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SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021 Launch

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Imagine what a successful and sustainable start-up in 2030 looks like? Which crucial competences and skills do its founders and employees have? What has been the legacy of the COVID pandemic on entrepreneurship, and how have they responded? How have they been supported to meet the twin challenges of digitalisation and sustainability?

Make your voice heard!

In your essay, imagine the story of three different entrepreneurs embarking on a journey to become sustainable start-ups of the future. Describe their stories of success, their struggles, their needs and what key skills and competences they should have in order to start and grow sustainable, resilient SMEs.

The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is launching for the sixth time with a brand new question for the youth of Europe to answer:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? Think about the competences and skills needed in the future for an entrepreneur, describe three promising and sustainable start-ups in 2030.

The Youth Essay competition is organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. It is an opportunity for 18-25-year-olds to share ideas and viewpoints with key figures and stakeholders in the spheres of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Sounds like an opportunity for you? Then, all you need to do to have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2021 in Slovenia this November is to submit your essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 26 September 2021.

Don’t forget to read through the rules, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu if you have any questions, and SUBMIT before the deadline!

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 26 September 2021
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale as part of the SME Assembly, where they will present their essays
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An opportunity to attend and present at the SME Assembly for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering essay live at the SME Assembly 2021
  • Promotion of essays across our communication channels
  • A trip to the 2021 SME Assembly in Slovenia

See Youth Essay Competition 2021 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and make sure to follow and use the hashtag #YEC2021.

EEPA 2020 – What’s new?

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Dear EEPA Community,

I am writing this letter to announce some changes to the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA).

The EEPA has been running for 14 years, and whilst their goal to showcase the best in enterprise and entrepreneurial promotion from across Europe and COSME countries, remains the same, the EEPA are constantly updated and evolve to remain current and relevant.

With the beginning of 2020 and the start of a new decade, we have decided to make these changes to the EEPA in order for them to align with our current priorities and aims.

The first change to EEPA 2020 is the element of sustainability. The European Commission has been working across various fields and sectors to ensure that Europe is moving into the future sustainably. From the Plastics Directive to the Circular Economy white paper, to the annual sustainable energy week, Europe as a whole is building a sustainable future. In light of this, the EEPA jury will judge each project according to its category, but also on its environmental impact and consciousness. Not only does this complement the Green Deal, announced by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, but is also an important step for EEPA to continue recognising outstanding projects, and ensuring that they contribute to an increasingly circular economy.

The historic green category, “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency” is one that I strongly believe in and with the new increased emphasis on sustainability I hope to encourage projects from across all categories to adopt this greener and sustainable mind-set.

The second change to EEPA 2020, is the broadening of the category ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’. The jury would like this category to welcome more diverse projects, and as such, has expanded the category description to include employee skills. The jury is inviting applicants who have launched and championed initiatives to improve employee skills and better equip their employees both in terms of entrepreneurship and increasing digital literacy needs. This change has been introduced to expand the EEPA further and ensure that we are able to recognise more initiatives.

With each new edition I am reminded of how much I believe in the EEPA and with each change I am proud to see this award scheme grow and develop to accommodate the growing innovation and talent across Europe.

I look forward to reading the 2020 submissions and would like to thank the National Coordinators in advance for their hard work in bringing EEPA to life every year.

Sincerely,

Kristin Schreiber

EEPA 2020 Jury Chair

From waste to circular economy – ecoBirdy: A European Toy Story

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Supported by the EU’s programme for the competitiveness of SMEs (COSME), ecoBirdy will unveil its first collection of design furniture for kids made of recycled plastic toys at the trade fair Maison & Objet in Paris from 19 January.

The launch follows an in-depth two-year study period exploring how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. ecoBirdy has created pieces that are 100% made of recycled plastic waste and can easily be recycled again.

The Antwerp-based designers, Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan, have not only created design pieces, but a whole system from the collection and recycling of old, unused plastic toys to the design and production of the furniture.

It was essential to the founders that each step be based on social and environmental responsibility. An accompanying storybook and school programme has been designed to introduce youngsters to the circular economy and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future. The design, recycling and production of ecoBirdy furniture is all done in Europe.

“We found that plastic toys use plastic more intensively than other consumer goods: 80% of plastic toys end up in landfills, incinerators or in the ocean. By giving old plastic a new life, our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact. As we use innovative technologies, made for the reuse of plastic, there is no need to add any pigments or resin.”

For the first collection, the designers have aimed to create pieces that enable kids to experience creativity and at the same time raise awareness of sustainability. All items are made entirely out of recycled plastic from European waste. Due to accurate sorting, cleaning and grinding during the recycling process, the plastic of all products is absolutely free from harmful chemicals. It is clean, pure and 100% safe. The whole collection is produced in Italy and includes a chair, a table, a storage container and a lamp.

The furniture will be available on the market from the end of January and can be ordered from the ecoBirdy online shop. ecoBirdy is one of the 10 projects funded under the EU programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs (COSME) 2016 Design-based consumer goods call.

Read the original article here on the EASME website. To find out more about other European sustainability and green projects, read about past EEPA entries in the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category.

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