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Tag ‘SME Assembly 2019’

EEPA 2019 Catch-up – How to get SMEs involved in public procurement

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with one of our 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winners, who have produced some useful documentation that they would like to share throughout the EEPA network.

“Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes” or “Public Procurement for SMEs”, won the“Improving the Business Environment” category last year during the final EEPA ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. This project was recognised for its work on implementing measures in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement. These measures promote and facilitate SME participation in public contracts and have successfully increased the awarding of contracts to SMEs to twice the national and European average.

The public procurement market accounts for more than 20% of the European Union GDP. If SMEs had access to part of that, it would be significantly more than current public funding offerings but without additional cost and simultaneously stimulate SME innovation and growth.

The city Council of Valladolid public procurement system has proved that it can be done, with more than 80% of their contracts being awarded to SMEs to date. Their model is replicable and is based on the three 2014 Contracting Directives. In order to help other European contracting authorities follow their example, or take inspiration from Valladolid, this EEPA winning project had created the following guiding documents:

This document contains more specifics on the measures put in place to facilitate the participation of SMEs in public contracts

This document provides explanations on what is needed and how to implement an SME friendly public procurement system, including legal and directive references

This document outlines the advantages of contracting with the public sector and the basic requirements and actions

For more information on their work and the produced documents, contact the project here.

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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Another category another European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) 2019 winner! This week we are discovering the story behind HealthTech Nordic, the winner of ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business.

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 270 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

We spoke to Margareta Wallentén from the project team to discover the story behind this winning project.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
I received a general email from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Tillväxtverket, (the Swedish EEPA coordinator) informing us about the EEPA and requesting us to apply. We had never heard about EEPA before and were not even aware that the SME Assembly or EEPA existed.

How did you prepare your application?
Just before applying for EEPA, we had been requested to apply for the RegioStar Award, so we used that application as a base and updated it with more recent information and specific aspects relevant to EEPA. Overall the application process was very smooth, and the hardest part was actually getting the recommendation letter signed by the right person at the Swedish Agency of Innovation, Vinnova.

What was it like to win the award?
Amazing! It was really nerve-wracking sitting in the audience and listen to the presentations of the three category finalists. Both we and the project from the Netherlands were convinced that the Romanian project would win, their film was so good! When we heard our project announced as the winner we couldn’t believe it!

As I was standing on the podium giving my Thank You speech I just blacked out and completely forgot the name of my project colleague standing next to me. We have worked together for almost 2 years and her name was totally gone. I almost panicked there and then, on stage, so I just admitted that I had forgotten her name! Looking back at the recording I realise that the ‘eternity’ when I blacked out was really just a second or two.

After the ceremony so many people came up to me and thanked me for being me on stage, displaying happiness, surprise and passion and for giving them a reason to laugh at this otherwise very formal event.

Overall it was an amazing evening and experience.

How did winning the award impact your work?
I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch.

It has also helped on a practical level with our new funding application to Interreg ÖKS, who also congratulated us on our win.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?
Our advice is to just apply! Applying gives good visibility to your project, from clients, financiers, politicians and other stakeholders. It also made our six project partners come together and focus on this goal, the application, and realising how much we have achieved so far. What the EEPA prize will bring in the long run we don’t know yet, we will have to wait and see.

What are your plans for the future?
HealthTech Nordic applied for continued financing from the Interreg ÖKS budget in the category Job Creation, and we recently found out that we have been successful and received the financing to continue our work with our growing community. With the funding we are able to continue as planned, supporting our members so they can grow and thereby create new jobs – all while also facilitating better health worldwide.

We have a community of more than 270 startups in the healthtech sector and will continue to support them as much as we can as the disruptive change of the digitalisation of healthcare has just begun.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

Young voices, innovative ideas – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Enzo

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We are back with another SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 finalist! Today we are speaking to Enzo Ercole Ribagnac from France, who made himself stand out to the jury with his 1st submission that detailed the speech he would give as the new EU Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship.

In his speech Enzo drew on his own experience growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, and likened founders to founding members, and business shareholders to the European Member States. He spoke of the need to take risks and collaborate to bring initiatives to life, and the European challenge of supporting small and medium sized enterprises. He also emphasised and proposed actions surrounding: Developing entrepreneurship spirit and skills across the Union, Supporting innovations to play a leading role on the global market and Facilitating internationalization and access to markets.

Read Enzo’s speech here.

After impressing the jury in Round 1, Enzo made it to the Top 10 shortlist, where he impressed the jury once again with his second submission that focused on the need to incorporate the “Think Small First Principle” with regards to SMEs, the need to equip SMEs to fight against unfair advantages of big foreign tech companies and to create opportunities for SMEs to communicate with the European institutions.

Read Enzo’s second submission here.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Several factors influenced my entry in the competition. When I first saw the advert, I was an intern in a European project funded by the DG Grow and related to SMEs. This experience helped me to accumulate a lot of knowledge concerning European SMEs struggles in Europe and abroad. After the internship I moved to Italy during the summer to study Italian. This gave me plenty of time to think about my essay, use the knowledge I had accumulated but also try to include my personal experience. Both my parents are small entrepreneurs in the French West Indies and their business is often part of our family’s discussions. All things considered, I think I entered the competition because I had a lot to say and time to work on a submission that I was proud of and that reflected my opinion and ideas.

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

I actually couldn’t believe it! I have participated in a lot of public speaking competitions before, but it was the very first time that my writing skills were recognised. I remember being on public transport when I received the “congrats email”, and I literally stopped at the next station to call a friend and tell them the news. I guess you could say I was a little bit overexcited at first.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2019?

It was a unique event, and a great opportunity. When you think about it, our market is so large with various countries and languages, and our SMEs are so diverse and numerous. So, to build an event that brings together representatives from all sectors, from all types of companies that can discuss all issues is kind of an impossible recipe. Yet somehow it is made possible, and each year is a success!

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2019?

I think all informal meetings and advice I took from professionals attending are my main takeaway. When I was at the event, I was a soon-to-be-graduated student looking for an end-of-studies career opportunity. Thus, I had a lot of questions about the sector, the challenges and future of European policies and also about the “European bubble”. All the people I met were very kind and took time to answer my questions and discuss further things with me. This did not stop after the Assembly and I am still in contact with most of them.

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

Well, I will be a Bluebook trainee at the European Commission in the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW), the same that organised the SME Assembly. It will be my first experience in Brussels and it’s exactly what I wanted to do. I have to say the SME Assembly and the Youth Essay Competition helped me to reach this goal!

Congratulations Enzo on being a 2019 finalist and good luck with your traineeship! Want to hear from another 2019 finalist? Come back to the News Portal next week to find out who we will talk to next…stay tuned!

The 2019 Round Up – See you in 2020!

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It is the last day of 2019 and what a year it has been for Promoting Enterprise! Here on the News Portal we have been very lucky to meet some inspiring individuals in the world of entrepreneurship, who have taken the time to share their valuable insights and experiences with us. As this year draws to an end we have taken some time to look back on some of the highlights from 2019.

The year started off with a bang with the launch of the highly anticipated European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), which went into their 13th edition. This year saw some fierce competition with the announcement of a stellar EEPA shortlist, that went on to compete to become the EEPA Class of 2019 at the SME Assembly in Finland. You can find out more about all the projects in the EEPA 2019 Compendium.  

The Youth Essay Competition ran again for the fourth consecutive year and shook things up with two challenging questions for participants to answer, and asking for their speech as the next Commissioner. The standard of entries was very high, and the jury struggled to narrow the entries down to the top four finalists Radu Dumitrescu, Enzo Ercole Ribagnac, Estelle Beuve and Aureliano Ulndreaj. Our top four took on their final challenge, presenting and speaking at the SME Assembly 2019, where our delegates chose Radu Dumitrescu as this year’s winner. Congratulations Radu!

2019 also saw the launch of the next edition of the Secrets of Success brochure, “Entrepreneurs of Europe – Connecting, Sharing and Innovating”, featuring previous Ideas from Europe winners with cutting edge innovative ideas and businesses.

The SME Assembly 2019 was the flagship event of the year and took place in Helsinki, Finland under the Finnish Presidency of the European Commission. This year’s Assembly featured many inspiring and well-known speakers, including famed economist Mariana Mazzucato, the 2019 Schumpeter Lecturer, Professor Daniel Isenberg, the 2019 keynote speaker, Alberto Onetti, Chairman and Founder of Mind the Bridge and Petri Peltonen, Finland’s Under-secretary of state. If you missed out on our live coverage of the Assembly you can still read the Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 summary posts right here on the News Portal. You can also continue the conversation in the Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group and get involved in the ongoing SME Strategy Exchange.

We hope that you have enjoyed following us in 2019 and see you in 2020!

Keep the conversation going – Join “Online SME Assembly”

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The new SME strategy needs you and your input!

At the SME Assembly 2019 we collected and harvested ideas and topics raised throughout the sessions that address the 3 main challenges:

  • Sustainability for SMEs in the context of the Green Deal and climate change
  • Digitisation for SMEs
  • SME broad-based growth

We are also looking for topics that you feel are important and that go beyond the 3 challenges. The Assembly harvest has been shared in the Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group so do not hesitate to join and invite others with interesting ideas and thoughts to share!

By joining the Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group you will have the chance to be part of the SME Strategy Exchange, during which follow up questions are being shared and where your ideas matter and are needed to spark further discussion.

Interested? Want to know more? Request your membership today and keep the conversation going!

SME Week Newsletter 2019: Issue #8

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The SME Assembly 2019 might be over, but the conversation is still going!

This year the SME Assembly 2019 was an important contribution to the upcoming SME Strategy from the European Commission. During the Assembly delegates experienced the enterprising nature of Finland with a visit to Team Finland, and an entrepreneur expo throughout the event. In addition attendees of the Schumpeter lecture listened to a passionate Mariana Mazzucato give an inspiring lecture the importance of state finance, particularly patient finance and the importance of government support for SMEs willing to innovate. The following days of the Assembly brought delegates together to discuss, hack and innovate in support of the upcoming SME Strategy and provide valuable input for its creation.The results of the Assembly will be shared in the ‘Online SME Assembly’ LinkedIn group which is open to all delegates, speakers and stakeholders.

Be sure to watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights, and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the outcomes of the SME Assembly, upcoming EEPA winner interviews and exciting updates! Enjoy the newsletter and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

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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 Assembly 2019 – Day 3

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The third and final day of the SME Assembly started with an overview and discussion on the future roles for regions and cities in promoting both entrepreneurship and SMEs. The session was opened by Kristin Schreiber, Director for SME Policy and Entrepreneurship, European Commission:

“I believe we achieved a lot through the single market and now we to build on this momentum. I’m counting on you to come up with bright and innovative ideas for the new SME strategy”.

It was then time to review the annual performance of Europe’s SMEs for 2019, with the SME Economic Performance Review, led by Kristin Schreiber – Director for SME Policy, Ben Butters – Eurochambres, and Jan Bormans from the European Startup Network. For more information and to read the review and accompanying report in full, have a look here.

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The highly anticipated Youth Essay Competition session kicked off with inputs from members of the jury, including Kristin Schreiber from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Marija Elena Borg, last year’s competition winner. Congratulations to the three runners up, Estelle Beuve, Enzo Ercole Ribagnac and Aureliano Ulndreaj who gave excellent speeches to the SME delegates, and special congratulations to Radu Dumitrescu for being crowned this year’s winner!

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The Assembly closed with a look at the future of sustainable SME Growth, and the contributions from this year’s participants towards the new SME Strategy. The winner of the best tweet competition, was also announced and received a signed copy of Schumpeter Lecturer Mariana Mazzucato’s book “The Value of Everything”. To close the SME Assembly, it was time to handover the torch to the next host presidency, Germany, who will be hosting next year’s Assembly in November in Berlin.

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That’s a wrap for the 2019 SME Assembly! See you next year in…Berlin!

The SME Assembly may be over, but the discussion continues! Keep sharing your ideas on Twitter with #SMEAssembly2019 and by tagging @EEPA_EU and don’t forget to join and post in the LinkedIn group “Online SME Assembly” to keep the conversation going.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

SME Economic Performance Review

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Every year the European Commission analyses how much progress the countries made in implementing the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA).

The SME performance review is one of the main tools the European Commission uses to monitor and assess countries’ progress in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) on a yearly basis. With an emphasis on the measures from the SBA action plan, the review brings comprehensive information on the performance of SMEs in EU countries and other partner countries. It consists of 2 parts: an annual report on European SMEs and SBA country fact sheets.

The SBA fact sheets are developed on the basis of a wide range of indicators and national policy developments, grouped according to the SBA’s ten policy dimensions:

  1. Entrepreneurship
  2. ‘Second chance’
  3. ‘Think Small First’
  4. ‘Responsive administration’
  5. State aid & public procurement
  6. Access to finance
  7. Single market
  8. Skills & innovation
  9. Environment
  10. Internationalisation

It is important to note that the figures presenting trend charts in the EU SME sector represent estimates for 2017-2020, based on 2008-2016 figures from the Structural Business Statistics Database (Eurostat).

For more information and to read the latest annual report, country-specific factsheets and the accompanying study, visit the European Commission website.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

SME Assembly 2019 – Day 2

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Day 2 of the SME Assembly opened with inspiring and thought provoking speeches from keynote speakers Professor Daniel Isenberg, Alberto Onetti and Petri Peltonen.

Professor Daniel Isenberg spoke of the need to change our beliefs surrounding entrepreneurship and the fundamental need to focus on scaling up and ban unicorns from public discourse so as to ensure that this phenomenon does not skew relevant policy. Chairman and Founder of Mind the Bridge Alberto Onetti, followed on with his talk on how to get SMEs to innovate and the need to expose them to innovation and cross-border partnerships. Petri Peltonen closed the opening speeches with his call for SME policy to be more horizontal and cross-sectoral in order for SMEs to be recognised more strongly across different sectors.

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The day continued with a participatory session on Sustainable SME Growth where delegates shared their thoughts and ideas on how to build and move towards a sustainable economy that works for people.

It was then time for the parallel sessions which included workshops, masterclasses and policy sessions spanning the upcoming SME Green Deal, the value chain in the Finnish maritime ecosystem, sustainable finance, jobs of the future, the opportunities for SMEs in the field of space data and more.

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The day closed with the highly anticipated finals of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. The Awards were opened by Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, who announced the opening of the next call for the European Entrepreneurial Region awards. The ceremony that followed celebrated the achievements and wins of projects across six different categories as well as an overall Grand Jury Prize winner.

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Find out all about the EEPA class of 2019 right here on the News Portal.

Congratulations to all the winners, and be sure to check out the updates and activities from Day 2 using #SMEAssembly2019 and by following @EEPA_EU on Twitter.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

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