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The EEPA 2017 shortlist continues – Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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The EEPA 2017 shortlist introductions continue! Today is the turn of Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills. This year candidates in this category come from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia, and the projects focus on supporting entrepreneurs, helping them start out and making technology and the digital world accessible to all.

The Business Generator focuses on bringing in external expert support systems for SMEs to add value to their business concepts. Few such support systems currently exist for SMEs as many consider bringing in external expertise as too time-consuming. Each Business Generator is staffed with four individuals: two men and two women, each with different profiles and skills, who have all experienced growth. Each team covers: analytical capability, financial expertise, empathy, customer benefits, development process management, creativity and innovation. Acting as coaches, Generator staff ask the challenging questions from an outsider perspective that result in new decisions and tangible change.

Tech Sisters is an Estonian non-profit run by women working in IT and/or studying IT with the mission to increase women’s digital literacy and interest in IT. This is done through organising meetups for women in tech and running entry-level coding and tech workshops for women. Workshops specifically for teenagers promoting IT activities are also organised with the participation of inspirational IT female role models. By inspiring, encouraging and educating women/girls about IT, Tech Sisters aims to bring more women into IT and create a more diverse environment in the tech field.

The University of Latvia (UL) Student Business Incubator has assisted students of the UL and other higher education establishments of Latvia to start and develop an enterprise during their studies. The business incubator provides free premises and office equipment, offers free counselling sessions, help from mentors and industry professionals in business development as well as individual and group coaching sessions in cooperation with the Coaching School of Riga. The incubator also organises entrepreneurship events to encourage youth entrepreneurship, during which participants go through an accelerated incubation process, meet active professionals and receive feedback on their ideas.

So who will win this year? All will be revealed at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November! Find out about the Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit nominees here, and stay tuned for Category 3 introductions next week!

 

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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Time to meet the next category of European projects competing to be on the EEPA 2017 shortlist! Look here if you missed Category 1, but today it is the turn of Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills.

This category recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills. In 2016 the prize was won by Enterprise Educators Academe from the United Kingdom, for their project working to embed entrepreneurship into education curriculums.

This year there are 9 outstanding European projects competing in this category. Best of luck to all the projects and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Belgium: VentureLab – Student Entrepreneurship for Change

Bulgaria: Implement a Strategy for local development in the municipality of Ardino and implementation process of the Strategy for Community-led local development in the municipalities of Ardino and Djebel

Cyprus: Sound Labor Relations, Contemporary Enterprises  

Estonia: Tech Sisters & Digigirls

Ireland: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating an Entrepreneurial Mindset Amongst Engineers: The DkIT BSc (Hons) in Engineering Entrepreneurship

Latvia: University of Latvia Student Business Incubator

Lithuania: Youth Entrepreneurship Education Program – ATVERK

Malta: The Maltese Business Story Initiative

Sweden: Business Generator

Entrepreneurship in curriculums, the future of education? – Innovative education wins at EEPA 2016

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sme_instagram_09_03_2017Entrepreneurship as a key part of education curriculums is a real possibility thanks to this educational initiative from Liverpool, United Kingdom. The Enterprise Educators Academe has trained and supported over 300 staff of all disciplines to embed Enterprise Skills into the entire University curriculum for maximum impact, reaching 21 000 students in the first 2 years. How did this project win Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, at the 2016 European Enterprise Promotion Awards? Read on to find out the story behind their success.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?

I heard about the competition through a review of the Enterprising Britain site which runs the National EEPA site. In my view the national award is a very prestigious one because it focuses on civic impact. I felt it was an excellent fit for a Liverpool university. I was also excited by the opportunity that the two best national award winning entries would be entered in the European Economic Community wide competition.

How did you go about preparing your application?

In preparing the application I was focused on showing the exact methodology and reviewed my impact data. The criteria were very clear and the staff that ran the competition were very helpful and inspirational, in particular Derek Kozel, our national coordinator.

What was it like to win the award?

It was the best experience of my life. I was treated so well as a finalist. The opportunity to make a speech when you win an award is very important and does not happen very often. The assembly and the awards ceremony were the best I have ever been to and I have won many awards.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?

To win a European competition has had a huge impact. I have had many offers of collaboration and it led to my educator group winning a global award in the USA. It also motivated my group of over 600 educators, so overall the response has been amazing.

Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?

EEPA has created a long term impact and the chance to help European and other international educators implement the model we have worked so hard on.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

They should enter because they will receive so much help before during and after the application process…it is the most rigorous and professionally run enterprise award in the world!

What are your plans for the future?

We are now training many educators in China and plan to work with many European countries to help them embed entrepreneurship in the curriculum for maximum economic impact.

Turning graduate innovation into sustainable business – EEPA 2016 Special Mention

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Stepping into the working world as a fresh graduate is already a daunting prospect, especially for those wanting to start out as entrepreneurs. Today Promoting Enterprise presents an innovative Irish project designed to support these young and brave innovators.

EEPA Special Mention project IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme from Ireland, is a 9 month business development programme designed to support recent graduates turn innovative product and service ideas into sustainable, scalable businesses and in doing so, develop critical entrepreneurial skills. This interview gives us an insight into their application journey, their advice for EEPA 2017 applicants and what to expect from the project team in future.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?

We heard about the competition via an email from Gillian Slattery, the Regional Development Executive at Enterprise Ireland. We had been running the programme since 2011 and the competition provided an excellent opportunity to see where we stood in comparison with similar programmes both nationally and internationally.

What was it like to receive a Special Mention?

It was very satisfying, we knew that we hadn’t been shortlisted for the main award so didn’t have any expectations. As a result it was a complete surprise.

free pic no repro fee pictured at the annual IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme Awards and Showcase in UCC’s Aula Maxima on Monday, 27th June. pictures by Gerard McCarthy 087 8537228 more info Alison O’Brien Fuzion Communications 021 4271234 086 3879388

How did winning immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?

The award is very important as international 3rd party validation of what we are doing for funders, sponsors and others who have supported the programme. The award was very positively received by our Local Authorities – Cork City and County Councils and we received letters of congratulation from the President of the University and the Senior Vice President Academic and Registrar.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

It provided us with a valuable opportunity to step back and reflect on our project and we used the application process to provide a snapshot of the programme at that point in time. The Special Mention Award created a number of important opportunities to connect with others operating in the same space across Europe.

What are your plans for the future?

The plan is to double the programme over the next couple of years and to continue to develop the support offered to maximise the start-up success rate.

EEPA – The winners of the 2016 edition

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The SME Assembly 2016 may be over, but the conversation continues! Today is an opportunity for us to present to you the European Enterprise Promotion Awards winners from the 2016 edition. You met them here on the blog when they were shortlisted, but here is an overview of the projects that came out on top…


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Category 1- Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, the winner was Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat (Lyon City of Entrepreneurship) from France. This initiative is a network of 46 organisations and 200 experts from across the region, working to promote the entrepreneurial spirit more widely, increase the number of businesses created and improve the robustness of new businesses. Each year, the network provides support to between 10,000 and 12,000 businesses and entrepreneurs, with 17 “access points” providing assistance, information and guidance. Experts provide support on the creation, takeover and handover of businesses and on aspects including how to grow or fund a business, start up and training.

In Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, the prize went to Enterprise Educators Academe from the United Kingdom. This project has created the world’s first internal, accredited, enterprise educator training programme. The training and support of over 600 staff of all disciplines to embed enterprise skills across the university curriculum has been at the heart of the programme. In the first two years alone 21 000 students were reached and over 2 000 freelance businesses created. Business and public sector projects projects benefited from student support resulting in an economic impact valued at over EUR 4.4 million (GBP £4 million).

In Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment, the category winner was Portuguese project Leader SME programme. This entry annually rewards SMEs with the best financial performance and risk levels, as viewed by IAPMEI and Turismo de Portugal. The award offers public recognition of their successful growth strategies and competitive leadership, and winners benefit from more favourable conditions for accessing finance and other specialised business management support. In just eight years, the number of companies recognised has more than doubled from around 3 000 in 2008 to approximately 7 300 in 2015!


In
Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business, it was Human Security Finland that came away the winner. This entry is a national international development and crisis management business network. It assists with the building of partnerships between Finnish companies and experts aimed at assisting developing countries and crisis-hit regions with solutions to support sustainable development. The network combines business, education and research for human security. 100 organisations are now involved in the concept known as ‘crisis business’, which is based on commercialising human security expertise.


In
Category 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency, the Lime Trees & Honey Bees for Sustainable Development of the Danube Microregion project from Serbia took the category prize. It strengthens the competitiveness of beekeeping in the Fruška Gora region and motivates young people to start beekeeping businesses. The project aims to increase the market share of Fruška Gora lime honey by investing in human resources and skills development, improved knowledge through scientific research, education and the introduction of new technologies. In addition, it ran a high-profile promotional campaign to raise public interest and created a marketing plan that changed the ad hoc approach of 8 beekeeper associations to a value-added, branded product, with export potential.  


In
Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Dutch project The Rotterdam Business Case (De Rotterdamse Zaak), a work training company where students in higher vocational education and experienced business coaches help support entrepreneurs to improve their business practices and entrepreneurial skills, was the Jury’s winning choice. The project focuses on entrepreneurs who operate below the poverty line and are not financially able to find a solution to their problems. More than 600 entrepreneurs have already been helped through the combined efforts of experienced senior coaches, who act as a sounding board for entrepreneurs, and junior coaches who offer more practical support.


Finally, the Grand Jury Prize, which commends the entry that the Jury considers to be ‘the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe’, was awarded to Entrepreneurial West Hisingen from Sweden! Originally a competitor in Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, this project supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It covers three projects: Entrepreneurship in education, Start your business, and Develop your business, which provide different styles of support to various groups ranging from schoolchildren, all the way to seasoned business people. 

EEPA – Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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Each week, one of six European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) categories is presented on the Promoting Enterprise blog. The EEPA awards reward annually, those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.

You can have a look at last week’s featured projects shortlisted for EEPA Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. This week, it is the turn of the shortlisted projects in Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills. Three projects, from Italy, Latvia and the UK, support the inclusion of the unemployed and young jobseekers into the workforce through skills development and mentorship. Two of the shortlisted projects have a focus on the crafts industry, while the third includes the creative arts as an area targeted for support.

blog-imagesThe Bottega Scuola project in Italy supports the young unemployed by encouraging craft skills and business development ideas in artistic and traditional industries through six months’ work experience. The project acts as an artisan teaching workshop intended to increase job opportunities and stimulate new local entrepreneurial initiatives. Watch their video!

The project for the Development of innovative entrepreneurship in Jelgava City and Zemgale Region in Latvia is a platform through which the local government supports innovative entrepreneurship and facilitates networking, local good practice and mentor support. One example is the successful Competence and Contact Exchange initiative for the cottage arts and crafts industry, which develops entrepreneurial skills and creates innovative new products. So far, 10 000 people have taken part in various activities for developing innovative entrepreneurship and on average 63 new entrepreneurs sign up every year! Watch their video!

students-uni-liverpoolThe Enterprise Educators Academe in the UK has created the world’s first internal, accredited, enterprise educator training programme. The training and support of over 600 staff of all disciplines to embed enterprise skills across the university curriculum has been at the heart of the programme. In the first two years alone 21 000 students were reached and over 2 000 freelance businesses created. Business and public sector projects projects benefited from student support resulting in an economic impact valued at over EUR 4.4 million (GBP £4 million). Check out their YouTube channel!

By investing in entrepreneurial skills, these projects continue to support ongoing regional initiatives to integrate young people and the unemployed in the workforce. All 6 EEPA category winners 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.

Where are they now? Catching up with past EEPA winners

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2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In this new feature, we catch up with former EEPA honourees who’ve gone on to do great things since winning the award.

This week, Ivaylo Grancharov from the award-winning Brandiko project in Bulgaria reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA two years on…

Ivaylo Grancharov, Brandiko project at the Ministry of Economy in Bulgaria

Name Ivaylo Grancharov
Organisation Brandiko project at the Ministry of Economy in Bulgaria
Country Bulgaria
Website www.facebook.com/Brandiko
Award won Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Year 2014

Brandiko (3)What was it like to win the award?

I accepted this award as the Oscar in our field of work. Given at the EU level, EEPA is the highest award in the field of entrepreneurship promotion. I didn’t expect it as it was the only time Bulgaria has ever been nominated for an EEPA. It was a big surprise – first ever nomination, first ever win – and the only one for us so far. This makes it even more precious for me and my country.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

The media attention was great. The Euronews programme, Business Planet, hosted by the great Serge Rombi, made a wonderful video about Brandiko. Some national magazines also showed interest. It was very flattering, and encouraging.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?

My colleagues were very happy for me. We were grateful!

What has been the long-term impact?

After getting the award, Brandiko had its best ever season – record-breaking participation from school kids who wanted to be part of the project.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

As Bulgaria had never been shortlisted at the European level before, my motivation was that this project was good enough to portray the country as a place where projects for entrepreneurial support can happen and possess European-level quality.

How did you go about preparing your application and making it award winning?

I was very careful by presenting all the important details, and providing statistics to prove the project’s impact. It was important to provide accurate and to-the-point data and illustrate it in the most appropriate way.

What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

If you believe you’ve done a great job with your project, don’t hesitate to show it to the world! Good luck, everybody! The EU is the greatest place in the world!

To find out more about Brandiko, visit the website at www.facebook.com/Brandiko or watch the video.  

Where are they now? Catching up with past EEPA winners

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In this new feature, we catch up with former EEPA honourees who’ve gone on to do great things since winning the award.

Paula Fitzsimmons, Going for Growth

This week, Paula Fitzsimons reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA one year on:

Name Paula Fitzsimons
Organisation Fitzsimons Consulting
Country Ireland
Website www.goingforgrowth.com
Award won Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Year won 2015

paula

What was it like to win the award?

It was wonderful to be called out as the winner of the award. I was completely emotional, as I had wanted Going for Growth to win so much for the terrific third party endorsement that it would mean and the spotlight that it would put on our mission to encourage more women to be more ambitious for their businesses and to support them to achieve their growth aspirations. Standing on the stage with the other national winners, who all had excellent initiatives, it became very clear how high the standard was.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

There was a journalist from Ireland in the audience and Going for Growth was featured online in a national newspaper within hours of receiving the award.  Subsequently, the initiative was featured on Euronews “Business Planet” and was broadcast for a week in thirteen languages across Europe. This was an excellent feature and really got our message across in a very professional manner at no cost to ourselves. We’ve been able to provide a link to this feature to others enquiring about the initiative.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?

Two of the team were with me in Luxembourg and it was terrific for them to share in the occasion. I immediately let our sponsors and Lead Entrepreneurs know. The Leads are all volunteers. I dedicated the award to all those successful businesswomen who had given of their time to support others at an earlier stage of their entrepreneurial journey.  The achievement of the participants is their immediate validation, but this award further recognises their voluntary commitment.

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What’s been the long-term impact?

Going for Growth is already very well known within Ireland. Winning this European award means that it’s now recognised across Europe. This is in line with our objective of having the initiative introduced in other European countries as a means of connecting ambitious female entrepreneurs so that they can network, learn from each other and do business together.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

I entered with my sights firmly set on winning the opportunity to showcase the initiative at a European level.  I wished (i) to influence policymakers across Europe to encourage women not just to create a job for themselves, but to develop businesses that were sustainable and could grow and (ii) to demonstrate that, with a tailored initiative such as Going for Growth,  female entrepreneurs could be encouraged to be ambitious and then supported to achieve their growth ambitions.

How did you go about preparing your application and making it award-winning?

I was also involved in the Senior Enterprise initiative, which won the same category in 2013. In both cases, we could show an initiative designed to tackle an identified challenge in an innovative manner, with measurable tangible outputs to demonstrate its impact. We accompanied the application with letters of support from well regarded third parties.

Finally, what advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

  1. Communicate the manner in which the initiative solves a real problem, which has European relevance as well as national importance.
  2. Ensure that the initiative has impact measurement incorporated into its design. (This is important not only for your sponsors and for entering competitions like the EEPA, but more importantly it allows you to refine the initiative as you implement it, so that it is continuously being improved.)
  3. Communicate  the impact of your initiative in terms of quantitative and qualitative outputs that are robust
  4. Be clear on the manner in which the initiative can be implemented in other countries across Europe.

To find out more about Paula and Going for Growth, visit the website at www.goingforgrowth.com.  

Watch the All for one, one for all video about Paula.

Greece and Sweden joining the other 10 speakers at TEDxBinnenhof

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Ideas from Europe logoAfter inspiring campaigns of both Greece and Sweden, TEDxBinnenhof has decided to send them both to The Hague on March 31. There they will join the other 10 speakers to share their Ideas from Europe. Greece and Sweden topped the Wildcard Challenge, where almost 60.000 people casted a vote. With more than half the votes between them, Charalampos (Harris) Ioannou of Greece and Micael Hermansson from Sweden held a fierce campaign over the last few weeks.

Harris used his network and his Facebook page to let people know to vote for him. “After a couple of days my friends told me they shared it with their friends and that everybody was voting. Then the local press caught it and wrote an article about TEDxBinnenhof and the Ideas of Europe. That helped a lot.”

Micael used his network of the national teachers union of Sweden. Also MP’s of the leading parties in the Swedish parliament were involved in calling on people to vote for Micael. All because they find that his idea was worth spreading. “In Luxemburg we had only three minutes to share our idea. Now that we have seven minutes, it will be great.”

Both Harris and Micael will be in The Hague on March 31, in The Knights Hall. Along with ten other Ideas from Europe, they will speak about their idea.

Charalampos (Harris) Ioannou
GREECE – CHARALAMPOS IOANNOUCharalampos Ioannou is a 20-year-old undergraduate student and inventor. He is currently studying Electrical and Software Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). In 2012 he won the European Union’s competition for young scientists, “The Best Engineering entry” (EUCYS 2012), and in 2013, he was one of the 5 global finalists of Google’s global science competition, “Google Science Fair” with his invention of a movement-enhancing exoskeleton glove. He was a speaker at TEDx Athens for both 2012 and 2013, communicating his passion for inventions and creative science projects. Currently, he is a founding member of “Bioassist”, a company that applies state of the art software and machine learning algorithms in order to monitor vital health signal of independent living for elderly people.
Watch his Talk in Luxembourg.

Micael Hermansson
SWEDEN – MICAEL HERMANSSONMicael is a teacher from the Swedisch northern town Umeå. He has developed a concept with micro lessons, only 8 minutes, a fairytale of facts. This concept has not only inspired pupils, but also their parents, siblings and teachers all over Sweden. More than 20000 teachers use his concept. He has facilitated the biggest digital educational community and in 2015 Micael was elected as Best Teacher of the year. Micael calls it ‘Grej’of the day; a micro-lesson format designed to kick start each day with a knowledge injection.
Watch his Talk in Luxembourg.

For more information about TEDxBinnenhof | Ideas from Europe and the speakers. Please contact Diana Kool or Michiel Stol.

Follow us on social media
www.ideasfromeurope.eu | #TEDxB16 | #IdeasfromEU
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In conversation with: 2015 Grand Jury Prize Winner

The Grand Jury Prize was awarded during the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony, during the SME Week 2015. It is an award that can be given to an initiative from any category, and was given to the entry considered to be the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

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We asked Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship, the winners of the 2015 Grand Jury Prize, a few questions about winning this prestigious award. The programme works to support responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship – from helping to develop business plans to advising on how best to obtain funding.

  1. What did you learn from your experience with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards?

It was a great experience with lots of visibility in the entrepreneur environment.

Taking part in the Ceremony was a fantastic experience, we met some very interesting projects and contacts.  We also shared experience, challenges and solutions for the creation and growth of SMEs.

  1. What did winning the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 SME Assembly in Luxembourg mean to you?

Recognition (and more motivation) for the project, and also being recognised in Lisbon for the promotion of entrepreneurship and the economic development of the city.

Lisbon Micro Entrepreneurship is a programme developed by the municipality to help entrepreneurs to start small business in Lisbon.

The idea is to use the institutional power of the municipality to celebrate partnerships with public and private entities in order to promote business in Lisbon, facilitate access to finance and boost entrepreneurship.

Since 2013, we have made more than 1000 contacts, worked with more than 200 entrepreneurs with potential businesses and helped to establish more than 70 businesses, creating 160 jobs.

The main clients of Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship are unemployed people with skills (mostly people with college degrees and work experience), aged between 30 and 50 years old.

Our work is divided in 3 main sectors:

Mentoring – We help people to work on their business concept; business plans; and coaching through the whole process of the project development. Sometimes, this also includes further mentoring after the business is established.

Access to finance – We use partnerships with public institutions, private institutions and banks that permit access to credit products with very special rates.

Access to spaces – We help businesses to get access to either public (public offers in parish councils) or private spaces with special conditions (this includes collaborative work space and, business incubators, for example).

This award is very important to the project, because it gives it credibility and will help when negotiating new partnerships, particularly with the financial institutions that have better conditions for entrepreneurs. It also allows us to support more entrepreneurs.

  1. What advice can you give to other SMEs wanting to take part in the Awards?

We would advise other cities and/or regions to have a proactive strategy to support entrepreneurship; create networking among the various players; and partner up to meet the needs of SMEs.

It is important to participate in the EEPAs because it gives you the opportunity to meet new projects, potential partners, share and learn from each other about how to support the creation and growth of SMEs.

To find out more about Libson Micro-Entrepreneurship, watch this short video.

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