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It’s that time of year again – Youth Essay Competition (YEC) 2022 is launching soon!

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The launch of the seventh edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is imminent. Work is continuing on the concept for this year’s competition and we will make an announcement soon – so make sure to check the Prompting Enterprise portal regularly for details. In the meantime, read on to learn about the competition and be inspired by previous winners.

Organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, the YEC is an opportunity for 18-25-year-olds to share their ideas and viewpoints with key figures and stakeholders in the spheres of enterprise, entrepreneurship and SMEs. More generally, the goal of the competition is to raise the profile of entrepreneurship as an attractive career choice for young Europeans. European young people have been enthusiastic in their engagement with the competition, so let’s hear from some of them.

Kristina Dimova from Bulgaria won the 2021 edition of YEC with an essay that highlighted that humanity is the key to sustainability, both when developing a business plan for a small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and when it comes to company management. We asked Kristina what it was like to be announced the winner of last year’s competition. Her response? “A moment of pure bliss!”

Kristina Dimova, winner of the 2021 SME Week Youth Essay Competition

Kristina was declared the YEC winner at the 2021 SME Week Assembly, which was held in the beautiful city of Portorož in Slovenia. Her main takeaway from the Assembly was that time is limited and that we should spend our time in a worthwhile way, making the most of life for ourselves, other people, and the world in which we live. “Every single business idea must be sustainable both for the environment and for society’s needs. In a world where people are more divided than ever on so many topics, we need to find the way to the right solutions for each of us. The SME Assembly 2021 showed me that with the right steps, finding the path towards re-establishing unity is possible,” she said.

You can read Kristina’s essay here. In her acceptance speech, Kristina said that she had been inspired to participate by the previous year’s winner – Sabine Kerssens. Sabine impressed the jury with her ideas about the importance of cross-border collaboration and how learning from different cultures made innovation more inclusive. Sabine won the live vote at the SME Assembly after presenting her ideas.

2020 SME Week YEC winner Sabine Kerssens

Sabine was very positive about her SME Assembly experience. “Through the Youth Essay Competition, the finalists shared the stage with some of the most fascinating speakers within and beyond the European Union. It was inspiring and uplifting to learn from the engaging sessions.” She had some words of advice for potential participants: “To all the young change makers out there: participate in events like this to make sure that you give yourself the chance to find your strengths and make your voice heard in different ways. You can do it!” You can read Sabine’s essay here.

In addition to the winners, finalists from previous years have also shared their experience of the competition with us. Victoria Krah was a finalist in 2021 and, in this interview, she talks about what motivated her to enter the competition and about her plans for the future. You can read Victoria’s essay here. Likewise, Pablo Pastor Vidal was a finalist in 2020, having impressed the jury with his ideas on sustainability and resilience. You can read Pablo’s essay here.

In 2022, it could be you receiving the Youth Essay Competition prize! We will be announcing the competition details soon, so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

Discovering Kristina Dimova, the winner of SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021

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Bulgarian Kristina Dimova won the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2021 with an essay that highlighted that humanity is the key to sustainability not only for the business plan of the company, but in the context of management. We invite you discover what was the motivation behind Kristina’s participation in the Competition, but also what was her main takeaway from last year’s SME Assembly.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Ever since I started my higher education, I have been working and looking for ways to develop myself. From editorials, to academies, agencies – for the last four years I had the chance to see how the work process is constantly changing. Not only mine, but one of the biggest problems of other young proactive people I’ve been talking to, is the management system and the fact that, no matter how much it has changed regarding flexibility, home office, etc, it’s still strictly hierarchical and because of that it’s draining the creative force of youth and its talents. This is why, when I saw the theme of the SME Youth Essay Competition, I wanted to show that, no matter how genius and innovative a business idea can be, it is nothing without the people working for its happening.

Moreover, as I said in my gratitude speech, Sabine Kressens – 2020’s winner essay and how intriguing and complex her text was, 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.

What was it like to be announced as a winner of the 2021 competition?

A moment of pure bliss. I have read the essays of the other finalists and until the announcement, I still was not quite sure if anyone will recognize my idea as a crucial one for the survival of the development of future SMEs’. This is mainly because management has always been looked over when people are talking about successful entrepreneurial projects. However, after my name was announced, I reassured myself that everyone who has voted for me has been feeling there is a crucial need for change in that field. Afterwards many representatives of various institutions and companies who were in the audience during the competition congratulated me on this thesis. The fact that they have appreciated the youth perspective is what truly made me happy and is the biggest success.

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2021?

In person contact is irreplaceable. Because of the fact that the SME Assembly 2021 gave me the chance to meet people not only through a zoom square, the feeling of excitement was with me throughout the whole event. I’m still talking not only to friends of mine, but to colleagues about how eye-opening and inspiring the Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise Lecture which Professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj held. Of course, all of the fantastic and bright people I have met at the SME Assembly 2021 are making my memories of it even more unforgettable.

SME_Assembly2021_Kanizaj-1922

What was your main takeaway from the SME Assembly 2021?

Time is limited. Therefore, we must not only make the most of it, but make it worthy for us and the world we live in. Every single business idea must be sustainable both for the environment and for society’s needs. In a world where people are more divided than ever on so many topics, we need to find the way to the right solutions for each of us. The SME Assembly 2021 showed me that with the right steps, the path towards re-establishing unity is possible to be walked.

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

Currently, I am writing my Bachelor’s thesis and, fingers crossed I will be graduating in 2022. Afterward, as they say, hopefully, the future will become clearer and even brighter. 🙂 Besides that, the business academy I am part of – 9Academy is currently running its 9th season. The 9 circles of business we are looking through in the educational process (which is very practical on its own) are making the academy a unique piece of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria. In addition, who knows, maybe one day in Europe as well?).

You can find out more about Kristina from one of our previous materials and you can read Kristina’s essay here.

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

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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