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Discovering YEC 2021 Finalist Victoria Krah

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“Over the past 1.5 years, the resilience of Europe’s SMEs has been challenged like never
before in recent European history.” This is how the essay that brought Victoria Krah among the finalists in the SME Youth Essay Competition starts.

Today we are finding out more about what motivated Victoria Krah to enter the SME Youth Essay Competition, but also what are her plans for this year. You can read Victoria’s essay here.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Honestly, the way I stumbled upon the YEC was more or less a coincidence: I was googling for something productive to do, as, due to the pandemic, many of my plans and professional opportunities had been cancelled and I was at that point in time in the process of figuring out what to do. I do enjoy writing and solving and reflecting upon problems, so when I saw the announcement, I though I would give it a try as I had nothing to loose. For this, I would encourage everyone to just give it a try!

What was it like to be announced as a finalist of the 2021 competition?

When I received the email from the SME office in autumn, I thought it was a thank-you-for-your-participation kind of email. It took me actually a couple of hours to reread it and become aware that I was one of the finalists. At first, I was somehow overwhelmed by it, but then it made me very happy obviously. I told my family about it and later on mentioned it to a couple of friends.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2021?

Sadly, I was only able to attend the SME Assembly in an online format. However, I was very impressed by the organisation and the way the platform worked, which made it very easy to feel included. One can see that the team worked very hard to make it possible- although, unfortunately, I did not get to know fellow finalists Rui and Kristina in person.
If I had to choose one of the many workshops, masterclasses and lectures of this year’s assembly I enjoyed the most, it would probably be the Annual Schumpeter innovation lecture, as it provided a good framework and background knowledge for the rest of the event.

Victoria Krah YEC 2021 Finalist_3

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2021?

I liked this year’s emphasis on “togetherness”: That, simply put, if we – the EU member states – do not work together, we work against each other. Collaboration is key when tackling bigger hurdles, such as mitigating the economic and social impact of the pandemic and make European economies and societies more resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions particularly.

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

As I actually really enjoy studying and learning, I am currently planning on pursuing a PhD in the field of social sciences, if possible. In particular, I would like to investigate, through a case study, non linear or hybrid wars and the new kinds of (political) weapons being used by some governments in order to disrupt and influence the geopolitical scenario.

See who were her competitors, the other two finalists of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay competition.

Check out the latest news on the SME Assembly and the Youth Essay Competition by regularly visiting the Promoting Enterprise blog. Subscribe to the SME Week Newsletter to stay up to date!

YEC 2021 – There’s more time than you thought!

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Great news!! The deadline for submitting entries to this year’s edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is being extended from 26 September to October 3! To those of you, who already submitted their applications – thank you and good luck during the selection process!  But in case you have not started to get your ideas down on paper, the deadline extension will give you the time needed to submit a winning entry. Don’t delay! Register here, and get writing!

So, what do you need to do? Well, the challenge this year is to write about what SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges. You should think about the competences and skills needed by entrepreneurs in the future and describe three promising and sustainable start-ups in 2030.

According to last year’s winner Sabine Kerssens, the great thing about the competition is how creative and free you can be in your approach. So what are you waiting for? Get thinking about the future skills needed by entrepreneurs; get writing; and get in with a chance to be the winner of this year’s competition.

Are you up to the challenge? To have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2021 in Slovenia this November, all you have to do is to submit an essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 3 October 2021.

You can find all the information you need on this year’s competition in the 2021 Competition launch post. If you have any other questions, you can contact smeweek@loweurope.eu. Good luck, get writing and don’t forget to submit.

YEC 2021 – How to write a winning entry

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You would like to take part in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition but need a little inspiration to get started? We have just what you need! To give you that much-needed push, we asked last year’s winner and finalists for some tips on approaching this year’s question.

Just to remind you, this year, the question is:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? Think about the competences and skills needed in the future for an entrepreneur, describe three promising and sustainable start-ups in 2030.

The question we put to our alumni was “How would you approach the 2021 question?” This is what they had to say:

“This year’s question has a lot of interesting angles to it. It allows you to dream about the future, but also asks you what start-ups would need to get to that bright future. I would make that bridge clear, what global challenges do start-ups face now, and what do they need to arrive in the future successfully.” Sabine Kerssens, 2020 winner

“I love this question because I think is very practical. I have read tons of interesting articles and academic papers that talk about this topic with big numbers, saying that technology is the key or that big corporations will get rid of manual work. But I think we also need some people that are creative and put resources in place to make a circular economy possible in their communities or that advise governments about the consequences of more developed Artificial Intelligence in our daily lives. Perhaps some SMEs that are inclusive with the elderly and do not forget that they are also part of the future could be an incredible step forward too. And these are just some quick examples: the key is to reverse negative trends in our society.” Pablo Pastor, 2020 finalist

“Last year, the question was so relevant at the time to the work I was doing, so I approached it with my own personal experiences of social enterprise and essentially answered the question as if I was convincing everybody else to come and join me on the social enterprise journey! For this year’s question, I would definitely reflect on the characteristics and traits you think you possess, or that you want to develop, and how you think these are conducive to setting up a business. I’d also bring in any local start-up’s to me – the Youth Essay Competition is the time to shine a light on the work people are doing around you, so I’d be highlighting the work of start-up’s in Wales and bringing them to the European stage!” Geena Whiteman, 2020 finalist

Have our alumni inspired you to get creative? We hope so! There is still time before the September 26 deadline to submit your entries. You can read more about the 2021 competition here, and if you have any questions, contact us at smeweek@loweurope.eu.

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021 Launch

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Imagine what a successful and sustainable start-up in 2030 looks like? Which crucial competences and skills do its founders and employees have? What has been the legacy of the COVID pandemic on entrepreneurship, and how have they responded? How have they been supported to meet the twin challenges of digitalisation and sustainability?

Make your voice heard!

In your essay, imagine the story of three different entrepreneurs embarking on a journey to become sustainable start-ups of the future. Describe their stories of success, their struggles, their needs and what key skills and competences they should have in order to start and grow sustainable, resilient SMEs.

The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is launching for the sixth time with a brand new question for the youth of Europe to answer:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? Think about the competences and skills needed in the future for an entrepreneur, describe three promising and sustainable start-ups in 2030.

The Youth Essay competition is organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. It is an opportunity for 18-25-year-olds to share ideas and viewpoints with key figures and stakeholders in the spheres of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Sounds like an opportunity for you? Then, all you need to do to have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2021 in Slovenia this November is to submit your essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 26 September 2021.

Don’t forget to read through the rules, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu if you have any questions, and SUBMIT before the deadline!

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 26 September 2021
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale as part of the SME Assembly, where they will present their essays
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An opportunity to attend and present at the SME Assembly for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering essay live at the SME Assembly 2021
  • Promotion of essays across our communication channels
  • A trip to the 2021 SME Assembly in Slovenia

See Youth Essay Competition 2021 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and make sure to follow and use the hashtag #YEC2021.

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