On 26th of November European Business Network held a seminar and panel discussion on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, recognizing the key role of SMEs in growing European economies.
Policies to foster the competitiveness of Lithuanian SMEs
Mr. Mindaugas Danys, Director of Small and Medium Business Department at Ministry of Economy, began the conference with an outline of main topics that are concerning all businesses not only in Lithuania, but the whole world.
These include business regulation, efficiency of government institutions, spatial planning and infrastructure, labor market, access to finance and promotion of entrepreneurship.
M. Danys expressed a positive opinion concerning the government institution “Entrepreneurship Lithuania”. According to him, it has achieved many successes and helped to start businesses both to young and older Lithuanians.
How the EU supports its SMEs
Mr. Christian Weinberger, Senior Adviser, DG Enterprise & Industry, EU Commission presented the ways how European Union promotes entrepreneurs across the whole continent.
One of these is the Small Business Act for Europe, which includes ten principles:
- Create an environment in which entrepreneurs and family businesses can thrive and entrepreneurship is rewarded.
- Ensure that honest entrepreneurs who have faced bankruptcy quickly get a second chance.
- Design rules according to the “Think Small First” principle.
- Make public administrations responsive to SMEs’ needs.
- Adapt public policy tools to SME needs: facilitate SMEs’ participation in public procurement and better use State Aid possibilities for SMEs.
- Facilitate SMEs’ access to finance and develop a legal and business environment supportive to timely payments in commercial transactions.
- Help SMEs to benefit more from the opportunities offered by the Single Market.
- Promote the upgrading of skills in SMEs and all forms of innovation.
- Enable SMEs to turn environmental challenges into opportunities.
- Encourage and support SMEs to benefit from the growth of markets.
Growing your business in a difficult external environment
Mr. Tom Hayes, Divisional Manager, Micro Enterprise & Small Business, Enterprise Ireland over-viewed the challenges that businesses face when working under difficult conditions.
The biggest challenge many businesses faced in the recent years was the financial crisis. T. Hayes described it as a tsunami.
While Ireland experienced many problems, it managed to survive, not without a very lively export sector.
He also expressed many concerns about the future development of technology, especially of energy sector in USA, also 3D printing and many others. As history has shown a lot of businesses can not predict how these innovations will play out in the future, thus do not prepare. And as most managers know, an unprepared businesses fail when faced by the competitors who are.
Those who want to succeed should always keep in mind the factors of customer reach, operational agility, cost competitiveness and stakeholder confidence.
Social Media - a tool for SMEs to Connect, Trade and Grow
Mr. Darius Bagdžiūnas, Director, Gaumina told the gathered guests his personal story. According to him, on the internet, if you want to be successful, you have to be funnier than some kind of picture of a kitten, because you compete for the attention of your customer.
Because of that, if a company today does not participate in social media it immediately loses, because it does not even try to attract the attention of its customers.
And if you want to be successful in this field, you will need people who have skill of new media literacy, understand “big data”, be able to analyze it.
EBN reporter Edgaras Savickas