SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava is over but the collaboration continues. Here are a couple of first take-away recommendations from the conference:
- More creative approach to education, encouraging companies, the public sector and schools to work together and adapt traditional educational structures and teachers´ skills to the rapidly changing work environment.
- Entrepreneurship and digital education should be present in education from primary school level including both obligatory and elective subjects.
- Make public procurement more start-up and SME friendly.
- Develop a network of national scale-up advisors to help companies to grow.
- Establish a matchmaking platform between start-ups, scale-ups and corporates for networking and collaboration / funding opportunities
- Empower local and national ecosystems and build sustainable working relations among eco-players. The European ecosystem will follow consequently.
- Continue to remove existing barriers in Europe (IPR, free movement of data, access to finance etc.) so that European start-ups and SMEs think of Europe as their natural market.
- Failure forms part of every successful company, this needs to be embraced, openly discussed, and learnt from.
- Embrace the collaborative economy and alternative forms of financing, supporting businesses and public administration in the shift towards different ways of working.
- Learn from best examples on national level and scale them up in Europe
This is just one contributors list, do you have anything to add? Other points to share? The Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group is there for you to discuss, collaborate and share your input! If you missed out on the assembly or want a quick overview, be sure to read our daily posts and check out our social media.
SME Assembly Daily posts:
Entrepreneurs, national EEPA winners, competitions, and more about business in the EU
This month is a busy one as we continue to gear up for SME Week this November. June sees the closure of all national European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) competitions in time for the European closing date of 1 July. Find out if you still have a chance to enter and win one of the prestigious European awards by searching the deadlines in the article below. Also, meet Kenny, our new Entrepreneur in Residence, and enter or promote our youth essay competition. Read more >>
The surge in innovation triggered by the invention of the internet and the development of the worldwide web 20 years ago has, to put it bluntly, changed everything. Apps appear (and disappear) all the time as we seek to harness the power of a virtually free globalised communication system. There are apps to tell us how many kilometres we’ve run, jogged, walked; there are apps to monitor our health, apps that recognise wine labels and can tell us where to buy a bottle; there are even apps to tell us about apps.
Some of these apps will turn out to be useful, some will be a flash in the pan, and some will be game-changers … but so far none will tell you how to be successful in starting up a business and making it grow.
If the truth be told, although the internet has changed everything, everything has stayed the same. The challenges of starting and developing a business are the same now as they have always been. Whether you’re operating in the infotech world of apps or have developed a new medical procedure, if you want to monetise it then you need to answer one fundamental question: what are we going to sell, in what market, and at what price?
Although the question is simple, the answer is probably not because inherent in it is a business fundamental: can we sell enough of our product to generate sufficient cashflow to allow the business to survive? Let’s remember, without cashflow, the business will fail: it’s as harsh as that.
If your analysis shows that you’re unlikely to sell sufficient volume and you’re unable to market it at a sufficiently high price, then this suggests that you’re unlikely to be able to start up a company. But that’s not the end of it: if, in your opinion, the product or service is a genuine game-changer then, after establishing your intellectual copyright, you could market it on licence to one of the big players in the field and take royalties
The real business world is one of harsh reality. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute for every 100 start-ups, 25 fail in the first year, 27 fail in the second year and 21 fail in the third year. That’s a staggering 73% failure rate over the first three years. The main reasons are: incompetence (particularly emotional pricing, taking too much from the business, non-payment of taxes, no knowledge of pricing, lack of planning, lack of knowledge of financing and no experience in record keeping) and lack of managerial experience (particularly poor credit granting practices and too rapid expansion).
Having invented a game-changing and innovative product, remember that starting up your own company is not necessarily the right answer. So consider sharing the risks and working with others to monetise your great idea.
The motto of this year’s gathering is “Europe Works For SMEs: Forward. Together.” Following the tremendous success over three years, the 2015 SME Assembly is set to be yet again the most important European event for SME policy. This time more than ever we are inviting you to develop SME policy together and co-create innovative ways of cooperation to ensure effective support for entrepreneurs. To this end we are inviting well-known and new partners from the world of business, academia, policy making and media. We will be honoured by the presence of HRH The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, in particular for an interactive discussion about women entrepreneurship.
For the first time, the SME Assembly 2015 will feature an exceptional session, which may be shaped by interested National Coordinators. Another first, the Netherlands will hold a European edition of the TEDx Binnenhof event in late March 2016.
TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world in the form of short, powerful talks. 10 entrepreneurs with great ideas and innovative solutions for the challenges Europe and the world are facing will present their inspiring thoughts at this special TEDxBinnenhof in the Netherlands. To find these 10 the following process will be starting soon: local TEDx organisers in the Member States in cooperation with SME Envoys will choose their national candidate.
On our side we would also like to encourage the national SME Week Coordinators to assist this process, in as far as it is relevant for you. Should you be interested, please contact: GROW-SME-WEEK-ADMIN@ec.europa.eu
The SME Assembly will also be the focus of the European SME Week; and will host the presentation of the 2015 European Enterprise Promotion Awards. We are also proud to say that we are teaming up with the Start-Up community in Luxembourg who will hold a Start-up weekend right after the formal end of the SME Assembly; for those interested there will a possibility to experience entrepreneurship in action.
Digital technologies are the single most important driver of innovation and growth today. They re-shape entire industries and open doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. The Secret of Success 2014-15 brochure features 35 of Europe’s finest digital icons.
This very interesting video from Euronews about digital entrepreneurs in France is worth a look. It features Secret of Success entrepreneur, Benjamin Suchar who created Yoopies, (Europe’s leading social platform for child-minding services) after seeing his how two sisters had limited choices for their childcare.
Europe’s digital economy has huge potential -as the success of French start-ups like Yoopies illustrates. It helps users to find a babysitter based on 50 criteria including, location, profile, and rating. Launched in 2012, Yoopies went from 3 to 15 people, from 10 babysitters to 400,000. The platform is now available in 7 languages in 9 countries. It now has a 300% year-on-year turnover increase and is moving into other services including shopping delivery and housekeeping.
‘42’ is another example of the digital’s sector’s potential. Created by top French digital entrepreneur Xavier Niel, ‘42’ is a unique school which trains 900 young people in digital skills each year, free of charge and regardless of qualifications.
Gilles Babinet is one of the EU’s Digital Champions, whose mission is to promote the benefits of an inclusive digital society.