3rd edition of SME EnterPRIZE: Generali extends its search for Europe’s most sustainable SMEs

12 May 2023 - 11:00
  • Generali is seeking to boost a culture of sustainability in SMEs in order to build a green and inclusive European economy
  • SDA Bocconi – School of Management will create a dedicated White Paper and Research project, focusing on the opportunities and challenges Europe’s SMEs face in their sustainability journey
  • Generali partners with European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME to reinforce sustainability, competitiveness, and innovation in European SMEs

Milan – Generali’s SME EnterPRIZE, its flagship initiative to boost a culture of sustainability in Europe’s SMEs, is underway. Generali is searching for the most sustainable SMEs across Europe, looking to find best practices which can inspire other entrepreneurs and help society tackle our environmental and social challenges.

This year’s edition, the third one, will involve SMEs from ten EU countries: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. 
In each country, Generali will work through its distribution network, local partners, and the member associations of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME in all involved EU countries to discover local Sustainability Heroes who will be given special recognition at a dedicated event in Brussels this Autumn. The ‘Sustainability Heroes’ are entrepreneurs that have implemented notable sustainability initiatives in their business activities that can become an inspirational model for fellow entrepreneurs. The initiative highlights best practices across two categories: Environment and Social.

SMEs can find out more information on how to participate through: www.sme-enterprize.com/what-is-sme-enterprize

In partnership with SDA Bocconi – School of Management, there will also be a dedicated White Paper and Research project to understand the challenges and opportunities Europe’s SMEs face in their sustainability journey. Generali has also established a strategic partnership with European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, through their R&D project platform GreenerSME, aimed at further reinforcing sustainability, competitiveness, and innovation in European SMEs.

Generali believes that Europe’s SMEs are essential to meet the EU’s ambition to build a greener and more inclusive economy. Across the past two years, SME EnterPRIZE reached over 13,000 SMEs in its search for Sustainability Heroes, and, with this edition, will have interviewed more than 2,000 SMEs as part of the White Paper research project.

Prior Sustainability Heroes include:

  • Mint Future GmbH, a German-based business, enabling the owners of electric vehicles to turn saved CO2 emissions into cash or sustainability projects;
  • CleverFarm, a Czech agriculture business committed to developing smart solutions for farmers such as IoT-based sensors and precision agriculture tools; and
  • Rioma, a textile company that created a foundation operating in Spain and South America to support young people at risk of social exclusion.

Philippe Donnet, Generali Group CEO, said: We launched SME EnterPRIZE with the aim to promote a culture of sustainability among SMEs and support them as they embrace it, while at the same time, give public visibility to the most inspiring success stories. This is part of our effort to make Generali the Lifetime Partner to SME enterprises in Europe. In the previous two editions of our initiative, we have reached out to over 13,000 SMEs through our distribution networks, and looked at how institutions can help accelerate sustainability transition through policy choices – which is at the heart of SDA Bocconi’s research and White Paper. Our commitment to SME enterprises remains as strong and as meaningful as ever, since Europe’s sustainable future will depend on their success.”

If we are asked how to convince SMEs to embrace the sustainable transition, an excellent starting point would be the ESG ‘business case’”, said Francesco Perrini, Associate Dean for Sustainability at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Full Professor of Economics and Business Management, and Scientific Coordinator of the SME EnterPRIZE White Paper research project. “Our research confirms the positive link between sustainability-oriented social and environmental commitment and a range of corporate performance benefits. In other words, SMEs that invested early in sustainability – including in clean and renewable energies, energy efficiency, and saving, reuse or recycling of materials – are now better equipped than others in facing the complexities we are experiencing, seizing new competitive and market opportunities, and managing their risks more effectively.”

Stefan Moritz, Secretary General of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME underlined that “countering climate change and promoting sustainable development is a priority for the majority of SMEs and Mid-Caps, and it will be even more in the coming years. Small and Medium-sized companies as well as Mid-Caps in this process towards a Green Economy need to be supported, assisted, encouraged, and not overloaded with bureaucratic or economic burdens that make it more and more difficult to cope with the challenges ahead of us. SME EnterPRIZE is a great positive example on how we can encourage more companies to follow the good examples of others. We as Europe’s Mittelstand are proud to be Generali’s partner in this.