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YEC 2021 – Catching up with 2020 Winner Sabine Kerssens

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with last year’s Youth Essay Competition winner, Sabine Kerssens. Last year, 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. So, what has she been up to since her success in the competition?

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

For many Dutch people, normalcy is the glue that holds the world together. We say: “Just act normal, as that’s crazy enough.” However, if you have a dream to be a change-maker, launching a start-up that is going to disrupt the world, this mindset might hold you back. Soon I will launch a report to quantify entrepreneurial culture in the Netherlands and abroad!

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

You might be young when you participate, but someday (now?) the future of the world will rest on your shoulders too. The Youth Essay Competition is a great start to participating in a greener and happier world. It helps you get your thoughts aligned, practice getting that message to your audience through writing, and be heard!

What did you learn from the Youth Essay competition experience?

If no one understands you, it doesn’t really matter how brilliant your idea is. A really big part of this competition is not just being young and having an opinion, you also have to write an essay that people would like to read. This is the start of improving my writing, speaking and non-verbal communication.

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

I help Dutch start-ups and scale-ups thrive. My projects provide a data-driven journey for innovators to scale. Risk-taking change-makers should be able to rely on and accelerate through the knowledge and experience of generations, and I am here to help. So, if you have ideas or thoughts on last year’s essay, on what innovators need or on what I should be researching next: please reach out via LinkedIn!

We published an interview with Sabine on Promoting Enterprise site after she won the competition last year. You can read it here.

There is still some time left before the September 26 deadline for this year’s competition, so if you have some ideas to address this year’s challenge, why not follow in Sabine’s footsteps and submit an entry.

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

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021 Launch

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

Make your voice heard!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 18 to 25-year-olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Essays should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All essays must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for submissions is 26 September 2021
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale as part of the SME Assembly, where they will present their essays
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

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

See Youth Essay Competition 2021 Terms and Conditions.

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

Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Marija’s Top Tips

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The Youth Essay Competition 2019 deadline is approaching and it is time to start finalising those essays! Today on promoting Enterprise we are back with last year’s Youth Essay Competition winner Marija Elena Borg. Last week she told us about what she has been up to since winning last year and what she learnt from taking part.

This week she is sharing her top tips for how to approach the 2019 question, and make your entry stand out. Read through her tips on how to write a winning essay below and don’t forget to submit your entry before 16 August 2019.

How would you approach the 2019 question?

This time round, the Youth Essay Competition is centred around the submission of an inauguration speech. Therefore, all participants should keep in mind the following two objectives when carrying out this task:

  • The need to make a good, lasting impression; and
  • The importance of leaving the audience with no more than three takeaways.

In all probability, we have all witnessed speeches that are overly technical or refer to pointless details. This should be avoided at all costs! Instead, make sure that the speech you’re drafting is clear, concise and founded upon a logical thought process. What is equally important is that your opening words are very carefully selected in order to instantly grasp the attention of the audience.

Do you have any advice for the 2019 competitors?

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.

Don’t forget that you can read Marija’s essay or look at her final presentation for inspiration, and read her winner’s interview here. Missed our catch-up with her last week? Be sure to read it here to find out what she has been up to since winning the competition.

For more information on the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019, read the launch post to find out what we are looking for. Still have questions? Please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and follow @EEPA_EU on Twitter and @PromotingEnterprise on Facebook for the latest information.

Youth Essay Competition – Catching up with Marija

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The SME Week Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity to make your voice heard and to take your ideas to a key SME stakeholders and policy makers on a European platform.

Today on Promoting Enterprise we are excited to be catching up with last year’s winner Marija Elena Borg! Marija impressed both the competition jury and then the SME Assembly 2018 delegates with her essay on the links between innovation and the holistic growth of organisations. So what has she been up to since winning the competition and what did she take away from the experience? Keep reading to find out!

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

As the Malta Business Bureau’s Senior EU Funding Executive, I am committed to continue developing my skills on both project writing and management. Therefore, over the last months, I have immersed myself in the submission of new proposals and the implementation of ongoing projects. A particular highlight has been my two-week experience in Brussels, working alongside an experienced entrepreneur on the project development front.

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

Definitely the opportunity to challenge myself! The Youth Essay Competition gave me a clear incentive to properly brainstorm on the topic of innovation and voice my thoughts and reflections in the form of an essay. Being one of the three finalists also meant participating in the SME Assembly in Graz, pitching my ideas directly to European entrepreneurs and policy-makers.

What did you learn from the Youth Essay competition experience?

To put it simply, this experience has taught me that nothing is really impossible as long as you value and believe in your strengths and capabilities. Time and experience play a crucial role in the process of building self-belief – one simply needs to be patient, treat failures as lessons learnt and keep on exposing oneself to new challenges and opportunities.

Don’t forget that you can read Marija’s essay or look at her final presentation for inspiration, and read her winner’s interview here. Still want more advice from Marija? Curious about how she would approach this year’s question? Come back to the News Portal next week to find out!

For more information on the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019, read the launch post to find out what we are looking for. Still have questions? Please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu and follow @EEPA_EU on Twitter and @PromotingEnterprise on Facebook for the latest information.

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 – Launch

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Youth of Europe, it is time to make your voice heard! If you are between the ages of 18-25 the European Commission wants to hear your ideas and thoughts on the topic of entrepreneurship, SMEs and the European entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Youth Essay competition, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is launching for the fourth time and is looking for submissions that answer the following:

“Write the speech that you would give as the new Commissioner for SMEs and entrepreneurship to Europe’s entrepreneurs”

The Youth Essay Competition is a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform within the domains of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

This year, the competition will be divided into two rounds:

  • Round 1: This is an open call to submit your speech. This submission is due by 16 August 2019
  • Round 2: You have given your inauguration speech and journalists are asking you for more details about your ideas. If you are selected for the top 10, you will receive three ‘follow up’ questions asking you to expand upon the ideas in your speech.

In order to win the prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the 2019 SME Assembly in Helsinki, submit your speech of no more than 2 500 words in English before 16 August 2019.

Don’t know what to write? Not sure where to start? Have a look at previous winning entries:

You can also have a look at the entries from previous finalists:

To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and SUBMIT!

If you have any questions please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2019 Launch

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 18 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Speeches should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All submissions must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for Round 1 submissions is 16 August 2019
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale in Helsinki as part of the SME Assembly, where they will give their speeches
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly in Helsinki, Finland for the three finalists, to deliver their speeches to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering speech live on stage at the SME Assembly 2019
  • Promotion of speeches across official social media channels

See Youth Essay Competition 2019 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and be sure to follow and use the hashtags #SMEWeekYouth and #YEC2019

What are the YEC 2018 Jury looking for? – Oksana Vedmidska

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Less than one month to go until the deadline for the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition. There is still time to write an entry, but how can you tailor it for the jury who will be judging it? Last week we spoke to jury member Mervi Pänkäläinen and what she is looking for in an entry. This week we have asked 2018 jury member Oksana Vedmidska to share with you what will make an entry stand out for her.

Oksana is not only a 2018 jury member, but also the 2017 competition winner. Read her tips on how to write a good essay here.

What will you be looking for in an entry?

In an entry I will be looking for original ideas and concrete suggestions with regard to this year’s topic “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

What are the top 3 criteria you will base your judging on?

I will judge each essay on the following three criteria: originality, feasibility and presentation. Each criterion is worth a maximum of six points.

What makes an entry stand out for you?

An entry should demonstrate innovative, progressive, analytical and practical thinking. The inclusion of personal experiences will also play a very important role for me while judging an essay. This is what will make an entry original.

What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?

My advice would be to just give it a shot! I am sure that many of us have had experiences with regards to the topic of the competition and developed ideas on making our governments and businesses more innovative and advanced. This competition is a platform and a chance to publish those ideas. It is time to share your ideas in order to encourage real change!

What steps do you think should be taken to foster and encourage innovation?

When observing our society I would say that the biggest challenge for innovation lies in people’s psychological readiness to accept change. If we want to head towards an innovative future we have to open our minds and get rid of stereotypical thinking, whilst also following the principles of common sense. Therefore the first and most crucial step, in my view, is changing curriculums in our educational institutions. They should foster individuality, creativity and critical thinking as well as develop skills which are required in today’s modern society.

Innovation comes when people think in a creative way and for them to do that they need moral and financial support. There are several more formal steps that should be taken, for example, introduction of an EU patent with validity in all Member States, implementing secure e-Government tools, simplifying registration for start-ups, appropriating funds for research exchange programs etc. I hope that the 2018 entries will discuss this topic creatively and address the fact that to foster innovation it is necessary to take steps in each sector of our society.

Interested in entering this year’s competition? Find out more about the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition right here! Keep coming back to the News Portal to find out more about the competition and all of the jury members, and don’t forget to submit your essays by 23 September 2018.

MSME Day 2018 – The Youth Dimension

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This year the annual MSME (Micro, Small-Medium Enterprises) Day was celebrated on 27 June and was dedicated to youth. This year the main event focused on youth entrepreneurship and youth employment, and aimed to advocate for the importance of MSMEs in youth employment, raise awareness around the skills needed by youth to acquire decent jobs and finally raise awareness around youth entrepreneurship.

The MSME Day may have passed but the campaign is still going and the need to advocate for youth employment and youth entrepreneurship continues. But why the particular focus on youth for 2018? This year the MSME Day campaign communicated about the difficulties that youth face in securing steady jobs and the hurdles faced when entering the workforce. This in itself is a large contributor to the rate of youth unemployment, which currently stands at 15.6% in the EU according to Statista.

In addition to the challenges, MSME DAY 2018 highlights the reasons why a focus on youth would be ultimately beneficial for industry including the fact that young entrepreneurs are more active in high-growth sectors and are more likely to hire other young employees and pay higher wages than ‘older’ firms. Youth-led enterprises can also trigger youth-led job creation, with start-ups accounting for up to 50% of new jobs, and finally young people show higher levels of entrepreneurial initiative than adults do.

Visit the MSME Day 2018 website to find out more and support this campaign to support youth in industry.

The European Commission is also interested in supporting youth and particularly in hearing their voices, which is why the SME Week European Youth Essay Competition was created back in 2016. Two years and two winners later, the competition is back for a third edition and with another question:

“What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

Find out more about the competition and how to enter here on the News Portal.

SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #4

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Youth of Europe – Voices of the future

The Youth of Europe have a voice, plenty of ideas and innovative visions of the future, but how can they make their voices heard? The European Commission values the voices of the future and is proud to announce that the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is back, with a fresh question ready to be answered. Keep reading and visit the News Portal for more information on how to enter.

Have a look through this latest edition for all the EEPA updates as well as upcoming entrepreneurial events and remember that we want YOUR stories, so update us for future editions.

Read more >>

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What happens at an EEPA national ceremony? – Let’s look at Germany!

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We have seen the shortlist, and started introducing all the candidates, but what happens before that? What does a national ceremony look like? Today on Promoting Enterprise German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer shares with us what happened at the 2017 German EEPA national ceremony.

The German national awards ceremony 2017 took place on 13 October 2017 in Berlin, as part of the deGUT-fair, one of the most important German entrepreneurship fairs. The ceremony was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and was presented during the fair forum. The two winners “BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” and “Import Promotion Desk” were announced to the visiting public and they received congratulations and a winner’s certificate handed out by the Ministry. Following the award presentation, each winner was invited to present their innovative and inspiring initiatives by giving a short interview on the stage. These two winners had been selected by a national expert jury who evaluated a total of 29 entries in May 2017.

“BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” project, takes a different approach to education and aims to educate secondary school students in the areas of business, natural sciences and ultimately entrepreneurship. The project is divided into different phases and includes business competitions, immersive internships abroad, science clubs and business weeks. Through these activities students are pushed to think like entrepreneurs, work in teams, and work in collaboration with local and national stakeholders. As they advance through school activities become more complex and introduce different skills, allowing the students to develop into competent candidates for the modern labour market.

The “Import Promotion Desk” supports German imports, thus opening the door for SMEs from selected developing and emerging countries to access the European market and develop trade capacities. The aim is to maintain the sustained import of particular products from partner countries, whilst maintaining high quality, social and environmental standards. The IPD brings together European importers, who can optimise procurement and increase product diversity, and exporters as trade partners. Consequently partner country export capacities are strengthened through job creation and income increase. IPD is currently active in the following counties: Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Columbia, Nepal, Peru and Tunisia.

Both projects will be present at the SME Assembly, so if you are interested in finding out more visit their websites and see if you can spot them at the event next month!

 

Where are they now? Business College 20-80 Learning, EEPA 2015 finalist

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What happens to EEPA winners after the ceremony? What do they get up to next? Today Promoting Enterprise is proud to introduce Leny van der Ham, the founder of International Business College 20-80 Learning, a 2015 EEPA finalist. Today she shares with us what her project is about and her exciting updates since being a part of EEPA back in 2015.

20-80 Learning promotes the entrepreneurial spirit of young people, helps them complete their regular education in 80% of the time leaving the other 20% of their time for creative collaboration and personal development. 20-80 Learning focuses on self-development, entre- and intrapreneurship, follow-up study, real life, metacognition and languages. In more than 30 Dutch secondary schools the students complete the standard secondary school course in 4 days a week using 80% of the class time. The remaining 20% is the 20-80 Learning day when students develop metacognition, entrepreneurship and skills for their further education and careers. The 20-80 learning philosophy is now being applied in the fields of business, science, sport and arts, and is receiving widespread positive recognition by the Dutch Ministries of Education, Culture and Science and Economic Affairs.

But what is the goal of 20-80 Learning? Why is it important to reserve 20% of young people’s time for other skills and activities? For founder Lenny van der Ham, the answer is simple and manifold:

To me, every day is so valuable that boredom is unacceptable. An entrepreneur has to be alert to market processes: a teacher is an intrapreneur and must always be aware of his customer and his product, thus there should always be room for innovation in education!”

Through this program she aims to make education not only well-rounded and useful, but to put the fun back into education and provide a space for both students and teachers to experiment and develop. Via this approach the goal is to minimise potential negative effects such as poor performance, negative attitudes to work, negative interaction with teachers, and dropouts from further education.

After such success in the Netherlands, Leny is looking at how to expand her transferable concept on a global scale, and explore the possibilities of setting up accredited campuses across the world.

Interested in the concept? Want to help implement Leny’s global vision and bring this system to teenagers worldwide? Find out more from the website www.20-80learning.nl, and contact nfo@20-80leaening.nl for more information.

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