The European Year of Skills

The European Year of Skills:
Summit on Entrepreneurship,
One-Person Companies,
Self-Employment and Future of Work

Why is this conversation important?

During her State of the Union address on the 14th of September, Ursula von der Leyen, declared 2023 as the “European Year of Skills”. With increasing challenges for business in Europe, from climate change to environmental degradation, but also COVID-19, or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, anticipating and preparing Europe’s industrial competitiveness and security are of paramount importance. The green and digital transitions, which are necessary pathways to long-term sustainability, cannot fully work without a skilled and educated workforce. The owner of an SME, an employee or a worker of the future will need to simultaneously hone various skills in an increasingly digitalized, interconnected, and competitive economy. Industry needs to be able to prepare, while many companies are already experiencing difficulties in filling posts with workers that possess the necessary skills (e.g. 77% of EU companies reported such struggles in 2019, many of them SMEs). Moreover, already in 2018 according to research from the World Economic Forum, adequate training could provide similar or better work to around 96% of employees threatened by changing technologies.

A shift in mindset is necessary, with lifelong learning being the new normal, along with upskilling and reskilling. This will not only help in the digital and green transitions, but will also ensure a more resilient economy, that can bend and warp in times of, often unpredictable and fast, changes. This is also apparent with the appearance of growing economies like that of China, India, or Brazil, with which there will be increasing competition. Moreover, it is also important to provide an attractive work environment throughout Europe to draw talent from third countries and cultivate development, innovation, and R&D.

We call the private and public sectors, employers and employees, together with entrepreneurs and self-employed people, to work together and to support each other in ensuring a smooth transition for the future. This is the goal of the SME Connect Working Group on Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment meeting in Strasbourg, which will offer an opportunity to discuss in person the importance of training, support and cooperation with SMEs.

Meet our interlocutors

Angelika Winzig MEP Chair SME Intergroup and Vice President of SME Europe; Chair of the SME Connect Initiative for Self-Employment and One-Person-Companies
Maria Grapini MEP Vice-Chair of the IMCO Committee; Chair of the SME Connect Initiative for Self-Employment and One-Person-Companies
Horst Heitz Chair of SME Connect Steering Committee
Elin McCallum Director and Co-Founder, Bantani Education - The EntreComp Community
Katarina Kakalikova Director of Government Engagement, Mastercard
Jasmin Leheta OPC-Entrepreneur “JasminLehetaStyling”
Benoit Haecker Country Director for France and Belgium, Herbalife
Patrick Wind CEO of Burnout Network
Michael Jäger CEO of European Economic Senate, Secretary General of the Taxpayers Association of Europe
Leena Whittaker Director of Competitiveness coordinating advocacy on retail and wholesale ecosystem competitiveness at EuroCommerce
Xavier Mirel Policy Advisor for Skills at EuroChambres
Heinz Ramseier Founder and Chairman of blueDom Swiss
Anne Schmidt-Gahlen „Annergie“, One-Person-Company Entrepreneur, Mindset- and Epigenetic-Mentor for Founder and Entrepreneurs
Mathieu Poulat Entrepreneur and Herbalife Distributor
Lukas Mandl MEP Committee on Employment and Social Affairs; Board Member of SME Connect
Radan Kanev MEP Committee on Employment and Social Affairs; Board Member of SME Connect
Glen Hodgson Founder and CEO of the think tank Free Trade Europa and Secretary General of Freelance Movement

Agenda

  • 4:30 PM
    WELCOME & GROUP PICTURE
    (ROOM: LOW R -1.2)

    THE EUROPEAN YEAR OF SKILLS

    Angelika Winzig MEP Chair of the SME Intergroup in the European Parliament,
    Vice-President of SME Europe
    Chair of the SME Connect Initiative for Self-Employment and One-Person-Companies
    Maria Grapini MEP Vice-Chair of the IMCO Committee;
    Chair of the SME Connect Initiative for Self-Employment and One-Person-Companies
  • 5:15 PM
    PANEL I:
    DISCUSSION WITH Q&A
    (ROOM: LOW R -1.2)

    How do we become a society of lifelong learning Entrepreneurs?

    Elin McCallum Director and Co-Founder, Bantani Education - The EntreComp Community
    Benoit Haecker Country Director for France and Belgium, Herbalife
    MATHIEU POULAT Entrepreneur and Herbalife Distributor
    Katarina Kakalikova Vice President Public Policy Central Europe, Mastercard
    Radan Kanev MEP EMPL Committee
    Board Member of SME Connect
    Moderated by Horst Heitz Chair of SME Connect Steering Committee
  • 7:30 PM
    RECEPTION
    (MEP SALON)

    WELCOME BY

    DR. HORST HEITZ Chair of the SME Connect Steering Committee
    Executive Director of SME Europe
  • 8 PM
    DINNER
    (MEP SALON)

    THE EUROPEAN YEAR OF SKILLS

    GUESTS OF HONOUR
    Inese Vaidere MEP
    ECON Committe;
    Senator of SME Europe
    Board Member of SME Connect
    GUESTS OF HONOUR
    SunÄŤana Glavak MEP
    AFET, ENVI Committees
    Board Member of SME Europe
    KEYNOTE BY Glen Hodgson Founder and CEO of the think tank Free Trade Europa;
    Secretary General of Freelance Movement
  • 9:15 AM
    PANEL II:
    DISCUSSION WITH Q&A

    What do I need to learn now to be an Entrepreneur in the future?

    Xavier Mirel Policy Advisor for Skills at EuroChambres
    Leena Whittaker Director of Competitiveness coordinating advocacy on retail and wholesale ecosystem competitiveness with EuroCommerce
    Elin McCallum Director and Co-Founder, Bantani Education - The EntreComp Community
    Jasmin Leheta OPC-Entrepreneur “JasminLehetaStyling”
    Glen Hodgson Founder and CEO of the think tank Free Trade Europa and Secretary General of Freelance Movement
    Patrick Wind CEO of Burnout Network
    Moderated by Horst Heitz Chair of SME Connect Steering Committee
  • 11:15 AM
    PANEL III:
    DISCUSSION WITH Q&A

    Reality of Enterpreneurship in Europe

    Michael Jäger CEO of European Economic Senate, Secretary General of the Taxpayers Association of Europe
    Heinz Ramseier Founder and Chairman of blueDom Swiss
    Anne Schmidt-Gahlen „Annergie“, One-Person-Company Entrepreneur, Mindset- and Epigenetic-Mentor for Founder and Entrepreneurs
    MATHIEU POULAT Entrepreneur and Herbalife Distributor
    Moderated by Horst Heitz Chair of SME Connect Steering Committee
  • 12:15 PM
    LUNCH

    POLITICS AND OPC-S/ SELF-EMPLOYED IN EUROPE

    Lukas Mandl MEP EMPL Committe,
    Board Member of SME Connect
    Erik BERGKVIST MEP (TBC) TRAN, REGI; ITRE Committees
    Board Member of SME Connect

Partners of our summit