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“Be open, flexible and ready to act in the now” – Sabine Soeder

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Today we have the honour of presenting Sabine Soeder, an entrepreneur and owner of CoCreativeFlow, a “connector in a vibrant global network”. Sabine, along with artist Martin Saive, was responsible for the graphic recording of the SME Assembly 2016, all of which you can see right here !

sabineSabine first started as an architect and lighting designer, before moving on to found CoCreative Flow in Frankfurt, Germany, and work as a ‘Flow Architect’. They offer clients visuals as graphic recordings to facilitate discussions and processes, alongside Co-Creation. Today Sabine shares her entrepreneurial journey, where she sees herself in the future and her advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Since I was little I’ve been drawing and using my drawings as a communication tool to make emotions more tangible and digestible. Going on to study architecture taught me two very important skills, which have built the foundation for my work today: Learning to “think with your hand” and explaining that to others through visuals, and to think and work strategically by finding the best structure for that unique place and special need. 10 years ago I realised that these skills were not only useful for architectural design, but also in designing and creating collaborations, which is what I do with my clients as a flow architect. Co-designing with my clients is the best way to create the most effective collaboration and visuals have a huge impact in that process.

Jumping into your own business can be a small or a huge step – it depends so much on your strengths and how you interact with others. I built my business step by step through diverse partnerships until I felt ready to open my own company. It’s important to have business experiences, and to build connections to people in various networks. I really love having my own rhythm, to connect different threads and bring them together in a new way. It also helps to have some financial foundation at the beginning. When you offer an experience based and innovative service it needs more explanation and demonstration, which can be a challenge. Balancing work and family life, is also challenging as having my own business has allowed me to be at home more but as we become more successful there is a need for flexibility, meaning sometimes working late nights or on weekends. As the business is growing I am thinking about scaling up and enlarging the enterprise and CoCreative Flow brand on a global scale.

My advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs would be to look at who is active and inspires you in your professional field. Get into contact with these people and try to learn from them, find opportunities to collaborate with them – sometimes there are apprenticeship opportunities and build from there. Find opportunities where you can learn, be it through enterprises or through different events and networking. Utilise online community platforms (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook) to connect to people all around the world. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, ask for help and connect with those who can strengthen what you already have to offer. Finally, keep a clear vision and the purpose of your enterprise at the centre of your work and surround yourself with your chosen team, that way you can create something meaningful with an impact.

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http://www.cocreativeflow.com/

 

EEPA – The winners of the 2016 edition

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The SME Assembly 2016 may be over, but the conversation continues! Today is an opportunity for us to present to you the European Enterprise Promotion Awards winners from the 2016 edition. You met them here on the blog when they were shortlisted, but here is an overview of the projects that came out on top…


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Category 1- Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, the winner was Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat (Lyon City of Entrepreneurship) from France. This initiative is a network of 46 organisations and 200 experts from across the region, working to promote the entrepreneurial spirit more widely, increase the number of businesses created and improve the robustness of new businesses. Each year, the network provides support to between 10,000 and 12,000 businesses and entrepreneurs, with 17 “access points” providing assistance, information and guidance. Experts provide support on the creation, takeover and handover of businesses and on aspects including how to grow or fund a business, start up and training.

In Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, the prize went to Enterprise Educators Academe from the United Kingdom. This project has created the world’s first internal, accredited, enterprise educator training programme. The training and support of over 600 staff of all disciplines to embed enterprise skills across the university curriculum has been at the heart of the programme. In the first two years alone 21 000 students were reached and over 2 000 freelance businesses created. Business and public sector projects projects benefited from student support resulting in an economic impact valued at over EUR 4.4 million (GBP £4 million).

In Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment, the category winner was Portuguese project Leader SME programme. This entry annually rewards SMEs with the best financial performance and risk levels, as viewed by IAPMEI and Turismo de Portugal. The award offers public recognition of their successful growth strategies and competitive leadership, and winners benefit from more favourable conditions for accessing finance and other specialised business management support. In just eight years, the number of companies recognised has more than doubled from around 3 000 in 2008 to approximately 7 300 in 2015!


In
Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business, it was Human Security Finland that came away the winner. This entry is a national international development and crisis management business network. It assists with the building of partnerships between Finnish companies and experts aimed at assisting developing countries and crisis-hit regions with solutions to support sustainable development. The network combines business, education and research for human security. 100 organisations are now involved in the concept known as ‘crisis business’, which is based on commercialising human security expertise.


In
Category 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency, the Lime Trees & Honey Bees for Sustainable Development of the Danube Microregion project from Serbia took the category prize. It strengthens the competitiveness of beekeeping in the Fruška Gora region and motivates young people to start beekeeping businesses. The project aims to increase the market share of Fruška Gora lime honey by investing in human resources and skills development, improved knowledge through scientific research, education and the introduction of new technologies. In addition, it ran a high-profile promotional campaign to raise public interest and created a marketing plan that changed the ad hoc approach of 8 beekeeper associations to a value-added, branded product, with export potential.  


In
Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Dutch project The Rotterdam Business Case (De Rotterdamse Zaak), a work training company where students in higher vocational education and experienced business coaches help support entrepreneurs to improve their business practices and entrepreneurial skills, was the Jury’s winning choice. The project focuses on entrepreneurs who operate below the poverty line and are not financially able to find a solution to their problems. More than 600 entrepreneurs have already been helped through the combined efforts of experienced senior coaches, who act as a sounding board for entrepreneurs, and junior coaches who offer more practical support.


Finally, the Grand Jury Prize, which commends the entry that the Jury considers to be ‘the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe’, was awarded to Entrepreneurial West Hisingen from Sweden! Originally a competitor in Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, this project supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It covers three projects: Entrepreneurship in education, Start your business, and Develop your business, which provide different styles of support to various groups ranging from schoolchildren, all the way to seasoned business people. 

SME Week Newsletter: Issue #8

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The SME Assembly is over, but the conversation continues

This month the focus is on the SME Assembly 2016, which took place from 23-25 November in Bratislava, Slovakia. With over 600 delegates and speakers from all over Europe and beyond, this year’s assembly was a great success and brought together a diverse audience committed to building an SME friendly Europe and sharing views on entrepreneurship, scale ups and startups.

The assembly played host to policy sessions, interactive open spaces, high-level roundtables, lectures, masterclasses and much more. The event also saw the crowning of this year’s prize-winning projects at the EEPA ceremony and gala dinner which took place on 24 November. Read the EEPA news section for more.

During the assembly we brought you live coverage from the event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Daily roundup posts from the three days (1, 2 and 3) are also available for you to read on Promoting Enterprise.

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Now that SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava has come to an end, we can begin to look forward to the SME Assembly 2017 which will take us to Tallinn in Estonia. The preparations are already under way, we hope to see you there! Read more >>

<< Previous Issue #7

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“We will live in digitally organised chaos”

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open-evidenceToday’s blog post is a contribution from Open Evidence European Affairs Manager Kasia
Jakimowicz, who gives us her take on what the key messages from the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava were.

SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava is over but the collaboration continues. Here are a couple of first take-away recommendations from the conference:

  1. More creative approach to education, encouraging companies, the public sector and schools to work together and adapt traditional educational structures and teachers´ skills to the rapidly changing work environment.  
  2. Entrepreneurship and digital education should be present in education from primary school level including both obligatory and elective subjects.
  3. Make public procurement more start-up and SME friendly.
  4. Develop a network of national scale-up advisors to help companies to grow.
  5. Establish a matchmaking platform between start-ups, scale-ups and corporates for networking and collaboration / funding opportunities
  6. Empower local and national ecosystems and build sustainable working relations among eco-players. The European ecosystem will follow consequently.
  7. Continue to remove existing barriers in Europe (IPR, free movement of data, access to finance etc.) so that European start-ups and SMEs think of Europe as their natural market.
  8. Failure forms part of every successful company, this needs to be embraced, openly discussed, and learnt from.
  9. Embrace the collaborative economy and alternative forms of financing, supporting businesses and public administration in the shift towards different ways of working.
  10. Learn from best examples on national level and scale them up in Europe

This is just one contributors list, do you have anything to add? Other points to share? The Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group is there for you to discuss, collaborate and share your input! If you missed out on the assembly or want a quick overview, be sure to read our daily posts and check out our social media.

SME Assembly Daily posts:

EEPA 2016:

Winners of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016 prove diversity of entrepreneurial spirit in Europe

SME Assembly 2016 – Day 3

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That’s a wrap! The SME Assembly 2016 has come to an end after 3 days of networking, events, speeches, awards, masterclasses and most importantly bringing together people who value entrepreneurship and the creation of an SME friendly Europe.

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A look at where the world of entrepreneurship would be ‘Ten Years On’ was the opener for Friday, with delegates imagining what kind of world entrepreneurs, startups, scaleups and all those in between would encounter in 2026. The panelists included a range of experts from across Europe and industries, including: Michael Mellinghoff (TechFluence), Cristina Fernandez (Global Entrepreneurship Network), Ladislav Ambrovics (MINIT Slovakia) and Kenneth Ryan (KPMG Slovakia). They all shared their visions of entrepreneurship in 2026, with a common theme being a shift in entrepreneurial focus from solving an existing problem, to enhancing the customer experience. As part of the opening, Youth Essay Competition winner Andri Pandoura presented her winning entry and implored the audience to “Don’t only work for youth, but work with them. Ask them for their opinion and show you care”.

The fast paced and high energy programme from Days 1 and 2 continued on Day 3 with an array of masterclasses and policy sessions, covering topics from social enterprise to crowdfunding, from sustainable clothing to virtual reality. There was also the Scale Up Lab organised by Ideas From Europe, which challenged participants to form clusters on issues affecting scaleups. For pictures of these sessions have a look at the albums on Flickr!

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Then it was finally time for the SME Assembly 2016 to draw to a close. Costas Andropoulos, from DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, along with Sabine Soeder the Founder of CoCreative Flow, presented the conclusions and highlights of the Assembly. We were then treated to a sneak preview of what to expect next year, as the Estonian SME Envoy Viljar Lubi took the stage to get us ready and excited for the 2017 SME Assembly set to take place in Tallinn!

Thank you to everyone that joined us this year in Bratislava, and to all who couldn’t be there but followed our coverage, we hope you enjoyed it all and we look forward to seeing you in Estonia in 2017! 

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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!

SME Assembly 2016 – Press release

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Acclaimed French economist, Philippe Aghion, confirmed as speaker at the Inaugural Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture at SME Assembly 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia


>> DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE <<


Professor Philippe Aghion, the Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University, will give the address at the Inaugural Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture on 23rd November, the eve of the 5th SME Assembly organised by the European Commission.

aghion_0The SME Assembly takes place at the Incheba Exhibition Centre in Bratislava, Slovakia, and is hosted by the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is the highlight of the year for Europe’s SMEs and entrepreneurs, and focuses on how to make the European Commission’s SME policy work on the ground.

Professor Aghion is the recipient of several awards that demonstrate the very high esteem in which he is held by his peers, including the 2001 Yrjö Jahnsson Award for European economists under age 45, and the 2006 Schumpeter Prize of the International Schumpeter Society. The audience for the lecture will be a select gathering of government ministers, key officials, senior business leaders and entrepreneurs, academics, and media from across the EU.

Attendance at the lecture is by invitation only and there are 20 places for media. Those journalists wishing to attend should contact the Press & PR Manager for the SME Assembly (details in the Press release). They, and those who cannot attend, can receive an embargoed, ‘check on delivery’ text in advance upon request, and a video of the address will be made available soon after the event via the web.

Over 600 delegates are booked to attend the event which includes the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) ceremony. The Assembly is an excellent opportunity for the media to learn, report on news and progress, and network. Some places remain for journalists for the three-day event, for which travel and accommodation is paid-for, as you will be a guest of the Commission and Slovakian Presidency.

Contact Richard Fullerton, Press & PR Manager for the SME Assembly and EEPA 2016 to register: richard.fullerton@loweurope.eu

 

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