Brussels, 6 May 2009
Promoting entrepreneurship and raising awareness about business support are the main messages of the first European SME Week launched in Brussels today. More than 1000 events will take place in 35 countries from 6 to 14 May. Today more than ever the contribution of European entrepreneurs for preserving jobs and creating new ones needs to be recognised and supported. The week will also allow entrepreneurs to discover the information, advice, support and ideas available at European, national, regional and local levels to help them develop their activities.
European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for Enterprise and Industry, opened the SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) week today: “This Commission together with the Member States has worked hard to improve the conditions for small companies. If there is a way out of the economic downturn, it is the SMEs’ creativity, flexibility and capacity to find solutions. Together we have already achieved improvements. But we must go further. We need more SMEs as they are the true drivers of growth and job creation”.
The SME Week is one of the measures implementing the Small Business Act (SBA), the first really comprehensive SME policy framework for the EU and its Member States. Policies to promote SMEs have been considerably advanced by the European Commission since it took office in 2004:
During the SME week, events are taking place to inform, assist and connect existing and potential entrepreneurs and also help them develop new ideas and benefit from personalised information and support.
For a full overview of all events during SME week:
For example, in Brussels, in the interactive exhibition “SME experience – How it feels to be an entrepreneur” from 6 to 9 May, the visitor will get first hand experience of what it is like to be an entrepreneur by seeing, smelling, touching and listening to installations in 10 rooms.
The winners of the European Entrepreneurship Video Awards will be announced at the opening event in Brussels on 6 May that focuses on the influence of TV on entrepreneurial attitudes. In this video competition, the Commission asked for short but creative, interesting and enlightening videos about entrepreneurship in three categories: “The entrepreneurial spirit", "Innovative entrepreneurship" and "Responsible Entrepreneurship".
SME Week will be brought to a close on 13 and 14 May in Prague, by a conference "The small business act for Europe: business without barriers", organised by the Czech Presidency of the EU and the European Commission. The event will incorporate a ceremony to announce the winners of the European Enterprise Awards, which will reward innovative practices in regions and by municipalities to promote entrepreneurship and SMEs.