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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 – Why should you enter?

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is open for the fourth time and is asking applicants to:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”

If you are between the ages of 18-25 and are a citizen of an EU or COSME partner country, then this is your chance to have your voice heard. 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.

The competition is a great opportunity to voice your opinion, and should you be a finalist, to visit the SME Assembly 2019, but why else should you enter? Here on Promoting Enterprise we asked last year’s finalists and winner why they entered the competition. Read through their answers below, get inspired and be sure to submit your entry before 16 August 2019.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I have always believed that innovation – in its holistic sense – is the gateway to creating a smart and sustainable future. Therefore, when I came across the competition advert on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, I decided to put pen to paper and give this opportunity my best shot!

  • Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

I just happened to be surfing the web and looking at upcoming events in Europe, and came across the essay competition information by chance. At the time it was the middle of August and I was enjoying a break from my studies, but after reading the question I thought it would be an interesting challenge. I am very passionate about the EU and its values, and I wanted to discover what I thought about innovation. Truthfully, it was not something I had thought about a lot, but after my research it has really grown on me, and I’m now very interested in how I can create and find innovation in my career path.

  • Ngaio Olsen-Stahl, 2018 finalist

The topic was very interesting, and one that I had thought a lot about beforehand. Therefore, I felt very inspired to write a contribution to the competition. It was a good opportunity to address questions about sustainable and environmental innovation, which are quite dear to me, and the chance to attend the SME Assembly was one that I also did not want to miss.

  • Joakim Davidsson, 2018 finalist

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and read the competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition.

SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #7

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Who is going to Graz? – Youth Essay Competition 2018

It is now October, meaning that the SME Assembly 2018 is just around the corner. Next month we will be travelling to current European Presidency country Austria to the beautiful city of Graz for the flagship conference of the European SME Week. As the SME Assembly gets closer, be sure to keep checking the News Portal and all the social media for updates, important information and exclusive behind the scenes content.

In this edition we will be looking at the EEPA 2018 European shortlist, and finding out more about the projects competing for a European prize. We are also proud to announce some of the younger guests of the SME Assembly 2018, the top three Youth Essay Competition finalists!

We hope you enjoy this edition and make sure to follow us on the journey to Graz and our live coverage from the SME Assembly.

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Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Who is going to Graz?

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Today is the day that we all find out who is going to Graz to the SME Assembly 2018 from the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition!

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone that submitted an entry for this year’s Essay Competition. The standard was very high and the jury spent lots of time and effort deliberating the shortlist, which was then narrowed down to the final top three candidates.

We would firstly like to give special mentions to the following entrants who made it onto the competition jury shortlist:

  • Antonios Vasilakis Kinalis
  • Babatunde Onabajo
  • Georgina Whiteman
  • Klemens Okkels
  • Roberta Dobra
  • Rory Daniels

These entries were of a high quality and received much praise from the judges, so congratulations on being on the shortlist!

Now comes the time to announce the top three finalists who will be joining us at the SME Assembly in Graz to present their essays and compete for the public vote. Please congratulate:

So who will be this year’s winner? We look forward to meeting the top three and finding out next month in Graz!

The Youth Essay Competition jury would also like to give a special mention to Vincent Straub from Germany. The jury were only able to select three finalists, but felt that his essay was very strong and well written and as such deserved recognition.

What are the YEC 2018 Jury looking for? – Mervi Pankalainen

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The 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition deadline is getting closer and we are still looking for more entries. But how can you be sure that the competition jury will like your entry? Promoting Enterprise is here to help! Today on the News Portal SME Week Youth Essay Competition jury member Mervi Pänkäläinen, Ideas from Europe 2017-2018 finalist, is sharing what she will be looking for in an entry, how she will judge an entry and very importantly what will make an entry stand out for her.

Want your essay to catch Mervi’s eye? Read what she has to say below:

What will you be looking for in an entry?

I am especially looking forward to hearing the person’s own voice. Through their essay, I want to learn about their own experiences, observations and learnings and how those have been combined into the bigger picture.

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

When judging the entries I will be looking for the three following elements:

  • Personal insights and stories;
  • An understanding of the big picture; and
  • Passion and purpose, I want to know why this matters to you.

What will make an entry stand out for you?

An entry will stand out if it had a strong personal touch and insights that only a young person can deliver. I am really looking forward to learning from these young people!

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

Organising your thoughts and putting them down in words is always a great exercise for the mind. There is no “wrong” way of doing this. We want to know how you see the world, what you think about it and how it could work better. It’s your thinking and ideas that matter and we are eager to hear those! Avoid trying to sound like an experienced government official, let your own words be heard.

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

True innovation can only happen in a safe environment. “Psychological safety” is a term and state of mind that I pay a lot attention to. We can design an endless number of processes to boost innovation, but unless the culture actually makes people feel good and relaxed about themselves and others in the team, the processes are wasted. We need informal opportunities to bring different people and perspectives together, offer clearly framed challenges to work on and leadership – not management – to make it all happen. Humour is an asset that is rarely intentionally used, but that can be key to creating psychological safety.

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.

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.

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:

Less than a week to go…SME Assembly 2017

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Less than a week to go until the start of the SME Assembly 2017! We’ve been telling you to get ready, shown you the programme, introduced the venue and given a few sneak peeks at what to expect from the assembly…so what is left?

Today we share with you the final programme and a quick re-cap of everything to have a look at and look forward to next week in Tallinn. Be sure to check out the latest version of the programme here for a look at the policy sessions, masterclasses, presentations and much more.

One of the big events at the SME Assembly 2017 will be the final European Enterprise Awards (EEPA) Ceremony where the European winners across all the different categories will be announced. All of the national winners as well as the EEPA shortlist have been introduced here on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, but don’t worry if you can not remember who is competing, have a look right here.

Interested in who judged all of these entries and selected the Grand Jury Prize winner? Re-meet the EEPA 2017 Jury here.

Another exciting part of the SME Assembly 2017 will be the live finals of the Youth Essay Competition, during which the top three entrants, Evlampia Karavangeli, Oksana Vedmidska and Pavle Kostic will be presenting their ideas to the Assembly delegates. We wish them the best of luck with their final preparations before next week!

Not one but two live finals! The SME Assembly 2017 will also play host to the semi-finals for the latest Ideas from Europe search, which will result in a live announcement of the Ideas from Europe finalists on the final day of the Assembly.

Be sure to follow us on all our social media platforms to get live coverage from the event including exclusive quotes, pictures and other exciting updates!

Twitter: @EEPA_EU @EuropeanSMEWeek

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

Youth Essay Competition 2017 – Who is going to Tallinn?

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The Youth Essay Competition results are in! After a lot of deliberation and discussion, the Jury have selected their top three submissions who will go on to compete for first place at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn!

So who wrote the top three submissions? Congratulations to:

Evlampia Karavangeli

Evlampia Karavangeli is 22 and from the small town of Drama in northern Greece. She is currently studying at the Democritus University of Thrace Medical School and is very enthusiastic about her studies. She is multilingual and speaks Greek, English and German and is also studying Spanish, which she combines with her love for sketching and literature.

Find out what her essay ‘Checkmate in Entrepreneurship’ is all about when she presents it live at the SME Assembly 2017 next month!

Oksana Vedmidska

Oksana Vedmidska is from the small town of Pryluky, not far the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. After finishing her studies in Technical Translation, she went on to work as a translator of medical texts, working in English, German and Russian. She then went on to win a scholarship that took her to Germany to study a Masters in the areas of dubbing, subtitling, audio descriptions for the blind, and easy language. Earlier this year she was also selected to represent her home country of Ukraine at the UN General Assembly in New York as a winner of the 2017 edition of the Many Languages One World competition.

What skills does Oksana think an entrepreneur needs? And why does she think “entrepreneurship is one of the most effective tools, which our global society has to transform the world into a better place”? We will find out during her live presentation in Tallinn in November!

Pavle Kostic

Pavle Kostic is from Nova Pazova in Serbia and is currently in the third year of his Management studies at the University of Belgrade. He has been actively involved in several art, essay, photography and debate competitions, including the Serbian competition for ‘Best business ethics essay’ which he won in 2014.

What can we expect from Pavle’s essay ‘Ethics and a system as a prerequisite of regular competition’? Find out next month at the SME Assembly when he presents it live!

We would also like to thank all the other writers who submitted their work. This year the quality was very high and the Jury had a very difficult decision when narrowing it down to the top three. Be sure to follow Evlampia, Oksana and Pavle on their journey to Tallinn as they get ready for the live finale where the Youth Essay Competition 2017 winner will be revealed...

SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #6

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The day we have all been waiting for has arrived: We know who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived. Continue reading to find out who made it!

This year the Youth Essay Competition received almost triple the number of essays in comparison to the first edition back in 2016. The EEPA Jury are busy reviewing all of the essays, so stay tuned to the Promoting Enterprise Portal to find out who the shortlisted candidates are in October.

Enjoy reading this edition of the SME Week Newsletter and be sure to follow us on social media and on the portal for all the latest updates.

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