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SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Why should you enter?

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is open for the fourth time and is asking applicants to:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”

If you are between the ages of 18-25 and are a citizen of an EU or COSME partner country, then this is your chance to have your voice heard. The Youth Essay Competition is a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform within the domains of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The competition is a great opportunity to voice your opinion, and should you be a finalist, to visit the SME Assembly 2019, but why else should you enter? Here on Promoting Enterprise we asked last year’s finalists and winner why they entered the competition. Read through their answers below, get inspired and be sure to submit your entry before 16 August 2019.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I have always believed that innovation – in its holistic sense – is the gateway to creating a smart and sustainable future. Therefore, when I came across the competition advert on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, I decided to put pen to paper and give this opportunity my best shot!

  • Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

I just happened to be surfing the web and looking at upcoming events in Europe, and came across the essay competition information by chance. At the time it was the middle of August and I was enjoying a break from my studies, but after reading the question I thought it would be an interesting challenge. I am very passionate about the EU and its values, and I wanted to discover what I thought about innovation. Truthfully, it was not something I had thought about a lot, but after my research it has really grown on me, and I’m now very interested in how I can create and find innovation in my career path.

  • Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, 2018 finalist

The topic was very interesting, and one that I had thought a lot about beforehand. Therefore, I felt very inspired to write a contribution to the competition. It was a good opportunity to address questions about sustainable and environmental innovation, which are quite dear to me, and the chance to attend the SME Assembly was one that I also did not want to miss.

  • Joakim Davidsson, 2018 finalist

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and read the competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition.

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Launch

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Youth of Europe, it is time to make your voice heard! If you are between the ages of 18-25 the European Commission wants to hear your ideas and thoughts on the topic of entrepreneurship, SMEs and the European entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Youth Essay competition, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is launching for the fourth time and is looking for submissions that answer the following:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”

The Youth Essay Competition is a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform within the domains of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

This year, the competition will be divided into two rounds:

  • Round 1: This is an open call to submit your speech. This submission is due by 16 August 2019
  • Round 2: You have given your inauguration speech and journalists are asking you for more details about your ideas. If you are selected for the top 10, you will receive three ‘follow up’ questions asking you to expand upon the ideas in your speech.

In order to win the prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the 2019 SME Assembly in Helsinki, submit your speech of no more than 2 500 words in English before 16 August 2019.

Don’t know what to write? Not sure where to start? Have a look at previous winning entries:

You can also have a look at the entries from previous finalists:

To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and SUBMIT!

If you have any questions please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 Launch

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 18 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Speeches should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All submissions must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for Round 1 submissions is 16 August 2019
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale in Helsinki as part of the SME Assembly, where they will give their speeches
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly in Helsinki, Finland for the three finalists, to deliver their speeches to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering speech live on stage at the SME Assembly 2019
  • Promotion of speeches across official social media channels

See Youth Essay Competition 2019 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and be sure to follow and use the hashtags #SMEWeekYouth and #YEC2019

Youth of Europe – Meet YEC 2018 winner Marija Elena Borg

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It is time to meet the winner of the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition…Marija Elena Borg! Marija impressed first the jury with her essay on the links between innovation and the holistic growth of organisations, and then went on to win the audience vote when she presented her essay at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz.

Marija is from Malta and is currently the EU Funding Executive of the Malta Business Bureau, which is the EU Advisory Office of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. Since 2015, she has managed multiple EU-funded projects and events largely linked to education and skills development. Her frequent participation in workshops and training courses has allowed her to work in multicultural settings and develop a great interest in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2017, Marija Elena also graduated with a Master’s Degree in European Politics, Economics and Law at the University of Malta.

Read on to find out more about her competition experience and what she thought of the SME Assembly 2018.  

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I have always believed that innovation – in its holistic sense – is the gateway to creating a smart and sustainable future. Therefore, when I came across the competition advert on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, I decided to put pen to paper and give this opportunity my best shot!

What did you think of the SME Assembly 2018?

This year’s edition of the SME Assembly provided an excellent learning and networking platform for European entrepreneurs and policy-makers. The organisation of a variety of activities, including business tours, matchmaking sessions, debates and participatory workshops, sparked the interest of attendees and prompted their active participation.

My highlight of the SME Assembly was the Mentoring Workshop, during which experienced entrepreneurs spoke about promoting start-up mentoring. Considering that in comparison to other continents such as North America, entrepreneurs in Europe seem to be more reluctant to enter into a mentor-mentee relationship, this workshop showcased real success stories, proving that mentoring can be equally rewarding for both parties.

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Connect. Share. Innovate’, what does that mean to you?

My interpretation of this year’s theme is rather simple: The best way to enable innovation (be it within a private or public organisation) is through promoting interaction between peers that will in turn facilitate the exchange of ideas, thoughts and experiences.

As I explained in my own essay, people are the primary cause of innovation. It is therefore the ‘duty’ of business owners or officials in management positions to ensure that their organisation maintains an appropriate work environment which directly empowers employees and motivates them to work and increase the rate of product or process innovation in the workplace.

What did it feel like to win the competition?

Surreal! Considering the work that was put into compiling the essay and pitching it to the SME Assembly participants, it felt incredible and fulfilling to be recognised as the winner of this year’s competition. I was also amazed by the feedback received following the announcement of the final result – numerous entrepreneurs applauded my proposed practical approach to innovation.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to Joakim Davidsson and Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, who also delivered excellent presentations in Graz!

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

So many things to do, so little time! My current plan is to keep learning as much as possible and developing my areas of interest, which include skills development, youth activism, public speaking and project writing/management.

Naturally, I also look forward to being part of next year’s edition of the SME Assembly in Finland!

Read Marija’s essay and have a look at the presentation  she made at the SME Assembly 2018.

Don’t forget to read our interviews with 2018 finalists Joakim Davidsson and Ngaio Olsen-Stahl here on the News Portal.

Youth of Europe – Meet finalist Joakim Davidsson

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Promoting Enterprise is back with exciting interviews from the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition finalists and winner. Today we are getting to know Joakim Davidsson, who wrote a compelling essay on Cooperation and Competition: Steps towards sustainable innovation, in answer to this year’s question: “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

Joakim is from Sweden, and grew up on the Swedish west coast in the small town of Kungshamn. After studying social sciences at school, he developed an interest in social questions and the world at large, which is what led him to pursue further studies at The University of Warwick in England, where he currently studies Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

The topic was very interesting, and one that I had thought a lot about beforehand. Therefore, I felt very inspired to write a contribution to the competition. It was a good opportunity to address questions about sustainable and environmental innovation, which are quite dear to me, and the chance to attend the SME Assembly was one that I also did not want to miss.

What did you think of the SME Assembly 2018?

It was a fantastic opportunity to listen to many interesting debates and speakers, and to network with policymakers, SME leaders, and other interesting people. I left the event filled with inspiration and ideas which made it such a wonderful trip. Moreover, I had never been to Austria before so I was also glad to have the opportunity to see the beautiful city of Graz!

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Connect. Share. Innovate’, what does that mean to you?

To move forward and innovate upon the existing paradigm, we must connect with each other and share. This is vital on both interpersonal and global levels, which is why I found the theme to be more than adept considering current climates.

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

Whilst there are many exciting plans in the pipeline, I cannot announce anything concrete right now…

What I can say however is that both my studies and extracurricular activities mean my schedule is quite busy. As a second year student doing Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, this year’s grades will count towards my final degree; meaning that it is imperative to not lose focus! In the future I believe I would like to acquire a master’s degree in economics, and maybe even a doctorate, but that is thinking far ahead…

Read Joakim’s essay and have a look at the presentation he made at the SME Assembly 2018.

Don’t forget to come back next week to meet fellow competition finalist Ngaio Olsen-Stahl!

SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #6

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EEPA 2018 – Who is on the shortlist?

The time has come, the moment we have all been waiting for…the EEPA 2018 shortlist announcement! Find out which projects have been selected to compete in the EEPA finals at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz below, and congratulations to all of the 2018 national winners. Thank you to our excellent EEPA 2018 Jury for making the tough decisions, and for sharing all your advice and tips on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal.

This month also saw the closing of submissions for the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Thank you to all those who took the time to write an essay, and good luck for the next steps.

Check out this edition for all the latest information from the Portal and SME related events across Europe and COSME countries.

Read more >>

<< Previous Issue #22

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Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Submissions closed

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Another year and another successful edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. A big thank you goes out to all of this year’s participants for submitting your answers to “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

This year we received submissions from 32 different countries, with the top three countries being Italy, Romania and Ukraine. We also received entries from other countries including Russia, Egypt, the Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Ghana, Algeria and Liberia. Unfortunately we can only accept submissions from citizens of COSME countries, but thank you for sending us your ideas!

So what happens now?

Now that the deadline has passed, the 2018 Essay Competition jury will deliberate and read through the entries to determine the top three submissions. These top three finalists will be announced right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media, so stay tuned to all of our channels to find out who will be joining us in Graz for a live final at the SME Assembly 2018.

What could you win?

Each finalist will win an all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria, be given special presentation training before the event and finally have their essay and ideas promoted right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media.

Follow our social media so you don’t miss any news about the competition:

Twitter: @EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

Previous editions of the competition:

2016: “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?”

2017: “What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?”

Last chance to apply for the Youth Essay Competition 2018!

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Have you submitted your essay yet? The deadline has been extended until 23 September 2018, so you still have three more days to write and submit your essay before it is too late. Still not sure about entering the competition? Read through what our youth essay competition jury think about the competition and then get writing!

 “Over time the younger generations are taking an ever increasing role in important societal discussions. This competition is an amazing opportunity to make an impact on what policy-makers are defining for our collective future and to make your voice heard. When we are invited to give our opinions we should embrace the challenge and speak up!”

  • David Gomes, JADE Network

“Why miss out on an exercise so valuable for personal development, testing one’s ideas, making a powerful statement and hopefully taking it to the European stage? Make your voice heard! It would also look pretty good on your CV as well.”

  • Marie-Elisabeth Rusling, Business Angels Europe

“My advice would be to just give it a shot! I am sure that many of us have had experiences with regards to the topic of the competition and developed ideas on making our governments and businesses more innovative and advanced. This competition is a platform and a chance to publish those ideas. It is time to share your ideas in order to encourage real change!”

  • Oksana Vedmidska, YEC 2017 winner

“Organising your thoughts and putting them down in words is always a great exercise for the mind. There is no “wrong” way of doing this. We want to know how you see the world, what you think about it and how it could work better. It’s your thinking and ideas that matter and we are eager to hear those! Avoid trying to sound like an experienced government official, let your own words be heard.”

  • Mervi Pänkäläinen, Mightifier

Could you be the next winner of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition? Will you be joining us at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz as a finalist? Use the advice from our jury members to write an outstanding entry and submit before 23 September 2018 to be in with a chance of winning!

For more information on the 2018 competition look here and send any questions to smeweek@loweurope.eu

Youth Essay Competiton 2018 – What will make an entry stand out?

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The 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition is looking for your answers to this question: “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

 

Now that the deadline has been extended until 23 September 2018, you have an extra week to get writing and submit your essays. But how can you make sure your entry is unique and stands out from the rest?  What will make an entry a winning one? Find out what each of our jury members are looking for and don’t forget to submit!

“An entry will stand out for me if it considers both the strengths and weaknesses of our present environment, and proposes solutions that are suitable for the problem identified. It is not enough to come up with ideas and expect them to be the best solution for the perceived problem. In order for an entry to be well rounded and thought provoking, the author will need to demonstrate a deep understanding of what is being done at the moment, and propose their solution in light of that.”

  • David Gomes, JADE Network

“I think that the essay needs to inspire the jury to discuss the proposals in more depth with the author. If the author is able to make the jury want to meet them and take them to the live final to present their work, then this will be a ‘wow factor’ for me!”

  • Marie-Elisabeth Rusling, Business Angels Europe

“An entry should demonstrate innovative, progressive, analytical and practical thinking. The inclusion of personal experiences will also play a very important role for me while judging an essay. This is what will make an entry original.”

  • Oksana Vedmidska, YEC 2017 winner

“An entry will stand out if it has a strong personal touch and insights that only a young person can deliver. I am really looking forward to learning from these young people!”

  • Mervi Pänkäläinen, Mightifier

Could you be the next winner of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition? Will you be joining us at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz as a finalist? Use the advice from our jury members to write an outstanding entry and submit before 23 September 2018 to be in with a chance of winning!

For more information on the 2018 competition look here and send any questions to smeweek@loweurope.eu

What are the YEC 2018 Jury looking for? – David Gomes

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is getting even closer…only 12 days to go until the deadline on 16 September 2018! Today on Promoting Enterprise we present David Gomes, another Youth Essay Competition jury member. David Gomes will be on the jury as the representative from the JADE Network (The European Confederation of Junior Enterprises), who are one of our competition partners.  Read on to find out what he is looking for in an entry and don’t forget to submit before the deadline!

What will you be looking for in an entry?

Innovation is the keyword – I will be looking for entries that suggest practical and concrete ways for entrepreneurs and governments to become more innovative. For me an entry needs to offer more than just sharing ideas and thinking about what we want in the future. I want the entries to really consider what we want to see in terms of innovation and how we can make this a reality. The writers should think about how we can foster an environment that promotes innovation on a constant basis. I am expecting really good answers as the question of innovation is one that we need to answer as fast as we can.

What are the top three criteria you will base your judging on?

I will judge each essay on the following three criteria: originality, feasibility, and presentation.

What will make an entry stand out for you?

An entry will stand out for me if it considers both the strengths and weaknesses of our present environment, and proposes solutions that are suitable for the problem identified. It is not enough to come up with ideas and expect them to be the best solution for the perceived problem. In order for an entry to be well rounded and thought provoking, the author will need to demonstrate a deep understanding of what is being done at the moment, and propose their solution in light of that.

What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?

Over time the younger generations are taking an ever increasing role in important societal discussions. This competition is an amazing opportunity to make an impact on what policy-makers are defining for our collective future and to make your voice heard. When we are invited to give our opinions we should embrace the challenge and speak up!

What steps do you think should be taken to foster and encourage innovation?

For me, it is much more about change management. Our society is ready for innovation, the problem simply lies with how people react to new ways of doing something or new products and services. We need to embrace innovation as a way to keep improving our lives for the better. Innovation should be a constant in our mindsets, in everything we do – both personally and professionally, and the leaders of this change should definitely be both governments and entrepreneurs.

Interested in entering this year’s competition? Find out more about the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition right here. Use the News Portal for all your competition questions and be sure to have a look at the previous winning entries for inspiration. Finally, don’t forget to submit your essays by 23 September 2018!

What are the YEC 2018 Jury looking for? – Marie-Elisabeth Rusling

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Who else is on the 2018 YEC Jury with Oksana Vedmidska and Mervi  Pänkäläinen? Today on Promoting Enterprise we would like to introduce Marie-Elisabeth Rusling, CEO of Business Angels Europe. Like her fellow jury members, Marie-Elisabeth will be sharing what she is looking for from this year’s entries and her thoughts on the 2018 question. Want your essay to stand out to Marie-Elisabeth? Read on to find out what her ideal essay looks like!

What will you be looking for in an entry?

In an entry I will be looking for personal views about innovation. I want to hear young voices making their case for it, addressing entrepreneurs and governments, and of course sharing ideas in their own powerful and compelling way. Fresh impetus!

What are the top three criteria you will base your judging on?

I will be judging each essay based on its Effectiveness, Uniqueness and Feasibility. In order to be effective the essay needs to articulate personal stories, experiences and the proposed steps. The essay will be unique if it demonstrates an individual approach to innovation, whether as a process or a state of mind – not just a digest of numerous definitions. Finally I will look at the feasibility of the piece. This is a tall order but the essay is about steps to be taken – I will be looking for proposals that can translate into concrete actions.

What will make an entry stand out for you?

I think that the essay needs to inspire the jury to discuss the proposals in more depth with the author. If the author is able to make the jury want to meet them and take them to the live final to present their work, then this will be a ‘wow factor’ for me!

What steps do you think should be taken to foster and encourage innovation?

Many governments now work with definitions of innovative companies, whether to define conditions of access to some support programmes or to encourage investments in these innovative ventures in a special way. Yet, there is no common agreement at European level. I would think this would be a simple way to harmonise our European market, if we could agree on one simple definition of the innovative company – keeping to simple criteria like R&I investment, prizes and awards, IPR. One big feature of the Single Market was the creation European company statute. How about the European innovative company for the Single market in the digital age?

What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?

Why miss out on an exercise so valuable for personal development, testing one’s ideas, making a powerful statement and hopefully taking it to the European stage? Make your voice heard! It would also look pretty good on your CV as well.

Interested in entering this year’s competition? Find out more about the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition right here! Keep coming back to the News Portal to find out more about the competition and all of the jury members, and don’t forget to submit your essays by 23 September 2018.

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