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Youth Essay Competition – What can you expect from the SME Assembly?

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity to make your voice heard in front of the people that matter for entrepreneurship and industry. Once a year, entrepreneurs, policy makers, innovators and other SME stakeholders, gather at the prestigious SME Assembly, to tackle issues facing industry, gather new ideas and share experiences to help create a more robust, innovative and SME friendly European ecosystem.

But what is it like to attend? What can you expect from the SME Assembly as a Youth Essay Competition finalist? We asked the finalists from last year’s edition what they thought of the SME Assembly 2018 to give you a sneak peek of what it is like to attend! Curious about what they thought? Have a read through their answers below:

“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. ”

Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

“The SME Assembly was a fantastic event, with people from all over Europe (and indeed, the world) coming together for the purpose of supporting business, ideas, and innovation in Europe. People from all industries, and all different career levels, shared their stories with me, and it was a very humbling experience to be able to gain so much knowledge just by simply getting to know people. I made some great friends too! The speeches, debates, and policy sessions were varied and incredibly useful, my favourites were The Big Debate and Bridging the Skills Gap. The App made sure I knew exactly where to go and when to be there, and Graz was such a beautiful city to explore during my free time. Overall it was a life-changing experience that has inspired me to work on an entrepreneurial venture.”

– Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, 2018 finalist

“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!”

Joakim Davidsson, 2018 finalist

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu, read the competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition and don’t forget to SUBMIT before 16 August 2019.

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 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? – 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.

What are the YEC 2018 Jury looking for? – Oksana Vedmidska

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Less than one month to go until the deadline for the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition. There is still time to write an entry, but how can you tailor it for the jury who will be judging it? Last week we spoke to jury member Mervi Pänkäläinen and what she is looking for in an entry. This week we have asked 2018 jury member Oksana Vedmidska to share with you what will make an entry stand out for her.

Oksana is not only a 2018 jury member, but also the 2017 competition winner. Read her tips on how to write a good essay here.

What will you be looking for in an entry?

In an entry I will be looking for original ideas and concrete suggestions with regard to this year’s topic “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

What are the top 3 criteria you will base your judging on?

I will judge each essay on the following three criteria: originality, feasibility and presentation. Each criterion is worth a maximum of six points.

What makes an entry stand out for you?

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.

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

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!

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

When observing our society I would say that the biggest challenge for innovation lies in people’s psychological readiness to accept change. If we want to head towards an innovative future we have to open our minds and get rid of stereotypical thinking, whilst also following the principles of common sense. Therefore the first and most crucial step, in my view, is changing curriculums in our educational institutions. They should foster individuality, creativity and critical thinking as well as develop skills which are required in today’s modern society.

Innovation comes when people think in a creative way and for them to do that they need moral and financial support. There are several more formal steps that should be taken, for example, introduction of an EU patent with validity in all Member States, implementing secure e-Government tools, simplifying registration for start-ups, appropriating funds for research exchange programs etc. I hope that the 2018 entries will discuss this topic creatively and address the fact that to foster innovation it is necessary to take steps in each sector of our society.

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.

MSME Day 2018 – The Youth Dimension

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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.

Catching up with Andri Pandoura – Youth Essay Competition

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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.

SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #4

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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.

Read more >>

<< Previous Issue #20

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Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Time to get writing!

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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 23 September 2018.

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 the finalists:

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

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

Rules

  • 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 23 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

Prize

  • 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.

Follow us for competition updates on Twitter (@EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek), Facebook and Instagram and be sure to follow and use the hashtag #SMEWeekYouth

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2018 partners:

Have your say – EYE2018 begins tomorrow

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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!

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