – The author

In addition to a prize-winning thinker on innovation, Mariana is also the author of two acclaimed books:

Her second book from 2018, which brings value theory back to the center of economics in order to reward value creation over value extraction was a 2018 Strategy & Business Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year prize.

This year’s Schumpeter lecturer is not only inspiring but very accomplished, which made us wonder, where does she draw inspiration from? What influences Mariana Mazzucato’s thinking? We asked her what her favourite book was and why to which she answered:

“My favourite book is ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I love this quote in the book: ‘If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea,’ because it perfectly sums up how I feel about missions (where multiple state and private sector actors collaborate to achieve a shared mission) and the importance of mission-oriented innovation policy as the means to tackle societal challenges, which is the focus of my work at the Institute that I founded at UCL.”

To find out more about Mariana, her work and the Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose, be sure to visit be sure to visit her institute website and follow her on Twitter (@MazzucatoM).

To follow her Schumpeter Lecture on Day 1 of the SME Assembly 2019 on 25 November, make sure you are following @EEPA_EU & #SMEAssembly2019 on Twitter for live coverage and that you have subscribed to @PromotingEnterprise on YouTube to be notified when her lecture is available online.

Watch Mariana Mazzucato’s Schumpeter Lecture here:

Schumpeter lecture 2017 – Professor Jan Fagerberg

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The Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise lecture is one of the highlights of the SME Assembly and is given by a different guest lecturer each year. This year Professor Jan Fagerberg, from the University of Oslo gave a lecture on the current status of European innovation and how this is closely related to the issues of economic transformation and climate change.

CoCreativeFlow.com, Sabine Soeder

According to Professor Fagerberg, Europe is stuck in a partially self-inflicted stagnation and needs to transform accordingly. The European stagnation can be explained by globalisation, and the differing responses of European states, leading to a lack of homogeneity. The Euro in particular, meant that there was no specific need for policy coordination, which led to increased unemployment and different austerity policies. These outcomes mean that something must change, in order to rise out of stagnation, the economy must radically transform.

The need to transform the economy is particularly linked to climate change. European emissions are still at high levels, and must decline much faster than their current rates. This is where the link to renewable technology becomes relevant, both environmentally and economically speaking. Not only is it the answer to cutting down on emissions but due to: rapidly declining costs, unlimited availability, broad applicability and pervasive effects, it could arguably transform the current economy into a more sustainable model.

As both challenges are heavily influenced by each other, they require a coordinated policy response which should specifically have innovation policy at its heart. This entails innovation policy working across fields to promote, explore and provide opportunities in fields related to renewables. Through ICT and renewable technology there is a chance to not only transform the economy, but do so without causing further harm to the climate and possibly even remedy the current effects.

For photos from the lecture, please see the Flickr album.

For more information on his work and publications, please visit his website.

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 1

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What an opening! Yesterday on 22 November 2017, the SME Assembly 2017 officially opened and the long awaited programme of events finally got under way.

Three Estonian enterprises opened their doors to delegates to show us all what goes on behind the scenes of some of Estonia’s top innovators. From finding out what goes into the making and running of a digital state with the E-Estonia showroom, learning what goes into Estonian defence with top supplier and manufacturer Milrem, to learning about super capacitors with ‘Estonia’s oldest startup’ Skeleton Technologies, this year’s business tours were certainly diverse and showed us the entrepreneurial, innovative and e-spirit of Estonia.

The day continued with the long anticipated Ideas from Europe semi-finals, during which all 28 candidates made their three minute pitches in front of a live audience and a high level jury. The jury, made up of Kristin Schreiber of the European Commission, Kaupo Reede from the Estonian Presidency, Ulrike Rabmer Koller President of UEAPME, and Cees Vermaas CEO of CME Europe, asked tough questions and challenged the candidates to defend their solutions on stage. Both the Jury and the audience voted on who should go through to the finals in the Hague next year…be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter to find out who they picked!

Ideas from Europe was swiftly followed by two more high level events to round off the evening, the SME Week Reception at the stunning Seaplane Harbour Museum, and the Schumpeter Lecture given by Jan Fagerberg at the beautiful Kadriorg Art Museum.

The Reception included opening remarks from Costas Andropoulos of the European Commission, some SME insights from Kaupo Reed of the Estonian Presidency, and a showcase of Estonian culture, traditional folk dancing, music and a performance from Veronika’s Portsmuth Academy Concert Choir and Uppsar dance show. The Schumpeter Lecture allowed Professor Jan Fagerberg to share his insights on the evolution of innovation policy and what it means for Europe’s future, which was complemented by speeches from SME Envoy Viljar Lubi, European Commissioner Bienkowska and Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

Day 1 certainly had a lot to offer, but this was only the beginning of this year’s SME Assembly activities. What is in store for today? Follow us on Twitter for live coverage, and for those of you that are here…see you in Kultuurikatel!

‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’ – SME Assembly 2017

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The SME Assembly is the most significant event for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe, and gathers the best and most inspiring ideas with the potential to change the world for the better, from across the 28 Member States. The conference takes place once a year during the European SME Week. Together with the network of SME Envoys, the assembly creates the governance structure of the Small Business Act.

The 2017 edition of the SME Assembly will take place from 22 – 24 November 2017 in Tallinn, during and in cooperation with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It will be the main event of European SME Week 2017. The opening ceremony will take place at the Seaplane Harbour Museum and the assembly itself at Kultuurikatel.

The Assembly focuses on how to make SME policy work in the everyday European context, in order for Europe’s SMEs to really thrive. In this, the sixth year of the SME Assembly, the programme will again include:

  • the Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ lecture, which will be held at the House of Blackheads;
  • the 11th European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony;
  • keynote speeches from high-level politicians and dignitaries;
  • interactive sessions where participants get an opportunity to drive the policy agenda;
  • practical masterclasses and boot camps;
  • and an interactive expo to promote start-ups and scale-ups and those that support them.

There will also be the Ideas from Europe semi-finale, which will showcase the conclusion of a member state wide competition to find the ‘Top 10’ ideas from visionary entrepreneurs across Europe.

Entry to the SME Assembly and European Enterprise Promotion Awards is by personal invitation from the European Commission only. If you would like to register your interest, please contact: smeassembly@lowassociates.eu.

So prepare yourselves to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, like the iconic barn swallows of Estonia, and follow us on the journey to Tallinn!

In order to keep up with updates, deadlines and news about the SME Assembly 2017, and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, make sure to follow all the different social media and information channels:

Twitter: @EuropeanSMEWeek, @EEPA_EU

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

YouTube: Promoting Enterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

Those who are left out by economic reforms will have their revenge

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On the first day of the SME Assembly 2016, acclaimed French economist, Professor Philippe Aghion, gave the Inaugural Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture, during which he warned that people in countries who do not share in the wealth created by reform, and feel ignored, will respond at the ballot box. He declared that reform must be ‘inclusive’ and spoke of the power of innovation to produce social mobility.

30397309743_ef1f04c0a9_zPhilippe Aghion is the Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University, an invited professor at the Paris School of Economics, and Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. He talked of the need for many countries to undergo fiscal and structural reform in order for them to truly prosper, but added that reform alone would not be enough – countries must still be open and innovative. Comparing the US economy with European ones, he asked the audience ‘why is Europe not growing as fast as the US; why after the crisis are we on a very low growth path in Europe; and how can you deliver growth across Europe?’, to which he responded that the US is more ‘resilient’ and growing faster than Europe for several reasons, including the fact that it has a more proactive ‘macro-policy’, is more ‘counter-cyclical’ and has a more flexible labour market.

30837110530_f5c05368a5_zSome European countries need structural reform, and he stated that investment in infrastructure and structural reform are complementary, and unless this reform is implemented, the disadvantaged will react accordingly. What is required is “good education and good training” in order to help them attain employment and share in wealth creation. Innovation is also key because there is a “positive relationship between innovation and social mobility”. So, he argued, we should “encourage and reward the reformers”.

31090518961_c63f61b89b_zProfessor Philippe Aghion delivered compelling arguments as to why reform is needed and how to go about aiding European economies to grow. He left the audience with much to contemplate including the following: “If we want to revive the idea of Europe, people to love Europe, Europe has to deliver growth. If we don’t deliver growth, it is over”.

The lecture was the first of the annual Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise lecture series and is now available to watch here (37mins).

Read the press release and the lecture precis.

For further information, please contact:

Richard Fullerton

Press & PR Manager for the SME Assembly and EEPA 2016

Email: richard.fullerton@loweurope.eu

Tel: +44 7976 728 051

SME Assembly 2016 – Day 1

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What a great start! The SME Assembly 2016 is now well under way after kicking off yesterday on Wednesday 23 November in Bratislava, Slovakia. The day was full of events including business tours, the SME Week Reception and the Schumpeter Lecture to name a few. Missed out or couldn’t attend all sessions? Don’t worry here is a quick round up of yesterday’s highlights.

30396367203_4bccaec88b_zIt all started bright and early with the first business tour of the day to go and see none other than Slovakia’s flying car! Yes you read that correctly, the entrepreneurs behind this automotive innovation showed delegates the product of their efforts, a flying car that makes use of existing aviation and automobile infrastructure to offer a future with the possibility of real door-to-door travel. The second business tour took delegates to GA drilling. This innovative SME in the drilling sector is working towards revolutionising current drilling technology to allow for cheaper and more efficient drilling, with the idea of providing affordable and sustainable geothermal power to all. Delegates were treated to a very interactive demonstration of the unique plasmabit technology that is currently under development.

30396363193_7fbaf6809e_zThere was little time to rest as the next events got underway, with the SME Week Reception starting first in the Old Market Hall where the guests were welcomed by State Secretary  of the Slovak Republic Rastislav Chovanec. The reception was full of fun as national winners, exhibitioners and other attendees had the chance to meet, network and socialise. The Committee of the Regions introduced the 2018 EER Awards, and a regional polish project, Selvita (a drug research company) was also given the floor. Along with all these introductions, guests were treated to a taster of what is to come in the following days of the SME Assembly.

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30397309743_ef1f04c0a9_zTo finish off an amazing first day with the presence of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowská over dinner at the Restauracia Hrad, a small group of delegates was invited to the Schumpeter Lecture. Special guest speaker Philippe Aghion from Harvard University delivered a captivating lecture. Professor Aghion addressed the trials of promoting innovation in Europe and the need for Europe to adapt and reform, saying that ‘If we want to revive the idea of Europe, we have to deliver abroad’, when speaking of Europe’s performance on the global market.

To see photos from the first day, visit our Flickr. It was an eventful day to say the least and with so much going on it was great to see everybody active on Twitter helping to promote #SMEassembly2016! So stay tuned, follow live Twitter updates if you just can’t get enough (@EEPA_EU) and bring on Day 2…

SME Assembly 2016 – Get ready for Wednesday!

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The wait is almost over! The SME Assembly 2016 is taking place in Bratislava on 23-25 November, 2016. Around 600 delegates will be present, including experts and entrepreneurs from across Europe with a common goal to collaborate on helping European enterprises strive and scale up in Europe and beyond.

The event will kick off with the Business Tours and the European SME Week Reception, both hosted by the Slovak Presidency. Harvard Professor Philippe Aghion will also be speaking during the invitation-only Schumpeter Lecture.

The second day of the Assembly will include keynote addresses by EU SME Envoys and European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska. After that – Get in the Ring! As part of the Global Startup competition entrepreneurs will have to face off in a pitching competition in a real boxing ring to convince, persuade and present their visions to a jury. The day will culminate in the presentation of the nominees and announcement of the winners in the EEPA Awards, followed by a gala dinner. Have a look at the EEPA shortlist to find out who the 2016 candidates are!

Friday will begin by celebrating the EEPA’s tenth birthday. The session Ten Years On will be dedicated to predictions on how the world of SMEs, start-and scale-ups will look like in 2026. The winner of the Youth Essay Competition, Andri Pandoura, will present her prize-winning entry and her views on what the EU can do to encourage youth entrepreneurship. The rest of the day, participants will have the opportunity to participate and collaborate during the many policy sessions, workshops and master classes.

Want more details? Download the programme here. With seminars, pitch battles, an exhibition and so much more, this event is one to look forward to!

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