This year the annual MSME (Micro, Small-Medium Enterprises) Day was celebrated on 27 June and was dedicated to youth. This year the main event focused on youth entrepreneurship and youth employment, and aimed to advocate for the importance of MSMEs in youth employment, raise awareness around the skills needed by youth to acquire decent jobs and finally raise awareness around youth entrepreneurship.
The MSME Day may have passed but the campaign is still going and the need to advocate for youth employment and youth entrepreneurship continues. But why the particular focus on youth for 2018? This year the MSME Day campaign communicated about the difficulties that youth face in securing steady jobs and the hurdles faced when entering the workforce. This in itself is a large contributor to the rate of youth unemployment, which currently stands at 15.6% in the EU according to Statista.
In addition to the challenges, MSME DAY 2018 highlights the reasons why a focus on youth would be ultimately beneficial for industry including the fact that young entrepreneurs are more active in high-growth sectors and are more likely to hire other young employees and pay higher wages than ‘older’ firms. Youth-led enterprises can also trigger youth-led job creation, with start-ups accounting for up to 50% of new jobs, and finally young people show higher levels of entrepreneurial initiative than adults do.
Visit the MSME Day 2018 website to find out more and support this campaign to support youth in industry.
The European Commission is also interested in supporting youth and particularly in hearing their voices, which is why the SME Week European Youth Essay Competition was created back in 2016. Two years and two winners later, the competition is back for a third edition and with another question:
“What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”
Find out more about the competition and how to enter here on the News Portal.
Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with 2016 Youth Essay Competition winner Andri Pandoura! At the age of 16 Andri won the competition two years ago during the first edition with her answer to “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?”. Read on to find out what she has been up to since winning, her take on what it’s like being a part of the competition and her advice for the 2018 competitors.
What have you been doing since winning the Youth Essay Competition?
Well, I am still in high school with one more year to go, so lots of stressing about homework, as well as preparations for my university applications. Apart from that, I am still trying to be active in different programs. For instance, I am currently a Youth Ambassador for Structured Dialogue in Cyprus, as well as the Youth Delegate for Cyprus at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. Basically, I’m trying to keep myself busy.
Do you have any exciting projects that you would like to share?
A project that I am really excited and honoured to be a part of is “Children as Actors for Transforming Society” (CATS) that takes place in Caux, Switzerland. Every year children, NGOs, schools, youth groups and many more individuals with different levels of experience regarding child participation meet at Caux, stressing the key role of children as not only the future, but also the present. Specifically, all these people with vastly different backgrounds will come together under the umbrella theme of combatting violence in all forms, affecting children and working towards a safer world. It truly is an incredible project, promoting child rights and child participation at its best, in a similar way that the Youth Essay Competition promotes youth participation and allows young people to voice their views about topics that matter to them.
What was the best part about entering the Youth Essay Competition?
The chance to sit down and actually break down a topic such as Youth Entrepreneurship that at first glance appears to be a massive maze with no way out. The Competition gives all the participants, myself included, the chance to voice our opinions about a topic that is rarely discussed in the formal education system, but is of great importance. So really the best part of the competition was its role as an ‘amplifier’ that helps young people in being heard. Having the chance to participate and speak at the SME Assembly in 2016 allowed me to meet so many incredible individuals, hear different perspectives and opinions on youth entrepreneurship that I never really considered and truly opened new doors for me back home.
What did you learn from the Youth Essay Competition experience?
Most importantly, I learned how significant it is to make an effort and submit an essay, despite any doubts; I never would have imagined that my essay would win and this attitude of ‘try, even if you might not succeed’ has stuck with me ever since. I overcame my stage fright and learned from first-hand experience that there are people who want to hear your opinions and, even if they don’t initiate a conversation, you can always approach them yourself.
Do you have any advice on how to approach this year’s question?
I think that the best advice I could offer is to take it easy. It is a very interesting question, but it can also be quite daunting. I would suggest treating it as if you were having a discussion with a close friend or relative. Don’t get caught up in the technicalities, just write as if you are talking to someone. We often say “If I were in charge, I would…” and I believe this is the mind-set that will really help in brainstorming. When you get your main points down you can work with that and edit accordingly.
Do you have any advice for the 2018 competitors?
To write from experience is very important in my opinion. I remember feeling uncertain about participating since I was only 16 at the time and obviously lacked the experience and expertise of a university graduate, for instance. My advice is, don’t let any feelings of ‘inferiority’ get you down. The topic of innovation in entrepreneurship and government is not something limited to young entrepreneurs and politicians, and it is not expected of the competitors to fake a certain perspective. Write sincerely and this will shine through.
Youth of Europe – Voices of the future
The Youth of Europe have a voice, plenty of ideas and innovative visions of the future, but how can they make their voices heard? The European Commission values the voices of the future and is proud to announce that the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is back, with a fresh question ready to be answered. Keep reading and visit the News Portal for more information on how to enter.
Have a look through this latest edition for all the EEPA updates as well as upcoming entrepreneurial events and remember that we want YOUR stories, so update us for future editions.
Calling all 18-25 year olds, the European Commission wants to hear your voice!
The Youth Essay competition, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is launching for the third time and is looking for answers to the following question:
“What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”
By taking part in the Youth Essay Competition you have a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform. Sound interesting? In order to win the prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the 2018 SME Assembly in Graz, submit an essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 16 September 2018.
Don’t know what to write? Not sure where to start? Have a look at previous winning entries:
- 2016: Andri Pandoura, “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?”
- 2017: Oksana Vedmidska, “What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?”
You can also have a look at the entries from the finalists:
- 2016: Katie Williams, Francesco Foglia and Frici Barabas
- 2017: Pavle Kostić and Evlampia Karavangeli
To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and SUBMIT!
If you have any questions please contact email@example.com.
- The competition is open to all 18 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
- Essays should not exceed 2 500 words in length
- All essays must be in English
- Only one entry per applicant
- The deadline for submissions is 16 September 2018
- The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale in Graz as part of the SME Assembly, where they will present their essays
- The final winner will be chosen via a public vote
- An all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly in Graz, Austria for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
- Presentation training before delivering essay live on stage at the SME Assembly 2018
- Promotion of essays across SME Week social media channels
See Youth Essay Competition 2018 Terms and Conditions.
SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2018 partners:
The European Youth Event (EYE) 2018 is almost here! Tomorrow on 1 June 2018, over 8 000 young Europeans will come together in Strasbourg to discuss the future of Europe with European decision makers.
The EYE 2018 will feature over 300 activities over the course of two days and will be covered by the EYE Reporters, a team of young journalists chosen especially for the event. This year the event will focus around five main themes:
- Young and old: Keeping up with the digital revolution
- Rich and poor: Calling for a fair share
- Apart and together: Working out for a stronger Europe
- Safe and dangerous: Staying alive in turbulent times
- Local and global: Protecting our planet
Have a look at the programme to find out more about the sessions.
How can you be a part of the event?
Not able to attend EYE 2018 but still want to make your voice heard? This year you can! This event is a chance for all young Europeans, those attending and those unable to attend, to voice their opinions. In order to ensure that everyone has that opportunity the EYE will be interacting with online participants as well as the attendees.
The top activities will be live streamed via Facebook live, as well as the European Parliament Multimedia website. Questions will be taken from both participants in the room, and those joining via the live stream. You can also participate via the hashtag #EYE2018 across all social media to have your say on the discussed topics.
There will also be an announcement about the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2018 during the event, so stay tuned to find out what it is!
This year also sees the launch of the new EYE2018 app, which is free to download from both the App Store and Google Play. The app will allow you to be a part of various aspects of the event and features an ‘ideas wall’ for participants to post their thoughts and opinions.
For more information on EYE 2018 visit the official website and don’t forget to get involved and have your say!
The Entrepreneurship Conference “Follow your ideas – become an entrepreneur” will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria on 6 March 2018 under the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference is organised by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Bulgaria and the European Commission.
The conference will bring together participants from all over Europe and include: young entrepreneurs, SMEs, education representatives, science organisations, NGOs and the European institutions. During the conference participants will question youth entrepreneurship in the EU and explore how best to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option for European youth.
The conference will be divided into three main panels:
- Entrepreneurship education and youth entrepreneurship in Europe
- The young entrepreneurs speak
- Best practices in promotion youth entrepreneurship in Europe
Speakers will include representatives from Bulgarian ministries, the European Commission, youth organisations, Ideas from Europe finalists and former European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) competitors.
For more information visit the event website.
Time to introduce our final category of EEPA 2017 candidates! The category of ‘Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship’ recognises initiatives that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities. This year there are two nominated projects for the European prize from France and Portugal.
Adie (Association for Economic Rights Initiatives) is an association which helps people without access to conventional banking services start-up their business, thanks to their initiatives like Microfranchise Solidaire, the first operator of microcredit in France. By 2016, it had supported 19,431 people and enabled the creation and development of 14,366 businesses. Additionally more than 200 entrepreneurs have already joined a microfranchise network and benefitted from the support of a partner in order to set up and develop their activities.
The Mundar Change your World – Young Entrepreneurship Contest is a platform that offers children and young people the chance to create, present and experiment with their ideas. Created in 2013, it gives young innovators between the ages of 16 and 30 a chance to have their ideas funded and implemented. To date 77 youth ideas with personal, community and social benefits have been implemented, allowing youth to have a real impact without one of the biggest hurdles, financial support, getting in the way.
Who will come away with an EEPA 2017 prize? Which projects will be our 2017 European winners? We can’t wait to find out at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November! Read more about about Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, Category 3: Improving the Business Environment and Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business on the Portal, and keep coming back for the latest SME Assembly, SME Week and EEPA 2017 updates.
We have seen the shortlist, and started introducing all the candidates, but what happens before that? What does a national ceremony look like? Today on Promoting Enterprise German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer shares with us what happened at the 2017 German EEPA national ceremony.
The German national awards ceremony 2017 took place on 13 October 2017 in Berlin, as part of the deGUT-fair, one of the most important German entrepreneurship fairs. The ceremony was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and was presented during the fair forum. The two winners “BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” and “Import Promotion Desk” were announced to the visiting public and they received congratulations and a winner’s certificate handed out by the Ministry. Following the award presentation, each winner was invited to present their innovative and inspiring initiatives by giving a short interview on the stage. These two winners had been selected by a national expert jury who evaluated a total of 29 entries in May 2017.
“BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” project, takes a different approach to education and aims to educate secondary school students in the areas of business, natural sciences and ultimately entrepreneurship. The project is divided into different phases and includes business competitions, immersive internships abroad, science clubs and business weeks. Through these activities students are pushed to think like entrepreneurs, work in teams, and work in collaboration with local and national stakeholders. As they advance through school activities become more complex and introduce different skills, allowing the students to develop into competent candidates for the modern labour market.
The “Import Promotion Desk” supports German imports, thus opening the door for SMEs from selected developing and emerging countries to access the European market and develop trade capacities. The aim is to maintain the sustained import of particular products from partner countries, whilst maintaining high quality, social and environmental standards. The IPD brings together European importers, who can optimise procurement and increase product diversity, and exporters as trade partners. Consequently partner country export capacities are strengthened through job creation and income increase. IPD is currently active in the following counties: Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Columbia, Nepal, Peru and Tunisia.
Both projects will be present at the SME Assembly, so if you are interested in finding out more visit their websites and see if you can spot them at the event next month!
What happens to EEPA winners after the ceremony? What do they get up to next? Today Promoting Enterprise is proud to introduce Leny van der Ham, the founder of International Business College 20-80 Learning, a 2015 EEPA finalist. Today she shares with us what her project is about and her exciting updates since being a part of EEPA back in 2015.
20-80 Learning promotes the entrepreneurial spirit of young people, helps them complete their regular education in 80% of the time leaving the other 20% of their time for creative collaboration and personal development. 20-80 Learning focuses on self-development, entre- and intrapreneurship, follow-up study, real life, metacognition and languages. In more than 30 Dutch secondary schools the students complete the standard secondary school course in 4 days a week using 80% of the class time. The remaining 20% is the 20-80 Learning day when students develop metacognition, entrepreneurship and skills for their further education and careers. The 20-80 learning philosophy is now being applied in the fields of business, science, sport and arts, and is receiving widespread positive recognition by the Dutch Ministries of Education, Culture and Science and Economic Affairs.
But what is the goal of 20-80 Learning? Why is it important to reserve 20% of young people’s time for other skills and activities? For founder Lenny van der Ham, the answer is simple and manifold:
“To me, every day is so valuable that boredom is unacceptable. An entrepreneur has to be alert to market processes: a teacher is an intrapreneur and must always be aware of his customer and his product, thus there should always be room for innovation in education!”
Through this program she aims to make education not only well-rounded and useful, but to put the fun back into education and provide a space for both students and teachers to experiment and develop. Via this approach the goal is to minimise potential negative effects such as poor performance, negative attitudes to work, negative interaction with teachers, and dropouts from further education.
After such success in the Netherlands, Leny is looking at how to expand her transferable concept on a global scale, and explore the possibilities of setting up accredited campuses across the world.
Interested in the concept? Want to help implement Leny’s global vision and bring this system to teenagers worldwide? Find out more from the website www.20-80learning.nl, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Is youth entrepreneurship really happening? How is the Union aware of what innovations youth are working on, or whether they are being supported adequately? The following report provides insights into youth work and their necessary entrepreneurial learning and development.
The EU and its Member States have been promoting entrepreneurial competences among young people as a pathway to taking an active part in society. This report presents the findings and conclusions of a major study which mapped, described and analysed the contribution of youth work to supporting young people to become active and entrepreneurial citizens of Europe. The report delivers concrete recommendations for policymakers, as well as for the formal education sector and for youth work organisations, on how to increase the impact of young people’s entrepreneurial learning.
Read the full report.