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Tag ‘Youth Essay Competition’

What is on the 2020 programme? – Virtual Reality and Youth Essay Competition final

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The SME Assembly 2020 is getting closer and still accepting registrations. Make sure that you don’t miss out on the online edition taking place from 16-17 November and register now to secure your place.

This year’s programme promises to be high-level and diverse with many famous faces such as Peter Altmaier, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, and renowned economist Maja Göpel.

Here on the News Portal we have already introduced our distinguished 2020 Schumpeter lecturer Professor Joseph Stiglitz, and looked into the joint EEPA and European Small and Mid-Caps Awards ceremony. But what else is on the programme?

There’s truly something for everyone in the range of policy workshops and masterclasses that will be on offer, with topics ranging from SME’s leading the EU’s digital sovereignty to discussions about Women Entrepreneurs in times of COVID. As always, each session will see leading European experts convene to discuss the matters at hand from a specialist perspective. The highly anticipated Youth Essay Competition finals where our top three finalists will compete for YOUR vote will also be taking place LIVE as part of this year’s programme.

The SME Assembly 2020 will also offer networking opportunities, to ensure that the valuable conversations between delegates and the connections built throughout our Promoting Enterprise community are not lost. Make sure to register as soon as possible to secure your chance to network in dedicated online spaces and sessions during this year’s Assembly.

In addition to traditional networking there will also be ‘Virtual Worlds’ available for a small number of Assembly attendees to experience an innovative and immersive networking session. These sessions will transport participants to other worlds and demonstrate how SMEs can use ground breaking opportunities that the digital and technology expanse offers for economic growth and resilience. In order to secure one of these additional limited places first, register for the SME Assembly event, then contact the SME Assembly Secretariat with VR Event as the subject line to register your interest. Please note that only registered delegates will be able to secure spots for the VR sessions.

Register for the SME Assembly 2020 and join us for THE event for SMEs and those who support them.

Youth Essay Competition 2020 – Who is going to the final?

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Are you ready to find out who will be competing in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition final? After narrowing down the entries to the top 8 our jury met and discussed their selections for the top 3 candidates who will present during this year’s SME Assembly.

After much discussion our jury are proud to announce their selection for this year’s Youth Essay Competition final:

Congratulations to our finalists!

Make sure to read through what Georgina, Pablo and Sabine have written and don’t forget to join us at the SME Assembly 2020 to participate in the live vote to choose which one of them will be the 2020 winner! Make sure to register for the online SME Assembly 2020 right here and we will see you there.

More about the SME Assembly 2020

The SME Assembly 2020 will feature a combination of high-level panels and interviews, expert roundtables, interactive workshops, informative masterclasses, and innovative networking opportunities to help answer the difficult questions facing our community post-COVID. Top speakers include Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz Commissioner Thierry Breton, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, and the distinguished economist Dr. Maja Göpel.

Register for the SME Assembly 2020 here.

YEC 2020 – How to write a winning entry

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There is still time to submit your essay to this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Still a bit stuck? Need some advice? Look no further! Here on the News Portal we have brought together valuable advice from past winners to help you write the best entry you can.

So have a read, think about their advice and don’t forget to submit!

There’s a trick I use whenever I have to write something. I leave my phone and laptop behind and go to the park with a pen and a small notebook. Ideas come when I don’t allow myself to be distracted by other things, and putting pen to paper is an essential first step. Even if you scribble over twenty ideas, or an idea doesn’t work at first, write it all down. Underline each idea, develop it, put it into clearer words. Soon enough, you’ll have a winning essay.

  • Radu Dumitrescu, 2019 winner

My advice is pretty simple: plan ahead! Do not wait till the last days of submission to draft your entry. Remember that the earlier you start planning for and writing your essay, the more time you have to research the topic, structure your thoughts and review the final product. Also, I highly recommend that you give your essay a personal touch – it is ultimately the key to ensuring that your entry stands out above the rest.

  • Marija Elena Borg, 2018 winner

I am convinced that our thoughts influence our actions in a material manner. That is why my advice would be to think practically. Let me demonstrate this. There is a young Ukrainian performing artist that uses the motto “Brave, Love, Freedom”, which I would use in a practical way to prepare my entry.

Let’s take firstly the point “Love” I would interpret it in the following way: look around you, define the persons you care about, think about their needs and what innovative steps are required to improve the lives of your loved ones. Now let us look at “Freedom”: get rid of prejudice; let your critical mind absorb and analyse information around you; be open to any topic no matter if you agree with it or not, because firstly you have to listen to opposing opinions, then gather data and facts about the argument and finally build your own opinion. Finally, “Brave”: do not be afraid to talk with experts about topics like: Innovation, Political and Social strategies, Economics, and Entrepreneurship, do not be intimidated by their experience and look for seminars and conferences at which these topics are discussed. Finally, do not doubt yourself, sit down and write down all of your own ideas, because these ideas will one way or another influence the behaviour and way of thinking of those who will read or listen to them!

  • Oksana Vedminska, 2017 winner

Read more about the 2020 competition here and send any questions about the competition to smeweek@loweurope.eu

YEC 2020 – Top tips with 2019 winner Radu Dumitrescu

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We are back with the winner of the 2019 Youth Essay Competition, Radu Dumitrescu. Here on the News Portal we recently asked Radu how he was doing and what he had been up to since winning. Today we are asking him to tell us what any potential applicant needs to know…what makes a good essay and how to begin to answer the 2020 question.

Who better to ask than someone who has gone through the competition…and won! Radu shared with us how he would approach this year’s tough question and provided some helpful advice for anyone thinking about applying.

How would you approach the 2020 question?

This year, contestants have to answer two questions with which governments all over the world are struggling – how can SMEs succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic and how can the EU help entrepreneurs? The answers to these questions will be of interest to presidents, prime-ministers and business leaders alike. People in these positions already think in a certain way, and this is precisely why it is good to get the fresh perspective of a young European on these issues. We are in an entirely new situation globally, and now is the time for thinking outside the box. I would approach the 2020 question daringly, by trying to look at new ways in which businesses could operate using technology, for example.

Do you have any advice for the 2020 competitors?

There’s a trick I use whenever I have to write something. I leave my phone and laptop behind and go to the park with a pen and a small notebook. Ideas come when I don’t allow myself to be distracted by other things, and putting pen to paper is an essential first step. Even if you scribble over twenty ideas, or an idea doesn’t work at first, write it all down. Underline each idea, develop it, put it into clearer words. Soon enough, you’ll have a winning essay.

So what are you waiting for? Follow Radu’s advice, put pen to paper and don’t forget to submit. You can find all of the details of the 2020 competition here and send any additional questions you might have to smeweek@loweurope.eu or leave us a comment on any of the Youth Essay Competition posts.

YEC 2020 – Catching up with 2019 winner Radu Dumitrescu

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with last year’s Youth Essay Competition winner, Radu Dumitrescu. Since winning last year’s competition with his speech on the paradox of the European Union, as both a daring project but constricted by regulation and jurisdiction, he has been working on his doctorate degree, working for his university’s academic journal and working on some other very exciting projects.

What have you been doing since winning the Youth Essay Competition?

Since I won the Youth Essay Competition in Helsinki in November, I’ve continued to work in two domains close to my heart – civil society and academia. I’ve taken up a role as Editorial Assistant for my university’s academic journal, Studia Politica, and I’ve kept up my job of monitoring the statements of Romanian politicians, and fact-checking them together with my colleagues at Funky Citizens. Right now Romania is struggling to cope with the COVID-19 crisis while also heading into local elections, followed by parliamentary elections, so it’s an active time for NGOs that work in the field of politics.

What was the best part about entering the Youth Essay Competition?

I’m not usually the heart of any social event and I can’t say that travelling is my passion – I know, sounds like blasphemy from the part of a European in his 20s. However, the best part about entering the competition was that I got to meet so many wonderful people and to travel to a country like Finland, taking in another magical part of Europe. The weather might have been cold, but the warmth that I received from the team of organisers, from my fellow contestants, and from everyone that I met during the SME Week. It was truly a heart-warming experience. 

What did you learn from the Youth Essay competition experience?

Probably the main takeaway from my experience as a participant in the competition was that I have the ability to make my voice heard. It’s really no small thing to step outside one’s comfort zone and say something, write something, stand for something or to express an opinion, especially when the subject is one that affects so many people, such as markets and entrepreneurship in Europe. My essay did not have a grand, revolutionary idea and it didn’t propose major changes. Instead, I wrote about the gratitude that we all owe to Europe’s small business owners and how we should help them not only survive, but thrive. I had many doubts after I submitted my essay and you can feel really small before you take that first step, but after that it gets easier. You learn a lot about yourself when you step on a stage in front of a crowd.

Last time we spoke you told us about your doctoral degree at the University of Bucharest, how is it going?

Writing my doctoral dissertation has been like trying to find my way from point A to point B in a giant metropolis by relying on maps written by others and by asking around a lot, and then towards the end it seems that no one knows what the right path is. I should say that I’m studying the discourse of populist politicians in the United States and Europe and how they interact. No doctoral student will say that pursuing their degree is easy, but I still get excited like a child when I discover something. I can’t wait to have something new to say, to break theoretical ground in one direction and be able to explain a fraction of contemporary European politics.

Do you have any other exciting projects that you would like to share?

Stuck in the house, I’ve been reading and writing a lot. I had amassed quite a lot of books that I intended to read prior to this period, so I’ve taken my time with them in quarantine, reviewing many of them on my IG page. When it comes to writing, it is my doctoral dissertation that takes up most of my time, of course. Right now I’m looking at how the discursive practices of British politicians led to them influencing one another, particularly focusing on the figure of Nigel Farage.

My other project is where I am having more fun, however. Simply put, I’m trying to write a book about one of my Erasmus+ experiences, what I learned, what I felt and how it changed my world. A book for young Europeans, encouraging them to participate in Erasmus projects. Writing a book is a dream of mine and hopefully one day I’ll see my name in a library somewhere.

Congratulations Radu on everything you have achieved so far and good luck with your dissertation and book!

Could you be like Radu? Could you win the next Youth Essay Competition? Don’t forget to apply for this year’s competition and stay tuned to the News Portal for some tips and tricks from Radu on how to write a winning entry…

Why should I enter the 2020 SME Week Youth Essay Competition?

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On 17 July 2020, the European Commission launched the 5th edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. The competition is open to 18-25 year olds from EU & COSME countries and is an opportunity to make your voice heard and share your opinion with key policy makers and stakeholders involved with European enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation.

More information on this year’s edition is available here.

This year applicants should write an essay answering the following question:

What do SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient, in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges? How can EU policy best aid entrepreneurs?

If you are interested in expressing your opinion and submitting an answer to this year’s question, you have until 18 September 2020.

If you are still thinking about whether or not to apply for this competition, we encourage you to read through what last year’s winner Radu Dumitrescu, and his fellow finalists Estelle Beuve, Aureliano Ulndreaj, and Enzo Ercole Ribagnac, had to say about their reasons for entering.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I entered the Youth Essay Competition in order to reignite a few ideas, namely that European business leaders deserve the respect of the Union. I wanted to advocate for a more united approach towards companies in Europe as part of my vision of a European Federation, and I wanted to make my voice heard.

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. 

I was intrigued by the essay topic. Being a student of political science, the format of the essay (a political speech) made it a very attractive opportunity for me to test my abilities. I also saw this competition as a very interesting challenge, as I was not very familiar with the field of SMEs. However I believe that the unknown (in this case the field of SMEs) is always worth exploring.

Several factors influenced my entry in the competition. When I first saw the advert, I was an intern in a European project funded by the DG Grow and related to SMEs. This experience helped me to accumulate a lot of knowledge concerning European SMEs struggles in Europe and abroad. After the internship I moved to Italy during the summer to study Italian. This gave me plenty of time to think about my essay, use the knowledge I had accumulated but also try to include my personal experience. Both my parents are small entrepreneurs in the French West Indies and their business is often part of our family’s discussions. All things considered, I think I entered the competition because I had a lot to say and time to work on a submission that I was proud of and that reflected my opinion and ideas.

For any questions on the SME Week Youth Essay competition, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and read the 2020 competition launch post for all of the information on this year’s edition. Good luck and don’t forget to submit!

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2020 – 5th edition launch

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Do you have an opinion on the role that entrepreneurs can play in reshaping our future economy? Perhaps you have interesting ideas about what the EU needs to do to help entrepreneurs? Then this is the opportunity for you!

The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is launching for the fifth 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? How can EU policy best aid entrepreneurs?

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

Sound like an opportunity for you? All you need to do to have a chance at winning a trip to the SME Assembly 2021 in Slovenia is to submit your essay of no more than 2 500 words in English, before 25 September 2020.

Make sure to read through the rules, contact smeweek@loweurope.eu if you have any questions, and to 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 25 September 2020
  • 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 2020
  • Promotion of essays across our communication channels
  • A trip to the 2021 SME Assembly in Slovenia

See Youth Essay Competition 2020 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and be sure to follow and use the hashtag #YEC2020.

Young voices, innovative ideas – Meet Youth Essay Competition winner Radu

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Time to meet the winner of the 2019 Youth Essay Competition…Radu Dumitrescu! Radu was chosen as the winner of the 2019 edition of the Youth Essay Competition during the finals which took place at the 2019 SME Assembly held in Helsinki, Finland.

In Radu’s speech that he submitted in Round 1, he demonstrated a keen understanding of the make-up of Europe’s economy, citing the traditional SME definition which goes up to 250 persons employed, as only being representative of 0.2% of the SMEs in Europe’s economy. He highlighted that a far greater number are micro enterprises, and thus are unable to influence through media connections or pressure governments on vital policy. Radu took a firm stance in his speech, presenting the Commissioner role as one that should support and advocate for all types of SMEs and encourage them to step outside of the box in order to foster a ‘Silicon Europe’ for 2030.

Read Radu’s speech here.

After successfully communicating his passion and drive during Round 1, the jury wanted to hear more of his ideas and chose him as one of their Top 10 submissions to compete in Round 2. In Round 2 Radu spoke of the paradox of the European Union, as both a daring project but constricted by regulation and jurisdiction. He touched upon the importance of incentives for SMEs and creating a nurturing environment for “the lungs of the European economy”, and ensuring “that they  grow, not perish”.

Read Radu’s second submission here.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I entered the Youth Essay Competition in order to reignite a few ideas, namely that European business leaders deserve the respect of the Union. I wanted to advocate for a more united approach towards companies in Europe as part of my vision of a European Federation, and I wanted to make my voice heard. 

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

I felt extremely excited! I had never been to Scandinavia, nor had any member of my immediate family, so my excitement was doubled by that of my parents. I have to admit that flying is a personal fear for me, but I couldn’t let that get in the way of this wonderful opportunity.

What was it like to be announced as the winner of the competition?

As I saw it, by the morning of the speech I had already won. I got to visit Finland and the magical atmosphere of Helsinki near Christmas and I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all around the continent, most of all my fellow finalists, with whom I made friends immediately. It was a complete surprise, and I was glad to be able to make my University, my fellow Young European Federalists and my family proud. 

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2019?

The SME Assembly was unlike anything I’ve ever attended. Maybe the only comparison I can think of is the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels, which I had the honour of attending in 2018. In Brussels and in Helsinki I felt the same energetic vibe, the same multilingual, multicultural environment that enriches Europe culturally – and economically – every day. The hotel was stunning as well, and everyone was helpful and friendly.

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2019?

My main takeaway from the Assembly was the confirmation of something I already intuitively knew – that Europe is populated by extraordinary business leaders, innovators, and that EU, through its representatives, DGs and agencies, is listening to them. It even listened to a 24-year old from Romania when it came to the future of business in Europe. It is fresh ideas – they are what businesses depend on, and the SME Assembly managed to gather so many of them.

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

I am now pursuing a doctoral degree in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Bucharest. I plan to read and write as much as I can and hopefully publish papers and even books within the field. That’s my dream. 

Congratulations Radu for winning the 2019 SME Week youth Essay Competition! Don’t forget to read our interviews with Radu’s fellow finalists Aureliano, Enzo and Estelle, to follow their journeys through the 2019 competition.

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

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Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we are speaking to one of the 2019 finalists of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Aureliano Ulndreaj from Albania, first impressed the jury in Round 1 with his speech as the new EU Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship.

His speech highlighted his vision for the EU institutions and Europeans to collaboratively find the solution to enable Europe to keep up and exceed global entrepreneurial standards. He also presented his ideas for an educational system that embraces entrepreneurship, the need for EU policy makers to symmetrically develop SMEs throughout different EU regions and the administrative burden faced by European SMEs.

Read Aureliano’s speech here.

In Round 2 Aureliano came back with another strong submission which highlighted his belief that “a multidimensional problem requires a combination of various recommendations and solutions in order to be resolved” and showed his strong understanding of the “Think Small First Principle” with suggestions to use it to ease SME administrative burden and reduce SME VAT rates.

Read Aureliano’s second submission here.

We asked Aureliano to gives us some insight into what it was like to participate and be a finalist in Helsinki, as well as a sneak peek at some of his future plans.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

I was intrigued by the essay topic. Being a student of political science, the format of the essay (a political speech) made it a very attractive opportunity for me to test my abilities. I also saw this competition as a very interesting challenge, as I was not very familiar with the field of SMEs. However I believe that the unknown (in this case the field of SMEs) is always worth exploring.

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

Awesome! Receiving that kind of news gives you a great sense of achievement as it shows that the time and effort you spent on something has been appreciated and as such, you are given the chance to experience something new.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2019?

Prior to attending the Assembly, I thought that the people participating in this event would be focused only on the field of businesses, but to my surprise this was not the case. It was a great pleasure, because apart from discussions upon topics of an economic nature, I had the chance to discuss other subjects, such as politics and the future of EU, with other participants. These discussions brought up very interesting points of view regarding EU policy-making and were overall really insightful.

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2019?

The memory of that unforgettable freezing air which would hit my face every time I stepped out on my way to the conference building! Jokes aside, I would highly recommend participating in future editions of the Youth Essay Competition, as both the professional and personal benefits are hugely valuable.

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

My main focus is now my post-graduate studies, which I plan to follow up with a Doctorate in the domain of international relations. I am also volunteering for an NGO in Albania which provides technical assistance to the state regarding the country’s EU Integration process.

Congratulations on being a 2019 finalist Aureliano! Want to hear from another 2019 finalist? Come back to the News Portal next week to find out who we will talk to next…stay tuned!

The 2019 Round Up – See you in 2020!

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It is the last day of 2019 and what a year it has been for Promoting Enterprise! Here on the News Portal we have been very lucky to meet some inspiring individuals in the world of entrepreneurship, who have taken the time to share their valuable insights and experiences with us. As this year draws to an end we have taken some time to look back on some of the highlights from 2019.

The year started off with a bang with the launch of the highly anticipated European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), which went into their 13th edition. This year saw some fierce competition with the announcement of a stellar EEPA shortlist, that went on to compete to become the EEPA Class of 2019 at the SME Assembly in Finland. You can find out more about all the projects in the EEPA 2019 Compendium.  

The Youth Essay Competition ran again for the fourth consecutive year and shook things up with two challenging questions for participants to answer, and asking for their speech as the next Commissioner. The standard of entries was very high, and the jury struggled to narrow the entries down to the top four finalists Radu Dumitrescu, Enzo Ercole Ribagnac, Estelle Beuve and Aureliano Ulndreaj. Our top four took on their final challenge, presenting and speaking at the SME Assembly 2019, where our delegates chose Radu Dumitrescu as this year’s winner. Congratulations Radu!

2019 also saw the launch of the next edition of the Secrets of Success brochure, “Entrepreneurs of Europe – Connecting, Sharing and Innovating”, featuring previous Ideas from Europe winners with cutting edge innovative ideas and businesses.

The SME Assembly 2019 was the flagship event of the year and took place in Helsinki, Finland under the Finnish Presidency of the European Commission. This year’s Assembly featured many inspiring and well-known speakers, including famed economist Mariana Mazzucato, the 2019 Schumpeter Lecturer, Professor Daniel Isenberg, the 2019 keynote speaker, Alberto Onetti, Chairman and Founder of Mind the Bridge and Petri Peltonen, Finland’s Under-secretary of state. If you missed out on our live coverage of the Assembly you can still read the Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 summary posts right here on the News Portal. You can also continue the conversation in the Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group and get involved in the ongoing SME Strategy Exchange.

We hope that you have enjoyed following us in 2019 and see you in 2020!

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