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Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition winner Oksana Vedmidska

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‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, was the question that we posed to the youth of Europe for this year’s edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition.

Today, Promoting Enterprise is excited to present this year’s winner, Oksana Vedmidska from Ukraine! Oksana first impressed the Youth Essay Competition jury with her passionate essay and then went on to blow the audience away with her ideas at the SME Assembly 2017. Interested in what impressed the jury? Read her essay here and continue reading to find out more about her and her thoughts about the SME Assembly 2017.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Firstly, I decided to enter the competition, because entrepreneurship is a topic which is personal for me. Thanks to entrepreneurship, my family was able to survive difficult economic times in Ukraine in the 90s. Secondly, and this is probably because of the fact that my parents are involved in entrepreneurial activities, I myself adore the independence and passion that stands behind your freelance work or your own company.

In addition, this probably has something to do with my genes. I must admit that if one looks at Ukrainians from a historical perspective, they will see that we are used to being owners. This began from being owners of small agricultural plots, where we worked hard to cover the needs of our families. As a result we developed crucial skills like practical thinking, responsibility, independence and the ability to take risks – qualities and skills which are crucial for an entrepreneur. I believe Ukrainians inherited these skills and qualities and that is why we strive to establish our own small businesses/start-ups.

Thirdly, I considered the Youth Essay Competition to be a fantastic opportunity to spread my ideas and talk about problems and solutions concerning entrepreneurship that we face nowadays.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2017?

The SME Assembly 2017 was characterised by an incredible spirit of innovation and what the future holds. I was very delighted to see that we spoke about digitalisation as one of the keys of entrepreneurial success. Somehow in our ordinary lives we do not notice the importance of this topic and do not discuss opportunities it gives and the risks it involves, but during the Assembly we were really able to recognise the importance of e-governing, e-commerce, data exchange etc. not only for entrepreneurs and customers but for the society as a whole.

Moreover, a highlight of the SME Assembly 2017 was probably social entrepreneurship. I cannot remember any project of the Ideas from Europe which did not have some significance for society. Somehow the final purpose of each start-up was to guarantee benefits to a human-being. To my mind, that is a big step in the business environment, when a person is not simply seen as a customer by a business, but as a human-being with different specialised needs. If I had an investment fund, I would definitely provide venture capital, not only with the purpose to obtain some gains, but also because successful implementation of a social business project would improve the environment our global society lives in, and in which our kids will continue to live.

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

From a practical point of view, I would reinterpret it as ‘Develop an idea. Study your potential market niche. Write a business plan. And go for it, no matter what’. In my way of thinking, an entrepreneur is a dreamer, who respects the material bounds of our world. I would take this slogan and use it in schools to inspire teachers to change the old-fashioned science-oriented way we use to teach our children and also in order to motivate kids and adolescents to work on their entrepreneurial skills.

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

Revealing personal plans is like revealing a sweet dream you had last night and since you want to keep the odds on your side you try to keep it secret… 🙂

In reality I am busy with my second degree that I have just started at the University of Applied Science of Darmstadt. So for the next 3 years I plan to study Information Law there. That is probably why all of my time will be devoted to studies, work and discussions concerning development and possibilities of improvement of our society. Anyway, we will see what is in store for me, one thing I know for sure is that there are still so many countries to visit, cultures and languages to learn, and experiences to gather and share, so I will not sit still!

That’s it for the 2017 finalists and winner! If you missed the finalist exclusive interviews be sure to read about Evlampia Karavangeli and Pavle Kostic on the News Portal. Where will these young finalists find themselves next? We will have to wait until 2018 to find out…

Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Pavle Kostić

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European youth certainly have a lot to say about entrepreneurship, at least judging by the large number of entries for the 2017 edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition. This year the essays had to answer ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, at first glance a simple question but which we discovered has many answers! 

Today, Promoting Enterprise continues to present this year’s talented finalists who we all met on stage in Tallinn at the SME Assembly 2017. Today’s interview takes us to Serbia to meet Pavle Kostić, a third year Management student at the University of Belgrade. Pavle impressed the jury with his passionate ideas and critique of current systems in his essay Ethics and a system as a prerequisite of regular competition, available for you to read in English and Serbian.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

The opportunity to go and see Estonia, was the first thing that attracted me to participate. Every trip has a big contribution in developing people` s skills and enhancing the power of observing the environment around themselves. I also like to express myself, and in that sense, I saw a great chance to express my opinion in front of the whole of Europe. Ultimately, my Management studies and interest in entrepreneurship were strong reasons to take part in the Youth Essay Competition.

Sabine Soeder & Johanna Baumann, CoCreativeFlow

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2017?

What a great event! Estonia did an excellent job in organising the SME Assembly. I especially liked the E- Estonia showroom business tour, where I could see the amazing results of digitalization in Estonia, which made me ask myself why Serbia is such a bureaucratic country.

I heard a lot of useful ideas in the “Ideas from Europe” session and met smart people who discussed very important topics. In my opinion one of the best sessions, was listening to the smart young ladies, who discussed entrepreneurship in the 21st century.




The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

This theme made me confront the real situation in my country, and the incorrect government strategy that is based on attracting multinational companies where manual labour and poor salaries dominate, as I wrote in my essay. We need to restart. We need support in order to stay and spread our ideas and energy to all regions, and to make a better society. We need equal conditions for everyone.

It also made me think  about Queen’s song “Spread your wings and fly away, fly away, far away…” which to me signifies going abroad and creating a new start, because your country does not understand you.

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

There are a lot of plans for the future. I am currently a member of the Case Study Club, and we are preparing for global competitions. I also take every moment possible to work on additional projects, cases, and activities because I feel that I am doing something valuable and useful. I would like to go on Erasmus+ student mobility, but we will see… I am not good at predicting my future. I try to do what I like, and who knows where these paths will take me…

Read about the other Youth Essay Competition finalist Evlampia Karanvegeli and be sure to come back next week for an interview with this year’s winner Oksana…

Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Evlampia Karavangeli

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What do Europe’s youth have to say about entrepreneurship? What skills do they think tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need? The 2017 edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition asked the youth of Europe for their answers to ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’. 

This year we were amazed by all of the entries from across Europe, all expressing different ideas and proposals to this year’s question.

Today, Promoting Enterprise presents one of the talented finalists who made it to Tallinn to present her idea live on stage at the SME Assembly 2017, meet Evlampia Karavangeli! 22 year old medical student Evlampia impressed the jury with her essay titled ‘Checkmate in Entrepreneurship’, which you can read here.



What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Although at first glance it appears rather peculiar for a medical student to be interested in entrepreneurship, I saw this competition as a great chance to voice my firm belief that every future scientific breakthrough can only be achieved through the cooperation of people with various professional backgrounds, who possess certain talents and skills. My motive was to emphasise the importance of these qualifications on the road to professional success, regardless of the vocation one has chosen. Moreover, I wanted to convey a message to policymakers concerning the changes that need to be made, so as to promote youth entrepreneurship.

CoCreative Flow, Sabine Soeder & Johanna Baumann


What did you think of the SME Assembly 2017?

It was definitely a unique experience to be surrounded by so many inspiring people from all around the world, to discuss with them and exchange ideas about promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and research. I had the chance to participate in so many interesting conversations, learn new things and make connections. I also had the honour to present my own ideas in front of all the delegates and listen to their comments and point of view, which indeed helped me broaden my spectrum of thinking and motivated me for the future.

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

It reminds me of the last phrase in my essay, that there is no elevator to success, so you have to take the stairs. A profitable enterprise and a successful career don’t happen overnight, you have to start by building your own vision and putting in work and devotion, as you scale and evolve by accumulating knowledge and experience, until you’re ready to spread your wings towards success.

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

For the time being, I am staying focused on getting my medical degree in 1,5 years. I am highly fascinated by neuroscience, so I plan on expanding my knowledge in this field, during the time of my residency. Apart from clinical medicine, my dream is to contribute to research programmes concerning neurodegenerative and neuroimmunological diseases. Of course, I always remain open to new prospects and opportunities that might come up and I’m excited to see what the future holds!

Be sure to read an exclusive interview with another Youth Essay Competition finalist, Pavle Kostic


Youth Essay Competition 2017 – Who is going to Tallinn?

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The Youth Essay Competition results are in! After a lot of deliberation and discussion, the Jury have selected their top three submissions who will go on to compete for first place at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn!

So who wrote the top three submissions? Congratulations to:

Evlampia Karavangeli

Evlampia Karavangeli is 22 and from the small town of Drama in northern Greece. She is currently studying at the Democritus University of Thrace Medical School and is very enthusiastic about her studies. She is multilingual and speaks Greek, English and German and is also studying Spanish, which she combines with her love for sketching and literature.

Find out what her essay ‘Checkmate in Entrepreneurship’ is all about when she presents it live at the SME Assembly 2017 next month!

Oksana Vedmidska

Oksana Vedmidska is from the small town of Pryluky, not far the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. After finishing her studies in Technical Translation, she went on to work as a translator of medical texts, working in English, German and Russian. She then went on to win a scholarship that took her to Germany to study a Masters in the areas of dubbing, subtitling, audio descriptions for the blind, and easy language. Earlier this year she was also selected to represent her home country of Ukraine at the UN General Assembly in New York as a winner of the 2017 edition of the Many Languages One World competition.

What skills does Oksana think an entrepreneur needs? And why does she think “entrepreneurship is one of the most effective tools, which our global society has to transform the world into a better place”? We will find out during her live presentation in Tallinn in November!

Pavle Kostic

Pavle Kostic is from Nova Pazova in Serbia and is currently in the third year of his Management studies at the University of Belgrade. He has been actively involved in several art, essay, photography and debate competitions, including the Serbian competition for ‘Best business ethics essay’ which he won in 2014.

What can we expect from Pavle’s essay ‘Ethics and a system as a prerequisite of regular competition’? Find out next month at the SME Assembly when he presents it live!

We would also like to thank all the other writers who submitted their work. This year the quality was very high and the Jury had a very difficult decision when narrowing it down to the top three. Be sure to follow Evlampia, Oksana and Pavle on their journey to Tallinn as they get ready for the live finale where the Youth Essay Competition 2017 winner will be revealed...

SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #6

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The day we have all been waiting for has arrived: We know who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived. Continue reading to find out who made it!

This year the Youth Essay Competition received almost triple the number of essays in comparison to the first edition back in 2016. The EEPA Jury are busy reviewing all of the essays, so stay tuned to the Promoting Enterprise Portal to find out who the shortlisted candidates are in October.

Enjoy reading this edition of the SME Week Newsletter and be sure to follow us on social media and on the portal for all the latest updates.


<< Previous Issue #13


Youth Essay Competition 2017 – What’s next?

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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!

So what happens now?

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.

Who were the 2016 finalists and what did they have to say? Read about Andri, Katie, Frici and Francesco.

Curious about who will be judging your entry? Meet the Jury!

Follow our social media so you don’t miss any news about the competition:

Twitter: @EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

Estonian entrepreneurs: Meet Kenneth and Sander!

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This week Promoting Enterprise is starting a series of interviews with a group of Estonian entrepreneurs to find out about what they do! From motorised scooters to furniture, these entrepreneurs are diverse, creative and not afraid to think outside of the box. Read on to meet our first two entrepreneurs, Kenneth and Sander and learn about where their entrepreneurial path has led them…

Kenneth Pert

Meet Kenneth – he is 24 and the founder of his brand Kenneth Pert Natural Furniture. Kenneth is a designer and furniture craftsman. At the moment, his company is a ‘one man show’, Kenneth has to fill different roles – from managing the business side to cleaning his workshop. At this point, he has been in the field for 5 interesting and challenging years.

What motivates you?

I am inspired by people who have overcome challenges, their own personal struggles and added some extra value to the world. People play an important part in my life. That is why my closest friends and family are also my biggest driving force. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur?

The opportunity to use my time as I wish. I have been able to focus on my own interests and to grow at my own pace. This gives me enough room to devote time to the people I hold most dear. At the same time, it is important to stay disciplined and remember that I have a lot of responsibilities.

What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?

The skills of today’s and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs largely overlap, for example, adaptability, consistency, discipline and curiosity. There has been a rising demand for people to have emotional intelligence regardless of their role or position in an organisation. It is quite essential to identify the right people to hire, because without help, it’s almost impossible to create a successful business.

When developing a product or service a lot of research, testing and feedback analysis goes into it. In this phase being good with numbers and having analytical skills is definitely another essential entrepreneurial skill.

Sander Sebastian Agur

Sander Sebastian is the 26 year-old co-founder of, the first online B2B marketplace to offer a comprehensive inventory management service by comparing suppliers and transactions up to the final delivery of products. Sander is also a Senior Vice President of ERPLY Retail Platform, which is a web-based on Enterprise resource planning application with support for accounting, inventory, invoicing, e-commerce, Point Of Sale (POS) and more, offering retailers a complete IT solution that can be adapted to meet unique requirements. The company includes well known clients such as Sony, Walt Disney, Amazon, Elizabeth Arden, Garmin and many others.

At the young age of 22, Sander was chosen as the successor to the head of Estonian Air, the former national airline of Estonia, but decided to work in private enterprise instead.

What motivates you?

Learning new skills and applying them usefully. I’ve definitely failed more than I’ve succeeded. As most long-term goals require skills that we don’t have when we set the goals, this motivates me to grow together with the challenges.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur?

In my sector there are almost no limits to what can be built. Once you realise that everything around you has been created by people that are no smarter than you, it all becomes doable.

What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?

I think skills are important, but they can also be acquired on the way. What is more important is your mindset for what’s coming and your openness to learn and make stuff happen. Everything changes so fast so you must be able to work in constant chaos. I think that’s what a startup is, nonstop chaos you need to navigate.

Anything else you want to share?

For, we got a small grant at the beginning of 2017 of 50, 000 EUR from the European Commission to kickstart the development, which we are super grateful for.  Unfortunately we were rejected for the second phase of the  Horizon2020 program, but we are continuing to invest our own resources to help Europe have a multinational sales channel for product exchange and we hope that our  next application in November will be successful!

The project “” increases the visibility and competitiveness of manufacturing SMEs on the EU market by creating conditions for an open and efficient market. Currently manufacturing SMEs lack access to suppliers and clients. They are reliant on a small number of business partners and are invisible to any other potential partners. Many SMEs, due to their niche products, find it hard to expand their client network, find suppliers and create international contacts. Product availability, specifications, price and delivery information is not available to market participants and the required information is not presented, standardised and/or not available in different languages. Therefore, companies cannot compare and decide on the best choice. This is a problem our European customers face daily and we would like to change that.

The 2017 SME Assembly will take place in Tallinn, Estonia from 22 – 24 November 2017.
The conference will be the flagship event of European SME Week.

SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #5

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Welcome back from the summer break!

We hope that you have all had a lovely summer and are ready for all the exciting content coming your way from the Promoting Enterprise team.

First up, the Youth Essay Competition deadline is approaching fast, so get inspired, get writing and be sure to submit before 08 September 2017 to be in with a chance of winning.

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards saw some fierce competition from across the participating countries. Now that we have met all the national winners we need to wait for the Jury to finish reviewing applications and announce the shortlist at the end of September! Stay tuned…


<< Previous Issue #12


How can you win the Youth Essay Competition 2017? – Find out what the jury is looking for!

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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!

SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #4

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Welcome to the summer edition of the European SME Week newsletter,

The European deadline for EEPA 2017 has passed and the wait for the shortlist announcement has begun! Be sure to have a look at the Promoting Enterprise News Portal during summer to find out about the national winners that will be competing for places on the 2017 shortlist…

The Youth Essay Competition is open and we are accepting submissions until 8 September 2017. Look here for more information on how to apply and get writing! Not sure how to start? Have a look at last year’s winning essay and the three finalists for some inspiration on the portal.

The Promoting Enterprise News Portal is packed full of other interesting content to read over the summer. Interested in EU investments? Trends in startup culture? Digital innovation? The portal has something for everybody so be sure to go and have a read through the articles! We will continue to bring you information, including the latest on the EEPA 2017 selection and other exciting updates.

We wish you a lovely summer!


<< Previous Issue #11


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