Gerhard Dust; Harris Ioannou; Youth Essay Competition; EEPA national winnersGermany’s SME Week Conference 2016
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European SME Week

Welcome to the August edition of the SME Week newsletter!

The focus this month is on mature entrepreneurs. This group of entrepreneurs has what is perhaps the most valuable asset of all when it comes to creating a successful business – experience. Throughout August, mature entrepreneurs will share their stories on the Promoting Enterprise blog, allowing young entrepreneurs to benefit from their experience and know-how, and inspiring their peers, who may also be considering branching out into a new business venture.
If you know of any mature entrepreneurs with inspiring stories to tell, let us know and we’ll do our best to feature them on the blog and across our social media channels.
It’s not all about mature entrepreneurs though – there is still time for young entrepreneurs to submit entries in the SME Youth Essay Competition and tell us what the EU can do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs (details below). If you know anybody who might be interested, please spread the word.
Enjoy the newsletter and see you next month!

Introducing our August Entrepreneur in Residence: 

Gerhard Dust

Gerhard Dust is the CEO of PolyCare, a company that was set up to conduct polymer concrete research using new raw materials, technologies and production procedures. The objective is to develop products that can be produced using readily available materials and used without the need for specialist skills.

The company’s vision is to develop materials and processes that will allow survivors of natural disasters to rapidly build serviceable replacement homes on site, quickly and cheaply, without the need for additional specialist help.

In a series of blog posts throughout August, Gerhard will tell us about what motivated him to turn his back on a life of cosy retirement and relaunch himself into the business world.
Last month, a number of young entrepreneurs contributed to our Entrepreneur in Residence section, you can read their posts here:

Are you 16-25 years old?

Tell us what the EU can do to encourage more young entrepreneurs and you could be on your way to Bratislava!

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. The deadline of September 2 is looming, but there is still time for you to submit your entry and be in with a chance of winning a trip to the SME Assembly in Bratislava, Slovakia, in November, where you will get to present your essay to an audience of 600 delegates from the business world.

So, get thinking, and 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.


On the blog…

Check out the latest European entrepreneurship news, features and interviews with past winners of the EEPA on the Promoting Enterprise blog.

Some highlights from the past month include:

In July, our Entrepreneur in Residence and guest bloggers made the following posts:


National coordinators select 55 best projects

EEPA national coordinators have narrowed down the 343 first-stage entries received by the EU deadline at the start of July to a total of 57 projects across the six EEPA project categories. The EEPA jury is now faced with the difficult task of narrowing these down further, by selecting shortlisted projects in each category by mid-September. These shortlisted projects will then compete for the first prize during the SME Assembly in November.

Some countries had a difficult choice to make, with a large number of interesting projects to choose from. The top three countries in terms of the number of applications were Portugal, the UK and Germany, with 50, 48 and 30 projects respectively. For some other countries the national EEPA totals were lower reflecting the relative size and diversity of their national economies, but the choice was no less difficult, given the high level of quality of the applications received.

The category with the highest number entries is ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’, with 19 projects vying for the top three places. This is followed by the ‘Improving the Business Environment’ category, with 12 projects, and ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’, with 11 projects. 

There is a lot of excitement about who the shortlisted and winners will be, so make sure you keep up with all the news from the 10th annual European Enterprise Promotion Awards this November by following the link below:

Click here for more EEPA news >>

Previous EEPA news articles include:

Promote your SME Week events via the EC calendar

Don’t forget that, as an SME Week coordinator, you can publicise all your events by uploading details to this portal.

Don’t forget that, as an SME Week coordinator, you can publicise all your events by uploading details to this portal.

Eligible events include conferences, competitions, exhibitions, company open days, or any other means of attracting an audience interested in micro, small and medium-sized firms. The subjects can include anything essential to running small/medium businesses: start-ups, corporate social responsibility, tax and legal issues, female entrepreneurship, social economy, etc.

Your regional and national events qualify for inclusion in addition to cross-border, European and international events. So don’t delay. Get posting!

And if you need some more guidance, click here for a helpful FAQ.

Social Entrepreneurship in the spotlight at Germany’s SME Week Conference 2016

Germany’s main SME conference ahead of this year’s European SME Week focused on the lively social enterprise scene that has developed in the country. According to the keynote speaker Kristin Schreiber, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, one in four new companies set up across the EU is a social enterprise.

The German national event, which took place on 28 June, brought together almost 130 experts from networks, funding bodies, science and academia as well as entrepreneurs. In line with the motto of this year’s conference - ‘Addressing social challenges. Undertaking dedicated action. Embracing responsible entrepreneurship’, the discussion focused on what social enterprises need in order to flourish.

The main idea behind this conference was to make social enterprises more widely known and to promote their interests and needs among established players, such as chambers of commerce, consultancy firms and funding bodies. A particular highlight of the conference was the four presentations given by social entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas:

Andrea-Victoria Noelle is co-founder of Beliya GmbH, a designer label for bags and accessories that works for a good cause: for every bag sold, a child in Africa is sponsored for one school year.


Ralf Sange from Gründer 50plus UG supports people over the age of 50 who are considering setting up their own business.


Anne Kjær Riechert founded the ReDI School of Digital Integration gGmbH where refugees – mostly from Syria – become students, learning computer programming and coding so that they can find a job in Germany.

Martin Reh co-founded the RSO Shift GmbH, a company that constructs a medical device for developing regions that cleans, disinfects and sterilises operating equipment using nothing but solar power.


The discussion also focused on the results of a study on social entrepreneurship published by the German Economic Affairs Ministry.

A video of the conference highlights, with subtitles in English, is available here.

Event calendar

●      14 – 15 September: Forum Pulire, Milan, Italy

●      25-27 September: Bits&Pretzels, Munich, Germany

●      27 September: Social Start-up Night, Berlin, Germany

●      6-7 October: DKE-ZVEH Conference, Lubeck, Germany

●      13-14 October: Startup Safary, Berlin, Germany

●      19 October: Crowdfest 2016, London, UK

●      19-21 October, Productized, Lisbon, Portugal

●      7 November: Web Summit, Lisbon, Portugal

Literary inspiration from the world’s leading entrepreneurs

Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table by Sahar and Bobby Hashemi

Thinking about starting the business of your dreams? So what's holding you back? Is it the fear of the unknown? If so, then "Anyone Can Do It" can help you tackle some of those fears and provide insight on what an entrepreneur must face when making the decision to go for (what can sometimes seem like) that unattainable dream. Authors Sahar and Bobby Hashemi are the dynamic brother and sister team that started one of the most recognisable and high-profile brands in the United Kingdom today - Coffee Republic. The book offers a myriad of lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and blows apart the myth that only 'special' people start successful businesses.

Fast fact


Sixty-six percent of adults see entrepreneurship as a good career choice, and more than half of the working-age population feel they have the ability to start a business – according to the GEM 2015 Global Report.

Inspire and be inspired!
Send us a photo of you and your team @ Work

  • Are you the star of your own enterprise and love what you do?
  • Do you work by yourself, or employ others and work in a team?
  • Do you want to inspire others to follow in your footsteps and chart their own entrepreneurial course?

Then we’d love to see you at work! Tweet us an image and caption at @EEPA_EU or submit through our Instagram account @promotingenterprise using the hashtag #SMEWeekWork. 

Whether you run your business from an office, a shop, or some other location, submit your photos with a short paragraph about who you are and what you do for our new feature, Enterprise @ Work.

You can also email with the subject line “Enterprise @ Work” and send your image as an attachment.

Tell us your stories

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what you’re doing in your business. Submit an article on a topic that you think would be of interest to the European enterprise community. Tell us who or what you’d like to see featured. Submit a business book or podcast review. Send us a photo of you and/or your team at work for our new “Enterprise@Work” feature, where we highlight entrepreneurs in their own domains.

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