How to strengthen your SME: assessing business performances to improve its competitiveness

Date: November, 22, 2017 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CET

Many reports and academic research bring evidence about the difficulties small companies have to face to access financial and non-financial resources to survive and expand their activity. Two main and recurrent causes emerge from the long list of alleged causes of the rationing of small companies: 1)  their opacity 2)  their low ability in proposing clear and reliable information on their project and business plan. None of them can be neither solved nor alleviated by a proper financial regulation. Instead, a possible solution comes from a specific support designed for entrepreneurs and managers of these companies. The seminar will focus on how researchers, business support structures, and policymakers can contribute to a better endowment of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge thanks to the development of informational systems adapted to small companies business models.
Taking a small business assessment tool developed in a European project named, The Next Society, we show why, this important, but still disadvantaged part of the productive system can benefit from a better knowledge of their positioning on the market, of their strengths and advantages, and, last but not least of the threats by competitors. We will demonstrate how a better knowledge of the firm strategy is mandatory to improve its robustness and its performance. Initially dedicated to small companies located in developing countries, this approach and the resulting assessment tool are also suitable for the smallest companies of developed countries. It provides an effective example of South-North and North-South cooperation in the field of entrepreneurship and small business development.


Relator: Dr. Nadine Levratto

Research Professor, French National Council for Scientific Research - CNRS & President, Observatory on Practices of Entrepreneurs and Enterprises - OPEE
France

Nadine Levratto is a French economist, Research Professor at the French National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS), lecturer at the University Paris Nanterre and Research Fellow of the Centre d’Economie du Travail et de l’Emploi (Noisy-le-Grand, France). Her main fields of interest are focused on firm growth, corporate bankruptcy, SMEs; Industrial Dynamics; Growth, Innovation and Economic Geography. Her research has been published in more than 50 scholarly articles in ranked academic journals. As an expert, she has consulted with the European Commission, OECD, French ministries and local administrations as well as numerous private banks and consultants. She is also the President of the Observatory on Practices of Entrepreneurs and Enterprises (OPEE), a nonprofit organisation, promoting a small business assessment tool.

Measuring digital innovation capabilities and impact for SMEs

Date: November, 2, 2017 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CET

Digital innovation is essential for an SME’s sustainable development, competitiveness and growth. However, companies lack the insights as to what degree their digital innovation capabilities are competitive and how they can enhance them. The IMP³rove Digital Innovation Quotient assessment and benchmarking builds on a combination of qualitative and quantitative performance indicators to measure and compare internationally to what degree companies are successful in turning ideas into digital innovation – considering digital innovation in processes to reduce cost and in offerings to generate revenues. The tool has been developed as part of a European Commission project in collaboration with an international expert network. It is available for free in its basic version, and fully digital itself: users can register online, take the assessment online, and receive an individual benchmarking report online. To inspire the SME’s journey towards increased competitiveness driven by higher digital innovation performance, we have initiated the collection of a digital use case library showcasing digital innovation successes in various industries – from construction to IT. As you realize, the assessment tool, the benchmarking database and the use case library have strong network effects – the benefits for anyone involved grow with the number of users. We invite you to join us for this session. We are keen to develop further partnerships in and beyond Europe to support SMEs in becoming more digital, and more successful.


Relator: Dr. Martin Ruppert

Managing Director, IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy
Germany

Martin Ruppert is Managing Director of IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy and core team member of the Innovation and R&D Management practice at A.T. Kearney. Building on various consulting projects, he has comprehensive experience in innovation management, ranging from the review of innovation strategy and innovation portfolio to the development of innovative business models. He worked in Europe, the Middle East, and in Asia-Pacific. Martin is author of numerous publications on innovation management and co-author of the Global Innovation Index reports in 2015 and 2016. He has been seconded to the World Economic Forum to manage the project “Fostering Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe” and was advisor for the project “Collaborative Innovation – Transforming Business, Driving Growth”

Challenges in financing start-ups and potential solutions

Date: October, 4, 2017 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CEST

Financing start-ups is an ongoing challenge for the financial sector. They are considered rightly as a risk population, resulting in a high level of default in banks portfolios. Difficult access to finance for start-ups has been a concern for development strategies; private initiatives have been strongly reinforced by the public support, resulting in a growing use of guarantee funds. Opportunities arise today with the shift from traditional activities to the “new economy”, in an environment offering great potentialities and many facilities for new entrepreneurs. Still, coordination of actors needs improvements in most countries, especially for innovative startups. New forms of financing also emerge, while consequences of the global crisis and tighter risk regulation have set a more severe behaviour in the banking sector.


Relator: Mr. Jean-Louis Leloir

Special Adviser to the Board of Directors, European Association of Guarantee Institutions
Belgium

Jean-Louis Leloir, 65, graduated from the French High Business School ESCP. He has filled since 1979 various responsibilities (at Head Office and Branches), mostly in the field of loan guarantee schemes, in the Bpifrance group, French public development institution supporting SME financing. Formerly Credit Department Manager and Auditor, he was for the last 10 years Head of Technical Assistance and Consulting, addressing acquired expertise to foreign guarantee institutions, mostly in MENA Region and Africa, in assignments from Donors and International Institutions (World Bank Group, AFD, OECD, and European Commission). Since 2015 he has been Special Adviser to the Board of Directors of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions (AECM).

The circular economy as a new way of thinking

Date: July, 20, 2017 | From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. - CEST

The circular economy is an umbrella concept associated with business and economic opportunities round resource and waste management. But it may be a signal of a more profound change in our framework for thinking about the economy as a whole. Ken Webster explores the wider contexts associated with ‘circularity’ in an era in which the existing economies are failing to meet the need for improved prosperity.


Relator: Mr. Ken Webster

Head of Innovation, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Ken Webster has worked at the Foundation since the beginning of 2010 and his book (with Craig Johnson) Sense and Sustainability (2009) was instrumental in shaping the direction of the Foundation. He is author of Circular Economy A Wealth of Flows (EMF 2015) and contributor to both A New Dynamic Effective Systems in a Circular Economy (2015) and A New Dynamic Effective Business in a Circular Economy (2014). He has two decades of experience in workshops communicating economic ideas for a variety of audiences and is currently Visiting Fellow at Cranfield University, where he is working on the development of an Executive Education masters on Technology Innovation Management and the Circular Economy (TIMCE) on behalf of the Foundation.

Storytelling in the Digital Age

Date: June, 28, 2017 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

Stories are an inherent part of an organization’s narrative. They are powerful tools helping people understand what an organization does and what it stands for. Yet, organizational storytelling is messy. Stories are rarely told in order from beginning, to middle, and then end – especially in this digital era. So how do organizations fit structures, elements, and ideas together to develop their stories? How can organizations use people, tools, and channels to capture waning attention spans? This session will cover the case for organizational storytelling, its foundations & reality, and research-based guidance to help you become a more effective storyteller in the digital era.


Relator: Ms. Tara Hadler

Project Manager of Collaborative Processes, Network for Business Sustainability - NBS
Canada

Tara Hadler, Project Manager of Collaborative Processes, oversees digital engagement and communications at the Network for Business Sustainability. She works with researchers, designers, developers, and end users to create user experiences that increase the chances of managers using research products to elevate their company's sustainability performance. Prior to joining NBS, Tara gained technical experience working in product development at Info-Tech Research Group. She has a Master in Sustainable Development from the University of Basel, and Bachelor in Media, Information & Technoculture from Western University.

A turbulent time for trade

Date: April, 19, 2017 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CEST

This presentation takes stock of recent developments in trade and looks ahead to what we might expect. World trade growth remains weak, though recently we are seeing some green shoots. Trade liberalisation has helped. But, despite progress, several big trade liberalisation efforts have recently slowed or stalled. This is, in part, due to a change in trade policy orientation in the United States, which is taking a more defensive trade stance. The US President’s 2017 Trade Policy Agenda still supports liberalisation, but emphasises bilateral deals over larger accords. For its part, the United Kingdom has contributed to the uncertainty with its Brexit vote to leave the European Union. In view of all this, the presentation will discuss some potential sources of growth.


Relator: Dr. Douglas Lippoldt

Senior Trade Economist, HSBC Global Research
United Kingdom

Douglas Lippoldt is Senior Trade Economist in HSBC Global Research, based in London. He joined HSBC in August 2014 coming from the OECD in Paris where he worked for 22 years in various roles as a senior economist. Prior to that, he served seven years as an international economist with the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC. Doug's central focus is on international trade issues. He has published extensively on trade topics as well as related aspects of economic development, labour market adjustment, innovation and intellectual property. Doug holds a PhD in Economics from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), an MA in International Studies from the University of Denver, and a BA in International Studies from Washington College in Maryland, USA. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cologne, Germany. He represents HSBC as the deputy delegate on the B20 Trade and Investment Taskforce.

Promoting Entrepreneurship: UNCTAD’s Policy Approach to Support Sustainable Business Growth

Date: March, 30, 2017 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CEST

Recognizing the role of entrepreneurship as a catalyst for development and a means to address sustainable development challenges, the presentation will illustrate UNCTAD’s approach to promoting entrepreneurship from a policy perspective. It draws lessons from the implementation of UNCTAD’s Entrepreneurship Policy Framework (EPF) and will explain the need for holistic entrepreneurship policies according to the six priority areas identified by the EPF. The presentation will focus on how policymakers can create an enabling entrepreneurial environment which also takes into account inclusive and sustainable business models, thereby expanding opportunities for all and addressing the needs of socially disadvantaged groups. For aspiring entrepreneurs from such groups, who tend to have lower levels of entrepreneurship skills and greater difficulty in navigating the business and regulatory environment, governments need to tailor policy measures to help them manage and grow their businesses. In this way, entrepreneurship policies can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations General Assembly’s sustainable development goals adopted in 2015.


Relator: Mrs. Fiorina Mugione

Chief, Entrepreneurship Section, Division on Investment and Enterprise, United Nations Conference on Trade And Development - UNCTAD

Economist with MBA in international trade has more than twenty years' experience in international organizations. Worked primarily in the areas of research and analysis in enterprise, investment and development issues at ESCAP, OECD and UNCTAD. She leads since 2006, the Entrepreneurship Programme UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise. Fiorina also coordinates the EMPRETEC programme – the one stop agency for small and medium sized enterprise development- in 39 countries around the world. Responsible of investment policy reviews at UNCTAD between 1996 and 2006, earned concrete experience in policy analysis and programme management (Egypt, Ecuador, Peru, Ghana, Colombia). Published a number of articles in international journals and contributed chapters to different economic publications.

Geo-economic changes and emergent players in maritime economy and logistics: impact on SMEs strategies

Date: February, 22, 2017 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CET

For import and export activities, companies are increasingly using the maritime mode that now accounts for almost 70% of worldwide trade. In this scenario, strategic planning and logistic choices of SMEs need to be based on an accurate consideration of geo-economic changes and emergent players in the shipping industry and maritime logistics. How to deal with China’s major presence in the Mediterranean and in the transport sector? What kind of impact is expected from the new Suez Canal on cost/time transportation? How could technology and the new competitiveness among Ports improve logistic performances? Significance and implications of these phenomena for SMEs will be presented and discussed during the webinar.


Relator: Mr. Massimo Deandreis

General Manager, Economic Research Center - SRM related with Intesa Sanpaolo Banking Group & President, Italian Society of Business Economists - GEI
Italy

From 1995 to 2000 Massimo served as Head of the Italian Chamber of Commerce delegation to the European Union. In 2001 he was appointed General Manager of the Piedmont Regional Chamber of Commerce in Turin, a position he held until October 2008. Since November 2008 he has worked for Intesa Sanpaolo Banking Group where he served as Head of Cabinet of the President of the Bank; subsequently he was appointed General Manager of SRM, the position he currently holds. Massimo is currently contract professor of Business Management at the Department of Economics of the Turin University and he has recently been appointed President of the Italian Society of Business Economists. He graduated in International Economic Law at the University of Turin and earned a second degree in International and Diplomatic History.

Design Thinking applied to Education and Training

Date: January, 24, 2017 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CET

Many academic organisations and entrepreneurship academies are calling attention to the need for urgent changes in curricula and learning methods demanded by the continual social transformation of an increasingly technological world. Transversal skills such as the ability to think creatively and critically, take initiative and work collaboratively for common goals, are essential to guarantee a qualified and entrepreneurial workforce in Europe. In this educational context, Design Thinking proved to be an effective transversal learning tool. After briefly introducing the Design Thinking concept and how it is nowdays implemented in diverse fields ranging from education to business management, the webinar will explore the existence of different process models with a special attention to the Evolution 6 model and their applications to training sessions with companies, researchers and educators. The session will also summarize main findings and results of the first two years of the D-Think project, promoting a wider use of Design Thinking in Education and Training.


Relator: Dr. Katja Tschimmel

Partner and Consultant, MINDSHAKE
Portugal

Katja Tschimmel is consultant and executive trainer, researcher and lecturer, coach and conference speaker. Having a Ph.D in Design and a Masters in Applied Creativity, Katja researches in the fields of Creative Thinking, Design Thinking and Creative Processes. She is the author of the Design Thinking model Evolution 6, which is licensed by Creative Commons, CC by-SA since 2015. Katja is the founder and partner of MINDSHAKE – Consultancy and Training of Creativity and Design Thinking. Currently she is Guest Professor at Porto Business School (Portugal) and at Laurea University (Finland). For 15 years she was Professor at ESAD, College of Arts and Design in Matosinhos (Portugal), where she is coordinating the research project D-THINK (Design Thinking Applied in Education and Training). 51 years old, German by birth and Portuguese by choice, Katja speaks fluent German, Portuguese, English and Spanish.