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The voice of experience: some advice from 2021 YEC winner Kristina Dimova

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The deadline for participating in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition is almost upon us. But don’t worry – you can still enter, so get writing and make sure to submit your entry by September 26. To inspire you, the YEC winners from 2018, 2019 and 2020 have already shared their top tips and today it is the turn of 2021 winner Kristina Dimova, who offers some advice below.

Kristina, who is from Bulgaria, won the 2021 YEC with an essay that highlighted that humanity is the key to sustainability, both when developing a business plan for a small and medium enterprise (SMEs) and when it comes to company management. Kristina has described her participation in the competition as “a moment of pure bliss!” Read on to see what advice she has to give to this year’s participants.

How would you approach this year’s theme?

Energy has proven to be a crucial topic not only for policies in the coming years but also for our everyday lives. I would definitely try to think outside the box as I did in my essay last year and, honestly, as every single winner did in the previous years. For sure, showing examples connected to the problem will help the overall density of the essay – no matter if they are about real start-ups, or if they are focused on an imaginary entrepreneurial solution to the energy problem. However, focusing on a particular storytelling arch will bring out the originality of the idea that the participant is trying to showcase. Therefore, for me, as a representative of Bulgaria – a country that is highly dependent on fossil fuels, I’d probably think how this topic is related to my personal story. I’d ask myself what is important for me as a young person and what are the crucial steps that we have to take for a more sustainable future. However, for sure, all these ideas should be presented with an authentic story. The more authentic, the better.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

The people, the ideas, the future. These are the main pillars of the competition for me. During the Assembly, I had the chance to meet phenomenal people from all over Europe. As I have stated before, a great story can be a real game changer. Each one of these people had a great story to tell and therefore they inspired me to change my personal story arch.

When in Portoroz, I saw once again that ideas are everything, but they can be nothing without execution. All of the people there had their own cause. When you see how all these ideas have developed, that truly motivates you, especially when you are young and you have yet to test your ideas.

When talking about testing, SME Assembly 2021 was all about the future and what we could do to make it better. Lean thinking was key for most of the entrepreneurs that took part in it, and testing and validating during the process was crucial for them. However, when we talk about the future, I must say that there is a special place for youth during the event.

A lot of policymakers and entrepreneurs not only listened to my presentation but also came and talked to me afterward about the ideas I spoke about. I gained more knowledge about entrepreneurship from the event, but not only that – because of my win I was also a speaker during the EU Industry Days 2022 conference. The best is yet to come because I’m about to take the lead position in 9Academy – a platform and business academy for professionals and entrepreneurs in Bulgaria. YEC 2021 was the push for me to see that entrepreneurship is the way for me, and I’m more than grateful for the whole experience.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

Be brave. This is the only advice I can give to the competitors. Yes, the topic is important and it can be difficult to write a compelling essay for it. Yes, you might ask yourself – why am I writing something so complex? Because the only competition you have is yourself.

This competition was a way to figure out if I’m capable of showcasing complex ideas in a simple yet compelling way. However, it turned out to be a milestone in my career. Before it, I thought I’m only good at certain skills. Now, after the Assembly, I know that I have a skill set that has been growing after participating in the competition. So, be brave. You have nothing to lose. In addition to the competition, you will for sure win a broader perspective on a topic that is so important that it means everything to our lives.

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: 2019 YEC winner Radu Dumitrescu has some advice

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As the September 26 deadline approaches for submitting an entry in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition, on the Promoting Enterprise portal we have been speaking to previous winners to see what advice they have for this year’s participants. We have already heard from 2018 winner Marija Borg. This time it is the turn of 2019 winner Radu Dumitrescu.

In 2019, the competition asked young people aged 18-25 to prepare a speech from the perspective of the new Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship addressed to Europe’s entrepreneurs. Radu impressed the jury with his entry Silicon Europe 2030, outlining proposed measures to support European SMEs. Radu has some top tips for this year’s entrants, so read on to see what he has to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

Energy has proven to be a crucial topic for policies in the coming years. Young European entrepreneurs and their peers are among the most aware of our fossil fuel dependency, not to mention its environmental and even political costs. They see it as a heavy iron ball connected to our feet by a chain that is proving hard to break. As citizens and entrepreneurs, I believe they’ve realized that we’ve been using fossil fuels from countries ruled by authoritarian governments for far too long now, propping them up with our money.

A more sustainable European economy not only means smog-free cities, healthier food, and better overall quality of life. It means a safer, more democratic, freer Europe. A greener EU, and not one that simply exports its pollution, could have rendered Putin powerless, starved of funds and unable to invade a peaceful neighbor like Ukraine, uprooting millions.

If I were a contestant approaching this year’s theme, I would try to move past too familiar, albeit essential, arguments for sustainability. I would instead argue that we have a moral duty, as young entrepreneurs, to spearhead a more sustainable European economy not only for generations to come, but also for the countless people who now live under the boot of resource-rich autocrats that we subsidise.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

I still remember my time at the SME Week Youth Essay Competition in Finland. Simultaneously nervous and excited, I took to the stage and shared my thoughts on what mattered for our shared European economies. What’s more, I was doing it in front of Europe’s star entrepreneurs, representatives of various businesses associations, not to mention European officials. It’s a unique position to be in, especially when you’re young, and if I had the chance to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Winning gave me the confidence to speak in public more, to put my ideas on paper. I went on to be awarded the Charlemagne Prize Fellowship for 2020/2021 with a project on the future of manufacturing in Europe. I am not an economist, nor did I have heaps of experience when it came to the field, but I was confident in my abilities to formulate an idea that had to be heard, just like I had in the YEC.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

I think this year’s competitors should be bold, as befits youngsters. They should be confident in their ideas, even if they’re not the most mainstream ones. I am absolutely sure that I don’t need to remind young European entrepreneurs that innovation can come from anywhere, including themselves. They should let their voices be heard, because their absence would only make our Europe poorer.

Tell us a bit about where you are now, what winning the competition meant for you, how it benefited you.

It’s never easy to get on a stage and speak, and in some sense, after getting on it in Helsinki, I never got off. Winning YEC in 2019 gave me the confidence to apply for the Charlemagne Prize Academy Fellowship, and then press on with my doctoral thesis on populism, which I am finishing this year. It is almost as if I proved to myself that I can do well when I speak and write back then, because I’m now doing both professionally, you could say. I became a journalist at Romania Insider, writing news pieces in English on business, politics, and social topics each day. I also started a small YouTube channel, with some success. I’ve also grown personally, developing my knowledge in business and economy, which seemed somewhat off-limits to me beforehand, as domains that were only to be approached by those wiser and older. Participating, not to mention winning, in the YEC made me into a more well rounded individual. I wish that for every participant.

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: some wise words from 2020 YEC winner Sabine Kerssens

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We have already had some top tips from the winners of the 2018 editions of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Today, 2020 YEC winner Sabine Kerssens shares her wisdom, enabling this year’s entrants to benefit from her experience. If you are considering entering this year’s competition, perhaps Sabine can give you some inspiration, but make sure to submit your entry by the deadline of September 26.

Sabine impressed the competition jury with her ideas about the importance of cross-border collaboration and how learning from different cultures makes innovation more inclusive. Below, she has some tips on how to approach this year’s challenge and gives some advice to participants. Read on to see what she has to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an immense challenge to achieve because the many stakeholders all have incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements. People adapt, our economy adapts, and innovative entrepreneurs are closest to the scene. When I wrote about innovations contributing to a sustainable energy future in the past, I had not anticipated the emergency we are in today.

However, our entrepreneurs are already out there and adapting. I hope future essay writers will write about that adaptability. This year’s theme has three key ingredients: European economies, high dependency, and fossil fuel energies. To steer away from an unsustainable economy, one of the three needs to change, or perhaps all three of them. So what is it that we can adapt? I would approach this year’s theme with my hopes for a fair economy, fair for us and for the planet. I would continue by thinking about what entrepreneurs could change to help achieve this. In addition, bonus question: What do these entrepreneurs need from policy makers to think, dream and build big?

Why should young people participate in this competition?

Dear future writers, you have a voice worth listening to. Please speak up! Sometimes the brightest ideas don’t make an impact simply because they are not heard by decision makers. You can imagine, that some ideas don’t leave their social bubble. Recently a campaign went viral, because “In the Netherlands, there are more CEOs called “Peter” than female CEOs”. Like this, the voices of Peters might seem louder than yours, even when they shouldn’t. What if this Peter hadn’t seen your latest TikTok on climate change? Can they really represent your community? Take this platform offered to you, to help spark innovative ideas today. I know it made a difference in how far my ideas traveled, I hope it will for you too (even if you’re called Peter).

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

Take your time. Read old essays, see what still sticks some days later. It might be their key message, the structure of their arguments, their tone of voice, or anything else. Practice what you think captures your idea best, and most of all: keep your audience in mind! Easy right? So just enter! We promise that we won’t grade you. You can’t fail this class. You can only learn from it. Cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Oh, and possibly you will win a great experience. Dream big!

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

The voice of experience: some top tips from 2018 YEC winner Marija Borg

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As the 26 September deadline for this year’s European SME Week Youth Essay Competition approaches, we asked 2018 winner Marija Elena Borg to share her advice with this year’s cohort and to give them the opportunity to benefit from her experience. You can also read about Marija’s own experience of the YEC here.

Marija impressed the 2018 jury with her essay on the links between innovation and the holistic growth of organisations, and then went on to win the audience vote when she presented her essay at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria.

Since her participation in the competition, Marija has moved to Brussels, where she is serving as a technical attaché at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union. We asked her for some advice for this year’s competitors, read on to see what she had to say!

How would you approach this year’s theme?

This year’s theme enables participants to reflect on how a more sustainable economy can be achieved in practice. A substantial reduction in our dependency on fossil fuel energy is therefore a must. From my point of view, great importance should be given to two primary factors: (i) energy-saving initiatives and inventions; as well as (ii) alternative energy sources.

Why should young people participate in this competition?

Besides giving participants the chance to share innovative ideas with changemakers, this competition also provides short-listed candidates with the opportunity to network and explore ideas directly with the (500+!) attendees of the SME Assembly. This bodes well for young people with a keen interest in EU and global affairs.

Do you have any advice for the 2022 competitors?

My advice is rather simple: Think of YEC as the perfect channel to pitch your best ideas to an EU-wide audience. It’s naturally crucial to stay on topic and write concisely – do not simply regurgitate the information you come across but give it a personal twist!

Where are you now? How did winning the Youth Essay Competition inspire and impact your life?

EU affairs have always been of interest to me, even before I took part in the YEC in 2018. Since winning the competition, however, I have been inspired to contribute more actively to the policy-making process, especially in my capacity of Manager at the Malta Business Bureau, i.e. the EU advisory office of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. Earlier this year, I was given the opportunity to relocate to Brussels and have now assumed the role of Technical Attaché (EU Funds and Programming) at Malta’s Permanent Representation to the EU.

This year’s challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Are you full of ideas on how to reduce our fossil fuel dependence and eager to share them with a Europe-wide audience? Then the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity not to be missed!  All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on the theme above and submit it here before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in Prague in November, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

Want to make your voice heard? Write!

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Making your voice heard is not all about who can shout the loudest. Writing in a clear and well-thought-out manner is often the best way to make people listen to what you have to say and to get your thoughts out to a wider public. To mark International Youth Day 2022, on the Promoting Enterprise Portal we are looking at how writing can help young people to realise their potential and make a greater impact. Indeed, one way this impact can be made is through the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2022.

Writing helps young people to develop their own voice and express how they feel on a variety of subjects, which in turn helps to improve their self-expression, boost their self-confidence and become more assertive when expressing their opinions. The writing process makes it easier for people to formulate their thoughts and express them in a logical way, which in turn improves communication skills.

As with most things – practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better your writing skills will become. Writing regularly will help you become more organized in your writing, and in structuring your thoughts. At the same time, your imagination and creativity will improve. Writing gives you the opportunity to review your thoughts, expand your perspective and express yourself in a measured and well-structured manner.

What’s more, writing helps you to speak out on topics that you care about, express what is important to you and get your ideas out there. So, have we convinced you of the benefits of creative writing? If we have, why not try out your writing skills by taking part in this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition! The YEC gives 18-25-year-olds a platform to share their ideas with key figures and stakeholders involved in enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The YEC 2022 challenge

This year the competition asks young people to think about the theme: Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?

Do you have something interesting to say on this topic? Perhaps you could draw inspiration from the theme of this year’s International Youth Day – Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages – and look at intergenerational approaches to resolving our fossil fuel dependency. Let your imagination run free! All you have to do is write a 2,500-word essay in English on this year’s theme and submit it here or e-mail it to smeweek@loweurope.eu before the deadline of 26 September 2022.

The YEC jury will then select three finalists to attend the SME Assembly in November in Prague, where they will present their essays to the 500+ delegates gathered at the assembly. To help you make the best possible presentation, you will receive training from the YEC team before the event. The winning essay will then be selected in a public vote. The essays of all the finalists will be promoted across EU channels.

It’s time to unleash your inner writer and submit your entry for this year’s competition. Before you start, read through the rules of the competition and please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu if you have any questions.

You can find more information on the previous editions of the YEC here. We will also follow with more advice and tips to help you with your entries, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and subscribe to our newsletter.

Inspiration from past YEC winners and finalists

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition (YEC) is now in its 7th edition, so the class of 2022 has a huge number of past winners and finalists from whom it can take inspiration. And as we saw last year, this can be the key to success.

In her acceptance speech, YEC 2021 winner, Kristina Dimova, paid tribute to her predecessor, Sabine Kerssens. Referring to Sabine’s ‘intriguing and complex’ essay, Kristina said that it ‘inspired me even more to participate. I wanted to see if I can do what she did so gracefully – present such an innovative idea in a way everyone can understand it.’

As we now know, Kristina was indeed able to do what Sabine had done. In her essay on the competences and skills entrepreneurs would need in the future, she concluded that ‘the only way the business ecosystem can adapt is to overcome its ego and become human. Not only towards its outside values but toward its employees as well. The Good, The Digital, and The Human are the face of the future.’ Read Kristina’s essay here.

Victoria Krah Ripoll, YEC Finalist 2021

YEC 2021 was a close-run thing. Finalist, Victoria Krah Ripoll described three start-ups that had coped with uncertainty during the pandemic by meeting the challenges of digitalisation and sustainability. ‘However,’ she wrote, ‘there is another fundamental skill without which none of those businesses would have survived or even come to live: creativity. (…) One could argue that creativity is the catalyst for innovating. Indeed, innovation itself could be defined as the victory of creativity.’ Read Victoria’s essay here.

Sabine Kerssens, YEC 2020 Winner

Sabine Kerssens’ YEC 2020 essay, which so inspired Kristina Dimova, tackled the question of how EU policy can best aid entrepreneurs in becoming sustainable and resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges. Sabine’s answer was by creating a single start-up scale-up market. ‘We need to centralise the journey of young entrepreneurial talents that grow into the multinational CEOs of tomorrow’, she wrote. ‘By learning from their lessons we create a test bed that brings the EU one step closer to connecting all multinationals, SMEs and individuals of Europe.’ Read Sabine’s essay here.

Pablo Pastor Vidal, YEC 2020 finalist

Like Kristina, Sabine overcame some tough competition to win the YEC. 2020 finalist, Pablo Pastor Vidal gave three answers to the question: by focusing on grassroots projects that take account of the needs around them, by not being scared of progress and the digital revolution, and by being aware of new ideas without forgetting old problems. As regards the main lesson he had learned from the pandemic, Pablo wrote, ‘I will always remember how fragile humans are. But at the same time, this individual fragility is what makes us so special, because when we unite, we can be stronger than ever.’ Read Pablo’s essay here.

Radu Dumitrescu, YEC 2019 Winner

In YEC 2019, entrants were challenged to write the speech that they would give to Europe’s entrepreneurs if they had just been named Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship. Winner, Radu Dumitrescu proposed to speak about measures to which he would apply the ‘Think Small First’ principle. One was encouraging international trade. ‘Small-scale entrepreneurial firms that act locally but sell and buy internationally are the prime movers and employers of society, and we must not forego them in favour of corporate giants’, he wrote. Read Radu’s essay here.

Marija Elena Borg, YEC 2018 Winner

YEC 2018 winner, Marija Elena Borg addressed the question ‘What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?’ She outlied five steps: allocate time for creativity and innovation; surround themselves with creative, inquisitive and proactive people; adopt management skills that will allow for the creation of an innovation culture; invest in public-private partnerships; and expect failures. Marija Elena concluded that ‘people are the primary cause for innovation within both enterprises and government departments.’ Read Marija Elena’s essay here.

For more information on how to enter YEC 2022, click HERE.

Look out for further inspiration on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

Youth Essay Competition 2022 – things to keep in mind

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With the 2022 Youth Essay Competition (YEC 2022) having been launched on 30 June, we know that many of you will be steaming ahead with writing your entries. To help you avoid any pitfalls, we’ve put together a list of five things you should keep in mind before you send your essays in.

  1. Check you’re eligible

Before you even start work, the first thing you need to do is to make sure you’re eligible to enter. For this, you have to be aged 18-25 (inclusive) and a citizen of a country that participates in COSME – the EU programme for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The COSME countries are as follows: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

2. Stay on topic

As you all doubtless know by now, the theme for YEC 2022 is ‘Our European economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel energies. How can future young entrepreneurs contribute to a more sustainable economy?’ We are sure you have interesting opinions on all kinds of subjects, but when writing your entries we really need you to stay on topic and avoid any (or at least too many) digressions.

3. Don’t write too much

Although we know that you’ve all got a lot of great ideas on what is a really important topic, our jury can only read through so many essays in a day. So keep your writing concise and to the point, and don’t go over 2 500 words or your entry won’t be accepted. Also, remember that we can only accept one entry per applicant.

4. Mind your language

Of course, it’s always easiest to express yourself in your native language. But for a competition like YEC 2022, it’s vital that all of the jury members understand the points you’re making. For this reason, entries have to be in English. What’s more, writing in English will help make sure that your essay is read by as many key business figures as possible.

5. Be on time

Last but not least, the deadline for sending your essays in is 26 September 2022. You can upload them HERE or e-mail them to smeweek@loweurope.eu. Any work received after 26 September won’t be considered. So manage your time well and be punctual!

Keep an eye on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for more tips to help you with your entries, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

Inspiring Kristina Dimova invited to speak at the EU Industry Days

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Kristina Dimova, the SME Week 2021 Young Essay Competition winner, continues her journey in the entrepreneurial world and will be present at the upcoming edition of the EU Industry Days.

As you know, the 2022 edition that is entitled “Unlocking the future: EU industrial ecosystems on the path to the green and digital transition”, will take place from 08th to the 11th of February and aims to stimulate discussions across industrial ecosystems on their green and digital transition, in support of strengthening the resilience of EU companies including SMEs.

This year’s edition will also hold discussions on how the young generation can shape the future of EU industry in line with the Commission proposal to make 2022 the European Year of Youth.

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Kristina Dimova, who is 22 and an inspiring representative of her generation, is one of the speakers in the Plenary Session: Inspiring Dialogue with Young Europeans that will take place on 10 February starting 15:30.

Moderated by Olena Sullivan-Prykhodko, 2021 Junior Chamber International Vice President, Co-Founder and Director of Modelex Education Monaco and the British School of Monaco, the session gathers creative young business owners that will share their vision on the future of entrepreneurship.

“Change is inevitable. That’s why businesses must adapt or perish. The way they could adapt is by being as human as possible. The main thesis of my essay is that humanity is the key to sustainability not only for the business plan of the company but in the context of management. However, humanity should be combined with key factors such as digital transformation, ecology, and economic growth.” This is what Kristina highlighted when talking about the competences and skills needed in the future for an entrepreneur, during SME Assembly 2021.

She also added that “Every single business idea must be sustainable both for the environment and for society’s needs.”

With this in mind, we remind you that there it is still time to register and take part in the discussion on turning industrial challenges into opportunities for Europe.

Check out the full programme here and see what sessions are of interest to you!

Stay updated by following all news on European’s Commission website, but also on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you follow and use the official hashtag #EUIndustryDays.

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!

Bulgarian Kristina Dimova wins SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021

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Kristina Dimova, 22 year-old from Bulgaria, was proclaimed a winner of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay Competition during the SME Assembly 2021.

“Change is inevitable. That’s why businesses must adapt or perish. The way they could adapt is by being as human as possible. The main thesis of my essay is that humanity is the key to sustainability not only for the business plan of the company but in the context of management. However, humanity should be combined with key factors such as digital transformation, ecology, and economic growth.”

This was the focus of Kristina’s winning entry which answer the question: “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”.

During the final of the Youth Essay Competition on the third day of the SME Assembly, she also added:

“Crucial to SMEs’ ability to adapt to changing circumstances, will be their willingness to change their management model. Sociocracy would be the “secret ingredient” with four ground rules: consensual decision-making, a hierarchy of circles, double linking between circles, and election of leaders. Sociocracy would also allow businesses to reach the required flexibility to thrive in an ever-changing world.”

The other finalists of this year’s SME Week Youth Essay competition were Victoria Krah, half Spanish, half German, and Rui Teixeira from Portugal.

About Kristina Dimova

Kristina Dimova is currently studying Journalism BA at Sofia University. She had the opportunity to participate in Erasmus+ at the University of Lodz. Her academic interest in journalism continues with her role as a scholar of KAS Media Programme SEE Bulgaria. Her professional interest is connected with her role as an Editor at GoGuide – one of the biggest lifestyle magazines in Sofia – and her experience as a co-founder of Slovo 111 – Youth Media in Bulgaria, which has lasted for a year. She is also part of the team of 9Academy – a business academy for entrepreneurship and personal development as a Content Creator. In the meantime, she works as a Social Media Specialist in a PR agency, in Sofia. She had the chance to see how the European Parliament works as a journalist in a Plenary Session in Strasbourg in 2019. She won a contest for an Essay, held by European Parliament, Bulgaria, and FJMC, Sofia University, and had the chance to be one of the six finalists for the Megalizzi-Niedzielski prize for aspiring journalists, part of the Youth4Regions programme.

Click here to read Kristina’s essay.

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!

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