SME Assembly 2019 – Day 1

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The SME Assembly 2019 is underway! Day 1 got the event off to a fantastic start and was full of events and experiences for this year’s delegates.

Kicking things off was the SME Envoy meeting, which also featured discussions on the future of SME Policy, including presentations and speeches from Amazon and Sugartrends representatives. Whilst the SME Envoys were hard at work discussing the upcoming SME strategy, other delegates had the opportunity to visit Team Finland house for an exclusive tour and showcasing of Team Finland’s work. Team Finland consists of a Finnish SME network that benefits from a variety of services, ranging from advice services to funding. Delegates were treated to an insight into what the network provides, some of the participating companies, and a traditional musical performance from Lauri Schreck on the traditional Finnish kantele.

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Next it was time to properly open the SME Assembly with the European SME Week Reception at the Finlandia Hall. At the reception, delegates listened to Petri Peltonen, Under-secretary of state – MEAE, and Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, European Commission, who shared ideas about the need to prepare SMEs for upcoming challenges like sustainability and skills shortages. The floor was then passed to Finnish music star Ida Elina, who delighted the delegates with her varied vocal and kantele repertoire.

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To close the evening, renowned thinker and academic Mariana Mazzucato from University College London gave the fourth Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise lecture at the House of the Estates. She spoke of the importance of state finance, particularly patient finance and the importance of government support for SMEs willing to innovate. During her speech she challenged the audience to think about and approach innovation from outside of their comfort zone, and critically analyse current approaches to SME finance and to steer away from blanket SME policy.

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What’s in store for Day 2? Don’t forget to have a look at the programme, follow the live coverage on Twitter via @EEPA_EU, use #SMEAssembly2019 to be featured on the feed and check out the photos from Day 1 on Flickr!

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights: