Seldia Newsletter November 2012

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November 2012
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Seldia EU Exhibition on Female Entrepreneurship

Seldia is currently in the midst of preparations for an upcoming three day Exhibition which will take place from 19 to 21 February 2013 inside the European Parliament building in Brussels. The aim of the exhibition is to underline the importance of women entrepreneurs and the need to tackle remaining barriers which create extra difficulties for women when starting their own businesses. Recent figures from the European Commission show that Europe still lacks women entrepreneurs, as they only constitute 34.4% of the self-employed in the EU and their share in start-ups remains at around 30%. The EU clearly needs to place additional efforts in the promotion and analysis of the current trends and best practices.



While Seldia will focus on best practices from the direct selling sector and promote direct selling as an activity that naturally fosters entrepreneurship, the exhibition will gather a multitude of partnering organisations with similar interests. Seldia’s exhibition is kindly hosted by the Members of the European Parliament Mrs. Malgorzata Handzlik (EPP) and Mrs. Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D) and will allow participating organizations to showcase their best practices, research or their activities related to women entrepreneurship. 

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EUROPEAN DIRECT SELLING

Awmay’s Entrepreneurship Survey 2012
On 14 November 2012, over 30 people gathered for a breakfast discussion in the European Parliament to address the issue of entrepreneurship in the current economic crisis. Organised by Amway and hosted by German MEP Angelika Niebler, the panel was composed of Amway’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs Michael Meissner; Head of Unit in charge of Entrepreneurship, DG Enterprise & Industry Marko Curavic and GfK’s Research Consultant Sara Gysen. The event touched upon current trends, challenges and solutions impeding entrepreneurship to be fully recognised as a viable, appealing and safe career choice. The findings of the Amway Entrepreneurship Survey 2012 show that 69% of Europeans have a positive attitude towards self-employment and 78% estimate that entrepreneurship will be equally or more important in the modern working world ten years from now. 27% believe lack of public support as well as high administrative difficulties to be their main obstacles. 

Mr. Meissner underlined the need for a common effort to tap the full potential of entrepreneurship itself, a form of employment which contributes substantially to economic growth in Europe. Europe also needs to fight the preconceived fear to fail which seems to go hand in hand with entrepreneurship, something that Mr. Curavic noted too. The fear to fail, Curavic said, was inherent in our society and the approach to self-employment, an obstacle which could easily be removed through entrepreneurship education. Entrepreneurship education, the audience was told, is crucial to produce a creative, adventurous and business-savvy workforce, a workforce not only willing to take risks but prepared to fail and begin afresh. 

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Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program 

At the United States National Association of Community Colleges for Entrepreneurship’s (NACCE) annual conference in Chicago last month, Robin Diamond and Nancy Laichas introduced DSEF’s new community college curriculum—the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program (DSEP)—to an enthusiastic group of nearly 500 community college administrators, instructors, and staff. The Pampered Chef’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus Doris Christopher gave DSEP a ringing endorsement from the stage during her conference keynote address, calling it a “win-win-win” for community colleges, for the direct selling industry, and for the country’s 16 million direct sellers.


“The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program is an acknowledgment from the higher education community of the important entrepreneurial contribution of direct selling,” says DSEF Executive Director Charlie Orr. “The Direct Selling Education Foundation contributes and supports a range of meaningful activities for an ethical marketplace that promotes fairness, economic opportunity, and independence. The same values and influences that drive many individuals to pursue a direct selling entrepreneurial opportunity will motivate them to pursue the education that will bring them even greater success.” 
To learn more about it, please visit the website

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EU AT A GLANCE

REDING PUSHES 40% FOR WOMEN ON BOARDS
EU Justice Commissioner Vivane Reding’s initial proposal to impose gender quotas on company boards was met with such strong opposition that she decided to unveil a new, more watered down proposal on 14 November. The main aim is now to increase the gender diversity of corporate boards throughout the EU by setting a minimum objective of 40% female board members by 2020. If adopted by the European Parliament and Council, the directive will apply to private companies listed on the stock exchange which have a percentage of women lower than 40% among non-executive directors. The proposal is expected to apply to more than 5,000 publicly listed companies in the EU, but not to businesses with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than €50 million. Private companies will have until 2020 to achieve this goal, while public companies will have until 2018. While the 40% target is binding, the new proposal does not imply that by not reaching it there will be sanctions against a company.

Today, men comprise 91% of executive board members, 85% on non-executive board members and 96.8% of the boardroom chairs. Women account for 60% of new university graduates. “Today we are proposing a legislation to smash the glass ceiling that keeps talented women out of top jobs,” Reding said. She added that after decades of empty promises and failed attempts at self-regulation, it was time for the European Commission to take action.  The Commission’s proposal, will now pass for consideration to the European Parliament and the EU Council.

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ME Week organized by the EU Commission and the Cypriot presidency focuses on Women Entrepreneurship

The European SME Week Summit organized by the EU Commission and the Cypriot Council Presidency was held in Brussels between 15 and 21 October. Seldia was invited to attend the discussion on “Women’s Entrepreneurship Makes Business Sense” on the 17 October during which different panels discussed female entrepreneurship, encouraged women to become entrepreneurs and also highlighted the importance of closing the gender gap. During the Summit sessions, the need for entrepreneurial education tailored to women was reiterated. It was agreed that the earlier someone starts learning the better as, though age need not be a factor, time is. Encouraging and developing the entrepreneurial spirit is essential and has been greatly helped by the Mentorship programmes across Europe. The panel concluded by emphasizing that women account for only a 34.4% of the self-employed in Europe and are evidently a crucial source of economic growth. 

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EP calls for report on better governance of Single Market
In response to the Commission’s Communication on better governance for the Single Market, Parliament’s Internal Market Committee has published its report which highlights the significance of the Single Market as a means to resolve the current economic crisis. In the report, rapporteur Andreas Schwab (EPP, DE) focusses on the better transposition, implementation and application of EU legislation amongst Member States as well as stronger monitoring by the European Institutions. The report suggests the introduction of a ‘Single Market test’ at Member State level to assess whether new legislation adopted at national level may have a negative impact on the Single Market. In his report, Schwab calls on the Commission to submit a proposal to strengthen the governance of the Single Market, through a set of 8 recommendations. 

The EP IMCO report can be found here
For the EC Communication click here 

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European Consumer Centre report on Consumer complaints
The European Consumers Centres Network (ECC-Net) has published a report entitled “European Online Market Place – Consumer complaints 2010-2011”. The report focuses on complaints received by consumer centers from online cross border shoppers throughout 2010 and 2011. Of the 31,000 consumer complaints compiled for each year, 56% concerned online shopping. The report highlights the common reasons behind dissatisfaction amongst online consumers such as delivery problems and defective products, with non-delivery and non-conformity of products being the most widespread cause for complaint. The report goes on to demonstrate the existing obstacles to successful cross border e-commerce which include concerns over redress and secure payment. However it also shows that these concerns are slowly waning through better legislative implementation and better technological solutions for payment security. The report also found that for those consumers who wished to take action against a trader there exists a lack of suitable redress mechanisms. The ECC uses the report to endorse their support of the European Small Claims Procedure as a means to solve cross border disputes whilst also calling for a more efficient Alternative Dispute Resolutions bodies and Online Dispute Resolution platforms.

Additionally, the ECC-Net has provided a consumer checklist on how to avoid online fraud as well as action to take when things go wrong such as keeping track of all correspondence and contacting their nearest ECC. Traders are also given a checklist which include the fundamental legal obligations they must fulfill should they wish to trade online such as consumer information and data protection.
The full report can be found here 
The checklists for consumers and businesses can be obtained here

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Access to bank loans further restricted, SMEs report

On 2 November 2012, the European Central Bank published a survey on ‘Access to Finance of Small and Medium-sized Business in the Euro Area’. The survey was conducted between 3 September 2012 and 11 October 2012 and  was  based on the experiences of 7,514 European SMEs to successfully access future bank loans. Banks appear to have further restricted the criteria to take out loans, since 22 % of the surveyed firms reported tougher access to bank loans, compared to 20 % during the previous six months. 
To read the ECB’s survey, please click here
To read more about the SME Access to Finance survey, please click here
  

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Global Recalls Portal Launched 

As part of International Product Safety Week which took place between 15-19 October 2012, an international Global Recalls Portal was launched. In a joint project between the EU and OECD countries (including the US, Canada and Australia) the portal will aim to take unsafe products off the market. The launch of Global Recalls Portal will allow consumers to check if the product they have or intend to purchased complies with EU and International product safety requirements. The portal, which is in a searchable format, aims to improve consumer safety by creating a system of sharing of information between countries. SANCO Director General, Ms. Testori Coggi, OECD Deputy Secretary General, Mr Tamaki and US Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman, Ms. Tenenbaum, all encouraged government regulators, consumers and businesses to become frequent users of the portal.
To discover the Global Recalls Portal click here

  
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Success for EuroCommerce: Commission withdraws proposed “Made-In” Label
EuroCommerce, the Retail, Wholesale and International Trade Representation to the EU, of which Seldia is a member, has achieved an improtant lobbying success. The goal that EuroCommerce and many of its national members pursued since 2005 has finally been achieved: The European Commission has announced the withdrawal of its proposal for a mandatory origin marking scheme for certain imported products, better known as “Made-In” label. EuroCommerce’s Ralph Kamphöner, Director for International Trade, stated that “the WTO has been quite instrumental for this achievement, which would however have been impossible without your [EuroCommerce & members] continuous support on member state level, as the Commission’s justification for the withdrawal confirms: “In addition to lack of agreement in the Council, recent developments in the legal interpretation of WTO rules by the organisation’s Appellate Body have rendered this proposal outdated”.”

If adopted, this proposal would have created an obligation to indicate on certain imported non-food products (leather, footwear, clothing, …) the country of origin. This would have been costly and bureaucratic for EU importers and retailers, whereas EU manufacturers would have been exempted from that obligation – a classical non-tariff barrier to trade.

 

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Eurostat: Volume of retail trade

On 7 November 2012, Eurostat published the figures on the volume of retail trade in the euro area. In September 2012 compared with August 2012, the volume of retail trade fell by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and rose by 0.1% in the EU27.
To access the publication, please click here

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EVENTS

The third Annual European Data Protection Conference
4 December 2012, Brussels

Creating a Culture of Entrepreneurship (Forum Europe and Amway)

5 December 2012, Stanhope Hotel, Brussels
Female Entrepreneurship EU Exhibition (Seldia)

19-21 February, European Parliament, BrusselsTo top      

 

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Troy Dooly is recognized internationally as an influencer in the areas of personal branding, leadership development, marketing campaigns, organizational expansion, and corporate launch strategies. Dooly is a speaker, results coach, and radio host. He is a founding member, show host (Beachside CEO) and News Director of the Home Business Radio Network. He is a founding member, and currently serves on the Board of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals