June 2017

Thinking Europe, Going Global: The Future of Business Summit

In a unique collaboration, the Lisbon Council and Facebook convened The Future of Business Summit. Gathering in the gorgeous Concert Noble in Brussels around the timely theme Thinking Europe, Going Global, the summit united a dozen insanely successful European small- and medium-sized business leaders, senior policymakers and digital aficionados for a lively day of high-level discussion, direct exchange, business-model discovery and digital engagement. Kaja Kallas, member of the European Parliament (ALDE-Estonia); Eva Maydell, member of the European Parliament (EPP-Bulgaria); Thomas Myrup Kristensen, head of the Facebook Brussels office; and Khalil Rouhana, deputy director-general for communications, networks, content and technology at the European Commission, spoke in the Opening Plenary, where they discussed the future of the digital single market – and the way Europe can help small- and medium-sized businesses and how SMEs can help build Europe. Paul Hofheinz, president and co-founder of the Lisbon Council; Chaya Nayak, public policy research manager at Facebook, and David Osimo, head of research at the Lisbon Council, presented the Future of Business Survey, a unique four-partite collaboration – including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank – to take the pulse of Europe’s fastest growing businesses – and translate them into actionable advice and new policy initiatives. Ciaran Quilty, vice-president for SMEs in the EMEA at Facebook, discussed Facebook’s commitment to SMEs. Later, Irmfried Schwimann, deputy director-general in the directorate for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG-GROW), described the European Commission’s plans and priorities for the SME sector; Catherine Gazzoli, founder of Piccolo FoodsPatrick Kelly, marketing manager at Aran Sweater Market; and Daniel Gorr, chief marketing officer of Holzconnection, discussed the challenges their businesses face, the opportunity that digital technology had brought, and the way they had managed to grow and prosper regardless. Throughout the day, participants had the chance to mingle with leading European entrepreneurs and experiment with new virtual reality technology.