After a tumultuous year and a half, the ‘SME Assembly‘; the main European event for SMEs. Over three days, the meeting brought together businessmen, economists and political authorities. Recovery from the economic crisis was the dominant topic of discussions, in addition to climate change and the recent COP26 summit.
“How crucial is it for SMEs to participate in the transition to a low CO2 economy?”asks Euronews journalist Paul Hackett.
“We all have to contribute if we want to achieve the goal of a low-carbon economy. Big companies, small companies, different sectors of the economy, consumers … everyone! Because, to a large extent it depends , also, of what consumers want. And, therefore, it is important that we do not contemplate the option that SMEs do not have to contribute. We need them, because they represent the bulk of companies. Furthermore, there are companies with a large number of of good ideas regarding how we can achieve this goal. Thus, it is important that we, as political authorities, support companies, SMEs, in that sense “, says Hubert Gambs, Deputy General Director of the Directorate General of Growth of the European Commission.
Innovative companies like Slovenian Pipistrel, participate in the fight against climate change. Producer of the world’s first certified electric aircraft, it is on a mission to change the future of aviation and the planet. The Velis Electro, used to train aspiring pilots, has an autonomy of one hour of flight. The company celebrates the success of the model, and contemplates ambitious goals.
“In five years, we will take to the skies with an airplane that will have a range of 600 kilometers, and that will be able to fly at a speed of 300 kilometers per hour, that will have between two and four seats for passengers, and without CO2 emissions. We will take to the skies with an unmanned aircraft, capable of transporting 400 kilos over several hundred kilometers, and fully electric, to reduce noise and carbon dioxide emissions “, says Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pipistrel.
Not all SMEs can produce the revolutionary technology needed to save the planet. A burning question this year, in the ‘SME Assembly‘was how to get companies to reduce their emissions as Europe weathered the coronavirus pandemic.
“You have to set goals, because every businessman needs energy, needs water … it has an impact on the ‘health’ of the planet. Thus, they are better informed about the consequences of climate change, because they will have to adapt their businesses. There are real risks So, they can be advised to learn and try to join the decarbonisation, as soon as possible, and as far as possible, “says Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, professor, climatologist and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007.
“It is about advising, providing information and also offering financial support. And in this, the European Commission will continue to play its role, because we need prosperous SMEs for the recovery. That is clear,” concludes Hubert Gambs.
In addition to addressing some of the great challenges that companies are facing at the moment, the ‘Assembly of SMEs’ recognized some initiatives and showed the best of European business talent.
This year, the Grand Jury Prize of the prestigious European Business Promotion Awards went to a German organization called COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige. This organization offers immigrant women counseling, training and networking opportunities to help them become self-employed, or start their own ‘small business’.
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The vital work of SMEs in the fight against global warming