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Tag ‘Think Small First’

Young voices, innovative ideas – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Estelle

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We are back with another SME Week Youth Essay competition finalist! This time we spoke to Estelle Beuve from France about her experience entering and placing in the top 4 of the 2019 competition.

In her speech Estelle demonstrated her passion for speaking out about climate change and the impacts that this is having on both our planet, industry and the way we consume. She highlighted the issue with multinationals adopting the Producing more To Earn more principle and the devasting effects of planned obselenece. In response to this she proposed a new initiative under the new commission, “Companies for a sustainable future”.

Read Estelle’s speech here.

Estelle caught the jury’s attention in Round 1, landing herself on the Top 10 shortlist and a space to compete in Round 2 of the 2019 competition. In her Round 2 submission she explained the need to apply the “Think Small First Principle” when dealing with SMEs, specifically touching upon the need to remove red tape for SMEs in order to allow them to innovate. She also referenced the European private company status from 2008, calling it a step in the right direction and something to build on further.

Read Estelle’s second submission here.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I was just finishing my European voluntary service, at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova, when I heard about the SME Assembly. I wanted to be a part of it and felt I had something to contribute, so I applied. I have a background in economics and accounting and want to use that to pave the way towards a greener economy. Specifically my vision of a greener economy is one that motivates companies to take the lead in reducing their carbon footprint rather than the green washing that is so common when you read any CSR report.  

How did you feel when you found out that you were going to Helsinki?

I was very surprised as the process was both very long and competitive. I didn’t expect to reach the final step – going to Finland! I was very glad to be one of the finalists of the Youth Essay Competition and I didn’t hesitate to skip classes to get there.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2019?

The SME Assembly is all about exchanging new ideas that will shape tomorrow’s economy. We dealt with so many different topics in 3 days, among them many topical issues on which I was really eager to have a better understanding. After the Assembly I came back home to Strasbourg with a sense of achievement both personally and professionally.  

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2019?

The most important thing that I took away was that we should not give up on containing global warming, and this can be done by helping our SMEs. It might be hard and there will be hurdles in our way but I’m sure it is feasible if we give to companies the right incentives to fight global warming at the European level. That is what the New Green Deal pledged by the European Commission is all about.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

I’m back studying in Strasbourg for a Master’s degree in accounting and management and I’m looking forward to writing my final thesis on the Comprehensive Accounting in Respect of Ecology model. I really wish that companies could be more accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions than they have been in the past. We have already seen how ineffective CO2 quotas are and we have to urge companies to take a greener path with new mechanisms that haven’t been explored yet. 

Congratulations Estelle on being a 2019 finalist and for sharing your passion for fighting climate change with us at the SME Assembly and through your submissions. Don’t forget to read our interviews with the other two 2019 finalists Aureliano and Enzo to get an insight into the competition.

Want to hear from the 2019 winner? Come back to the News Portal next week to find out what our 2019 winner has to say…stay tuned!

Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Top 10

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Ready to find out who has made it into the top 10 for this year’s Youth Essay Competition? Firstly we would like to thank everyone again for their incredible entries, which were of a very high standard and made it difficult to narrow it down to only the top 10.

The top 10 applicants will now move onto Round 2 during which they must answer the following follow-up question from our jury:

The European Commission has recently published its political guidelines for the upcoming legislative term. Among those, newly elected Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has highlighted the importance of reinforcing SME Policy across the EU legislative board. What concrete measure or initiative would you propose to apply the “Think Small First Principle” to? And why?

Their answers will then be reviewed by the jury to narrow down the list again to the top three candidates that will travel to Helsinki to give their speech and defend their ideas in front of the SME Assembly 2019 delegates.

So who is moving on to Round 2? Have a look below!

  • Aleksandra Kochman (Poland)
  • Aureliano Undreaj (Albania)
  • Emilianos Panayiotou (Cyprus)
  • Lucia Ariel Hotti (Italy)
  • Frederik Kusse (Belgium)
  • Enzlo Ercole Ribagnac (France)
  • Estelle Beuve (France)
  • Giurca Paula Ioana (Romania)
  • Radu Domescu (Romania)
  • Magdalena Stoyanova (Bulgaria)

Well done to our top 10 and best of luck for Round 2! Don’t forget to keep checking the Portal to find out who the jury select to travel to Helsinki in November later this year…

The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity to make your voice heard and to take your ideas to a key SME stakeholders and policy makers on a European platform.

For more information read the launch post, or contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and follow @EEPA_EU on Twitter and @PromotingEnterprise on Facebook for the latest information.

Portugal: IAPMEI acknowledges SMEs as drivers of the national economy

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 0094_President of IAPMEI_Miguel Cruz

The ‘PME Excelência’ (SME Excellence) is a recognition of excellence created by the IAPMEI (the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation), in partnership with ‘Turismo de Portugal’ and a group of nine banks, aiming to reward the best entrepreneurial performances within the different sectors of activity. It distinguishes the SMEs that are drivers of the national economy, enhancing their visibility and publicly recognising them.

In line with the ‘Think Small First – a Small Business Act for Europe’ (an instrument of EU 2020), the PME Excelência initiative has honoured 1,845 SMEs (67% more than 2013).

According to Professor Miguel Cruz, the President of IAPMEI, this increase stems mainly from the performance of Portuguese SMEs, in which their growing innovative capacity and market diversification reflect higher levels of competitiveness and internationalisation.

The increase in the number of ‘PME Excelência’ also reveals a strong involvement of the banking sector, enhancing the value and importance of this prize in recognising the quality and soundness of the companies awarded.

Most (60%) ‘excellent’ SMEs are exporters and they employ 38 staff on average. Most are located in the districts of Porto, Lisbon, Aveiro and Braga.  These SMEs are mainly from the industrial sector (36%) but also from the commercial (29%) and tourism sectors (13%), among others.

According to Aquiles de Barros, President of the Board of Directors of Castelbel, a manufacturer of fine toiletry soaps and one of the companies that received a prize, the company reached ‘the best results ever’ in 2013, and the unit established at Castelo da Maia had an ‘unforeseen’ invoicing turnover in 2014. Sales increased by 40%: from €3.8 million to €5.3 million. Their expectation was to reach €4 million.

Apart from the need of enlarging its premises, Castelbel had to reinforce the number of staff by 50%, from 76 at the end of 2013 to 114, by the end of last year.  The number is impressive when compared with the 9 employees hired when the company first launched in 1999.

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