The MobiliseSME Final Conference Was a Great Success
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017
The MobiliseSME Final Conference took place in Brussels on the 28th September 2017. The event, titled “The Future of a Mobility Scheme for SMEs and their Employees in Europe”, was attended by more than a hundred people which wanted to know more about the findings of MobiliseSME and what way forward would be most conducive to develop a cross-border mobility scheme for the employees of SMEs, like an Erasmus for small and medium-sized businesses.
The keynote speaker, which started the event, was Mr. Baudouin Baudru, Member of the Cabinet of Mrs. Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, where he is responsible for the EaSI programme. Mr. Baudru reminded the audience of the importance of skills development and lifelong training, explaining why they are priorities for the European Commission. “Lifelong learning is not just a way to boost our skills but also our economy” he said to emphasize the idea that any program helping workers develop skills would also have a tremendous added value for the productivity and competitiveness of the EU.
Mr. Baudru speech was followed by a presentation by Mr. Tobias Dudenbostel of Technopolis Group and Ms. Astrid Henningsen of Henningsen Consult. The two organisations were in charge of evaluating the results of MobiliseSME and illustrated the key findings of the project to the audience. Their presentation is available here.
The audience then had the occasion to listen to the perspective of Mr. Denis Genton, the Head of Unit D1, Free movement of workers and EURES, at DG EMPL of the European Commission. Mr. Denton’s unit was monitoring the progress of the project as the Commission wanted to evaluate the interest and test the possibility of a cross-border mobility scheme for the employees of SMEs. Looking at the future of a program for cross border exchange for SMEs and their employees, Mr. Denton stated that “this is the right moment to reflect upon it, as we are currently preparing the next Multi-annual Financial Framework”.
The next presentation was offered by Mr. Stefan Moritz, Executive Director of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, who, after emphasising the highly positive feedback provided by exchanges participants, summarised the key reasons for why it would be very important to continue with a broader project scaling up the work of MobiliseSME. It would help to set the ground for an Erasmus for SMEs and employees in Europe which would truly enable SMEs to make the best of the Single Market. Mr Moritz’s presentation can be found here.
Following a showing of the MobiliseSME video with the stories of entrepreneurs and employees who joined an exchange, the second part of the conference was structured around a series of interviews and short panel discussions moderated by Mr. Thomas Philipp Reiter. He started with a joint interview of Ms. Séverine Cartot and Ms. Giorgia Butturi, who participated together in an exchange, with Ms. Butturi visiting the company of Ms. Cartot.
The next panel aimed to present other instruments available to companies and their employees to make the best of the opportunities provided by the EU. Mr. Reiter chaired a discussion with Ms. Laurence de Richmont, Head of Unit R4, Single Market Service Centre, at DG GROW of the European Commission. Ms. de Richmont introduced the audience to services like the YourEurope portal and SolvIt, which helps citizens with questions about working in another EU country. Her fellow panellist, Ms. Katerina Nejdlova, Team Leader for Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs at DG GROW, presented the impact of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme. Ms. Nejdlova presentation is available here.
The two following panels were an interview with Mr. Stefan Gran, Head of the Brussels Office of the German Trade Unions Confederation DGB, who emphasised how beneficial an exchange program can be for employees in Europe, and a joint interview with the Count Jacques de Lailang, President of BDG, the MobiliseSME partner in Belgium, and Mr. Imre Maróczi, President of PÁTOSZ , the Hungarian MobiliseSME partner, who explained why their associations joined as project partners and what the experience was like.
A deeper political insight was then provided by the Member of European Parliament Mr. Brando Benifei, who emphasised that the European project also show its importance with programs that really provide added value to citizens, to society and to the economy. Programs like MobiliseSME, which foster skill training and lifelong learning, can really help boost Europe and show to citizens how European countries are stronger together.
The President of of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME & BVMW e.V., Mr. Mario Ohoven, provided the Final Impulse, remarking how SMEs are at the hearth of the European economy and should be supported in making the best of all the opportunities provided by the Single Market, including with a new program for the cross-border exchanges of staff: “MobiliseSME was up to prove that this approach is the right one, especially for the smaller companies with less than 10-15 employees. I think we can assert, if I look at the results from today’s final report, that we have proved this “.
The event than concluded with a networking coffee where participants had occasion to meet each other and the speakers, and to exchange ideas on how to move forward with an Erasmus for SMEs.
A photo gallery of the event is available here. Copyright reserved by European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME. For requests for use or for more info, please write at firstname.lastname@example.org.