Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs: trends, issues and policies since the 2008 global financial crisis

Date: November, 25, 2015 | 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - CET

Access to financing continues to be one of the most significant challenges for the creation, survival and growth of SMEs, especially innovative ones. The financial crisis of 2008 hit them particularly hard. Governments responded at the time with some tried and true remedies (e.g. increased loan guarantees) as well as some innovative programmes such as credit mediation. Traditional bank finance is still the most common source of external finance for many SMEs and entrepreneurs, but it poses challenges to these firms and maybe ill-suited for newer, innovative and fast growing companies. Broadening the range of financing instruments available to SMEs and entrepreneurs has now become a primary concern and challenge for policy makers, in order to enable SMEs and entrepreneurs to play their role in growth, innovation and employment. In our webinar we will cover the past and more recent trends, issues and policies in SME finance.

Relator: Mme Marie-Florence Estimé & Ms. Lorraine Ruffing

Former Deputy Director at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development (CFE) OECD, France | Former Chief, Enterprise Development at UNCTAD

Marie-Florence Estimé is the former Deputy Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs & Local Development (CFE). She has been responsible for the OECD Working Party on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Entrepreneurship (WPSMEE) since its foundation in March 1993. She has developed her activities and studies on SME issues and policies in OECD countries, in the areas of globalisation, innovation and competitiveness, employment and job creation, high growth SMEs, ICTs and e-business, management training, women’s entrepreneurship. She also developed an exchange of information and co-operation with non-member economies, international organisations, the business sector and NGOs and managed the preparation of the two OECD Ministerial Conferences on SMEs (Bologna 2000 and Istanbul 2004) and other global thematic conferences and their outputs. At the OECD, Mme Estimé also worked at the Development Centre, the Economics Department and the Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry where she prepared and/or contributed to a number of studies. Before joining the OECD, she worked at the French Ministry of Economics and Finance (Direction de la Prévision). Since retirement, she has continued to work in the areas of SMEs and Entrepreneurship. She is currently a Board Member of INSME and several NGOs and non-profit associations: e.g. OPEE-MENA (Observatoire des Pratiques des Entrepreneurs et des Entreprises dans la Région Afrique du Nord et Moyen Orient - Observatory for Entrepreneurs and Enterprises Practices in MENA countries), DSF (Développeurs sans Frontières), the OECD WHG (the OECD War on Hunger Group). She is also carrying out a housing and agricultural development project in the private sector in Haïti.

Lorraine Ruffing earned a Ph.D in trade and development economics from Columbia University in New York. She has taught economics in universities in New York, Santiago and Geneva. She entered the United Nations in 1981 and worked for 5 different UN agencies and served in a number of countries including Chile, Mexico, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. During her time at UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), she directed its Branch on Enterprise Development in the Division on Investment and Enterprise. The main focuses of her work were on small enterprise development, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. She formulated a private sector development (PSD) strategy for Africa for the United Nations Development Programme which was based on best practices identified during eight expert meetings and projects in 31 developing countries which support entrepreneurs. Since retirement she has continued to work in the areas of small business financing, corporate governance, and corporate social responsibility. She was the Senior Consultant for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and assisted in the production of the annual publication, Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs: An OECD Scoreboard. She has recently co-authored a book on the UN’s attempt to draft a code of conduct for transnational corporations: UN Centre on Transnational Corporations: corporate conduct and the public interest by Khalil Hamdani and Lorraine Ruffing. They are also co-authors of the recent article: Lessons from the UN Centre on transnational Corporations for the Current Treaty Initiative.

Solving the ‘business plan puzzle’ – Successful approaches to raise money from investors

Date: December, 15, 2015 | - CET

All entrepreneurs and ”intrapreneurs” (those that launch projects inside companies) need to sell their ideas to investors in order to get resources for their projects. Those projects usually have a great potential but the majority of entrepreneurs often fail to develop it to the maximum extent. Most of them fail to convince investors. Why? Lack of money from investors or companies? Lack of skills of investors? No. Too much risk!  
The common denominator of converting innovation into business is a good business case. A good business case is characterized by the existence of a market for products or services derived from the innovation. The innovative solution also needs to be better than any alternative With the collaboration of solutions and it should be possible and easy for the firm to produce and distribute the solution to the customers. What entrepreneurs and “intrapreneurs” tend to forget, is that the best idea in the world with zero execution, is worth zero. It is the dilemma between potential and reality. Potentially all those projects are great but in reality there are several RISKS that will turn into a bad execution. Furthermore negotiating the terms of investment and mitigating the risks of investors represent major concerns for entrepreneurs. After briefly introducing the main opportunities offered by the EUROMED Invest project, the webinar will cover most important methodologies and approaches for entrepreneurs to raise funds, gain investors’ trust by exploring four ways of funding innovative projects: the “Hard”, the “Expensive”, the “Difficult” and the “Smart” ways. The audience will benefit from a 30 minutes Q&A session to further discuss project initiatives by taking advantage of the expert knowledge and of the networking opportunity offered by the interactive platform. This session is part of a series of webinar organized as in-depth follow up on the Training on innovation and entrepreneurship for start-ups, young  entrepreneurs/women and diaspora organized within the frame of the EUROMED Invest project, coordinated by ANIMA Investment Network.

Relator: Dr. Uffe Bundgaard-Jørgensen & Mr. Paulo Andrez & Ms. Violène Mendonça

CEO at InvestorNet-Gate2Growth, Denmark | Angel Investor and President Emeritus of EBAN, Belgium | Communication Officer at ANIMA Investment Network

Dr. Uffe Bundgaard-Jørgensen is Chairman of the Danish Energy Regulatory Authority and hold a MA (econ) & Ph.D. from Copenhagen University & Danish Technical University. He also has 10 years’ experience as CEO for Danish Venture Capital Fund;15 years’ experience with EU projects via InvestorNet. He is Chairman for H2020 SME Innovation Advisory Group (D.G. Research) and Advisor H2020 SME instruments application and evaluation process. Member of Strategic Advisory board for BioBased Industries Joint Undertaking and Chairman for INCOMERA advisory board (Nano- technology calls), his company InvestorNet – Gate2GrowthPartner is in 6 different EU projects.

Paulo Andrez is an angel investor with an active portfolio of 14 companies. One of his investments reached 25 million euros in revenues within the first year, for which he received an award “Best European Angel Investment” in 2012. Paulo is a Board Member of Entrepreneurship Agency DNA Cascais, which supported more than 250 startups in the last decade, and a Board Member of FNABA, the Portuguese Business Angel Federation. Paulo was appointed President Emeritus EBAN, European Business Angel Network, after serving as President until 2014. Since 2012, Paulo has been working with a number of European governments in the field of Early Stage Investment policies and Business Angels Co-Investment Funds design. He is also a member of the European Commission Advisory Group “Innovation in SMEs”. Paulo is an IT Engineer and has a MBA from the Nova University in Lisbon. He has a background as serial entrepreneur and is frequently invited as speaker, guest lecturer and expert in innovation, entrepreneurship and early stage investment.

Violène Mendonça is the communication manager of the EUROMED Invest project at ANIMA Investment Network in Marseille. In charge of the program level communication, she is also coordinating the visibility and monitoring the dissemination of the results among the EMI community since December 2014. Prior to this, she held different positions as a communication officer for a wide range of institutions in Paris, Bucharest, Montreal and Los Angeles. Violène Mendonça holds a Master degree in History Communication, Business and International Affairs from la Sorbonne.

Discussing the success factors on how innovation systems can better address the Participation to the European Research Area

Date: October, 22, 2015 | 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - CEST

By benchmarking against the international competitors, Europe as a whole needs to significantly advance in research and innovation performance in order to make the European Union the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy, as the Europe 2020 Strategy strives for. There are countries lagging behind concerning the effectiveness of exploiting EU funded programmes in the field of R&D&I. The obstacles can be sought among local conditions, resources and assets faceting a specific system.
Thanks to the extensive policy learning exercise to identify barriers and potential gaps, the MIRRIS initiative today is able to provide a portfolio of suitable intervention schemes for EU Member countries (with a special focus on the 13 MIRRIS target countries including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia). This webinar will summarize main findings on personal/motivational, structural and organizational barriers encountered in the countries to take part in EU Research Programmes, present common challenges for the implementation of a roadmap to overcome the same and share the MIRRIS methodology to give advice to partner countries by offering a forum discussion on the success factors to find solutions and monitor their impact. Thanks to the participation of MIRRIS Coordinator, META Group concrete examples of suggested activities will be shown in detail to disseminate the methodology that the MIRRIS project adopted to identify priorities for the countries allowing to strengthen strategic partnerships with European Universities and other stakeholders, participate in the lessons-learned discussions and be briefed about the MIRRIS Coaching activities that will be made available to the 13 MIRRIS target countries in the next months. Your participation to this webinar will allow you to get access to a wide range of precious insights from the policy dialogues organized in the 13 MIRRIS target countries and benefit from the SWOT analysis results as well as from the mutual learning experience among key stakeholders, namely research, innovation and institutional actors from all over Europe. The Q&A session might also be a perfect occasion to discuss your ideas about an action plan for your country (if not part of the 13 MIRRIS target countries) and take advantage from already validated lessons learnt for a successful up take to make the difference in Europe and abroad.

Relator: Mr. Andrea Di Anselmo

President & Founding Member of META Group, Italy

Andrea Di Anselmo is a founding member and Vice-President of META Group and has the key role regarding the Business Unit Economic Development, as a Senior Consultant. Taking in consideration his professional experience and key areas of expertise, Andrea Di Anselmo focuses on innovation and Regional policy, representing META on all the major assignments. Mr. Di Anselmo supervises implementation of assignments and interacts with clients as project director and helps promote the company within international associations and bodies, bringing a high level contribution through his activities as Senior Expert. Also an active Member of the Board of Directors in several organizations, such as ISRIM (Research Institute dealing with Advanced Materials), TI (European Association for Innovation and Technology Transfer), Sviluppumbria (the RDA of the Umbria Region) and IBAN (Italian Business Angels Network), Mr. Di Anselmo expertise is a strong asset in the field of innovation support and services, company creation and access to early stage finance.

How to Manage Innovation Processes Successfully – Insights for Young Entrepreneurs, Start-ups and Diaspora

Date: September, 29, 2015 | 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. - CEST

How to manage Innovation Processes successfully as a young entrepreneur, a start-upper or in diaspora? This webinar treats most important methodologies and gives advice on how to successfully run a business, be more creative, strengthen contacts with the R&D environment, manage the innovation process internally and take advantage of strategic networking to exploit all opportunities concerning access to finance and innovation through internationalization. The Business Model Canvas Exercise will be presented as a hands-on tool to foster understanding, discussion, creativity and analysis. A specific focus will be given also to topics as crowd funding and crowd sourcing as well as on internationalization of enterprises by touching all implications for young entrepreneurs to reach out successfully to new clients, knowledge owners and business partners outside the country. The Lean Start-up will be briefly presented to advise participants on how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business. Tips and tricks on successful pitching will be shared with the audience being able to take benefit of the extended Q&A session at the end of the webinar (30 minutes). A dedicated time slot will also focus on women entrepreneurship in  particular. This webinar is an in-depth follow up on the Training on innovation and entrepreneurship for start-ups, young entrepreneurs/women and diaspora organized within the frame of the EUROMEDInvest project.

Relator: Dr. Atef El Shabrawy & Mr. David Tee

Egypt & Belgium

Dr. Atef benefits from more than 25 years of experience in entrepreneurship, SME’s banking (Islamic & conventional) and social innovation. Currently advisor to the International Entrepreneurship Academy-Centennial Fund-KSA, and advisor for GESR-Social Innovation Center, Cairo-Egypt. Also SME’s advisor to the Federation of GCC Chamber of Commerce, KSA. He also participated in the design of the National Innovation System in Egypt in 2005.

David Tee is a serial entrepreneur, consultant and innovator with over 25 years professional experience in a variety of environments from Cambridge-based IT start-ups to Silicon Valley-based innovation consultancy to EU-funded project management. He has founded three companies, incubated new businesses, commercialised technology and consulted to both the public and private sectors. Working with EBN, David has supported the Quality Team in developing new tools for BIC benchmarking, with the Project Team developed the proposal for an FP7 Social Innovation Incubation project, under EuropeAid projects advised the EU-funded SRTD and EJADA projects in Jordan, supporting research, technology commercialisation, innovation and establishing a network of innovation centres.

Protection of Non-Agricultural Geographical Indications

Date: August, 5, 2015 | 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - CEST

High quality products coming from a particular territorial area are not only relevant in the agricultural sector but also in the handicraft, clothing, furniture and design sectors. These products are characterized by unique details and traditional production methods, often passed down from generation to generation, which deserve respect and protection like the agricultural Geographical Indications (GIs). The European Commission undertook a public consultation about the opportunity to take appropriate measures in this area at Community level. Two alternative solutions have been highlighted: harmonizing the legislation of individual member States or creating a unified and independent system of protection for non-agricultural GIs. Which are the future scenarios? GIs for non-agricultural products could represent a guarantee for consumers and a great economic resource for craftsmen.

Relator: Mr. Elio De Tullio

Managing Partner & IPR Attorney at De Tullio & Partners, Italy

Managing Partner of De Tullio & Partners. Attorney-at-Law. Admitted to the Bar in Italy since 1994. Registered European and Italian Trade Mark & Design Attorney. Recently nominated INSME Board Member. Deputy Secretary General of the Italy-Argentina Chamber of Commerce (CaCIA) and member of the Board of Directors of the Italy-Dominica Chamber of Commerce. Legal advisor for Istituto di Economia dei Media (Fondazione Rosselli) and Fondazione Valore Italia of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. Representing the International Trademark Association (INTA) as expert in the working groups set up by the OHIM for supporting the activities of the EU Observatory on infringements of IPRs and Chair of the homonymous Task Force. Italian member of the Intellectual Property Commission of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Chair of the Task Force on IP Infringement on the Internet. Cooperating as an expert with the European Commission, in particular with DG Enterprise & Industry, DG Enlargement, DG Research & Innovation and DG Market. Author of several publications and articles on Intellectual Property and IPR Enforcement. Among others, he was also editor and main author of the publication “The intangible wealth – Intellectual Property as an acceleration factor in the audiovisual market” published in 2011 by RAIZONE – ERI. Co-Author of Prof. Galli’s Commentary on Italian and European IP Law. Member of INTA (Chair of the EU Observatory Joint Task Force in the Anti-Counterfeiting Committee), ECTA (member of the Geographical Indications Committee and the Publication Committee), AIPPI, ALAI, ORIGIN, IAEL, ICC.

Innovation, Israeli Style

Date: July, 15, 2015 | 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - CEST

Imagine the world without drip irrigation, flash memory, voicemail, cherry tomatoes, computer firewalls and more. All these inventions come from Israel, an 8 million person, 20,000 country which is 453 times smaller than the US and comparable in size to Fiji, Slovenia and El Salvador. With the highest density of start-ups in the world, Israel has become known as the “Start-Up Nation” and Tel Aviv is now ranked second to Silicon Valley among the world’s start-up ecosystems (The Economist/GE Lookahead, Dec 2014). With US$ 15 Billion in exits, 2014 was a record year for Israel’s innovation ecosystem. $3.4 Billion in venture capital were invested in 688 companies, putting the per capita investment at almost three times the US figure, with absolute venture investment second only to the US. With 6,000 active technology companies across diverse sectors, it is no wonder that multinationals flock to Israel to acquire companies and establish R&D centres, more than 300 currently. How did a small, young, geographically isolated country with no natural resources achieve this feat? What lessons may be relevant to other countries, companies and individuals? Nava Swersky Sofer, the innovation guru quoted in the NY Times bestseller ‘Start-Up Nation’ and an INSME board member, will share the secrets of success.

Relator: Ms. Nava Swersky Sofer

President & Founding Board Member of the International Commercialization Alliance, Canada & Founder of NanoIsrael, Israel

Nava Swersky Sofer, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, senior executive, innovation & technology commercialization expert with 25 years of international experience, is recognized as a leader in the fields of innovation, venture capital and technology transfer and is a frequently-invited speaker on these topics. In addition to company boards and international consulting, she is currently President & Founding Board Member of the Toronto-based International Commercialization Alliance; Founder of NanoIsrael, the international nanotechnology conference & exhibition, an adviser to the Israeli government on innovation and international R&D collaborations and an adviser to the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on innovation. She is the Israeli delegate to OECD’s Business & Industry Advisory Council (BIAC) nanotechnology committee and development/innovation network, a board member of Rome-based INSME, the International Network of SMEs, and of the Brussels-based Knowledge Economy Network. She is a visiting professor at IE Business School in Madrid, a member of the Board of Governors and of the 11-person Executive Committee of the Ruppin Academic Centre, one of Israel’s leading colleges, and was recently named as one of the 500 leaders pre-selected (of over 8,000 candidates) to serve on the boards of directors of government-owned corporations. She is often quoted on Israeli innovation models, including in the best-selling book “Start-Up Nation”.

Enterprise Assessment Tool for Entrepreneurs (E8) – Supporting the entrepreneurial journey

Date: June, 24, 2015 | 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - CEST

Micro and small businesses are considered as vital engines for growth and job creation and play a crucial role in reaching the objectives of the economic development strategies of numerous countries. As part of the ongoing development of our eco-system for entrepreneurs TFEP has developed an Enterprise Assessment Tool for Entrepreneurs (E8) that enables budding and existing entrepreneurs around the world to test their competencies and determine their “entrepreneurial skill level deficit”, and evaluate any further training they may require. Entrepreneurs also have access to a continually evolving database of training course providers that offer a range of courses (including classroom and e-learning) that will help meet any “competency deficits” identified.
“ .. This is a unique initiative that will support entrepreneurs on their “entrepreneurial journey” to ensure they have the right skills for success and growth ..“ says Dr Paul Quantock, Chairman of The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Participation This self-assessment tool is an important element in the development of entrepreneurial education as it will determine the existing skill level of budding and existing entrepreneurs – which will assist policy makers and training institutions to further develop appropriate courses to meet the “skill deficits” identified by individuals.

Relator: Dr. Paul Quantock

Chairman of The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Participation (TFEP), United Kingdom

Dr Paul Quantock is the Chairman of The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Participation, as well Chairman of The Foundation for European Initiatives, Senior Partner at European Consultancy Services, Director of EU15 Ltd (an outplacement and training firm) and Director of P4ACE (a communications research consultancy). He has been assisting organisations of all types throughout the world for 42 years. Helping them to build their capacity and also offer general help and advice on EU matters (including securing grants). In 2006 he, together with influential Indian figures from Government and NGOs circles, created the “India Healthcare Training Think-Tank” to advise on the future training needs for India in the healthcare sector. Dr Quantock was the Joint Chairman. In 2013, with assistance from the UK Government, he created The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Participation. He has been recognized by the Governor and Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, USA for his International work and was awarded their highest honour, that of Kentucky Colonel and has also been appointed by the European Commission as one of their European Project Evaluation Experts in the field of vocational training.

Islamic Finance A Case Of Alternative Financial Solutions: A Trillion Dollar Industry

Date: May, 7, 2015 | 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - CEST

In the last 40 years Islamic Financial has evolved from a niche to main industry. The industry has grown at 15-20% per annum with assets expected to exceed USD 1.8 Trillion Dollars by 2016. 
Islamic finance is global phenomena found not only in the most populous Muslim countries or regions such as Far East Asia and the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) but we see a presence in Europe, Africa and Asia. In the webinar we will present on what are the principles of Islamic finance, what are the differences between Islamic Finance and Conventional Finance, the development of Islamic finance globally and what are the challenges and the factors that help in its growth and development.

Relator: Ms. Rahma Hassan Hersi

Managing Partner at AWAL CONSULTING LIMITED, Kenya

Ms. Rahma Hassan Hersi is one of the Founders and Managing Partners of Awal Consulting Limited, the first Islamic Financial Advisory Firm in East and Central Africa. Rahma has a Masters in International Comparative Law from the Robert McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis US and Bachelor of Laws in Islamic Law and Common Law from the International Islamic University of Islamabad Pakistan and a Diploma in Arabic from the International University of Africa Khartoum Sudan.

The Nordic Creative Sectors success-what´s in their drinking water?

Date: April, 23, 2015 | - CEST

Minecraft was just sold to Microsoft for 2.5 bn USD, compared Volvo, 80 years of Swedish industry history was sold to Geely for just 1.3 bn USD a couple of years ago. Supercell, the company behind Candy Crush, is the fourth biggest tax payer in Finland, just as Nokia lies dying. What makes the nordics stand out – how will the new industry leverage on the old and
how does this become the most vibrant startup ecosystem on earth?


Senior Business Adviser and Partner at Springfellow AB Sweden

Lars is a senior business adviser and a partner at Springfellow AB - a creative concept agency that delivers innovation strategies and concepts for international companies. Every working position he has previously held, gave him an opportunity to combine his extensive knowledge of emerging technologies with expertise in sales and business development. This mix works magically in ringing about novel solutions, products and concepts to clients. Lars is always providing an out-side-in perspective when it comes to companies’ ability to adapt and grow in rapidly changing markets and fast evolving technologies.

Engaging the 21st-century workforce – Global Human Capital Trends

Date: February, 24, 2015 | 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - CET

Global organizations have left the recession in the rear-view mirror and are  positioning themselves aggressively for growth. The need for caution has been superseded by the need to take action. Yet as the economic recovery takes hold, businesses realize that the workforce today has changed. Skills are scarce, workers have high expectations, and Millennials are now in charge. Enter the 21st -century workforce. The 21st -century workforce is global, highly connected, technology-savvy, and demanding. Its employees are youthful, ambitious and filled with passion and purpose. Critical new skills are scarce and their uneven distribution around the world is forcing companies to develop innovative new ways to find people, develop capabilities, and share expertise.

Relator: Mr. Claudio E. Fiorillo

Partner of the Consultancy Division at Deloitte & Leader of the Financial Industry Services for Latin American countries (LATCO)

Mr. Fiorillo has more than 22 years of experience in the Consulting area and financial sector industry. Specialized in banking and capital market, he was Manager of the Audit and Management Counseling Division of Arthur Andersen in Argentina and he is currently the Partner of the Consultancy Division in Deloitte where he was in charge of the Strategy & Operations and Human Capital services lines. Additionally, he is the Leader of Financial Industry Services for Latin American countries (LATCO). He has led several consultancy projects with local and regional clients in Latin American countries (such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, México, Panamá, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, among others). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and an MBA in Business Administration at EDDE (School of Business Management) Argentine Business University (U.A.D.E.). He has also completed a PMD (Program for Management Development) at ESADE Business School Campus Buenos Aires.