Validated Lead Expert
B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development:
For over 10 years, I have been working on European collaborative projects across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Although predominantly focused on economic and community development, particularly with small and medium sized enterprises, the range of specific activities has been quite wide ranging. This includes business support, entrepreneurship (virtual and ‘bricks & mortar’), social innovation and inclusion. My professional experiences, combined with my educational background – I have a Master’s degree in Economic Development and Local Authorities Cooperation in Europe and a Post Graduate Certificate in Programme Evaluation - have given me a sound understanding of the challenges facing urban communities in different geographies and socio-economic contexts. The heart of sustainable urban development is to ensure that communities, large or small, can integrate their local values, needs and requirements with the greater political, economic and environmental constraints. The problems facing our cities are growing more complex and while the solutions are many and varied, community collaboration and participation is essential to ensure that the approaches taken are truly sustainable and not just creating further problems in the future.
1: The candidate demonstrates convincing proof of his understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level:
From my experience of working in international and partnership organisation, I gained a good understanding of how transnational exchange and learning can provide tremendous opportunities for reflection and development of new approaches to common challenges. Whether that is declining neighbourhoods, unemployment and vulnerable communities or air pollution, the problems are universal, but many solutions are local. Through the sharing of approaches, concepts and solutions, not only can local policy-making be improved, but individual capacity and ability is also enhanced. One of the key challenges however is reconciling the different perspectives and capacities with individual or community capability. The institutional and historical background of less developed regions of Europe is considerably different to more developed regions. Transnational learning processes, such as URBACT, need to recognise that and identify the best approaches to maximise the respective strengths. As the coordinator of the London’s ULSG for URBACT Markets, I had the opportunity to attend the ULSG national training days and to apply the URBACT methods and tools, through the different stages of setting up the ULSG - from informing the members on what a ULSG does and how, through to building their participative capacity to sharing knowledge and adopting new practices, thus making of the most of the transnational opportunities.
1: Тhe candidate provides one significant transnational activity that demonstrates understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level (e.g. URBACT markets).
B.3. Proficiency in English:
I have been living and working in the UK for the past 6 years. I have written a large variety of documents from briefing notes to bids and proposals to formal reports for elected representatives. I have also spoken at local and international events.
1: The candidate points to convincing evidence of his proficiency in English.
Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers:
As the London’s coordinator for URBACT Markets project, I presented the London’s experience on markets at the Central Markets conference in Usti, Czech Republic (June 2013). Addressing an audience of non-English-speakers, I used created a Pecha Kucha inspired Powerpoint presentation with mainly graphs, pictures and drawings and highlighted key words to translate the very complex local situation of London. As the Communication manager at EFAA, a key aspect of my role was to translate the outcomes of the expert groups into meaningful messages to members in different Member States, avoiding use of jargon and technical vocabulary, which would likely have alienated the audience. As the EU Affairs adviser at CGPME I was also responsible for producing short briefing notes and factsheets on complex and lengthy EU policy and technical documents affecting small businesses into jargon-free communications that could be understood at all levels. I used ‘tips’ and ‘highlights’ boxes in my documents and whenever possible included explanatory illustrations and graphs for a smoother reading experience.
1: The candidate points to several examples of how she is able to define a good communication approach.
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants:
At EFAA, I coordinated and contributed to the production of several position papers on relevant EU policies and regulations, drawing on the work done by the Expert Groups (http://www.efaa.com). The position papers were circulated to the organisation’s members as well as the European Commission and European Parliament. At CGPME, I contributed to the production of the Corporate Social Responsibility Guide, providing useful information on CSR and good practice examples and case studies (http://www.cgpme.fr/internationals/voir/535/guide-rse) as well as the CSR information factsheet (http://www.cgpme.fr/internationals/voir/536/rse-mode-d-emploi), which were produced as part of the European programme ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Awareness Raising for SMEs’ in 2004. At local level, as project manager of the London’s ERDF Supply Cross River project and its successor Supply Cross River 2, I led on the production of the project’s dissemination material, including the project leaflet, case studies and the project website (http://supplycrossriver.co.uk), with the aim to promote the impact of European Structural fund intervention on London’s economic growth.
1: The candidate provides a number of convincing examples of outputs to support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants.
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away:
As the coordinator of the URBACT Markets project for London, I was responsible for capturing the knowledge, good practices, research and policy experiences at local and transnational level, in order to enable learning. I produced reports on the transnational meetings, circulated to all LSG members and relevant stakeholders in a timely fashion, and highlighting areas of shared/expressed interests and good practice, and whenever possible including relevant supporting visuals (photos, links to videos, etc,). The content of the reports was also discussed at the LSG meetings to allow for further exchange and questions. I also wrote articles on the transnational meeting learning and site visit experience in CRP’s newsletter and on CRP’s URBACT Markets page. When working at CGPME on the Corporate Social Responsibility Awareness Raising for SMEs programme, I contributed to the development and production of a short video featuring various European small entrepreneurs who had participated in the programme and who shared their experience of CSR and what they had learnt from the programme. The video was then shown at various SME events in France and in Brussels mainly.
1: The applicant points to more than two valid examples of how the results were captured for the participants to take away.
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages:
At Cross River Partnership, I wrote various papers for Local Authority officers and Cabinet members. In particular, I led on the production of a paper on procurement policies and practice and their impact on local SME growth and employment, comparing experiences from different local authorities and capitalising on the knowledge and experience from the Supply Cross River project. As a result I was invited by Westminster City Council Procurement policy team to contribute to the development of the Council’s SME engagement policy. I also carried out the evaluation of Westminster Neighbourhood Enterprise project (2008-2011) commissioned by Westminster City Council, which included policy and project improvement recommendations (promotion of joint working across neighbourhoods around enterprise support, partnership working with voluntary sector organisations to outreach vulnerable populations, etc.), which were included in the overall policy recommendation for economic development to the Cabinet member for Business. When working in Brussels at CGPME and then at EFAA, I produced briefing notes and factsheets on various European communications and policies, as means to inform both the organisations’ members and their elected members and to raise interest on sensitive topics at national and European level.
1: The candidate provides convincing examples demonstrating his ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages.
Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
I have always worked in an international, multicultural environment and with partners across Europe. I have extensive experience of developing and delivering European collaborative and transnational programmes across the public, private and voluntary sectors, including European Structural Funds (URBACT, ERDF). At Nesta, the innovation charity in the UK, I led on the development of their European portfolio, developing new projects (in particular in the field of web entrepreneurship and social innovation) and partnerships, moderating consortium meetings, and developing guidance and tools for, and providing expert advise on, European project management and implementation. At Cross River Partnership, a public private partnership delivering regeneration in central London, I led on the design and delivery of complex partnership projects, including an ERDF capacity building programme for SMEs ‘Supply Cross River’ and the URBACT II Sustainable Urban Markets project (URBACT Markets). I was the London’s project manager for the URBACT Markets project and coordinator of its ULSG. I prepared the baseline study for London. For URBACT, I was also a facilitator of a transnational workshop on efficient participative action planning at the URBACT Summer University in Dublin in 2013. I therefore have a good understanding and command of the URBACT Method and tools.
The candidate meets the criteria regarding the expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities. In addition, Mrs. Cugnet shows a very good understanding of URBACT method and tools.There are no identified inconsistencies between the summary and the replies, nor between the information in the application form and CV.
Theme / Policy:
Entrepreneurship and competitive SMEs
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.:
I have over 10 years experience of working in the field of business support and SME entrepreneurship. At Nesta, I led on the development of successful Horizon 2020 projects on web-entrepreneurship and ICT-enabled entrepreneurship prize design. At Cross River Partnership, I delivered the ERDF Supply Cross River capacity building programme for SMEs, which promoted supplier diversity to private and public sector buyers and offered business support to local suppliers in Central London, thus creating economic growth and employment opportunities. I also carried the evaluation of the Westminster Neighbourhood and Enterprise project commissioned by Westminster City Council. When working at the French Confederation for SMEs Representation to the EU and then at the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs, my main focus was to inform and lobby on, European policies affecting businesses, and SMEs in particular, ranging from access to finance through to social and environmental matters to capacity building programmes for entrepreneurs across Europe. Whilst at the CGPME, I also wrote an internal research paper comparing the US and EU Small Business Act. I am currently working with universities and business support organisations in London to develop programmes to improve the quality and level of interventions in accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces. I have a Master’s degree in Economic Development and Local Authorities Cooperation in Europe.
1: The candidate shows sufficient experience in the theme of entrepreneurship and competitive SMEs.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved:
At Cross River Partnership, I wrote various papers for Local Authority officers and Cabinet members. In particular, I led on the production of a paper on procurement policies and practice and their impact on local SME growth and employment, comparing experiences from different local authorities and building on the knowledge and experience from the Supply Cross River project. This paper directly fed into the development of Westminster City Council SME engagement policy. When working in Brussels at the French Confederation for SMEs Representation to the EU and then at the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs, I produced briefing notes and factsheets on various European communications and policies, as means to inform both the organisations’ members and their elected members and to raise interest on sensitive topics at national and European level. I also wrote position papers on various European Commission’s communications and policy papers on topics such as - the simplification of business environment in Europe - the development of financial instruments for SMEs - the European green paper on entrepreneurship I also contributed to the production of the Corporate Social Responsibility good practice guide for entrepreneurs in Europe.
1: The applicant provides more than 2 valid examples demonstrating his ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process.
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice:
As the project manager for the Supply Cross River initiative, I produced the final project report, which featured successful case studies and testimonies from small entrepreneurs and buyers who had benefitted from the programme, a summary of the main achievements and contribution to London’s economic development priorities and policy recommendations for improving procurement practices. The report was presented at the Greater London Authority to an audience of small entrepreneurs and local authority policy makers and procurement officers (September 2013). At the CGPME, I contributed to the production of the Corporate Social Responsibility good practice guide for entrepreneurs in Europe, which included case studies and policy recommendations on how to encourage and implement CSR (http://www.cgpme.fr/internationals/voir/535/guide-rse).
1: The applicant provides two examples that demonstrate her ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange and learning activities, put forward good practice and policy messages targeting city practitioners and urban policy-makers.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes:
As the London coordinator for the URBACT II Sustainable Urban Markets project (URBACT Markets), I was responsible for collating the information for partner learning, translating the outcomes of the transnational activities into meaningful messages to the different target groups, making appropriate use of media, in line with the project dissemination strategy. For example, I produced regular updates for CRP’s website to introduce the project and concepts to a broad audience, wrote articles about URBACT Markets local and transnational activities in CRP’s newsletter, and updates for the project website to ensure a broad dissemination of activities and outputs. I also participated and presented the URBACT Markets projects at events in London and in Europe (for example the Central Markets conference in Usti, Czech Republic, in June 2013).
1: The candidate provides one relevant example that demonstrates an understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for strategic benefits in capitalization, policy design, awareness raising, etc
Summary Thematic expertise:
I have over 10 years experience of working in the field of SME business support activities and entrepreneurship, enabling companies to embrace new opportunities. I also have experience and a strong interest in the field of social innovation and social inclusion. For the past 7 years, I have led on the development and implementation of a wide range of European collaborative and transnational projects (Horizon 2020, FP7, URBACT, ERDF) on web-entrepreneurship and ICT-enabled entrepreneurship, SME internationalisation and supply chain capacity building programme for SMEs, as well as programmes to improve the quality and level of interventions in accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces. Prior to that, I worked in Brussels for SME representative organisations, informing and advising on European policies affecting businesses, and SMEs in particular. I have a Master’s degree in Economic Development and Local Authorities Cooperation in Europe, and a Postgraduate Certificate on Programme Evaluation.
The candidate meets the criteria and should be validated for this theme. No significant inconsistencies between the CV and application form have been identified.
Unavailable - performing the role of External Assessment Panel member