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Table of Contents

DOCUMENTATION
SME Assembly 18-19-20. November
2015
The first day of the programme was highly participatory, where delegates shared stories
and engaged in conversations around topics on SMEs: their opportunities & challenges the
various systems supporting them, roles of actors in the business environment in Europe

Contents
Informal Opening of The SME Assembly 2015 ...........2
Opening addresses ....................................................................3
Five stories shared by five entrepreneurial women
.............................................................................................................4
Open Space Technology..........................................................9
Open Space posters.............................................................. 18
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards ......... 47
Ideas from Europe .................................................................. 51

The second day provided both opportunities for deepening learnings through Master
Classes or Policy Sessions as well as providing ground breaking talks by inspiring
entrepreneurs from all over Europe.
Many of the themes that surfaced during the Assembly were familiar but still valid, e.g. The
Internal Market needs to further align and implement rules, financing can still be a
challenge for SMEs, especially for women entrepreneurs, while easy access to information
and education is needed at all levels of running business.
Other less traditional areas need to be understood and integrated and in some cases
regulated e.g. new models of funding, new models of ownership, new groups and types of
entrepreneurs etc.
The good news is that SMEs in Europe are growing and creating jobs for the first time since
the start of the crisis and therefore constitute an important part of society, more than ever.

On November 19 and 20 over 600 delegates interested in SMEs


in Europe, gathered together to find out how to move forward
together. Delegates were a mix of policy makers, SMEs
(startups, scaleups and standups), NGOs, business associations,
chambers and local, national and regional authorities and from
press and media.

The following is a short account of the two days activities and conversations. This document
has been established with great care. Despite careful preparation and checking it may
contain errors for which we apologise. This publication does not necessarily reflect the view
or the position of the European Commission.

Wednesday 18 November
Informal Opening of The SME Assembly 2015
The SME Assembly 2015 was unofficially opened by the European SME week Reception
held in the lobby of the European Investment Bank in the evening of November 18.
The reception was opened by Mr. Andr Meyer from DG GROW calling for a minute of
silence in memory of the recent events in Paris. After that, the President of the EIB, Mr
Werner Hoyer welcomed us and reminded us of the changing times that Europe is going
through.
Commissioner Biekowska emphasised all that is needed to create the best possible
environment for SMEs, starting with the policy environment conducive to the SME growth
in Europe.
The Minister of the Economy and Trade of Luxembourg, Mr. Etienne Schneider, gave a
warm welcome to entrepreneurs in his country, underlining the importance of SMEs in
particular for a country like the Grand Duchy.
We were made aware of the breadth and diversity of talent in the room. This included the
youngest delegate, Lily 'Scout' Haigh-Neal, a 13-year old serial entrepreneur from Australia.
We were assured that all the knowledge present in the room would be put to good use the
next day since the Assembly will be run in a way to assure meaningful participation from
everybody.
Reception at the EIB, Luxembourg

Finally, the Committee of the Regions, through launching of its European Entrepreneurial
Region Award (EER 2017) emphasised the dynamism that lies in our cities and regions.

Thursday 19 November
Opening addresses

Francine Closener, Minister of State for the Economy


for the Grand Duchy

Francine Closener, Minister of State for the Economy for the Grand Duchy welcomed us to
Luxembourg. In her speech she mentioned that the meeting offers a unique opportunity for all
players in the field to meet and exchange their views on the work that remains to be done to
remove barriers and make the Single Market a reality.
She encouraged entrepreneurs to continue mobilizing and contributing to the growth of the
economy.
She referred to the two priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency, which are:
The wish to highlight and exploit the European added value and in particular the cost of
non-Europe
Advance the mainstreaming of competitiveness across all policy areas. The aim is to
promote a transversal approach that addresses the needs of enterprises, particularly SMEs.
She put particular emphasis on the Digital Single Market strategy and on the importance of small
business and female entrepreneurs.

Commissioner Elbieta Biekowska her intervention with the motto of the Assembly: 'Forward.
Together'. We need to join forces for success.
Small and Medium companies are essential to growth and there are positive signs - more than one
million new jobs were created last year. But what exactly do SMEs need from the EU? There are
already more choices, lower prices, but still there is a need to do more.
Obstacles include the internal market. This is not working for citizens and companies are being held
back. This is a key priority for the new Commission and it has pledged to take action. The EC needs
to work with SMEs and Member States to ensure compliance with and enforcement of EU laws. To
do this, they need to have an increase in the understanding of the rules and a decrease in the
number of regulations. Most importantly we need to learn from each other and work together.

Commissioner Elbieta Biekowska

Finally, our hosts for the day's sessions, Penny Hunt and Ursula Hillbrand, outlined the participatory
nature of the event: that everyone in the room has knowledge and ideas to contribute, and the
invitation is for every single person to come forward, feed the discussion so that afterwards we work
better together for the benefit of the SMEs.

Five stories shared by five entrepreneurial women


After the welcome address, five women led by HRH the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg entered the
stage. They each shared their personal story of entrepreneurship.
In addition to HRH, the storytellers were; Betty Fontain from Brasserie Simon, Henryka Bochniarz
from Leviatan, Marianne Costigan from Merian Ventures and Amy Millman, from Springboard
Enterprises.

Five story-tellers surrounded by Ursula Hillbrand and Penny Hunt

While the stories were shared, the delegates were listening to five different aspects of the stories.
The five perspectives encompassed 1) challenges and opportunities 2) breakthroughs 3) success
factors 4) applicability 5) what questions the story might raise. Such focussed listening helps to see
in more detail and to see further.

Betty Fontaine, Brasserie Simon


Betty shared a story about how she broke away from the traditional roles and expectations put on
her, when she took on the family business. Starting from zero, she had to learn the hard way to run
a business, manage people and find good clients. A Businesswoman of the year award marked a
turning-point, which in essence led to a realisation that, as a small company, her strength lays in
being different, in terms of products, services and quality. She needed to get people to believe in her
business. Her goal was not necessarily to grow bigger but simply to continue with quality. She is now
looking to 2024, which will be the 200th anniversary of the company. And as she does so, she is
concentrating on not necessarily being bigger but certainly better.
Betty Fontaine, Brasserie Simon

We do not need to be bigger, just better at what we do

Henryka Bochniarz, Leviatan


Henryka Bochniarz presented her story as a fairy tale. Born into a time of global disruption following
the Second World War, Henryka saw education as a route to escaping poverty. This led her to a
degree from Warsaw School of Economics, later an Asla Fulbright Scholarship to the USA after which
she returned back to Poland. Poland was, at this time, going through societal and political changes
driven by the Solidarity movement. The opportunities offered at this time led Henryka to first start
her own company, later accepting an offer to become a minister in the new government. She also
established a confederation of private employers and was later invited to join Boeing where she
stayed for 8 years. This new experience inspired her to co-fund the Congress of Women. Later she
produced a book 'Be yourself and win' and now she mentors others on their business journeys.
Henryka gave three recommendations: Life is the biggest investment! Diversify your portfolio, your
friends and hobbies and know yourself!

Henryka Bochniarz, Leviatan

Have a business plan for the long, medium, and short term. But you don't need to
stick to it! There is always something interesting on the other side of the river.
Marianne Costigan, Merian Ventures

Marianne Costigan, Merian Ventures

Marianne Costigan currently works for an investment company, which supports companies where
there is at least one female founder. As in the case of the previous two speakers, her path has been
influenced by external factors, such as the political situation in her home country, Ireland, as well as
her parents values. Initially starting out with McKinsey, gave her a solid preparation for her future
ventures. Later Marianne moved into industry, which brought with it a new set of challenges.
However in her particular field of theatre lighting she saw how software was key to the success of
the company. She later became involved in a start-up software company, which was eventually
taken over by IBM. This brought her to a new crossroads in her career. A colleague encouraged her
to follow her heart and to take on a challenge which best suited her own particular talents, as a
marketing manager. From there she moved on to new challenges, driven by her passion for
supporting new developments and so she found herself in a new role, working for a venture
company. She encouraged the audience to 'give it a go' and risk making mistakes.
Marianne acknowledged that for women there is an issue regarding the funding. Studies have
shown that men are more likely to receive funding even when proposing the same ideas as women.
At the same time other studies show that those companies with at least one woman as a co-founder
have the most success.

Give it a 'go' and risk making mistakes


5

Amy Millman, Springboard Enterprises


Amy started her story by telling the audience that entrepreneurship was not a spectator sport, we
all need to engage. As she said, global phenomenon start from a single idea and we need
entrepreneurs to have the vision to move these ideas to success.
She too was initially influenced by traditional ideas of what her role in life should be. So when she
first started looking for work she wanted something to fit into these expectations. But she grew up
in a time where there was a growing belief that you could change the world. It was a time where
doors were opening - although you needed to give them a kick! She was inspired by other women
and particularly influenced by mentors who taught her to be true to herself. She also saw how
important it was to bring people together, to form networks. These networks should reach out to all
the stakeholders, bringing them together to create a common agenda. So whilst she is not an
'entrepreneur' in her own eyes she has worked tirelessly to create these networks and advance the
cause of entrepreneurs.
Amy Millman, Springboard Enterprises

Entrepreneurship is not a spectator sport


HRH the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg

HRH The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg

The Grand Duchess acknowledged that she was not an entrepreneur in the traditional sense and yet
her role closely involves her in what she termed 'nation branding'. Beyond her main role, she is
passionate about the negative effects of poverty, refusing to believe that this state should be
considered endemic.
It was as a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO that she experienced a pivotal moment. Whilst visiting
Bangladesh she was introduced to a woman who was benefitting from micro-financing in order to
house herself and her son whilst buying chickens and selling eggs in her village. All this was possible
under a scheme run by the Grameen Bank.
Ten years later HRH returned with the head of the bank, Muhammad Yunus, and was delighted to
see the impact of the loan. The woman had been able to make enough money to send her son to
school. And he was now learning to be a pilot. The micro financing project had already impacted the
next generation.
In Senegal she saw at first hand how micro financing had helped women set up small cooperatives.
In order to run these the women had to expand their education, to be able to manage their
business. This led on to their success and this success then encouraged the men in their
communities to wish to emulate this and so they in turn sought to be better educated. Clearly the
impact of micro financing goes beyond the individual and reaches out to the wider society.

After the conversations everyone returned to the main room to share insights.
Some of the themes that emerged from the stories kept showing up in all or most of the five
stories i.e.:
1

The need to cultivate a SME-friendly culture including acceptance of failure, dealing with
stereotyped expectations and pressure from society, community or family

1.

Ensuring the needed skills and competencies both in the entrepreneur as well as in the
business. Start cultivating skills and foster a spirit of entrepreneurship from an early age as
well as later on.

2.

Easy access to finance and information e.g. having a one-stop information point or creating
a climate of easier access to loans and other forms of financing

3.

Regulation needs to be easier or more flexible e.g. a legislation that is less hard on
entrepreneurs re. social payments, or a legislation that is easily understood or decreasing
the administrative burden.

4.

Support for entrepreneurs e.g. mentors, networks, role models or professional boards

5.

Lastly entrepreneurs need to cultivate personal qualities like resilience, courage,


multitasking, authenticity, inspiration, risk acceptance.

Looking at the stories through


five different perspectives
After hearing the stories delegates were invited to share some of
their insights while enjoying the coffee. For the last part of the coffee
break delegates were asked to have conversations in smaller groups
about one of the following questions, depending on which
perspective they had initially listened to:
1.

In your view, what are the significant challenges or


opportunities that SMEs will face in the coming years?

2.

What can we learn from the stories that can translate into
lessons for other entrepreneurs?

3.

What are some factors that enable long term success for SMEs?

4.

What solutions from the stories we heard and / or we know of,


could be successfully applied in other contexts?

5.

What important unanswered question do we now have, on how


to help SMEs grow?

Other themes that emerged from the stories from the women entrepreneurs perspective
An MIT research showing that investors who hear the same pitch from women and men
entrepreneurs are twice as likely to invest in the men as in the women.
Women seemed to readily admit that they did do not know everything but were willing to learn.
Women seemed to value being authentic, and accepting strengths and weaknesses.
In some cultures (e.g. India, Bangladesh, Africa), where Grameen Bank extends micro-loans, women
are seen as very trustworthy and the ones that can get a family out of poverty.

*) See Appendix 1, at the end of this document, for a full documentation of all notes from the
conversations after the stories

Reflections from the panel of women


Following the interventions of the delegates, the panellists were given an opportunity to reflect
once more on their key messages.
Betty Fontaine pleaded for the right to fail, to make mistakes. It isn't possible to succeed every time.
But you need political incentives to encourage this, otherwise people are not willing to take risks.
You need to acknowledge their efforts.
Henryka Bochniarz reflected on the barriers caused by the usual suspects, regulatory framework.
She would like to see something done, really done, not just discussed. Businesses need to be
encouraged rather than spending their time fighting bureaucracy.
Conversations after the stories

Marianne Costigan reiterated the need to embrace failure although she felt that this should be
experienced at an early age. Give young people the possibility to experience entrepreneurship and
to fail early on so that they can grow.
Amy Millman talked about the two conflicting themes of aspiration and expectation. She looks to a
future, which encourages and inspires. But there is a need for a framework to respect this struggle.
There should be eco-systems to support this. By looking at society and rethinking how we may lead
to change.
HRH the Grand Duchess also touched on the themes of failure, solidarity and coaching.
She proposed looking more closely at micro enterprises and at what lessons could be learnt.
She made particular note of how the model in Bangladesh brings groups of 5 women together.
In this way, if one fails the others pitch in to help her.
She concluded by talking about the importance of coaching and micro financing and made a plea for
this to be rolled out further.

The story tellers reflect back on what they heard from the audience

Open Space Forward. Together


30 ideas and initiatives to help SMEs grow in Europe and beyond
After lunch the delegates were invited to come forward with whatever questions or ideas they
wanted to explore regarding how to move SMEs and SME policy forward.
The method used was Open Space Technology and the question for the afternoon was:

What can we do together to help SMEs grow in Europe and beyond?


There were thirty open slots for topics, 15 slots in each round, and all slots were filled in no time.
Looking at the topics they could be clustered in 9 major themes:
Invitation to Open Space

SME policy framework


Can we have a new SME Action Plan?
Developing a platform/framework to ease access for entrepreneurs to EU measures.
How to organise meetings between European Commission staff and entrepreneurs?
How to move 'Pros and Freelancers' issues higher up in the European agenda?
SME dimension of the Internal Market
How to get help with legal problems in other member states?
How to raise competitiveness of European SMEs?
Ideal One-Stop information shop: what do we need?
Regional dimension
How to work together in EU regions for better SME support?
How can regional governance best support SMEs?
Coaching SMEs and start-ups.

Posting sessions in the matrix

Entrepreneurship
Refugee entrepreneurship.
Female entrepreneurs how can we best support them to grow their businesses?
Social entrepreneurship - Legal framework for SMEs for social impact.
How to integrate the EU in the rapidly growing bottom-up national start-up ecosystems?
Culture - Start-up Parliament; Bring politics and start-ups together.

Help SMEs to grow


How can we help SMEs grow by external acquisition?
How to promote SME champions?
Access to finance; Apply for SME Instruments Programme EU-2020.
New methods of business collaboration - a way for growth of SMEs?
How can we GROW and USE entrepreneurial communities?
European Economic Diplomacy.
Skills

Open Space sessions in progress

How can businesses help schools make learning more relevant to real life?
Skills for SMEs.
How to overcome the skills barriers for SMEs in recruitment and training needs?

Help SMEs in difficulties


How can we help SMEs passing from difficult times is a business clinic an option?
How to avoid failure and how to provide a second chance?
Innovation and technology
How do we make ordinary SMEs make use of digitisation?
Innovative technology; Encourage scalable technology. Request EU proposals for new tech.
development for SME support
Reduce administrative burden
How to minimize unnecessary bureaucracy for SMEs?
After the two rounds of workshops, each project owner gave a short pitch introducing the main
insights from the sessions. All posters were exhibited around the room so that all delegates could
network, talk to the owners of the sessions they missed and interlink knowledge.

Results from the sessions were captured on posters

The following is a quick overview of the Open Space sessions including the main insights,
followed by a documentation of each poster

10

Open Space sessions Min-map overview


Can we have a new SME
Action Plan?
How can businesses help
schools make learning more
relevant to real life?
Skills for SMEs

SME policy framework


Skills

How to get help with legal


problems in other member states?

Refugee entrepreneurship

SME dimension of the


Internal Market

Female entrepreneurs - how


can we best support them to
grow their businesses?
Social entrepreneurship

Europe works for


SMEs Open Space
session

Reduce administrative burden

How to promote SME champions?

How do we make ordinary SMEs


make use of digitisation?
Request EU proposals for
new tech development for
SME support

How to minimise unnecessary


bureaucracy for SMEs

How can we help SMEs grow


by external acquisition?

Culture - Start-up Parliament

Encourage scalable technology

How to raise competitiveness


of European SMEs
Ideal One-Stop information
shop: what do we need?

Entrepreneurship

How to integrate the EU in the


rapidly growing bottom-up
national startup ecosystems
Bring politics and startups together

How to organise meetings between European


Commission staff and entrepreneurs?
How to move IPros and Freelancers' issues
higher up in the European agenda

How to overcome the skills


barriers for SMEs in recruitment and training needs

Legal framework for SME for


social impact

Developing a platform/framework to ease access


for entrepreneurs to EU measures

Innovation and technology

Access to finance

Help SMEs to grow

Innovative technology

Apply for SME Instruments


Programme EU-2020

New methods of business collaboration


- a way for growth of SMEs?
How can we GROW and USE
entrepreneurial communities?

How to work together in EU regions


for better SME support?
How can regional governance
best support SMEs
Coaching SMEs and startups

European Economic Diplomacy

Regional dimension
Help SMEs in difficulties

How can we help SMEs


passing from difficult times - is
a business clinic an option?
How to avoid failure and how
to provide a second chance

11

Open Space sessions Quick overview


What can we do together to help SMEs grow in Europe and beyond?

Theme: SME policy framework


No. of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no. of Taps

4A

How to develop a platform or a


framework to ease an access for
entrepreneurs to European
instruments?

Lack of communication
Too many intermediates
Entrepreneurs dont know how to access

Paul Martin Calvo, Martina


Guerlenda, Ferdinand Bierbrauer

Independent Professionals How to


push their needs higher up in the
European agenda?

Ipros and Freelancers in Europe are a growing part of the economy.


Ignoring them is counter productive

5B

Can we have a new SME Action Plan in


light of the most recent economic
developments, such as shared
economy?

SME policy not mentioned in 2016 EC Work Programme


New developments after crisis new business environment
Focus on traditional SMEs
5BA not yet fully implemented
No piece-meal approach

21 mio. SMEs in Europe


60% of European Labour
58% of GDP
Peter Faross
6 taps

6B

How can we encourage meetings


between European Commission
employees and real entrepreneurs?

ERRIN
How to communicate better
EEN to communicate

Michel Duchateau
Twitter: @miduchateau

10A

4 taps
Francesca Pesce EFIP-Italy
2 taps

9 taps

12

Theme: SME dimension of the Internal Market


No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

12A

The ideal one-stop information shop for


SMEs - what do we need?

Missing: feedback mechanism for companies. - Rules on products


difficult to find. - Difficult to find information (even if existing)
construction in BE e.g. MADB on YE not known, - Look also beyond
the EU. - Issue: investment needed for e-procedures
Language is an issue, machine translation part of the solution?
Offer EN (DE in some regions) - Rules on double taxation are
complex
No legal help by EU. - No clear rules and conditions. - No respect of
contracts. - Difficult to start and close a business

Ute.wein@ec.europa.eu
Hans-Dietrich.druener@ec.europa.eu
Send us your ideas!

14A

How to get legal help in other Member


States?

15B

How to raise competitiveness of


European SMEs so that they can face
TTIPs and other FTAs?

High EL. Prices for EU-SMEs


Unfair competition

15 taps

Alexander von Campenhausen


6 taps
G. Stoev
22 taps

Theme: Regional dimension


No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

7A

How can regional governance best


support SMEs?

Andrew McCormick Northern Ireland


+ partners

8A

Coaching of SMEs and start ups

Core SME needed (growth). Empowerment SMEs (one stop


shop). Cooperation (partnerships between local / regions /
government). - Light touch policy. Ownership
Regional policy needs to look outwards to gain their good practice
Many former Managers are retired but would love to share
their knowledge. CoachingMentoring. We you refuse to help
someone who asks for help? +Currently active business members
Common interests Grow business
Competition between different organisations
Scary paperwork for EU projects

Istvan Nemeth

3B

How to work together in EU regions for


better SME support?

17 taps
Marcel Lejeune
10 taps

12 taps

13

Theme: Information and technology


No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

1A

How do we make more SMEs benefit


from digitisation?

There are critical policy issues to address


Digitalisation is here to stay
Costly for many SMEs
Opportunities not yet explored
Infrastructure crucial (broadband)

Gunilla Nordlf, SME Envoy for


Sweden

Innovation slow, lack of time, Status Quo, What do we want

Peter Harrington

10B

How can online technology be


developed and used to improve start-up
training that ensures more people
survive and thrive in business?

23 taps

5 taps

Theme: Skills
No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

9A

How do we overcome the skills barriers


for SMEs in recruitment and training
needs?
Skills for SMEs the challenges

Get a well matched mentor. Discovery of own skills and


complimentary skills. Face to face mentoring, peer to peer
valuable but limited. How to create a team
Changing framework (digitalisation, clients)
Fast track entrepreneurship
Mentorship, consultants
Needs to start at the earliest stage in schools. Cross-curricular
implementation. Needs space within the curriculum. Teachers
dont have time/awareness. Creating a win-win for business
Need to explore technology and how it can support
Need to build aspiration among young people
About entrepreneurial skills not start up skills

Ian Clifford

12B

14B

How can business/SMEs help schools to


make learning more relevant to real
life?

10 taps
Matthias Tschirf
17 taps
Elin McAllun
14 taps

14

Theme: Entrepreneurship
No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

3A

Female entrepreneurs - how best to


support them to grow their businesses?

Growth is relative and means different things to different people


solo entre.; necessity entre. (struggling); ambitions entre.
Entrepreneurs learn well from each other peer support groups`
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience
Female entrepreneurs often underplay their own potential
Often do not ask for sufficient capital (link confidence, aspiration,
finance structure)
st
1 employee is often the hardest
Culture which suggests that running a business that is growing is
harder than one that is not (work/life balance misapprehension)
Opportunity instead of threat. Branding. - Diversity of refugees. Legal aspect. - Information gap. Gender. - Legal market. - Young
refugees
Particularity: Marginalisation, minorisation, voluntary activities
Why are the start-ups not connecting?

Paula Fitzsimons - Going for Growth


All who attended contributed to ideas

11A

How can we improve the economic


integration of refugees through
entrepreneurship?

1B

How do we involve the EU in the


bottom-up rapidly growing national
start-up ecosystem around Europe and
create more value?

2B

Changing culture through Parliament


start-up weekends

3 taps

Adam Kumcu
Growing population of refugees
18 taps
Kim Balle, Global Start-up Awards
Participants: Cool people
11 taps

Bring politics and start-ups together


Direct understanding of what happens in entrepreneurial world

Anders Hoffmann Denmark


9 taps

4B

How can we provide a more flexible


legal framework for SMEs that want to
have a social impact?

Non profit company social enterprise


Law not flexible enough

Stefania Druga
6 taps

15

Theme: Helping SMEs to grow


No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

5A

How to promote SME champions?

Natasca Lai (EASME)

13A

How can we build communities for


entrepreneurs and use them to create
more and better SMEs?

What is a champion? (competition, innovation, growth)


Need to promote to ensure more visibility
To attract investors and new markets
No silver bullet: many complementary actions needed
Best initiatives come from entrepreneurs themselves
Entrepreneurs need easy, cheap access to fast knowledge help
them get it
No silver bullet: many complementary actions needed
Best initiatives come from entrepreneurs themselves
Entrepreneurs need easy, cheap access to fast knowledge help
them get it
Find the way to collaborate with the companies. - Finance
Protection of national interest cross border attitude
Too much attention to START-UPS. Need of balance
Inflated valuation from selling side. - Information about business
Cross-border investment
Foreign Business need visa process that is easier
IP protection
Avoid rat races among EU Member States

13A

7B

How can we build communities for


entrepreneurs and use them to create
more and better SMEs?
How can we help SMEs grow by external
acquisition?

8B

How to shape European Economic


Diplomacy: services for SMEs
internationalisation

11B

Are new methods of business


collaboration a way of growth for
SMEs?

13B

How can we get easy access to money


for SMEs? Formulate recommendations
for SME Instrument in Horizon 2020
based on SMEs experience

Digital economy facilitated collaboration. - Collaborative economy


IP-Question Who owns?. - It is about give and take. - A way of
building partners. - Allow specialisation. - Small=need to cooperate
Open innovation. It is down up initiative
SMEs can apply for SME Instruments Programme EU2020
Phase 1 Phase 2 (make a step between Phase 1 and 2)
Phase 3. Difficult to find private investors in Europe because of
regulation risks

6 taps
Leo Exter
12 taps
Leo Exter
12 taps
Julia Michaelis
TRANSEO.eu, EU4BT.eu
REEMPRESA.org
13 taps
Philippe Adrianssens, Valerio
Mazzone & 10+ Happy participants
17 taps
Jan Svensson, Microfund Vaf, Sweden
7 taps
Mieke and Harald R. Preyer
UK small enterprise investment
scheme
20 taps

16

Theme: Help SMEs in difficulties


No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

6A

How can we help SMEs to pass through


difficult times (Business Clinic)?

Already exists something similar in Egypt


Can be a joint venture with private sector
Preventing failure

Anton Vella
Business themselves
Malta Employer`s Associations
Business Organisations

15A

How can we create and early warning


system and boost rebounds in your
countries? How to prevent SMEs from
failing and provide them a second
chance?

Cultural barriers, risk, perception of failure, recruitment of


volunteers, cooperation public/private
Rewarding failure
Power of finance
Failure and Growth for success

9 taps
Soeren Boutrup Early warning
Valerie Delande - 60 000 Rebounds
27 people from 20 different
communities
22 taps

Theme: Reduce administrative burden


No of
session

Title of session

Main insight

Owner and no of Taps

2A

How to minimise bureaucracy for SMEs?

Only once to fulfil


Why so many infos?
Way of collection

Ilze Lore
Vladimir Svoboda
Anete Lusara + Lat
Kaypo Sempelsow
Martin Vician
Olga Nemethova
Emmet Browne
18 taps

The following is a documentation of each poster


17

Open Space The harvesting sheets


Session 1A - Theme: Information and technology
Discussion topic:

How do we make more SMEs benefit from digitisation?


Main insights:
There are critical policy issues to address
Digitalisation is here to stay
Costly for many SMEs
Opportunities not yet explored
Infrastructure crucial (broadband)
Next steps:
Summarise discussion. Dig deeper into policy issues. Disseminate best practice.
Concrete action:
How to finance digital transformation? Investments.
Transform rules. Raise SMEs awareness of digital opportunities and requirements.
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Make use of European funds. Explore voucher schemes already in place. Express recommendations
linked to the single market strategy. Adapt rules and regulations
Idea owner: Gunilla Nordlf, SME envoy for Sweden
Participants: 23 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129977988083717

18

Session 2A - Theme Reduce administrative burden


Discussion topic:

How to minimise unnecessary bureaucracy for SMEs?


Main insights:
Only once to fulfil. Why so many infos? Way of collecting. Some services as must.
Next steps:
Assessment of data (necessary/unnecessary)? Put (make) data electronic.
Stop/minimise mandatory bureaucracy
Concrete action:
Right to protect against bureaucracy, duplication. One collection point. One collection date.
Set mandatory only where is needed
Recommendations for policy makers:
Change the laws in favour of SMEs. Analyse competitive systems, - Silicon Valley, - Singapore.
Idea owner(s): Ilze Lore
Vladimir Svoboda, Anete Lusara + Lat, Kaypo Sempelsow, Martin Vician, Olga Nemethova, Emmet
Browne
Participants: 18 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129978042597380

19

Session 3A - Theme Entrepreneurship


Discussion topic: Female entrepreneurs - how best to support them to grow their

businesses?
Main insights:
Growth is relative and means different things to different people solo entre.; necessity entre.
(struggling); ambitions entre.
Entrepreneurs learn well from each other peer support groups`
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience.
Female entrepreneurs often underplay their own potential.
st
Often do not ask for sufficient capital (link confidence, aspiration, finance structure). - 1 employee
is often the hardest
Culture which suggests that running a business that is growing is harder than one that is not
(work/life balance misapprehension)
Concrete action:
Tap into willingness of entrepreneurs and corporate executives to support women to grow their
business. Role-models not only for inspiring and motivating. Associate women entrepreneurs with
growth, in media, communications policy etc. Ensure support available and appropriate to different
types of entrepreneurs, .?, ..? and ambitions one size does not fit all!
Recommendations for policy makers
Examine supports to encourage taking on employee (incentives and disincentives). Support
initiatives from private or N/GO sector, which assist women to grow sustainable business. Focus on
quality of entrepreneurs not just business measures(?) (quantity)
Recommendations for others
Tackle unconscious gender bias in banks & other funding / support organisations. - Ensure greater
gender balance in training and educational materials.
Idea owner(s): Paula Fitzsimons - Going for Growth All who attended contributed to ideas
Participants: 3 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129972854247425

20

Session 4A - Theme SME policy framework


Discussion topic:

How to develop a platform or a framework to ease an access for entrepreneurs to


European instruments (measures)?
Main insights:
Lack of communication.
Too many intermediates.
Entrepreneurs dont know how to access
Next steps:
To talk to real /small entrepreneurs.
To study efficiency of initiatives.
Concrete action:
Improve EEN communication.
We need specialists. Website? One!!
Recommendations for policy makers:
More efforts by EC on coordination of measures and practical assistance.
Idea owner(s): Paul Martin Calvo, Martina Guerlenda, Ferdinand Bierbrauer
Participants: 4 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129617324077058

21

Session 5A Theme Helping SMEs to grow


Discussion topic:

How to promote SME champions?


Main insights:
What is a champion? (competition, innovation, growth)
Need to promote to ensure more visibility
To attract investors and new markets
Next steps:
To ensure to select the best companies from the beginning.
Monitor progress of the companies (growth, innovation) and to ensure visibility to them.
To define a good MARKETING PLAN .
To promote success stories.
Concrete action:
Facilitate partnership.
Facilitate access to loans.
Inviting them to important events to present their ideas and their business.
More communication on success stories.(social media, videos) - Certification (label) to increase
visibility and credibility.
Recommendations for policy makers:
Ensure that the best SMEs defined as champions, will get the right support in terms of visibility, in
order to make their success sustainable through easier access to financers, investors and multiple
market opportunities.

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129602681757701

22

Session 6A Theme Help SMEs in difficulties


Discussion topic:

How can we help SMEs to pass through difficult times (e.g. Business Clinic)?
Main insights:
Already exists something similar in Egypt. Can be a joint venture with private sector
Preventing failure
Next steps:
We have to make a clear distinction between micro entrepreneurs and SMEs. We need to build a
business case
Concrete action:
Policies need to be more SME friendly. Provide this concept throughout Europe, mandatory.
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Need of assessment disclose process amongst SMEs free of charge. More flexibility in regulations
(?) eligibility.
Idea owner(s): Anton Vella, Business themselves, Malta Employer`s Associations, Business
Organisations
Participants: 9 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129323253035011

23

Session 7A Theme: Regional dimension


Discussion topic:

How can regional governance best support SMEs?


Main insights:
Core SME needed (growth)
Empowerment SMEs (one stop shop)
Cooperation (partnerships between local/regions/government)
Light touch policy
Ownership
Regional policy needs to look outwards to gain their good practice
Next steps:
To engage partner administrations to agree to work together to solve SME problem.
Concrete action:
Proposal seek INTERREG Europe support for a project to test all that public agencies do. Test: does
this enable and support SMEs?
Recommendations for policy makers:
1.sht(?) policy fund(?). Procurement design, SME friendly policy.
Recommendations for others:
Policy makers need to listen to SMEs. Small Business Act (needs to translate at local level)
Idea owner(s):
Andrew McCormick Northern Ireland + partners
Participants: Regional & municipal administrations, SMEs, Chambers. - 17 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129570377228288

24

Session 8A Theme: Regional dimension


Discussion topic:

Coaching of SMEs and start ups


Main insights:
Many former Managers are retired but would love to share their knowledge
CoachingMentoring
We you refuse to help someone who asks for help?
+Currently active business members
Next steps:
How to find the coaches? Look locally and expand later in your region. Create a Business Club
. Local Richard.
Concrete action:
Recommendations for policy makers:
Get free access to official data-bases and support of EU agencies
Idea owner: Marcel Lejeune
Participants: 10 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129340575510532

25

Session 9A Theme Skills


Discussion topic:

How do we overcome the skills barriers for SMEs in recruitment and training
needs?
Main insights:
Get a well-matched mentor
Discovery of own skills and complimentary skills
Face to face mentoring, peer-to-peer valuable but limited
How to create a team
Concrete action:
Resource required EYE increased
Idea owner: Ian Clifford
Participants: 10 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129310628167684

26

Session 10A Theme: SME policy framework


Discussion topic:

Independent Professionals
How to push their needs higher up in the European agenda?
Main insights:
Independent professionals and Freelancers in Europe are a growing part of the economy. Ignoring
them is counter productive
Next steps:
Invite them and make them feel included. Explicitly.
Concrete action:
Statistics!!! Research. Impact assessment. Definition.
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Listen learn think different
Idea owner:
Francesca Pesce EFIP-Italy
Participants: 2 taps (2-3)

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129303661432833

27

Session 11A Theme: Entrepreneurship


Discussion topic:

How can we improve the economic integration of refugees through


entrepreneurship?
Main insights:
Opportunity instead of threat. - Branding. - Diversity of refugees.
Legal aspect. - Information gap. Gender. - Legal market. - Young refugees
Particularity: Marginalisation, minorisation, voluntary activities
Next steps:
One shop. - Partnership / Tandems(?).
Reduce regulation in certain sectors.
Provisional status.
Crowd funding ( via social entre..)
To remove the prey economy.
Mentoring/consultancy for women (&) entrepreneurs.
Transfer knowledge of development experience, competences (craft)
Concrete action:
Vocational education. Internship (how?) for entrepreneurship. ERASMUS for refugee entrepreneurs.
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
(Campaign for branding social acceptance). - Reduce regulation (some sectors, licences, ..). Developing qualification and business assessment. Provisional status. Crowd funding.
Mentoring programmes. ERASMUS as an example. Give refugees a voice.
Idea owners: Adam Kumcu + Growing population of refugees
Participants: 18 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073129206684925954

28

Session 12A Theme: SME dimension of the Internal Market


Discussion topic:

The ideal one-stop information shop for SMEs - what do we need?


Main insights:
Missing: feedback mechanism for companies
Rules on products difficult to find
Difficult to find information (even if existing) construction in BE e.g. MADB on YE not known
Look also beyond the EU
Issue: investment needed for e-procedures
Language is an issue, machine translation part of the solution? Offer EN (DE in some regions)
Rules on double taxation are complex
Next steps:
Extend points of simple contact?
Link to Business Federations.
Develop and cascade guiding system & citizen/business -> sector ( international level)
Publish beta-version (can be skeleton, consult on it)
Talk to software producers (MS, Apple, Google)
Go into detail
Concrete action:
Meet with entrepreneurs in person.
Recommendations for policy makers:
Reduce multitude of Commission portals (including on EU funding)=> Develop one central business
portal.
Model: French Business portal (APCE.com & PT)
Idea owners: Ute.wein@ec.europa.eu & Hans-Dietrich.druener@ec.europa.eu
Send us your ideas!
Participants: 15 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073128998701981697

29

Session 13A Theme: Helping SMEs to grow


Discussion topic:

How can we build communities for entrepreneurs and use them to create more
and better SMEs?
Main insights:
No silver bullet: many complementary actions needed
Best initiatives come from entrepreneurs themselves
Entrepreneurs need easy, cheap access to fast knowledge help them get it
Next steps:
Collect and share good examples of volunteer driven entrepreneurial community activities. Connect
volunteers to each other.
Concrete action:
Ensure budget (500 - 5000) for supporting entrepreneur driven initiatives, meet-ups, workshops,
etc. Make it SUPER easy to apply for and get funding for volunteers things like start-up (?),
topical meet-ups (e.g. growth meeting), etc.
Recommendations for policy makers (& others):
Make it easier for entrepreneurs to build community events, meet, learn, make small budgets easily
available for volunteers.
Idea owner: Leo Exter
Participants: 12 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073128635005489154

30

Session 14A Theme: SME dimension in the Internal Market


Discussion topic:

How to get legal help in other Member States?


Main insights:
No legal help by EU
No clear rules and conditions
No respect of contracts
Difficult to start and close a business
Concrete action:
Grassroots events
Better info-portals
Cooperation with EEN
Recommendations for policy makers:
EU start-up policy.
Auto-entrepreneur system in EU (like in France)
Idea owner: Alexander von Campenhausen
Participants: 6 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073128482886479875

31

Session 15A Theme: Help SMEs in difficulties


Discussion topic:

How can we create and early warning system and boost rebounds in your
countries? How to prevent SMEs from failing and provide them a second chance?
Main insights:
Cultural barriers, risk, perception of failure, recruitment of volunteers, cooperation public/private
Rewarding failure
Power of finance
Failure and Growth for success
Next steps:
Join forces at European level (cooperating, not fighting). Complete our models for success. Package
to replicate (franchise). $ Funding!
Concrete action:
Build pan. European solution built on best practice.
Fund a European knowledge centre.
Build a European volunteer core of experts & a conference for the same.
Recommendations for (policy makers) & others:
Build a business case for policy makers (savings, employment, value).
Integrate HEALTH into policy.
Idea owners: Soeren Boutrup Early warning, Valerie Delande - 60 000 Rebounds
Participants: 27 people from 20 different communities - 22 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073128233560264708

32

Session 1B Theme: Entrepreneurship


Discussion topic:

How do we involve the EU in the bottom-up rapidly growing national start-up


ecosystem around Europe and create more value?
Main insights:
Why are the start-ups not connecting?
Next steps:
Map who to involve in the conversation
Concrete action:
European Business Angel network
European start-up community network
Recommendations for policy makers:
Say yes when invited.
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Go lobby
Idea owner: Kim Balle, Global Start-up Awards.
Participants: Cool people - 11 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131945267654657

33

Session 2B Theme: Entrepreneurship


Discussion topic:

Changing culture through Parliament start-up weekends


Main insights:
Bring politics and start-ups together
Direct understanding of what happens in entrepreneurial world
Next steps:
Start-up organisations at national level to start the process
SME envois to link with politics at national level
Start with pilot of 4-5 countries
Concrete action:
Danish team to offer expertise and talk to national start-up organisations
Present initiative to SME Envoy meeting
Work with NL Presidency
Raise issue at next events / conferences
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
A start-up weekend in the European Parliament
Estonia and UK might be interested
Idea owner: Anders Hoffmann Denmark
Participants: 9 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131819715346433

34

Session 3B Theme Regional dimension


Discussion topic:

How to work together in EU regions for better SME support?


Main insights:
Common interests Grow business
Competition between different organisations
Scary paperwork for EU projects
Next steps:
Listen to NGOs
Get support on EU application
Cut corruption
SMEs to go international
Concrete action:
Better coordination, who does what?
Regional mapping
Have similar events on regional level + to discuss
Recommendations for policy makers:
Getting together
Getting the right player access to EU decision makers
Recommendations for others:
SME week event with several countries
Idea owner: Istvan Nemeth
Participants: 12 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131581529214978

35

Session 4B Theme Entrepreneurship


Discussion topic:

How can we provide a more flexible legal framework for SMEs that want to have
a social impact?
Main insights:
Non-profit company social enterprise
Law not flexible enough
Next steps:
Remove enterprise tax for social enterprise.
Make a clear distinction between the different legal entities (coop, social business, Ngo etc.)
EU clear definition + guidelines
Concrete action:
Establish an evaluation process to see how the profit is reinvested
-> .?
Recommendations for policy makers
Promotion from EU: Social enterprise is a normal enterprise.
Help gain visibility and respect in business
Idea owner: Stefania Druga
Participants: 6 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131277530251268

36

Session 5B Theme: SME policy framework


Discussion topic:

Can we have a new SME Action Plan in light of the most recent economic
developments, such as shared economy?
Main insights:
SME policy not mentioned in 2016 EC Work Programme
New developments after crisis new business environment
Focus on traditional SMEs. - 5BA not yet fully implemented
No piece-meal approach
Next steps:
EC & MS to better cooperate with SME organisations
Better service for SMEs from national SME organisations / capacity building
EEN to better cooperate with SME organisations
Concrete action:
Widespread vocational training.- Inclusive entrepreneurship
Access to finance (crowd funding & no red tape for SME banks)
Better digital package for SMEs. - Cut down red tape
Modernise labour market
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Think & act small first.. - Entrepreneurship alliance for new action plan
EC to follow SME envoys recommendations - SME entrepreneur Action Day
Friendly and multilingual consultation. - Distribution of best practice
Idea owner(s): Peter Faross + 21 mio. SMEs in Europe, 60% of European Labour, 58% of GDP
Participants: 6 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131619139543040

37

Session 6B Theme: SME policy framework


Discussion topic:

How can we encourage meetings between European Commission employees and


real entrepreneurs?
Main insights:
ERRIN
How to communicate better
EEN to communicate
Concrete action:
Meet after 5 pm via internet
Make link with:
Start-up agenda
& EEN
& ERRIN
Com. Via problems instead of offers
Idea owner: Michel Duchateau
Twitter: @miduchateau
Participants: 9 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131277630922756

38

Session 7B Theme Helping SMEs to grow


Discussion topic:

How can we help SMEs grow by external acquisition?


Main insights:
Find the way to collaborate with the companies
Finance. - Protection of national interest cross border attitude
Too much attention to START-UPS. Need of balance
Inflated valuation from selling side. - Information about business
Cross-border investment
Next steps:
State of the art
Develop a concrete methodology
Concrete action:
Add business acquisition in school topics/program
Raising awareness amongst entrepreneurs
TRANSECO W. G.
Cross border tool
Experience sharing -> reality
Recommendations for policy makers (& others):
Create financial support to buy outs
Law guarantee loans
Financial support to modernise bought business
Stability of regulatory framework
Incentives for cross border acq.
Idea owners: Julia Michaelis, TRANSEO.eu, EU4BT.eu, REEMPRESA.org
Participants: 13 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073130870326247428

39

Session 8B Theme Helping SMEs to grow


Discussion topic:

Concrete action and policy framework


How to shape European Economic Diplomacy: services for SMEs
internationalisation
Main insights:
Foreign Business need visa process that us easier
IP protection
Avoid rat races among EU Member States
Next steps:
Get more info to SMEs or collect it better
Work via EEN and Chambers
Harmonise approaches in EU
Concrete action:
M4G with SMEs
rd
Presentations in the EU with experts from 3 markets
Use EU delegations more
Recommendations for policy makers (& others):
Commercial Visa for professionals, foreign businesses to come to EU
European export guarantee scheme
Stable business regulatory environment in EU countries
Idea owners: Philippe Adrianssens, Valerio Mazzone & 10+ Happy participants
Participants: 17 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073738355932160000

40

Session 9B (poster is missing)


Discussion topic:

Financing talent: how to engage unemployed young talent to achieve their


dreams?
Idea owners: Albert Colomer and Espinet
Participants: 1 tab

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131235494940672

Session 10B Theme Innovation and Technology


Discussion topic: Innovative technology;

How can online technology be developed and used to improve start-up training
that ensures more people survive and thrive in business?
Main insights:
Innovation slow, lack of time, Status Quo, What do we want
Next steps:
Foster new tech ideas, try them and accept failure
Concrete action:
Request EU proposals for new tech. development for start-up and SME support
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Encourage scalable technology the learning will be invaluable
Idea owner: Peter Harrington
Participants: 5 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073131159989075968

41

Session 11B Theme Helping SMEs to grow


Discussion topic:

Are new methods of business collaboration a way of growth for SMEs?


Main insights:
Digital economy facilitated collaboration. - Collaborative economy
IP-Question Who owns? - It is about give and take
A way of building partners. - Allow specialisation
Small=need to cooperate
Open innovation. - It is down up initiative
Next steps:
Competitive cluster
Collaboration between clusters
Inclusion of Academy to SME
Best practice
Think strategic in a global way
Concrete action:
Let the market work for itself
Provide evidence of result of collaboration
Look at financial side of collaboration
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Research in the field
Sharing information
Regulation or not of collaborative economy (also between countries)
Idea owner: Jan Svensson, Microfund Vaf, Sweden
Participants: 7 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6074153452760551426

42

Session 12B Theme Skills


Discussion topic:

Skills for SMEs the challenges


Main insights:
Changing framework (digitalisation, clients)
Fast track entrepreneurship
Mentorship, consultants
Next steps:
Improving skills: economic, digital and soft skills
Concrete action:
Focus: children (primary school)
IPs the economy
Changing mind-set / risk culture
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Qualification has to play on all levels a great role (Commission, national, regional authorities
Idea owner: Matthias Tschirf, SME Envoy for Austria
Participants: 17 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073130925116440578

43

Session 13B Theme: Helping SMEs to grow


Discussion topic:

Access to finance; How can we get easy access to money for SMEs? Formulate
recommendations for SME Instrument in Horizon 2020 based on SMEs experience
Main insights:
SMEs can apply for SME Instruments Programme EU2020
Phase 1
Phase 2 (make a step between Phase 1 and 2)
Phase 3
Difficult to find private investors in Europe because of regulation risks
Next steps:
SMEs are the engine of our economy
Concrete action:
Increase the budget for the SME instrument (put your money where your mouth is)
For larger investments
Incentives for European private investors
Best practices: organise own bank with entrepreneurs crowd-funding etc.
EIB support for SMEs must be implemented on national levels
Matching funding must be encouraged
Regulatory burdens, we need standardisation, cross border harmonisation
Stock exchange market for SMEs
Recommendations for policy makers (& others):
Make it simple
Increase money
Idea owners: Mieke and Harald R. Preyer, UK small enterprise investment scheme
Participants: 20 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073130752227237890

44

Session 14B Theme: Skills


Discussion topic:

How can business/SMEs help schools to make learning more relevant to real life?
Main insights:
Needs to start at the earliest stage in schools. - Cross curricular implementation.
Needs space within the curriculum. - Teachers dont have time/awareness.
Creating a win-win for business. - Need to explore technology and how it can support
Need to build aspiration among young people. - About entrepreneurial skills not start up skills
Next steps:
Need to identify what has worked
Challenge business to get involved
Work with business membership organisations
Explore .. in Nashville / impact of JAYE / education tech as channel
Policy makers / of Ed(ucation) should be engaged
Concrete action:
How: teacher pupil business (triangle)
Making links via local partnerships
EU level support => identify new methodologies
Policy maker support
Raise awareness with teachers at the front line of education
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Case studies specifically on how business can engage
EU challenge to business to promote their involvement / time / contribution
Mentors / Role models from business and to business (raising awareness)
Promote real partnership
Idea owner: Elin McAllun
Participants: 14 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073130860100534272

45

Session 15B Theme: SME dimension of Internal Market


Discussion topic:

How to raise competitiveness of European SMEs so that they can face TTIPs and
other FTAs?
Main insights:
High EL. Prices for EU-SMEs
Unfair competition
Next steps:
Innovations
Concrete action:
Improving; Law enforcement & Follow up of supply chains
Recommendations for policy makers & others:
Energy union
Impose common standards
Idea owner: G. Stoev
Participants: 22 taps

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8416175/8416175-6073130655141683204

46

Closing the afternoon session


The afternoon session was closed with a short one word check-out on What do I take with me
from today? Words of appreciation, learning, enjoying the energy and talking to each other were
expressed.

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards


In the evening the European Enterprise Promotion Awards' were shared. The ceremony was the
culmination of the 2015 programme when the winners in each of the six categories and the winner
of the Grand Jury Prize received their trophies.
The following awards were presented:
Category 1 - Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit to Zomer Ondernemer
Category 2 - Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills to Going for Growth
Category 3 - Improving the Business Environment to Creative Quarter
Category 4 - Supporting the Internationalisation of Business to Game Founders
Category 5 - Supporting the Development of Green Markets & Resource Efficiency to Green
Business Network
Category 6 - Responsible & Inclusive Entrepreneurship to Enterability
Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Lisbon Municipal Council

47

About the 2016 EEPA winners:


Grand Jury Prize Winner
Portugal Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship is a programme working to support responsible and
inclusive entrepreneurship, be it through helping to develop business plans, to advising on how best
to obtain funding.
Responsible organisation: Lisboa Municipal Council
Organisation website: http://www.cm-lisboa.pt/www.cm-lisboa.pt

Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit


Netherlands ZomerOndernemer allows young people to start their own companies and experience
entrepreneurship during their summer holidays.
Responsible organisation: The New Entrepreneur Foundation
Organisation website: http://stichtingonehoogeveen.nl/

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills


Ireland Going for Growth focuses on encouraging female entrepreneurs to be ambitious and
supports them to achieve their growth aspirations.
Responsible organisation: Fitzsimons Consulting in association with the Gender Equality Division,
Department of Justice and Equality

Organisation website: www.goingforgrowth.com


Improving the Business Environment

ZomerOndernemer (Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit )

United Kingdom Creative Quarter aims to support creative SMEs to generate prosperity and create
jobs by developing a highly-skilled local workforce ready to compete in the knowledge economy and
to transform the area in the city to make it a great business location.
Responsible organisation: Creative Quarter Nottingham Limited
Organisation website: www.creativequater.com

48

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business


Estonia GameFounders is a global game industry accelerator that aims to support technical teams
in developing a product business model.
Responsible organisation: GameFounders O
Organisation website: www.gamefounders.com

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency


Spain Green Business Network is the first networking platform in Spain to specialise in green
business.
Responsible organisation: Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the
Environment
GameFounders (Supporting the Internationalisation of Business)

Organisation website: www.fundacin-biodiversidad.es

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship


Germany Enterability is a management consultancy for people with disabilities that provides help
before and after starting a business.
Responsible organisation: Social Impact gGmbH
Organisation website: http://www.ifd-enterability.de/

A full description of each initiative and the full list of winners, runners up and special mentions can
be found on the Promoting Enterprise blog: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/promotingenterprise/
and the EEPA Compendium at: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/support/enterprise-promotionawards/index_en.htm
Enterability (Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship)

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Friday 20 November
The second day of the conference offered a smorgasbord of possibilities to deep dive into relevant
subjects or to be inspired by innovative entrepreneurs.
There was congruence between the scheduled subjects offered on day 2 and the subjects surfaced
and discussed by participants on day 1.
There were four policy sessions offered:
Skills for SMEs
Making the single Market work
From Refugee to Entrepreneur
Alternative roads to financing for SMEs
There were seven possibilities offered for deep diving into different subjects through the master
classes. The subjects were:
Creativity
SMEs on the Stock-exchange
Circular Economy
Start-up Europe Partnerships
Crowd-funding
Digitising Government
Twitter for Business

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Ideas from Europe

The finalists are:

Last but not least there were 28 short and inspired Ideas from
Europe presentations by entrepreneurs with ground breaking Ideas
from all over Europe.

Nora Khaldi, Nuritas, Ireland


Gerhard Dust, Polycare, Germany
Ccile Real, Endodiag, France
Lorenzo Pradella, Greenbone, Italy
Nathan Farrugia, Empower, Malta
Anita Schjll Brede, Piecing together the puzzle, Norway
Stefania Druga, HacKIDemia, Romania
Pirkka Palomki, Enevo, Finland
Kenny Ewan, WeFarm UK
Jos Joore, Mimetas Netherlands

VOTE for the 11th here on-line!!!

At the end of the day nine finalists of Ideas from Europe were
identified. There is also a wildcard, everybody can vote for their
own preferred candidate on-line. Lastly there were two special
mentions - a wildcard from the Assembly delegates went to the
Netherlands and the special mention to Michael Hermansson from
Sweden, for ideas that also deserved recognition.

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Closing address by Costas Andropoulos


Costas Andropoulos, the Head of Unit for the COSME Programme,
the SME Envoy Network and SME Policy opened by saying that We
have been together for three days talking, sharing, listening,
learning. Each of us hopefully has now gained some new insights,
some new contacts, some feeling that we have contributed and been
heard.

From the Open Space discussions what was noticed is the energy and knowledge in the room to find
solutions for SMEs in Europe in a range of areas from supporting young entrepreneurs, early
warning systems for failing SMEs, integrating refugees into our economy, to encouraging women
entrepreneurs to grow their businesses more. Each of the thirty topics suggested had a LinkedIn
group created and everyone was invited to continue the conversations there.

On the second day of the assembly the Master Classes provided expert knowledge and the Policy
sessions dealt with many of the themes that come up in the Open Space discussions: from a deeper
insight into using crowd-funding or twitter for your business, through growing your business across
borders; to "Think small first" needed to close the remaining gaps in the Single Market; and
reviewing the rules for VAT.
Finally the bright young entrepreneurs in the "Ideas from Europe" competition were mentioned, on
how they have identified a need in our society, and gone ahead to create a solution. Ten of the
finalists will be invited directly to TEDx Binnenhof, in the Netherlands, in March 2016
As a conclusion to the 3 days together, before passing the baton to Slovakia, the host of the next
Assembly, Costas expressed that the discussions we have had and the things we have heard allow
me to say:

The future is bright for SMEs.

Lessons learned from the Women Entrepreneur Session encompass:


entrepreneurship is a skill that can and should be taught. Resilience
and the willingness to fail is key. Be different.
Key insights from the 'State of the Union for SMEs' the Annual
Report demonstrate that SMEs are growing, and they have also
started to hire again. To support this further EU countries and the
European Commission together need to keep up their efforts to
create the best possible environment for SME growth.

Stay in touch join the Online SME Assembly group on LinkedIn

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Appendix 1.
Documentation of notes from the
conversations following the Stories
Morning Session 19.11.2015

1. In your view, what are the significant challenges or opportunities


that SMEs will face in the coming years?
Main themes NB. The list below contains both challenges and opportunities.
Challenges
Risk of failure.
Globalisation.
Innovation/new ideas

The following is a documentation of the written notes from the


conversations following the stories. The written notes have
been clustered into themes. In some cases some notes are
added of comments given verbally in the plenary.

Statutory impediments
Regulatory burdens.
Digitalisation - sharing economics
Market and client orientations -> single market

The five topics for the different conversations


were:

Personal objectives, characteristics


Harder for women to be heard. Beautiful woman has to prove herself.
Be different. - Be yourself
Make tough decisions
Dare - leaving the comfort zone
Make tough decisions - Henryka from USA to Poland. Be yourself
Finland - young girls coding
Daring to leave it - Betty ... Bro. Being different
Women more emotional
In journalism glamorous woman has to prove herself

1. In your view, what are the significant challenges


or opportunities that SMEs will face in the
coming years?
2. What can we learn from the stories that can
translate into lessons for other entrepreneurs?
3. What are some factors that enable long term
success for SMEs
4. What solutions from the stories we heard and /
or we know of, could be successfully applied in
other contexts
5. What important un-answered questions do we
now have, on how to help SMEs grow.

Access to finance
Access to finance (mentioned twice)
5% funding to female founders - men twice as likely to be funded (Marianne)
HRH: power of micro finance - show high levels of trust - 99% will deliver (Didrik)
Access to information
Is often poor, especially from the EU, e.g. about access to finance
Need help navigating the regulatory environment

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Education
As a way to push the unemployed to start a business
Mentoring - successes / failures
Skills - access to skilled workers
Entrepreneurship is a skill. Teach it!
Inexperience. Lack of entrepreneurial education
Access to entrepreneurial skills

2. What can we learn from the stories that can translate into lessons
for other entrepreneurs?
Personal characteristics / qualities
Finding the purpose - vision. - Have a drive passion
Multitasking and aligning work/life balance
Resilience.
Be humble
Courage
Be yourself / authentic
Be yourself. - be authentic
Be different ( ideas, products, relationships)
Awards - motivation (jury believes in my idea)
Find what fits - "once you are connected to what you do it works well"

Politicians should run their own business for


at least five years and have a mandate
limited to two years

Build competence and skills


Add knowledge - skills, best practice
Get better not just bigger
Learn (continuously)
Non-formal learning and mentoring
Manage people
Have courage to try and fail
Make the go - commitment, support
Make mistakes. - Have a go
Have the courage to try, fail, try
Make the first step

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Seize opportunities in disruption


Make use of a crisis
Grasp opportunities
Find disruption (i.e. Software)
Keep moving, be flexible
Don't rest on your laurels
Diversify your portfolios/ balance your life
Adapt to changes; have a plan but be flexible
Reach out
Take opportunities, get out of the office and connect to people. - Step outside of your office
Partners

3. What are some factors that enable long term success for SMEs?
The mind-map covered most of the factors for long-term success.
Other factors mentioned in plenary were:
Skills and competencies
Focus on people, build and maintain competence in the enterprise. Continue education
both inside and outside.
Strengthen skills, education, training programs for running a business
Education in the field of entrepreneurship is important
Focus on quality and evolving the company
Focus on the quality both in the product and in process
Be open for diversification, take in new ideas, make mistakes
Renew your company & plan
Mind-map re. long term success done buy one of the groups
Build a support-system /network
Take care of yourself, find a work, family life balance
You cannot do it alone, you need a team, network, partnerships etc.
Legislative framework to support
The legislative framework needs to support
Need legislation to support

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4. What solutions from the stories we heard and / or we know of,


could be successfully applied in other contexts
Creating a conducive business environment
Peer to peer loans
In creating a single market:
o Taxation social tax for SMEs or start ups should be lower
o Before entering politics, politicians should have and lead their companies for at
least 5 years.
o The mandate of the politicians should be limited to two mandates
Review of award criteria / systems (recognition of different forms of success, not just $)
Information on programs
Study case of the successful women entrepreneurs
Quality over growth
Most striking insight: Betty The aim is not to grow, but to continue and become better at
what we do
Being different
As an SME, dont compete with large players on their terms, be different!
Be different
Have a goal and find out what fits

Entrepreneurship is not a
spectator sport engage!

Connecting with others, building partnerships


Partnerships
Team working
Networking with entrepreneurs
Building skills and competence
Education and knowledge are key
Education is important for young entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurial education, secondary and higher level.
Mentoring programs
Personal qualities that matter
Be yourself, - be aware of your weaknesses and strengths
Risk readiness. - Grasp opportunities when they appear

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5. What important un-answered questions do we now have, on how


to help SMEs grow.
There were two major themes central to the above question:
How can we change the culture to be more supportive of SMEs?
How do we change the culture?
It is all the more difficult since the small and medium enterprises are not at the policy table
Where can we find the inspiration?
How can they become more data driven?
But mostly how do we change the risk perception and how do we fight prejudice?
One way might be through different awareness campaigns.
A different way is to put more emphasis on education: expand the experience and build the
skills .
How else can we support SMEs?
Support can have many different ways and shapes.
Support closely related to the entrepreneurs, inside their companies
There is the need for role model
The need for mentors
The need for coaching
Building skills and competence
Having more professionals on the boards of the enterprises
Support can also be as simple as offering better childcare facilities
Support from external stakeholders e.g. policymakers, banks etc.
How could the red tape be simplified?.
Financial support e.g. easier access to financing
Better cash flow
Better incentives for innovation.
Tax exemption or lighter taxation e.g. in the first years, better cash flow and better
incentives for innovation.

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