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Empowering girls and women in business

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For over a century, March 8th has been seen as a day that holds special meaning for women. On International Women’s Day, we asked ourselves a question: how can we empower girls and women, entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs to be?

This brings us back to one of the workshops that took place during SME Assembly 2021 that was built around this topic and brought to light a number of actions we all can take, no matter our role in the business community.

Here is a list of three simple actions that would help empowering girls and women in business:

I. Promote women entrepreneurs

The data from WEgate, the e-platform launched by the European Commission to support women entrepreneurs across Europe, shows that women need to see examples of other women entrepreneurs, they need to have business models and to find references in which they can recognize themselves, as Eva Merloni, Project Manager at WEgate, told us during the workshop.

II. Support girls and women to enhance their digital and entrepreneurial competences

This will boost their confidence to use those competencies in STEM areas by spotting opportunities, innovating and creating value for society. This will bring a positive impact on the economy by enabling the application of these transversal competences to societal challenges and different economic sectors.

III. Access to finance

Quoting Virginia Woolf who said that in order to become a writer a woman needs a room of her own and 500 pounds, Margherita Bacigalupo, Scientific Officer at Joint Research Centre (JRC) at European Commission’s Science Service, highlighted that women need access to finance and that economic independence is key in the evolution of women entrepreneurs.

This is just a small part of what was discussed during the workshop we mentioned at the beginning of this article, so we invite you to watch the entire session below:

For more information on this topic, please follow the European Commission website, follow Promoting Enterprise News Portal, as well as our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

SME Support Instruments by the EU

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SME_Assembly2021_Kanizaj-1686

As 99,7% of the companies in Europe are SMEs, the EU has launched various instruments to help SMEs access finance, notably financial instruments (loans, guarantees and venture capital) and grants (collaborative actions and the SME instrument) in order to recover and build up the resilience after the Covid-19 crisis.

During the SME Assembly 2021, these instruments were largely discussed and a dedicated workshop took place focusing solely on this topic.

With the participation of Maarit Nyman (DG Grow Deputy Head of the SME Unit), Igor Kalinic (EISMEA) and Salvatore Amico Roxas (DG Grow Access to Finance Unit), the workshop looked at the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and opportunities for SMEs with a special focus on the Single Market Programme (SMP), The European Innovation Council and Invest EU Programme.

We invite you to watch the session and find out which instruments are most suitable for your enterprise.

Here is what we noted down during the workshop:

The Single Market Programme focuses on strengthening the governance of the internal market, supporting the competitiveness of industry and in particular of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), promoting human, animal and plant health and animal welfare and establishing the framework for financing European statistics. With €4.2 billion over the period of 2021-2027, out of which 1 billion is destined to SMEs, it provides an integrated package to support and strengthen the governance of the single market.

To be more specific, the SME pillar of the Single Market Programme will first ensure the continuity of the implementation of the most impactful actions of the COSME programme, in particular supporting a better access to markets, a more favourable business environment and promoting entrepreneurship. It aims to foster the competitiveness, capacity building and sustainability of enterprises, especially SMEs, including the tourism sector, highly affected by the pandemic.

On the other hand, the European Innovation Council (EIC), established under the EU Horizon Europe programme, has a budget of €10.1 billion to support game changing innovations throughout the lifecycle from early stage research, to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scale up of start-ups and SMEs.

Last, but not least, Invest EU Fund, part of Invest EU Programme, is a single fund bringing together the many different EU-level financial instrument and it aims, among other things, facilitating access to finance for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), small mid-cap companies. This includes capital support for SMEs that were negatively affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

For more information on these topics, please follow the European Commission website, for the latest updates, follow Promoting Enterprise News Portal as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

3+ reasons to enter EEPA 2022 Competition

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The 2022 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) has kick-started. The competition supports entrepreneurship and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through awarding innovative initiatives of public bodies and public-private partnerships.

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards aim not only at identifying and recognizing successful activities and initiatives undertaken to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship, but also at showcasing and sharing examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices. The EEPA create a greater awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in society and encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs.

Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre from Spain, winner of Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit category said:

It will validate your work at an international level. Just by being selected as a finalist, you will get European wide recognition and the opportunity to interact and network with a variety of European actors.”

Grand Jury Prize 2021 winner COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V. from Germany, and also first prize winner in Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category, thinks that:

The EEPA is a great chance to make your project more visible and cooperate with other organizations to spread information about your successful work. It gives you the possibility to present your project as a model – both at a national and international level – and, ultimately, to reach your goals for a larger community all over Europe. Applying is definitely worth a try.”

The winner of Category 6, Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Inkludera by Inkludera from Sweden, found inspiration at the 2021 SME Assembly and told us:

“We believe it’s a great forum for being inspired by other organizations.”

SME Assembly 2021 was for sure an inspiring and empowering event. Let’s watch some of the key moments from last year and relive the experience!

If we have convinced you to join EEPA 2022, see below how it works:

The participating countries invite projects or initiatives to apply for the national competitions for the 2022 edition. Each national competition will announce two national winners, who will proceed to compete at the European level prior to the European deadline of 25 July 2022. The prestigious EEPA jury of 2022 will then carefully review each of the national winners, where the top projects will make the European shortlist.

All shortlisted nominees from both the national and European competition levels will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly co-hosted by the Czech Presidency of the Council and the European Commission in November.

Want to participate? Find your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

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