SME EnterPRIZE is the initiative launched by Generali in 2021 on the occasion of the Group’s 190th anniversary to promote a culture of sustainability among European SMEs.

The SME EnterPRIZE project was created with the intention to:

  • support SMEs in their sustainable transition, consistent with the European ambition to develop a greener and more inclusive economy;
  • stimulate public debate on the importance of sustainability for SMEs, promoting further research on the subject;
  • highlight significant examples of responsible business, recognising entrepreneurs that can become an inspirational model for others to follow.

The third edition of Sme EnterPRIZE in Europe

SMEs collectively represent more than half of Europe’s GDP and 99% of companies in the EU, they are the bedrock of the European economy and are essential drivers of sustainable transition.

This year’s edition - the third one -
celebrated the ten “Sustainability Heroes” drawn from over 7,000 small and medium-sized businesses which were selected from across Europe. The aim is that they can become an inspirational model for fellow entrepreneurs and be ambassadors of sustainability. The companies selected in the areas of environment and social come from the ten European countries that have joined the initiative: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain.

The event saw the attendance of senior European policymakers, including Valdis Dombrovskis – Executive Vice President of the European Commission for An Economy that Works for People and European Commissioner for Trade, Paolo Gentiloni - European Commissioner for Economy, Martina Dlabajová - Co-chair of the SME Intergroup, European Parliament, and Pina Picierno - EU Parliament Vice-President. Academic leaders, as well as Generali’s senior leadership also attended. The 2023 edition also hosted a message from Marcos Neto – Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau of Policy and Programme Support.

By partnering with SDA BocconiSchool of Management a dedicated White Paper and Research project was published: built on the basis of discussions with over 1,000 SMEs from across Europe, has captured the challenges and opportunities which SMEs are facing and has suggested policy initiatives for Europe’s decision makers to implement. Generali has also established a strategic partnership with European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, which is aimed at further reinforcing sustainability, competitiveness, and innovation in European SMEs.

Philippe Donnet, Generali Group CEO, said: “Much has happened since 2021, when Generali launched SME EnterPRIZE, its flagship project to promote a culture of sustainability among European small and medium-sized enterprises and support them as they integrate it into their businesses. While these companies had to endure significant challenges related to the energy crisis, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the third White Paper issued by Generali and SDA Bocconi underlines that the number of European SMEs that are embracing sustainable business models keeps increasing, and that the business case for doing so remains very strong. However, there are still substantial obstacles and barriers preventing more companies from following the same path. Therefore, it is key that policymakers act to reduce bureaucracy and raise awareness, while larger private enterprises must offer not only products or services but also their know-how. It is a complex process that will take time, and we are not there yet. But we must spare no effort – as it is in the interest of all of us to build a stronger, safer, more prosperous and sustainable Europe.”

Generali Group General Manager, Marco Sesana said: “Our ‘Lifetime Partner 24: Driving Growth’ strategy has sustainability as its originator. It is a lens for how we see our business and our relationship with the communities that we are part of. As Europe’s leading insurer we have been raising awareness on the challenges that SMEs face for three years and have reached thousands of SMEs across Europe to find the most sustainable ways of working, highlighting businesses that are doing well by doing good. At the same time, we have championed research to understand the challenges and opportunities SMEs face. The three years of SME EnterPRIZE have underlined that there is still a strong commitment from SMEs to make their business more sustainable, despite a challenging environment. We will continue to support their journey to build an inclusive, green and sustainable European economy.”


In 2024, Generali has also expanded the SME EnterPRIZE project in Asia, building on the engagement carried out with thousands of SMEs from across Europe over the past 3 years. As in Europe, small and medium enterprises are the backbone of Southeast Asian economy, representing more than 95% of companies and acting as both a pillar and a driver of socio-economic development.

This came as Generali and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) brought together institutional and industry representatives in Kuala Lumpur on March 6th, to present concrete solutions on how to boost small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) resilience against climate change and other risks.

The event saw:

Jaime Anchústegui Melgarejo, CEO International of Generali, said: “The MSME community in Malaysia, Thailand and the broader Asia region are an indispensable part of the growth and development stories of these markets. However, they face very real and intensifying risks from climate change and other factors that are affecting business continuity and their ability to capture emerging opportunities. Insurance is at the heart of the solution for making SMEs and MSMEs more resilient and is the driving force behind Generali’s partnership with UNDP. Bringing SME EnterPRIZE to Asia, launching our SME Loss Prevention Framework and progressing our Insurance Innovation Challenge Fund are key milestones in our effort to support vulnerable businesses in Asia. I’m eager to continue our collaboration with UNDP and find new ways to make a lasting impact.”

Rob Leonardi, Regional Officer International – Asia, Generali, said: “MSMEs have long been a key driver of growth and innovation in Asia. Their contributions to the development of this region are indisputable, yet they are increasingly vulnerable to risks flowing from climate change, geopolitical tensions and market disruptions. Our partnership with UNDP recognises these challenges and is aimed at utilising insurance and risk finance solutions to increase coverage among MSMEs and boost their resilience. The various initiatives are all designed to meet businesses where they are in their journeys and ensure they have access to the solutions they need to thrive. I’m grateful for the hard work that has gone into this partnership so far, and I look forward to what more we can achieve together in the future.”

Lucia Silva, Generali Group Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “Promoting a culture of sustainability among SMEs and ensuring their financial resilience means supporting sustainable development and reducing the protection gap for vulnerable communities. This is why we have developed SME EnterPRIZE, our flagship initiative which supports SMEs in their transition to socially and environmentally sustainable business models. And today, it is with great pride that we see this project growing also in Asia, building on the engagement carried out with thousands of SMEs from across Europe over the past years. We firmly believe public-private partnerships and the direct involvement of SMEs themselves will be critical to achieve the goals that we share with UNDP: that is how we will remain on the right track to build a more inclusive and greener future, for people and the planet.”

Discover more on Generali and UNDP’s ‘Building SME Resilience in Asia’ event