By Mihály Erdős, CEO of Generali Hungary
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the SME EnterPRIZE programme urgency, as the investments in the areas covered under the initiative could greatly help the recovery from the Coronavirus crisis for small and medium businesses and local communities. According to a survey conducted in Hungary in the spring of 2020, 64% of Hungarian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rated their situation as very unfavourable, and 70% said they were not prepared to overcome similar crises. It was, therefore, a no-brainer for us to use this funding opportunity to provide support to as many entrepreneurs and businesses as possible.
As part of the SME EnterPRIZE programme, we launched a 5-parts webinar series on February 25th 2021. The topics covered were: Digital Transformation, Innovative IT Security, Businesses Reshaped, Increasing Efficiency, Business Risks and How to Manage Them, and Sustainability as a Success Factor and were finalized on the basis of a survey realized with our SME customers. Journalist and presenter Krisztina Bombera was talking to business leaders who are not only role models, but may also set a good example for the target audience. The topics of the sessions were also designed to help SMEs prepare for the SME EnterPRIZE application process.
Generali’s SME Product Development, Marketing and Communications Departments – as managers of our sustainability and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes – were also involved in the design and implementation of the webinar series. We worked in close cooperation with the Sales Function, as the SME EnterPRIZE programme was a great way for our sales partners to connect with existing customers and to reach potential, new partners. The webinar series and the SME EnterPRIZE programme were promoted with a comprehensive communication campaign.
To be honest, although we had high expectations for the initiative, we were surprised to receive more than 80 applications. But what came as an even bigger surprise was the number of inspiring projects that were submitted.
In the Employee Welfare category, the expert panel found the application of Ladó-Rec Kft. to be the best. The company, which manages the wholesale of non-hazardous paper, plastic, electronic and mobile waste, will use the prize to implement a complex employee health check-up, a leadership training programme as well as family events.
With dog kennels made from PET bottles and recycled construction waste, Sofa Dress Kft. has been awarded in the Environment category. The Community award went to Virgin Oil Press Kft. (Grapoila), a producer of cold-pressed, “zero waste” grape seed oil. They will use the prize to implement a model community gardening programme in Budapest. We are immensely proud that one of our category winners, Virgin Oil Press Kft., has been selected among the “Sustainability Heroes” in the international competition.
The Generali SME EnterPRIZE programme has clearly demonstrated that Hungarian businesses are firmly committed to innovation and have recognized that the only way to a successful future is through sustainability. And while this process development can be interpreted and implemented in many different ways, it was this diversity that we wanted to highlight and reward through our initiative.