About the First Conference -
Entrepreneurship in United Europe - Challenges and Opportunities
13 - 17 September 2006, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
The expanding united Europe creates a lot of new opportunities for economic and social development but it also puts more and more new challenges to its members. On the one hand there is the united market with about 500mln customers, the decreasing administrative and customs barriers, the easier movement of firms and citizens. On the other hand, challenges are the level of the European competitiveness, the differences between the old and the new member states, the difficult combination of business (economic) and social aims. Therefore, the enlargement of united Europe requires new political and social changes that will achieve in practice the integration goals and will secure the leading position of Europe in the global development.
Entrepreneurship is the main engine of these transformations in united Europe since not only the economy, but society as a whole and each citizen in particular benefit from its results. That is why the development of entrepreneurship for the purpose of using the growing potential of united Europe is a matter of interest to the respective ‘policy makers’, as well as to researchers, teachers, consultants and, of course, to the entrepreneurs and managers themselves.
In this context, the realisation of the international conference Entrepreneurship in United Europe – Challenges and Opportunities, 13 – 17 September 2006 in the Black Sea resort Sunny Beach – Bulgaria, was a natural response to this growing interest towards entrepreneurship. In the course of several days outstanding teachers, researchers, consultants, policy makers, entrepreneurs and managers from many countries discussed multiple aspects of entrepreneurial activity from different perspectives.
At the plenary meeting were presented key reports, investigating important and less known concepts and sides of entrepreneurship. Here can be pointed out the contribution of Professor D. Smallbone about connecting researchers and policy makers in the field of entrepreneurship and small business. Professor A. Haahti discussed original views on the new direction called “experience economy”, analysing the experience of Lapland entrepreneurs working in difficult conditions. Professor M. Merlino presented an interesting report on entrepreneurial activity in the mature and declining industries, a subject underestimated in the scientific researches. The report of Professor B. Piasecki and Professor A. Rogut was very rational. It presented analysis and conclusions concerning the influence of the EU membership on the newly accessed countries, more specifically on Poland, analysing the positive and negative aspects. The state and development of entrepreneurial activity in the candidate EU members Bulgaria and Romania, as well as what is about to be done was discussed in the reports of Professor K. Todorov and Professor O. Nicolescu.
The role and the different forms of entrepreneurship and small business in united Europe, the member countries and the candidates were discussed within the separate sections.
t the first place, here should be mentioned the discussion on the formation of jointly-efficient policy towards small and medium-sized firms, taking in mind their dependence on other policies and practical implementation.
An important aspect of the subjects of the conference was the relationship and display of the social economy, social entrepreneurship and social responsibility.
A strong presentation was made of the trends and practices in entrepreneurial education and training and, more precisely, of the Columbian model for training in entrepreneurial competences.
The always interesting problems of the relationship innovation – growth – leadership in the SMEs received appropriate attention at this conference too. The significant results gained from the research of the factors of entrepreneurial success in several countries were the basis for other important discussions.
The state of entrepreneurship and SMEs in the member countries on the one hand, and in the EU candidate countries on the other hand, was a good basis for comparison, lessons, conclusions and recommendations to practitioners and policy makers.
In the conference also took part a number of young researchers, teachers, university and high-school students studying entrepreneurship (united in this proceeding under the motto Young Presenters). All of them presented reports on interesting and perspective subjects and thus declared their intentions for future professional development.
Along with the sessions, a round table meeting was carried out where the relationship ‘researchers – policy makers – entrepreneurs’ was discussed. At this meeting took part entrepreneurs from Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Serbia, who presented their views, problems and achievements.
Together with the achieved results presented in this book, the Conference was also rich in different events and marked by a friendly atmosphere, which was created by all participants. That is why the existing networks were developed and new ones were established, agreements for joint projects and other initiatives were prepared. The participants expressed their hope that the Conference will be regularly organised every two years and will keep its form, casual atmosphere and informal communication style.