The deadline for submissions of September 2 is now past. Over the past months we have received an impressive number of high quality submissions from every corner of Europe, in which you have shared your ideas about how the EU can encourage young entrepreneurship. We were very impressed with the standard of work submitted and we would like to thank to all Youth Essay competition participants.
Now the competition jury is faced with the challenging task of selecting the winning entries. Only the top three will be selected, and these winners will be announced by the first week of October. These three candidates will then have to prepare a short presentation of themselves and their submission by the 16th of October. If you are among the winners you will be given further instructions and information after the announcement.
These three winners will be promoted across all SME social media channels during the last two weeks of October, which we recommend you follow so you can keep track of all news, updates and coverage.
Finally, the overall winner will be invited to the SME Assembly in Bratislava in November (23-25), to present his/her essay at the event. Before the event the winner will receive special training in preparation for the event and the presentation. The other two winners will also be featured; their presentations will be broadcast on screens during the event.
We would love to share your news, photos and updates on our social media which can be done by tagging us or submitting content for publication (for example the ‘We@Work’ posts on Instagram, see an example here). We also want to see other people you think should be featured on our accounts so be sure to nominate others! If you have any questions about content sharing and promotion please do not hesitate to get in touch.
MBA students in Amsterdam and Brussels were asked for their views on the disadvantages faced by various groups of entrepreneurs: women entrepreneurs, disabled entrepreneurs, migrant entrepreneurs and others, with some surprising feedback.
On women entrepreneurs
Suzanne from Slovenia is a fashion major. “According to Eurostat, women account for around 60 % of MBA students and it’s even higher in my country, so right now the majority of young people entering business are women. Our real challenge is still the traditional bias against women in business but we have the same access to resources so I don’t see the problem.”
Houng, from Vietnam and planning on a business career in luxury goods, added, “Women are generally better educated than our male contemporaries, we have better interpersonal skills and have a lower feeling of entitlement. Perhaps it is males who are now ‘disadvantaged’.”
Hans from the Netherlands reluctantly agreed. “My experience is that women are generally better placed in terms of raising finance as there are so many lenders who only lend to women. And women are now entering every field, even those traditional male-orientated ones like construction. They’re competing on a level playing field.”
On being a foreigner
Marko from Estonia is planning on starting a business in the Netherlands. “The biggest challenge of all is the language. If you can’t read, write and speak the language then it is really difficult to cope with the official rules and regulations. In my own country this wouldn’t be a problem, but here I have to rely on my partner and her father.”
Arati from India finds the challenge is cultural. “Being a woman is not the issue but being Indian presents problems. With people my age they don’t care that I’m brown and culturally exotic, but when I have to talk to the government agencies I feel very excluded.”
Omar, who was born in Belgium of Moroccan parents, agreed. “There are still a lot of cultural and even racial issues with the older people. I come from Brussels and there is a large Moroccan community to support me but getting to see Belgium customers can be a real challenge, especially after the terrorist attacks.”
Adan, a Syrian who has been granted asylum in Belgium and is working his way through college, had a slightly different story. “I’m a refugee and there is very little support from the state, and the job I’ve got is the type the locals wouldn’t do but it means I have a competitive advantage. I don’t think I’ll be able to start a business here until I can speak French fluently but even then the locals don’t trust us and I get hassled all the time because I’m Syrian.”
On being disabled
Manon from Belgium uses a wheelchair after a car accident five years ago. “Wheelchair access is the biggest barrier to a business career. This is the first business school where I’ve had easy access and that means I can get the sort of education that I need to be successful. All new buildings have such access of course but I still can’t get into some offices. I don’t need special conditions except I do need things to be at my height.”
All the students had a common theme: being an entrepreneur is about doing what you can with what you have rather than expecting special treatment. The challenges and barriers they discussed were all surmountable and most were based on interpersonal behaviour rather than real difficulties. Of course, there are many other people who would disagree with them, and some interesting perspectives can be found at the following links.
Photo credit: ©iStock/julie514
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GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR ESSAY
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Do you have a bright idea about what the EU could do to help more young people become entrepreneurs? Would you like the opportunity to share your thoughts with policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European stage?
European SME Week, under the patronage of the European Commissioner for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, has launched a youth essay contest aimed at 16-25 year olds across Europe.
Write an essay of no more than 2,500 words under the heading: “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?” and you could be in with a chance of getting your voice heard on one of Europe’s most pressing economic questions.
The essay competition is part of European SME Week, an annual pan-European campaign to promote entrepreneurship in Europe. The flagship events of the Week are the SME Assembly and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards Ceremony.
The winner of the essay competition will receive an all expenses paid trip* to the SME Assembly in Bratislava, Slovakia, in November, where they will present their prize-winning entry before an audience of over 600 delegates from the world of enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Submissions are due by 2 September, 2016 and winners will be announced in Brussels in November. The rules and conditions can be found below.
And spread the news! Download the flyer and share details of the competition with your friends and on social media.
- The competition is open to all 16 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
- Essays must not exceed 2,500 words in length.
- All essays must be in English.
- Only one entry per applicant.
- The deadline for submissions is 2 September, 2016.
- The winners will be announced in November ahead of SME Week.
- An all expenses paid trip* to the SME Assembly in Bratislava, Slovakia, to present your essay to 600+ Assembly delegates
- Presentation training before delivering your work live on stage at the SME Assembly.
2nd and 3rd prize:
- A video of you presenting your essay will be streamed on the event wall at the SME Assembly.
All winners will receive promotion of their essays across SME Week social media channels.
Need more info?
* All travel and accommodation costs to and from Bratislava, Slovakia will be covered under the 1st prize.