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Helping Europe’s Entrepreneurs Reach New Heights With Crowdfunding

25 November 2016

bratislava-sme-assembly-2016-whiteboard

This week I was invited by the European Commission to present crowdfunding as a way for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to fund their growth. In the beaufitufl town of Bratislava, Slovakia, hundreds of people in suits & gathered to discover AeroMobil, congratulate themselves for great European entrepreneurship programs, and learn about the currents trends. Crowdfunding is key trend for SME… funding.

Below is the presentation. Visually horrible slides, I know, but I did put a lot of work into it and wanted it to be as complete and interestint as possible. When you talk to policymakers you have to speak their language.

Crowdfunding for European SMEs – #SMEAssembly2016 on Slideshare

The three-day event, of which I attended two, was very well-organized. I know something about Slovakian hospitality now. It’s also a positive sign from the Commission to having scheduled a masterclass about crowdfunding, a growing and very attractive way to fund entrepreneurial projects at various stages of the business lifecycle.

Today, an entrepreneur may even have more choice in funding through crowdfunding than through traditional banking and venture capital. It’s comparitively new & small, hence the need to educate. To that extent, I’m happy to contribute to spreading the word of alternative finance.

The good side of SME Assmbly if the sharing of knowledge, recognizing and rewarding best practices, inspiring cross-country collaboration and dissemination,  meeting people from small & big countries (at dinner I sat between a Latvian consultant and a Cypriot official). On the flipside, I missed the entrepreneurs, the innovation, the people who create & act more than they think & regulate.

Hence this 1-phrase statement that our group (2 Swedish, 1 Estonian, 1 Serbian, 1 Albanian and me) wrote down when thinking about entrepreneurship in 2026, 10 years from now. For us, Europe should become a totally transparent and connected businesses environment with limited bureaucracy. Structure and regulation is good, excessive bureaucracy is too much.

bratislava-sme-assembly-2016-post-it-2

Europe truly is a great idea, an ambitious project, the only way for this diverse old continent to exist on a global level. This is not to say that it was all about bureaucracy, regulation and policy; it a truly inspiring event.

But to me, this gathering of people in suits doesn’t represent the entrepreneurial vitality that was promoted, so maybe in the future SME Assembly could have more entrepreneurs participate ? More young people in t-shirts and jeans ? More business opportunities to attract founders and CEOs ? An exhibition of the host country’s most innovative companies ? Another venue than an exhibition center ?

This way it would represent Europe’s “United in diversity” motto even more. D’akujem Slovensko !

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