“First time you fail, second time you win”*
Edirne (TR), 3 April 2014
“With the focus shifting from the crisis to recovery, regions are more than ever catalysts for innovation and growth. We believe that it is necessary to continue engaging European Institutions and stakeholders in the need for further support to entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs generate 4 million new jobs every year in Europe and regions play a key role in encouraging and promoting economically sound ideas to be turned into business ventures; the Assembly of European Region’s (AER) role is to help these initiatives come to life and develop on a European and international scale”, stated AER President Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli as she opened the round table conference “Daring to Succeed: Entrepreneurship for better growth”, gathering yesterday 130 participants in Edirne (TR).
“Hosting one of the top Turkish universities, Edirne is home to many young talented and creative people who are looking for opportunities to develop their skills. The exchange of best practice during this conference gives us precious insights into ways we can improve our entrepreneurship policies.” said Dr Hasan Duruer, Governor of Edirne (TR). Deputy governor Dr Ayhan Özkan underlined: “AER contributes valuably to our efforts for a stronger decentralisation in our country”.
Three workshops on the internationalisation of SMEs, social as well as women entrepreneurship and a Training Academy on fostering a culture for Entrepreneurship stressed the need for entrepreneurs to overcome their fear of change, take risks and welcome innovation. Concrete examples include:
Supporting young entrepreneurs in Donegal (IE)
“The key is to not stigmatise failure but to help develop new attitudes towards the idea and culture of entrepreneurship”, said Maria Ferguson, EU Policy and funding Unit manager from Donegal Council (IE), as she presented the INTERREG IVA “Business Bootcamp” project. This initiative provides young entrepreneurs with step-by-step local and cross-border support for new start-ups and businesses with export growth potential.
Removing barriers in Edirne (TR)
Participants witnessed Edirne’s commitment to changing mindsets and tackling obstacles to entrepreneurship during the visit to the Public Education Centre as well as through various success stories, such as from Elmas Aslan, Chief of Women Entrepreneurs and Sevtap Engin, Company owner.
Growing talent in Flevoland (NL)
Bob Pels, General Manager for European Territorial Cooperation put forward the Regions4GreenGrowth (INTERREG IVC),SMART EUROPE (INTERREG IVC) and Summer Entrepreneurs initiatives, encouraging and helping SMEs to innovate and work sustainably by efficiently using the EU Funding for 2014-2020 and thereby improving competitiveness.
Telling the world in Bruxelles-Capitale (BE)
Jean-Luc Vanraes underlined that regions are a platform for SMEs to meet, share information and innovate together in order to access a new market. “Incubators, the organisation of business delegations and the participation in trade-missions can boost SMEs in becoming internationally active”.
Committees 1 and 2 jointly take the next step:
The joint plenary of ‘Economy and Regional development’ (1) and ‘Social policy and Public health’ (2) gave AER the perfect chance to gather these good practices and ideas into concrete recommendations on the topic of entrepreneurship. Based on AER’s previous activities and experience, these will highlight the next steps to take and the tools to use in order to foster education and skills for entrepreneurship.
* Quote by Maria Zvolska, member of the European Economic and Social Committee during the Daring to succeed Round table, April 2nd 2014.