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.
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.
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:
- 2016: Andri Pandoura, “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?”
- 2017: Oksana Vedmidska, “What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?”
You can also have a look at the entries from the finalists:
- 2016: Katie Williams, Francesco Foglia and Frici Barabas
- 2017: Pavle Kostić and Evlampia Karavangeli
To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and SUBMIT!
If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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
- 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.
SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2018 partners:
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!
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 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 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 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...
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.
Is youth entrepreneurship really happening? How is the Union aware of what innovations youth are working on, or whether they are being supported adequately? The following report provides insights into youth work and their necessary entrepreneurial learning and development.
The EU and its Member States have been promoting entrepreneurial competences among young people as a pathway to taking an active part in society. This report presents the findings and conclusions of a major study which mapped, described and analysed the contribution of youth work to supporting young people to become active and entrepreneurial citizens of Europe. The report delivers concrete recommendations for policymakers, as well as for the formal education sector and for youth work organisations, on how to increase the impact of young people’s entrepreneurial learning.
Read the full report.
The Youth Essay Competition 2017 submission period is now closed. Thank you to all the participants for all your hard work! This year the competition is getting even tougher, with submissions from across 23 countries and triple the number of entries from 2016. This year the top three countries were Ukraine, Serbia and the United Kingdom. We also received entries from Russia, Egypt and Nigeria. Unfortunately we can only accept submissions from citizens of COSME countries, but thank you for sending us your ideas!
The Essay Competition jury will now deliberate and read through the entries to determine the top three submissions. These top three finalists will be announced right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media in the middle of October, so make sure to follow us to be the first to know!
The final step of the competition involves a live finale in Tallinn at the SME Assembly 2017. Each of the three finalists will present their essay to the 500+ Assembly delegates and the winner will be selected via a public vote.
What could you win?
Each finalist will win an all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, be given special presentation training before the event and finally have their essay and ideas promoted right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media.
Curious about who will be judging your entry? Meet the Jury!
Follow our social media so you don’t miss any news about the competition:
The deadline for the European Youth Essay Competition is approaching, but there is still time left for submissions! Today on Promoting Enterprise the 2017 essay competition jury are, offering their advice, top tips and what they will be looking for in an entry. Interested in what they have to say? Have a read through and be sure to submit an entry before the deadline on 08 September 2017.
This year the Youth Essay Competition will be judged by a competent and diverse jury, from different fields and with different expertise:
- Kristin Schreiber (DG Grow)
- Cristina Fernández (Global Entrepreneurship Network)
- Przemysław Grzywa (The European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs)
- Andri Pandoura (2016 Youth Essay Competition winner)
What will the jurors be looking for in an entry?
An entry should primarily answer the essay question, but what specific things should you include to catch a juror’s eye? Longer essays are not necessarily better, but this year the jury wants “fresh ideas… and a better understanding of young people and their vision of entrepreneurship”, as well as “a sincere passion and interest in the topic of the competition”. The jurors want entries to identify the issues that youth face, but also propose innovative and creative solutions that could be implemented by and inform policymakers. In other words: ” Is there a better and easily implemented way to ‘train’ and so ‘equip’ our future entrepreneurial leaders?”
What will make an entry stand out?
As the jury is so diverse what stands out for one juror may not for another, yet all of them have said that they will be looking for both innovation and truthfulness. Przemysław Grzywa, is looking for an essay that “comes right from the heart instead of Google search engine”, a sentiment echoed by Cristina Fernández, who sees the competition as “a chance to let the audience know where exactly the young are facing a roadblock to their path as entrepreneurs”.
Speaking from personal experience, Andri Pandoura (the 2016 competition winner), will be looking for a personal essay, as for her “it is important to be able to see the person writing the essay and their story in the essay itself”. Kristin Schreiber is “really looking for some out-of-the box thinking”. She will also pay attention to the way it is written: “Don’t worry if your English is not perfect, but do keep in mind that when you want to convince someone of your ideas, clear writing and keeping it sharp and simple always helps!”
What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?
“Often, when we hear about a given policy being made, we think – I would have done it much better. Here we offer you a chance to express and test your ideas in real life. To see if and how they can inspire policy makers who work on developing entrepreneurship across Europe. (…) Entering in the competition is a win-win for all!”
– Kristin Schreiber
“Decisions are shaped by those who weigh and get involved. The SME Assembly and this competition are a great opportunity to have the voice of young entrepreneurs heard. Only if entrepreneurs articulate their concerns and ideas, can we hope for entrepreneur-centric policies and programs.”
– Cristina Fernández
“If you have your opinion – try it. If you believe one can change the world – try it. If you think you won’t succeed – try it even harder.”
– Przemysław Grzywa
“Just do it and don’t overthink! I had the same doubts last year but you never know how things turn out.”
– Andri Pandoura
For more information about the competition have a look right here on Promoting Enterprise and we look forward to receiving your entries!
With the recent launch of the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2017, Promoting Enterprise interviewed youth empowerment specialist and guest contributor Daisy da Veiga to ask about her opinion on what skills she believes youth need to develop for the future. She also shared with us her latest work with Youth not in employment, education or training (NEET), including a vlog from her latest trip to an exchange program in Lisbon about NEET youth work across Europe.
There are a variety of skills that youth must develop, however I think that soft skills come first and foremost. Firstly, you need to be able to love yourself and have self-confidence, from there you can build on other useful skills. Through self-confidence you will develop another critical skill for success, persistence, it is important to not give up, even when it gets difficult. Working on yourself is important, but it is also necessary to develop your social skills. The ability to connect with people will not only allow for the forging of relationships, but also the opportunity to learn and exchange with others, which is how we grow.
Soft skills should also be complemented with ‘hard skills’ such as creativity and audacity. I believe that youth are very creative, but they don’t always know how to express that creativity. This links to another important skill which may sometimes be overlooked: the ability to ask for help. Learn from and exchange with others, and don’t be afraid to be audacious. Dare to do, speak and change, dare to leave your comfort zone! Whilst it is important to ask for help, I also want youth to remember their ability to listen to their inner voice and go with their gut feeling. We can be easily affected and distracted by all the things that go on around us and the people in our network, but sometimes you need to distance yourself from that and think and act with a clear mind.
Based on your experiences with youth, both within and outside of education systems, do you think that the current education systems need to change? Should their focus be realigned to help develop the skills you have mentioned?
I recently attended a conference on how to re-organise education in Rotterdam where the participants were talking about the intention of education and the systems we have built to deliver it. Personally, I believe that education should prioritise ‘soft skills’ more than it does at present, and then complement that with the current ‘hard skills’ it teaches i.e. maths, science, foreign languages etc.
The intention of education is to help youth find their way in society, and develop them firstly as individuals and secondly as professionals. However, it seems that we have forgotten the intention and are now stuck in a system. The system which was created to help realise the intention, has now become the intention, in short we have forgotten what the system was for.
On the subject of youth, what other work have you been involved in recently with European youth?
One of the European ventures I am currently involved in, is the international exchange of the project Boulevard of Dreams, by the foundation Manage Your Talent. The foundation is based in Rotterdam and I am one of the youth empowerment trainers. This European project has participants from across five countries including, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Romania and Portugal. The aim of the project is to exchange ideas, methods and information about working with and for NEET youth, and to offer them the best tailored training possible.
Boulevard of Dreams has three phases in its youth empowerment initiative. The first is to empower the participating youth and give them the ability to find out who they are, identify their talents, discover their dreams and ultimately give them some direction. Once the participants have a clear idea of what they want, they can choose to progress to the second phase where they are paired with a peer educator or ‘buddy’ who is a professional in the field they aspire to join and between the ages of 25-35. Depending on the buddy and the dream in question, this stage involves different activities, but the minimum is that the buddy offers information and guidance from their experience. In the final stage, the participants are offered the opportunity to present their ideas in front of a jury and win financial support for their idea or for education if that is what they wish to pursue.
As part of this project I recently attended a conference in Lisbon on how to work with NEET youth, which included the sharing of experiences from fellow trainers across Europe. As I enjoy vlogging I have included my journey in Lisbon for you right here so that you can experience my journey with me. I hope you enjoy it!