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:
- 2016: Andri Pandoura, “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?”
- 2017: Oksana Vedmidska, “What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?”
- 2018: Marija Elena Borg, “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”
You can also have a look at the entries from previous finalists:
- 2016: Katie Williams, Francesco Foglia and Frici Barabas
- 2017: Pavle Kostić and Evlampia Karavangeli
- 2018: Ngaio Olsen-Stahl and Joakim Davidsson
To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and SUBMIT!
If you have any questions please contact email@example.com
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Over 90 young journalists will gather in the European Parliament in Brussels from 16th to 18th October to take part in the European Youth Media Days (EYMD) 2017, which is one of the biggest events in Europe dedicated to young journalists and other media makers. Over the course of the three-day workshop, each participant will work to produce a report on the topic of the seminar through their medium of choice: video, photo, radio, print, multimedia or graphic design. This year’s edition will focus on topic “Modernising media – literacy, challenges and opportunities”. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the event, all participants will have an opportunity to win the EYMD Jubilee Award in several categories.
“A continuous platform for emerging journalists enthusiastic about European cooperation and European issues is an investment in the future of democracy and journalism in Europe,” EYMD 2017 Coordinator Martin Maska said.
The European Youth Media Days are a laboratory for first steps towards opening up national public spheres, cross the borders of public opinion and create an European public space. EYMD are a part of an intercultural dialogue in promoting a broad discussion and networking on European issues among young people and in creating innovative intercultural media formats under facilitation by young journalists.
Participants will experience three days of media workshops, political discussions, hands-on media production and invaluable insights into the European Parliament and international media milieu. They will get the chance to interact with high-level European politicians, professional journalists and experts, and engage in intercultural exchange through practical media production.
“The European Youth Media Days will give the freedom to critically and constructively think about, debate and journalistically cover opportunities for today’s media and challenges they face, as well as state of the art of the European media literacy,” Martin Maska said.
Topic of “Modernising media – literacy, challenges and opportunities” encompass sub-themes, such as: citizen journalism (citizens vs professionals), role of journalists in modern societies, changes in financial/editorial models, changes in the profession as such, importance of social responsible journalism.
It is also important to focus on literacy, as media literate public being able to recognise propaganda, fake news and media manipulation together with professional journalists being aware of their social responsibility are important for development of each democratic society.
“It is very important to raise people’s awareness of forces that may influence media, techniques of (mass)media manipulation and agenda setting as well as concrete cases of biased or distorted journalism,” Maska said. In his opinion it is also important to foster critical thinking and ability to decode media messages. But also that all parts of the society are represented in media, because lack of presence of minorities and youth supports polarization and stereotyped reporting.
“Besides this content, the EYMD jubilee celebrations will be an opportunity for reflecting on the developments in media field, based on experiences of the EYP network, especially from past editions of the EYMD, discussing the upcoming EYMD’s and challenges present in the media world,” Martin Maska said.
At the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the EYMD, the European Youth Press and the European Parliament will appreciate excellence in media production and essay writing. Therefore all participants will get the opportunity to submit media of their choice on the opportunities for today’s media and challenges they face, or essay on media literacy and critical thinking.
The EYMD is one of the biggest events in Europe dedicated to young journalists and other media makers. This year it will take place in the European Parliament seat in Brussels.
For more information:
Is youth entrepreneurship really happening? How is the Union aware of what innovations youth are working on, or whether they are being supported adequately? The following report provides insights into youth work and their necessary entrepreneurial learning and development.
The EU and its Member States have been promoting entrepreneurial competences among young people as a pathway to taking an active part in society. This report presents the findings and conclusions of a major study which mapped, described and analysed the contribution of youth work to supporting young people to become active and entrepreneurial citizens of Europe. The report delivers concrete recommendations for policymakers, as well as for the formal education sector and for youth work organisations, on how to increase the impact of young people’s entrepreneurial learning.
Read the full report.
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…
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 Inventory.com, 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 Inventory.com, 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 “Inventory.com” 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.
What does it take to be an entrepreneur? What comes after the Junior Entrepreneur experience? Where can we learn more about the inspirational entrepreneurs of the future? Today Promoting Enterprise has the honour to present the success stories booklet from JADE, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises.
The booklet aims to inspire the next generation of leaders, by showcasing successful alumni from the Junior Enterprise network. In the booklet the alumni share the lessons learned as Junior Entrepreneurs and their impact on today’s businesses. They all had the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and mindset through the Junior Enterprise concept and this helped them to advance their careers as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is not only a set of skills but a spirit that enables you to turn ideas into actions. It is with those skills and this spirit that the JADE junior entrepreneurs can truly have an impact on society and co-create the future.
The following success stories are designed to inspire and provide life lessons, and are a gift to the network from the alumni.
For the last 25 years JADE has been contributing to the development of entrepreneurship among Europe’s youth by spreading a unique concept: the Junior Enterprise, a non-profit organisation, formed and managed exclusively by undergraduate and postgraduate students of higher education. They provide services for companies, institutions and society, under the guidance of teachers and professionals with the goal of consolidating and enhancing the learning of their members. Junior Enterprises are similar to real companies, with components such as corporate governance (e.g. management council and executive board), and self-regulation.
By connecting a network of 300 Junior Enterprises in 14 European countries and supporting the growth of its 22 000 members, JADE is one of the most powerful European youth organisations that fights skills mismatch and creates great potential for a more entrepreneurial society and active citizenship. After 25 years, JADE is actively working to spread the concept of Junior Enterprise to more countries, to give this unique opportunity to more students. Outside Europe, Junior Enterprises are present in around 40 countries, with over 40 000 Junior Entrepreneurs across the world.
Interested in what JADE does? Interested in knowing more about the Junior Enterprise Concept? Dive in, and meet former Junior Entrepreneurs that turned what they learnt during their Junior Enterprise experience into a successful career!
For more information visit the JADE website: www.jadenet.org
Still got questions? Contact JADE to find out more: email@example.com