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!
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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!
Are you between the ages of 16-25? Want to make your voice heard?
This is your chance!
The Youth Essay competition, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is launching again and is looking for creative and well thought out answers to this question:
Do you have an opinion on how European policy can help shape the future; or on what government, academic institutions and businesses can do to ensure that young people can acquire the skills they need for tomorrow’s world of work? Would you like to share it with policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European stage? All you need to do to have a chance of winning an all expenses paid trip to the 2017 SME Assembly in Tallinn, is submit an essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 8 September 2017.
To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and
If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The competition is open to all 16 to 25 years old 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 8 September 2017
- The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale in Tallinn 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 Tallinn, Estonia for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
- Presentation training before delivering essay live on stage at the SME Assembly 2017
- Promotion of essays across SME Week social media channels
Follow us for competition updates: #SMEWeekYouth
Meet our partners:
This is the second in our series of blog posts presenting our winner and finalists of the Youth Essay Competition, which was held as part of the SME Assembly 2016 which took place from 23-25 November 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Today we get to know another runner up, Frici Barabas, a young ‘wantrentrepreneur’ and freelancer with both a t-shirt printing business alongside his online venture ‘digital lifestyle’. Digital lifestyle is an online space that offers courses on how to be a better entrepreneur, the basics of marketing and other services those seeking to build their online lifestyle may need. So far he has 5000+ students under his guidance, yet this is nowhere near the end point for this ambitious ‘wantrentrepreneur’!
Today Frici shares what drove him to participate, his experience at the SME Assembly 2016, where he sees the future of entrepreneurship going and his advice for others leaning towards entrepreneurship as a career.
What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?
I first heard about this competition through Facebook and decided that not only was it interesting as an aspiring entrepreneur myself, but I also saw it as an opportunity. My essay was my chance to say something to the world and put my voice on the European stage.
What did you think about the SME Assembly 2016?
I really enjoyed the interactive sessions, they were useful and gave me an opportunity to meet people from all across Europe with different solutions to the same problems we are all facing. I have to say that there was not a lot of youth representation, which was something that I expected and would have liked. I did however like the Erasmus for young entrepreneurs booth in the Expo and enjoyed interacting and connecting with the people there. I also really liked the social media coverage and the ‘no paper policy’ of the assembly, which forced us to use the app and our blendology badges to interact with each other and move around the conference. Paper has its magic, you can see when you create or write something but we are heading towards a digital age and we need to follow the path that is leading us there.
Looking 10 years ahead from now, in 2026, what do you think entrepreneurship will be?
We are already starting to see a shift which I believe is the trend that will emerge as we look ahead. Currently most people are employees, with only a few in the position of employer. This balance is beginning to change as more workers becoming freelance or contractors, as opposed to staying within the traditional fixed position structure. I see this change continuing, with the future being comprised of small groups of people working together to create and give customers an experience. This element of experience ties into how I think we will evolve digitally. In the words of Gary Vee ‘the mobile is the new TV’, he is right, in 10 years anything that does not work on mobile is simply not going to work. The young generation is growing up with mobile devices, so everything should be possible on mobile and most importantly be user-friendly.
I also want to share advice which can be taken now in preparation for the future. In my view those that are 15+ should pursue entrepreneurship, it is the best moment to do it and the cost of starting a business in the digital era is much lower than it was say 20 years ago. Failure is also very important, it is acceptable because it ultimately helps you to progress and not just your failures, learn from other people’s mistakes as well.
Want to find out more? Read Frici’s Youth Essay Competition entry here.
The wait is almost over! The SME Assembly 2016 is taking place in Bratislava on 23-25 November, 2016. Around 600 delegates will be present, including experts and entrepreneurs from across Europe with a common goal to collaborate on helping European enterprises strive and scale up in Europe and beyond.
The event will kick off with the Business Tours and the European SME Week Reception, both hosted by the Slovak Presidency. Harvard Professor Philippe Aghion will also be speaking during the invitation-only Schumpeter Lecture.
The second day of the Assembly will include keynote addresses by EU SME Envoys and European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska. After that – Get in the Ring! As part of the Global Startup competition entrepreneurs will have to face off in a pitching competition in a real boxing ring to convince, persuade and present their visions to a jury. The day will culminate in the presentation of the nominees and announcement of the winners in the EEPA Awards, followed by a gala dinner. Have a look at the EEPA shortlist to find out who the 2016 candidates are!
Friday will begin by celebrating the EEPA’s tenth birthday. The session Ten Years On will be dedicated to predictions on how the world of SMEs, start-and scale-ups will look like in 2026. The winner of the Youth Essay Competition, Andri Pandoura, will present her prize-winning entry and her views on what the EU can do to encourage youth entrepreneurship. The rest of the day, participants will have the opportunity to participate and collaborate during the many policy sessions, workshops and master classes.
Want more details? Download the programme here. With seminars, pitch battles, an exhibition and so much more, this event is one to look forward to!
After careful deliberation by the judges, lengthy discussions have been had and the decision has been made.
This competition was created because we wanted to know what the young people of Europe think about entrepreneurship and the opportunities available to them in their country, and the wider European Union. The responses came from across Europe and not only did they give insight into the original question, but also what is on the minds of young people in Europe today.
Life is changing fast, and they are aware that in order to keep up they too will have to change. As one participant put it: “The ‘good old days’ mentality of getting an education and landing a steady job at a big company is over”, this reflects their view of education, that it is not designed to help meet the challenges of the present but is rather based on successful models of the past. This ties into their feelings on how they are perceived, with one essayist writing: “Even if we are young it does not mean we are stupid. It does not mean we are immature. We have a lot to offer if only you give us the chance”. They are realistic, demonstrating an understanding of the media and the tendency to feature the unicorns and multi million euro successes. One contestant wrote that “there is no need for a gigantic one-billion-dollar idea or a perfect professional business plan in order to successfully start up a business”; in other words , investment is not the only measure of success.
The variety of nationalities represented by the candidates was an early indicator of the importance placed on multilingualism and openness, a common theme throughout the essays, the authors of which recognised the importance of English for business alongside other languages on their path to success. In terms of the barriers faced, ‘red tape’ and bureaucracy are things they are aware of and frustrated by. These need to be addressed urgently. Coupled with these is the fear of failing, with one writing “we are full of energy and ideas but often lack the experience, skills and expertise to implement our plans successfully”. They need reassurance that failure is not the end of the world and that it can often signal the starting point for greater success.
It is now time for us to reveal the winner:
Congratulations to Andri Pandoura!
Andri is a member of the Cyprus Children’s Parliament and has already developed an interest in human rights and advocating, which she plans to pursue in future by studying law and embarking on a career in human rights law.
The very close runners up are:
- Katie Williams, a multilingual young worker from the UK currently working in the field of International Trade.
- Francesco Foglia, an Italian journalist in European Affairs currently studying a Masters in Business Administration.
- Frici Barabas, a Romanian entrepreneur with an online business who also teaches others how to succeed in the professional online world.
Congratulations to all our finalists and be sure to stay tuned to find out more about them in forthcoming posts! We would also like to congratulate all those who submitted an essay as the standard was very high and the final results very close.
Female entrepreneurs in the spotlight
After a month of interesting blog posts focused on mature entrepreneurship in August, the focus this month switches to women in business. Female entrepreneurship is often seen as an under-tapped economic reserve, capable of generating economic growth, creating jobs, promoting innovation and addressing inequalities.
In light of this, and to highlight the role of women in business and address their experience, throughout September our Entrepreneur in Residence and other contributors will share their stories on the Promoting Enterprise blog, allowing their peers to benefit from their experience, and perhaps inspiring them to consider their own business as a career option. If you know of any female entrepreneurs with inspiring stories to tell, let us know and we’ll do our best to feature them among others across our social media channels.
On the Promoting Enterprise blog, we have already started to introduce the members of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards Jury, and will continue to do so as well as provide other EEPA related information throughout September, so remember to check the blog each Friday for updates.
Finally, a topic of interest to young entrepreneurs. The deadline for submitting entries in the SME Youth Essay Competition has passed. If you are one of the many entrants, you can read some details about the entries we received, along with other important deadlines to watch out for below. Read more >>
Entrepreneurs, national EEPA winners, competitions, and more about business in the EU
This month is a busy one as we continue to gear up for SME Week this November. June sees the closure of all national European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) competitions in time for the European closing date of 1 July. Find out if you still have a chance to enter and win one of the prestigious European awards by searching the deadlines in the article below. Also, meet Kenny, our new Entrepreneur in Residence, and enter or promote our youth essay competition. Read more >>