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Tag ‘SME Week Youth Essay Competition’

YEC 2022 – You have more time than you thought!

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Want to know some good news? The deadline for submitting entries to the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2022 is being extended to October 7! To the early birds who already submitted their applications – thank you and good luck during the selection process! The new deadline extension will give you the time you need to submit a winning entry.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

Don’t delay! Register here, and get writing!

Why and how to submit your essay?

Well, this year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! 

Are you up to the challenge? To have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2022 in Prague this November, all you have to do is to submit a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the new deadline of 7 October 2022.

So what are you waiting for? Get thinking about the future skills needed by entrepreneurs; get writing; and get in with a chance to be the winner of this year’s competition. Submit your essay  here before it’s too late!

Advice from last year’s winner

According to last year’s winner Kristina Dimova, “The people, the ideas, the future are the main pillars of the competition” and she says this competition “was a way to figure out if I’m capable of showcasing complex ideas in a simple yet compelling way”. Kristina adds that “the only competition you have is yourself” and “be brave”.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: some wise words from 2020 YEC winner Sabine Kerssens

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We have already had some top tips from the winners of the 2018 editions of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Today, 2020 YEC winner Sabine Kerssens shares her wisdom, enabling this year’s entrants to benefit from her experience. If you are considering entering this year’s competition, perhaps Sabine can give you some inspiration, but make sure to submit your entry by the deadline of September 26.

Sabine impressed the competition jury with her ideas about the importance of cross-border collaboration and how learning from different cultures makes innovation more inclusive. Below, she has some tips on how to approach this year’s challenge and gives some advice to participants. Read on to see what she has to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an immense challenge to achieve because the many stakeholders all have incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements. People adapt, our economy adapts, and innovative entrepreneurs are closest to the scene. When I wrote about innovations contributing to a sustainable energy future in the past, I had not anticipated the emergency we are in today.

However, our entrepreneurs are already out there and adapting. I hope future essay writers will write about that adaptability. This year’s theme has three key ingredients: European economies, high dependency, and fossil fuel energies. To steer away from an unsustainable economy, one of the three needs to change, or perhaps all three of them. So what is it that we can adapt? I would approach this year’s theme with my hopes for a fair economy, fair for us and for the planet. I would continue by thinking about what entrepreneurs could change to help achieve this. In addition, bonus question: What do these entrepreneurs need from policy makers to think, dream and build big?

Why should young people participate in this competition?

Dear future writers, you have a voice worth listening to. Please speak up! Sometimes the brightest ideas don’t make an impact simply because they are not heard by decision makers. You can imagine, that some ideas don’t leave their social bubble. Recently a campaign went viral, because “In the Netherlands, there are more CEOs called “Peter” than female CEOs”. Like this, the voices of Peters might seem louder than yours, even when they shouldn’t. What if this Peter hadn’t seen your latest TikTok on climate change? Can they really represent your community? Take this platform offered to you, to help spark innovative ideas today. I know it made a difference in how far my ideas traveled, I hope it will for you too (even if you’re called Peter).

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

Take your time. Read old essays, see what still sticks some days later. It might be their key message, the structure of their arguments, their tone of voice, or anything else. Practice what you think captures your idea best, and most of all: keep your audience in mind! Easy right? So just enter! We promise that we won’t grade you. You can’t fail this class. You can only learn from it. Cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Oh, and possibly you will win a great experience. Dream big!

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: some top tips from 2018 YEC winner Marija Borg

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As the 26 September deadline for this year’s European SME Week Youth Essay Competition approaches, we asked 2018 winner Marija Elena Borg to share her advice with this year’s cohort and to give them the opportunity to benefit from her experience. You can also read about Marija’s own experience of the YEC here.

Marija impressed the 2018 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, Austria.

Since her participation in the competition, Marija has moved to Brussels, where she is serving as a technical attaché at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union. We asked her for some advice for this year’s competitors, read on to see what she had to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

This year’s theme enables participants to reflect on how a more sustainable economy can be achieved in practice. A substantial reduction in our dependency on fossil fuel energy is therefore a must. From my point of view, great importance should be given to two primary factors: (i) energy-saving initiatives and inventions; as well as (ii) alternative energy sources.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

Besides giving participants the chance to share innovative ideas with changemakers, this competition also provides short-listed candidates with the opportunity to network and explore ideas directly with the (500+!) attendees of the SME Assembly. This bodes well for young people with a keen interest in EU and global affairs.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

My advice is rather simple: Think of YEC as the perfect channel to pitch your best ideas to an EU-wide audience. It’s naturally crucial to stay on topic and write concisely – do not simply regurgitate the information you come across but give it a personal twist!

Where are you now? How did winning the Youth Essay Competition inspire and impact your life?

EU affairs have always been of interest to me, even before I took part in the YEC in 2018. Since winning the competition, however, I have been inspired to contribute more actively to the policy-making process, especially in my capacity of Manager at the Malta Business Bureau, i.e. the EU advisory office of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. Earlier this year, I was given the opportunity to relocate to Brussels and have now assumed the role of Technical Attaché (EU Funds and Programming) at Malta’s Permanent Representation to the EU.

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed!  All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in Prague in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

SME Week 2021 – Upcoming events

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The European SME week is a pan-European campaign that aims to promote entrepreneurship in Europe by helping and supporting entrepreneurs, as well as encouraging potential entrepreneurs to start their own business.

You can find out more about SME Week here on the News Portal, and watch the highlights of the annual flagship event, the SME Assembly, on our YouTube channel:

A large component of the SME Week campaign is the events included in the European SME Week event calendar. These events take place across Europe, at regional, national and cross-border level, and cover a variety of topics around the subjects of entrepreneurship, SMEs and business.

Current upcoming events include:

The calendar is updated regularly so be sure to keep checking back on events happening near you, or even online.

European SME Week – Get involved in 2021

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It is 2021 and time to start thinking about how to get involved in this year’s edition of the European SME Week. Read on to find out more about how you can get involved and where to find more information.

What is the European SME Week?

The European SME week is a pan-European campaign that aims to promote entrepreneurship in Europe. The main objectives of the campaign are to:

  • Help and support existing entrepreneurs
  • Encourage potential entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses

The campaign is coordinated by the European Commission and has events running throughout the year across all participating countries. The flagship event of the European SME Week is the SME Assembly, which takes places every autumn and is organised in collaboration with the Presidency country.

You can find information on past SME Assemblies here on the News Portal.

Where can I find out about SME Week events?

All SME Week events are submitted to the SME Week Event Calendar, and once approved are displayed publicly. You can browse events by country, dates, event types, organisers and more, to find exactly what you are looking for.

How can I get involved in SME Week in 2021?

In addition to attending existing SME Week events, you can also decide to organise your own! Events can be submitted to the calendar and national coordinators will help with selection, organisation and overall support.

If you are between the ages of 18-25, you can also get involved by participating in the annual European SME Week Youth Essay Competition.

Where can I find more information?

If you need more information on the European SME Week you can visit the European SME Week webpage or contact the SME Week Secretariat if you have specific questions.

Voices of the future – Youth Essay Competition Winner Sabine Kerssens

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition opened for the fifth time in 2020 to ask the youth of Europe for their opinions and solutions to the following:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient, in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? How can EU policy best aid entrepreneurs?

On Promoting Enterprise, we have already had the pleasure of interviewing two of our talented finalists: Pablo Pastor Vidal and Georgina Whiteman. Make sure to read their interviews and get inspired by their submissions!

Today we have the pleasure of interviewing the 2020 winner, Sabine Kerssens, who along with the other two finalists made it all the way to the SME Assembly 2020 to present her essay and ideas to hundreds of delegates. She first impressed the jury with her ideas around the importance of cross-border collaboration and how learning from different cultures allows innovations to be inclusive. Sabine then went on to win the live vote at the SME Assembly after presenting her ideas.

We asked Sabine about her experience entering the competition, attending the SME Assembly 2020 and being selected as the 2020 winner.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Practicing something that you would like to be better at is always a good idea, and the great thing is: you don’t need to win to learn something. As an engineer, writing an essay for a European Commission competition was not an obvious thing to do. Nevertheless, I wanted people to hear my ideas and I knew that being eloquent could help me in this. So I set my fears aside, and I practiced a new way of making an impact, through writing and submitting my ideas. So, to all the young change makers out there: participate in events like this to make sure that you give yourself the chance to find your strengths and make your voice heard in different ways. You can do it!

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

I’m so honoured that people took the time to vote, listen and enjoy my message. In my essay I advocate for a single startup scaleup market, because I believe there’s a lot to win if innovation by startups is holistically supported on an EU level. Putting a new idea out there, an idea that requires change, is unpredictable. When my name was called and I realised that I had won and that my ideas had captured the attention of the audience, I just felt adrenaline rushing through my body. I hope that with my essay, and through this competition that my ideas can be a spark for change.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2020?

Through the youth essay competition, the finalists shared the stage with some of the most fascinating speakers within and beyond the European Union. It was inspiring and uplifting to learn from the engaging sessions. Though I would always wish for an in-person meeting, as I’m very keen to meet and thank all the people that were behind the screens (literally), I was incredibly impressed by the professionalism of the organisation and the overall impact of the event.

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2020?

The youth don’t see the corona crisis as something separate from the climate crisis. Therefore, both challenges were a reoccurring theme in this year’s competition. Throughout the Assembly, I saw a want to do things differently in the future, specifically to “build back better”. By bringing the youth, innovators and global leaders on stage together you don’t have to wait for the future.

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

I work with a non-profit to help Dutch startups and scaleups rise with the best talent, markets, technology and capital by 2023. My goal is to make the journey for innovators to scale internationally data-driven. The aim is for risk-taking change makers to be able to rely on and accelerate through the knowledge and experience of generations. If you have ideas or thoughts on the single startup scaleup market, on what innovators need or on what I should be doing after 2023: please reach out via LinkedIn!

Congratulations Sabine! If you would like to watch Sabine’s winning presentation at the SME Assembly you can catch up on our YouTube channel, and don’t forget to read her submission and learn about her ideas for the single startup scaleup market.

Watch the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

Voices of the future – Youth Essay Competition Finalist Georgina Whiteman

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The fifth edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition, held in 2020, challenged applicants to present their answers and arguments for the following question:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient, in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? How can EU policy best aid entrepreneurs?

Today on Promoting Enterprise we have the pleasure of interviewing Georgina Whiteman, who was one of the three selected finalists that made it all the way to the SME Assembly 2020 to present her essay and ideas to hundreds of delegates. Georgina impressed the jury with her arguments on how EU policy should focus on entrepreneurship education in order to invest in a future generation of sustainable and resilient SMEs.

We asked Georgina about her experience entering the competition and attending the SME Assembly 2020.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?
I’ve been entering the competition for the past few years now as I really love the idea of getting young people to discuss the future of entrepreneurship – I got a special commendation two years ago for one of my essays! I really loved the topic this year, and it was incredibly relevant to the next stage in my career journey – pursuing my PhD looking at how young people transition into entrepreneurship. The idea of developing a youth-centric entrepreneurship policy, and looking at entrepreneurship education as a core function of this, was too irresistible to resist writing on! 

What was it like to be announced as a finalist for the 2020 Competition?
Really incredible – in my last year of being considered a ‘youth’ as well, it was nice to make the final on my final chance to enter! 

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2020?
I really enjoyed it – I particularly loved the Joseph Stiglitz talk – he’s an inspiration of mine. I loved getting to know the other finalists as well, everyone was rooting for each other and it was such a positive environment to be a part of. 

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2020?
I love the idea of thinking local – concentrating on local impact rather than global impact, and it’s something I am taking forward with me in the work I am doing in the upcoming years surrounding youth social entrepreneurship education. 

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?
I’m in the first few months of my PhD that is centred around youth entrepreneurship and how youth become entrepreneurs – so there’s that. I’m also working on a few social entrepreneurship related youth projects across Europe, so I’m looking forward to 2021 and getting started on all of these plans. 

Congratulations to Georgina on being one of the 2020 finalists! Did you miss Georgina’s presentation? Don’t worry you can catch up or watch it again:

You can also read through Georgina’s essay here.

Keep coming back to the News Portal to read our interview with the 2020 winner Sabine Kerssens, and don’t forget to check out our interview with fellow finalist Pablo Pastor Vidal.

Watch the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

Voices of the future – Youth Essay Competition Finalist Pablo Pastor Vidal

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In 2020 the fifth edition of the annual SME Week Youth Essay Competition was launched and asked Europe’s youth the following question:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient, in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? How can EU policy best aid entrepreneurs?

Today on Promoting Enterprise we have the pleasure of interviewing one of the 2020 finalists who made it all the way to this year’s SME Assembly 2020 and presented his essay to the hundreds of delegates. Pablo Pastor Vidal from Spain impressed the jury with his ideas on sustainability and resilience, calling them the words of the next decade.

We asked Pablo about his experience entering the competition and attending the SME Assembly 2020.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?
Since I was a child I have always been very interested in how to come up with solutions to the social problems we face every day and I think that is why I ended up studying Law and Political Science. I remember that the day I discovered the SME Youth Week essay competition I had just had one of these big talks with my parents about how we need to innovate more and support each other even more because everyone has problems and, near them, there will always be another person with solutions. I think that is what we should do in Europe, especially in this era of our history where everything is more complicated than ever: we need to learn from each other and listen because sometimes we are just making the same mistakes that someone has made before us. 

What was it like to be announced as a finalist of the 2020 competition? 
I am a shy person, so at first, I just told a couple of friends and my family that I was a finalist because I personally thought my ideas would not change people’s minds that much. However, as soon as I told someone about it they loved reading my essay and told me that it made them think about topics that no one had pointed out to them before, and I loved to hear that! We all have the power to influence the people we know with our ideas but I just could not believe mine would captivate the attention of a jury composed of highly respected people in the world of SMEs in Europe as well. 

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2020?
It was probably one of the most enriching events I have attended. I know all the team was working really hard to make it possible, especially because all had to be transferred to an online platform this year. Although it was a pity that we had to go online, because I would have loved to meet each and every person face-to-face, that did not make me enjoy the overall conference and intense workshops any less. Now I am already looking forward to the next edition in Ljubljana and I plan to bring some experiences of the Spanish SME landscape with me.

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2020? 
First of all, needless to say, this event is a must for everyone that wants to communicate and learn about SMEs, because it is not only enriching but diverse: there were experiences from all over Europe and the world. Moreover, I think the experts confirmed very important points that Sabine, Geena and I stressed a lot in our essays: that, in a nutshell, we are going from a vertical vision to a horizontal one, with all the consequences that has, not only in the organisations themselves but in the values regarding the environment, their resilience and their capacity to look forward and think long-term. Therefore, I think we need to engage more people creating with their minds, hearts and hands and more academics to ensure we learn from the mistakes we might make along the way. 

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share? 
Right now I am working with a team of lawyers from all over Spain to create an innovative startup that tries to solve the everyday problems of small and medium legal firms and guide them through their digital transformation. Our mission is also to promote more economically accessible legal help to the majority of the population. I am really excited about this project and I hope to share more news about it soon.

I am also looking forward to graduating from my current studies. I know for sure I want to become a leading young voice in the promotion of small and medium enterprises, but at the same time, I do not know where my passions will take me! Until then, I hope we can make 2021 one of the best years for the growth and promotion of the SMEs. 

Thanks to everyone that made this competition and experience possible! 

Thank you Pablo and congratulations on being a 2020 finalist! You can read Pablo’s essay and watch him present at the SME Assembly:

Keep coming back to the News Portal to read our interview with fellow finalist Georgina Whiteman and the 2020 winner Sabine Kerssens.

Catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

YEC 2020 – How to write a winning entry

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There is still time to submit your essay to this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Still a bit stuck? Need some advice? Look no further! Here on the News Portal we have brought together valuable advice from past winners to help you write the best entry you can.

So have a read, think about their advice and don’t forget to submit!

There’s a trick I use whenever I have to write something. I leave my phone and laptop behind and go to the park with a pen and a small notebook. Ideas come when I don’t allow myself to be distracted by other things, and putting pen to paper is an essential first step. Even if you scribble over twenty ideas, or an idea doesn’t work at first, write it all down. Underline each idea, develop it, put it into clearer words. Soon enough, you’ll have a winning essay.

  • Radu Dumitrescu, 2019 winner

My advice is pretty simple: plan ahead! Do not wait till the last days of submission to draft your entry. Remember that the earlier you start planning for and writing your essay, the more time you have to research the topic, structure your thoughts and review the final product. Also, I highly recommend that you give your essay a personal touch – it is ultimately the key to ensuring that your entry stands out above the rest.

  • Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

I am convinced that our thoughts influence our actions in a material manner. That is why my advice would be to think practically. Let me demonstrate this. There is a young Ukrainian performing artist that uses the motto “Brave, Love, Freedom”, which I would use in a practical way to prepare my entry.

Let’s take firstly the point “Love” I would interpret it in the following way: look around you, define the persons you care about, think about their needs and what innovative steps are required to improve the lives of your loved ones. Now let us look at “Freedom”: get rid of prejudice; let your critical mind absorb and analyse information around you; be open to any topic no matter if you agree with it or not, because firstly you have to listen to opposing opinions, then gather data and facts about the argument and finally build your own opinion. Finally, “Brave”: do not be afraid to talk with experts about topics like: Innovation, Political and Social strategies, Economics, and Entrepreneurship, do not be intimidated by their experience and look for seminars and conferences at which these topics are discussed. Finally, do not doubt yourself, sit down and write down all of your own ideas, because these ideas will one way or another influence the behaviour and way of thinking of those who will read or listen to them!

  • Oksana Vedminska, 2017 winner

Read more about the 2020 competition here and send any questions about the competition to smeweek@loweurope.eu

YEC 2020 – Top tips with 2019 winner Radu Dumitrescu

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We are back with the winner of the 2019 Youth Essay Competition, Radu Dumitrescu. Here on the News Portal we recently asked Radu how he was doing and what he had been up to since winning. Today we are asking him to tell us what any potential applicant needs to know…what makes a good essay and how to begin to answer the 2020 question.

Who better to ask than someone who has gone through the competition…and won! Radu shared with us how he would approach this year’s tough question and provided some helpful advice for anyone thinking about applying.

How would you approach the 2020 question?

This year, contestants have to answer two questions with which governments all over the world are struggling – how can SMEs succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic and how can the EU help entrepreneurs? The answers to these questions will be of interest to presidents, prime-ministers and business leaders alike. People in these positions already think in a certain way, and this is precisely why it is good to get the fresh perspective of a young European on these issues. We are in an entirely new situation globally, and now is the time for thinking outside the box. I would approach the 2020 question daringly, by trying to look at new ways in which businesses could operate using technology, for example.

Do you have any advice for the 2020 competitors?

There’s a trick I use whenever I have to write something. I leave my phone and laptop behind and go to the park with a pen and a small notebook. Ideas come when I don’t allow myself to be distracted by other things, and putting pen to paper is an essential first step. Even if you scribble over twenty ideas, or an idea doesn’t work at first, write it all down. Underline each idea, develop it, put it into clearer words. Soon enough, you’ll have a winning essay.

So what are you waiting for? Follow Radu’s advice, put pen to paper and don’t forget to submit. You can find all of the details of the 2020 competition here and send any additional questions you might have to smeweek@loweurope.eu or leave us a comment on any of the Youth Essay Competition posts.

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