In total, 343 National EEPA entries were received from 31 participating countries in 2016, which were then narrowed down by the national EEPA coordinators to 57 projects put forward for the European level of the competition.
At a meeting in Brussels on 27 September, the EEPA Jury drew up a project shortlist for each of the EEPA’s six project categories. Let´s meet 18 shortlisted winners for EEPA 2016!
The winners are spread pretty evenly across Europe, with only Serbia featuring on the list more than once, with winning projects in the Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency categories. We will present all of the shortlisted projects, category by category, on the Promoting Enterprise blog over the next six weeks.
The winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia, when the Grand Jury prize-winner will also be announced. All of the national winners will have their costs covered to send one representative to attend the SME Assembly, while shortlisted projects will be able to send two representatives.
Congratulations to all of the shortlisted projects – they are all worthy winners, and the EEPA Jury will have a difficult task in selecting the winning projects in each category. We wish them all the best of luck at the SME Assembly in November.
Cécile Real is the president and founder of Endodiag, a company she set up in 2011 to develop new diagnostic tools for endometriosis, a disease that affects approximately 10% of all women of childbearing age. In her first post on the Promoting Enterprise blog, she told us about her experience in setting up her business. In this post, she tells us more about what her company does and what are the keys to its success.
At Endodiag, we are working on endometriosis, a major health issue that is not yet well known among the general population. Our objective is to change the paradigm of this disease and bring new solutions for patients. We are working with different groups of partners to build awareness about the disease, and change the lives of 180 million women who suffer a lot and who are generally overlooked.
What do we do?
Since we started the company in 2011, we have been developing a diagnostic test, EndoDtect®, to detect the disease from a simple blood sample. This does away with the need for surgery, which costs EUR 10,000 on average and can, like any other type of surgery, be dangerous. Moreover, this will prevent the progression of the disease as well as potentially safeguard the fertility of patients.
To develop this test, we need to collaborate with different kinds of partners and we have tried to involve them as early as possible in our project.
Our employees and co-founders:
Something essential for our company to be successful is team work. We need talented people to find cures for this tricky disease but, even more important than their talent, we need to mix people with different mind-sets and backgrounds and make sure that we all work well together. This is probably how the most creative ideas and solutions have been achieved in our project.
Like a recipe, each member of the team contributes his/her ideas, know-how and energy
- The surgeons, gynecologists and scientists:
We work hand by hand with surgeons and scientists to understand the disease mechanism and the needs of healthcare professionals for their patients. Our job could be defined as acting as a translator between science, medicine and engineering to transform ideas into products.
- The patients:
The patients are at the heart of our work, but it is not common in our industry to work with them during early stage development of new ideas, new solutions or new products. We have been lucky to meet many of them just after starting the company and this has been both very helpful and very inspiring. Very helpful because, by discussing with them we understood more rapidly certain symptoms/reactions and could correlate them with some of our research findings. This has helped speed up our R&D. And very inspiring, because listening to their suffering and struggles really makes you very motivated to solve the problem.
Despite these collaborations, we rapidly understood that developing technological solutions was necessary to change the paradigm of this disease, but that if we did not also raise awareness about endometriosis, we would only be solving half of the problem. If the population, the doctors and public institutions are not aware of endometriosis, its symptoms and consequences, it will be very difficult to detect the disease early and manage the patients well.
In order to raise awareness, in 2013 we launched OZ2020 in collaboration with patient associations, gynecologists, scientists and BePatient (a start-up specialised in the development of eHealth solutions). OZ2020 is a web community on endometriosis. The platform contributes to raising awareness but also provides patients with qualified and validated scientific and medical information on endometriosis and helps support endometriosis research projects.
We remain convinced that, thanks to all our common efforts with patient associations, industry, doctors and public authorities, the time to say “women don’t need to suffer anymore” will soon be here.
Birmingham has been named the ‘most enterprising place in Britain’ by the 2016 Enterprising Britain Awards.
Birmingham has been named the ‘most enterprising place in Britain’ by the 2016 Enterprising Britain Awards, Small Business Minister Margot James announced today (24 September 2016).
The winning project saw Birmingham City Council team up with 6 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to improve confidence, encourage investment, and attract and retain business talent. It supported 1,000 businesses, generating £87 million in private sector investment and creating or safeguarding 4,300 jobs, as part of the ambitious plans to build a Midlands Engine for Growth.
Companies to benefit from the project include Westfield Sports Cars which accelerated production of a new prototype vehicle and Induction Technology Group which invested in new manufacturing equipment, leading to an increase in global sales.
Small Business Minister Margot James said:
“We have 900,000 more small businesses than in 2010 and they have an important role to play in building an economy that works for all. It’s great to see the support available for business owners making a real difference and driving entrepreneurial spirit across the UK.”
“These awards recognise the value of local support and show what can be achieved when people who know their community best make their own decisions. Congratulations to all 4 winners.”
Run by Investment in Young People (IiYP), on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Enterprising Britain awards celebrate local initiatives which boost business and growth.
Liverpool John Moores University, the Borough of Broxbourne Council and Kent International Business also won awards for building enterprise skills, promoting entrepreneurial spirit and supporting exports, respectively.
Birmingham City Council and Liverpool John Moores University will now go forward as the UK entries to the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.
Initiatives in Buckinghamshire, Peterborough, Warwickshire, Belfast and Glamorgan also received recognition from the judges.
Neville Reyner CBE DL Hon DLitt, Chairman Investment in Young People (IiYP) said:
“Competing against strong entries from across the UK, this year’s Enterprising Britain Award winners are great local initiatives which are really helping entrepreneurs build businesses to drive local economies, create jobs and encourage enterprise. We wish Birmingham City Council and Liverpool John Moores University the best of luck in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.”
Creating the right environment for new business to flourish across the country will play a vital role in the government’s industrial strategy, as Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark recently underlined with the appointment of ministerial local growth champions in every area.
The Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI) held a public event in Lisbon on September 8 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The Portuguese national EEPA winners for 2016, selected from 50 top-quality national applications, were also announced at the event.
From left to right side, Jury member, Deputy of the President of Republic, Awarded and the Minister for Economy
The event, which was chaired by IAPMEI President Miguel Cruz, was attended by 150 participants, including representatives from the EEPA candidates, a deputy of the president of the Portuguese Republic, a member of the European Commission Representation in Portugal and other stakeholders. Portuguese Economy Minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral and Secretary the State for Industry João Vasconcelos also attended this session, highlighting the importance for Portugal of the international recognition provided by EEPA and its role in promoting entrepreneurship in Portugal.
Speaking at the event, Miguel Cruz noted that by joining this European Commission initiative, IAPMEI aimed at sharing good practices as drivers of entrepreneurial activity and competitiveness. The IAPMEI president said that, bearing in mind that Portugal was the country that received more applications at the national level in the current edition, most of them of high quality, these results were in line with the high performance of entrepreneurship in Portugal. He added that the results demonstrated a mobilising capacity and the ability to foster a scale effect that was key in helping to create a more competitive country.
IAPMEI welcomed participants with a video on “Innovation, entrepreneurship, development with a view to creating more jobs, better quality of life, more competitiveness, more growth: these are the objectives of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards”:
This video includes testimonials from representatives of Portuguese projects that have been awarded at EU level:
Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship (2015): This award was very important for Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship, providing huge national and international visibility. It has allowed new partnerships for development. I strongly recommend applying for the EEPA. Margarida Figueiredo and Maribel Ferreira.
AMS – Thinking Ahead (2014): We managed to make a society which became more cost effective in the Iberian Peninsula. The greatest impact was visibility. Paulo Santos.
FAZ – Ideas of Portuguese Origin (2014): The award gave us more visibility, more contacts with national and international enterprises and replicability, namely with Greece. We invite all the companies and organisations that believe in their work to apply for EEPA. Luis Jerónimo.
The sexiest industry in Europe (2013): It is giving results and this for us is highly rewarding. Paulo Gonçalves.
Douro Boys (2012): It was very important that the Douro Boys project was awarded very high visibility not achieved up to that point. Francisco Olazabal.
On the spot Firm (2007): It is worth mentioning the effort that was made to submit the application in order to give visibility at internal and external levels to good quality projects, as it was with On the spot Firm. Maria Manuel Leitão Marques.
The Jury Members and candidates
Lina Tsaltampasi is the owner of OCEON Group, a business and development consultancy she set up in 2003. In this post, Lina talks about her experience as a woman in the international business environment.
Hi there! I am Lina Tsaltampasi, I live in Thessaloniki, Greece and I own OECON Group. People ask me what I do for living and I tell them that I am a Business Development Consultant. My kids say that this is a lie; because I’m actually a juggler…well perhaps this is also true. Being a mom, wife, daughter and a businesswoman in the field of international business sometimes makes you feel like a juggler (a good one I hope).
My business is oriented towards developing extroversion and internationalisation for SMEs and stakeholders. As you can imagine this type of business requires frequent travel. Trips mean less available family time, less personal time. So, you have to make choices. The first step you take in being an entrepreneur is making choices. Choices about how you are going to spend or invest your time, choices about resources (there is usually a lack of all types of resources at the beginning), choices about lifestyle. But your business is something that you also chose to nurture; it is your child too.
Being a woman in international business is even tougher. Airports become your home, and you notice that frequent flyers, especially to third countries, are mostly male. In Greece, female unemployment is currently running at almost 67%. Eighty per cent of women entrepreneurship is in traditionally female sectors. Achieving your goals in a competitive environment demands hard work and personal sacrifices. But once you have achieved it, there is an immense sense of satisfaction.
In OECON Group we just have started a MEGA project with a Chinese public counterpart. To us, this seems as large a challenge as climbing Mt. Everest. So, now we’ll have the chance to try out our climbing skills… With this project we are developing a Trade Support Gate for transactions between Europe and China. This will result in actual benefits for SMEs, since this Trade Support Gate will enable even smaller companies to have safe transactions with China.
For us, being a typical European SME, it seemed very ambitious to get involved in such a huge deal. Although we might be little dreamers, nevertheless we believe that we, and other SMEs, can be part of bigger projects. We have already gone against all the odds up to now. We developed our biggest projects over the last five years, the years of global recession, the years of the Greek crisis, the years of non-existing bank finance….so yes, everything is possible.
My business is part of who I am. If I had listened to people around me I might have quit. Many times, people tried to discourage me, telling me that this is not a job for you. I replied to them this job is me. Being a woman, you will be told many times what you should do. Just tell everybody what you want to do, and just DO it. Gender is not an obstacle. Gender is who you are.
2016 has been a very successful year for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In total, 343 National EEPA entries were received from 31 participating countries, up from 318 in 2015 and above the average for the last 10 years.
Of this total, 57 have been selected by the national coordinators as the best of the best and put forward to the European level of the competition. ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ proved to be the most popular of the six project categories, with 17 entries this year.
Of the 31 participating countries, 16 (51%) received more entries this year than in 2015. Indeed, some countries have shown continuous year-on-year growth in entry numbers. Croatia, for example, has gone from two entries in 2013, to eight in 2014, to 15 in 2015 and now 19 in 2016. True to form, the most national entries this year came from Portugal (50), followed by the UK with 48 entries and Germany with 30.
The countries with the most winners over the past 10 years have been Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, with five winners each, while some other countries have yet to get on the scoreboard, but this could be their lucky year!
The task of selecting the winners from all the high-quality entries goes to the EEPA Jury. The EEPA Jury is typically made up of a representative from the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the countries holding the first and second semester EU presidencies (this year the Netherlands and Slovakia), a European SME organisation (this year – UEAPME: European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), the Grand Jury prize winner from the previous year (this year Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship) and a representative from academia.
The Jury is set to meet in Brussels on 27 September to decide on a project shortlist for each of the EEPA’s six categories. The shortlisted projects will be announced soon after the Brussels meeting, and the winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The competition is wide open and any of the entries could make it onto the project shortlists. Over the coming weeks we will introduce you to some of the contending projects, particularly those related to our theme of the month (women in business) and we will provide you with information on the shortlisted projects as soon as we have it. So make sure to check in!
Cécile Real is the president and founder of Endodiag, a company she set up in 2011 to develop new diagnostic tools for endometriosis, a disease that affects approximately 10% of all women of childbearing age. In a series of blog posts over the next few weeks, Cécile will tell us about her experience in setting up her business.
I was lucky to start my first company at the age of 25. I use the word ‘lucky’ because, despite the fact that it is very challenging, being an entrepreneur is a very exciting and fulfilling occupation or, should I say, way of life. You think about it 24/7, but it gives you the opportunity to meet incredible people along the way and achieve things you never imagined you would.
When I told my father that I wanted to start my own company, he had an unexpected reaction, saying: “fine, fine, but don’t stop looking for a real job”. Hopefully when I called him back few weeks later to tell him that I had decided to launch my first company, he realised I was serious about doing it and he became my N°1 supporter. Without knowing it, that was probably the first key lesson I learnt.
Trust your instinct! You have to have the confidence to go ahead and do it! There is more than one way to be successful and you have to make your own way. Just because some people do things differently to you, it doesn’t mean that they are right and you are wrong. I do feel that sometimes women have a lack of confidence in themselves. Some people will agree with you and some won’t, but that’s not a good enough reason for you not to do it. Be smart, listen to others, and then make your own decision and strategy.
As a biomedical engineer I have always wanted to work on projects that address health issues. So my first company was developing new biomaterials for patients suffering from arthritis. After eight years of successful development, we were bought by a large orthopaedics company. I learnt a lot but I wanted to see other ideas, projects, and organisations, so I decided to help others to start or develop their companies. However, after two years of this, I was definitively missing being an entrepreneur and I wanted to find a new project that could have a strong social impact. That opportunity presented itself when I learnt about endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a chronic and disabling gynaecological disease affecting 180 million women worldwide, as many as suffer from diabetes. It involves tissue that normally grows inside the uterus growing outside it and invading other organs (ovary, bladder, colon…). It is associated with a variety of symptoms, particularly severe and unbearable pelvic pain and infertility (50%).
The only reliable diagnosis of endometriosis is through invasive surgery. On average, this surgery is performed nine years after the onset of the disease. Nine years of not knowing the cause of your pain and the associated emotional distress has a tremendous impact on a person’s social, personal and professional life. Even after surgical intervention the recurrence rate is very high (approximately 50% after two years) and endometriosis patients will have an average of five surgeries during their lifetime. A lot of people think pain during menstruation is normal… but endometriosis actually affects one in ten women.
Driven by a desire to provide healthcare professionals and patients with a better understanding of the illness and better diagnosis tools, we set up Endodiag in 2011…
Cécile REAL and Helene BENY, 1st employee of the company @Endodiag Lab
The deadline for submissions of September 2 is now past. Over the past months we have received an impressive number of high quality submissions from every corner of Europe, in which you have shared your ideas about how the EU can encourage young entrepreneurship. We were very impressed with the standard of work submitted and we would like to thank to all Youth Essay competition participants.
Now the competition jury is faced with the challenging task of selecting the winning entries. Only the top three will be selected, and these winners will be announced by the first week of October. These three candidates will then have to prepare a short presentation of themselves and their submission by the 16th of October. If you are among the winners you will be given further instructions and information after the announcement.
These three winners will be promoted across all SME social media channels during the last two weeks of October, which we recommend you follow so you can keep track of all news, updates and coverage.
Finally, the overall winner will be invited to the SME Assembly in Bratislava in November (23-25), to present his/her essay at the event. Before the event the winner will receive special training in preparation for the event and the presentation. The other two winners will also be featured; their presentations will be broadcast on screens during the event.
We would love to share your news, photos and updates on our social media which can be done by tagging us or submitting content for publication (for example the ‘We@Work’ posts on Instagram, see an example here). We also want to see other people you think should be featured on our accounts so be sure to nominate others! If you have any questions about content sharing and promotion please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Each year, in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, an independent high-level Jury is faced with the difficult task of drawing up a shortlist of projects that will compete for the first prize during the SME Assembly. This year is no different – the EEPA Jury should select three shortlisted projects in each of the six project categories by mid-September, a task that is made especially difficult by the high quality of the participating projects.
The EEPA Jury is typically made up of a representative from the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the countries holding the first and second semester EU presidencies (this year the Netherlands and Slovakia), a European SME organisation, the Grand Jury prize winner from the previous year (this year Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship) and a representative from academia.
We have been introducing you to the members of this year’s EEPA Jury in a series of blog posts over the past few weeks, So far, there has been Dublin Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Professor Thomas M. Cooney, Thomas Wobben from the Committee of the Regions, Pieter Waasdorp from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, UEAPME Vice President Alban Maggiar, Ana Margarida Figueiredo from Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship and Marián Letovanec from the Slovak Business Agency.
Last, but by no means least, this week it is the turn of the Jury member from the European Commission, represented this year by Kristin Schreiber from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Kristin joined the European Commission in 1990 and has held a variety of positions since then. She was appointed Director of the COSME Programme and SME policy in 2015 having served as Director for Governance of the Single Market and International Affairs, first in DG MARKT and then in DG GROW since February 2014.
Previously, she was Head of Cabinet of Employment Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and a member of the Cabinet of Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen. She has also served as Head of Unit for International Affairs in DG Employment and as an administrator in various DG’s.
The judging process
For the EEPA Awards, individual countries were invited to conduct national competitions to determine the best projects to represent their nation. Hundreds of projects competed in these national competitions in 2016 for a chance to vie for an EEPA. Countries were allowed to nominate a maximum of two entries per category to the European competition. Each Jury member reads and assesses every entry against defined criteria covering: originality and feasibility, impact on the economy, improvement of stakeholder relations and transferability. The Jury then meets to discuss their top entries in each category, before agreeing on winners, runners up and any special mentions. The shortlist is published shortly after the jury meeting and the winners are announced during the Awards Ceremony at the SME Assembly.
For more information check the European Enterprise Promotion Awards
Female entrepreneurs in the spotlight
After a month of interesting blog posts focused on mature entrepreneurship in August, the focus this month switches to women in business. Female entrepreneurship is often seen as an under-tapped economic reserve, capable of generating economic growth, creating jobs, promoting innovation and addressing inequalities.
In light of this, and to highlight the role of women in business and address their experience, throughout September our Entrepreneur in Residence and other contributors will share their stories on the Promoting Enterprise blog, allowing their peers to benefit from their experience, and perhaps inspiring them to consider their own business as a career option. If you know of any female entrepreneurs with inspiring stories to tell, let us know and we’ll do our best to feature them among others across our social media channels.
On the Promoting Enterprise blog, we have already started to introduce the members of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards Jury, and will continue to do so as well as provide other EEPA related information throughout September, so remember to check the blog each Friday for updates.
Finally, a topic of interest to young entrepreneurs. The deadline for submitting entries in the SME Youth Essay Competition has passed. If you are one of the many entrants, you can read some details about the entries we received, along with other important deadlines to watch out for below. Read more >>