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Archive for ‘Promoting Enterprise News’

WATIFY Solution Award – Could you be the 2017 winner?

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The first edition of the WATIFY Solution Award will take place this year on 15-16 November in Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of the Global Finals of the Creative Business Cup 2017. The Award is looking to recognise the next innovative SME that has technological transformation at the core of its successful business. This SME should be an inspiring example for other European SMEs and encourage them to adopt digital and/or key enabling technologies.

All entries will be screened against a set of pre-defined criteria by WATIFY experts in the fields of innovation and technology. This screening will result in a shortlist of 5 finalists.

The finalists will then pitch their cases in Copenhagen before a live audience and a Jury composed of business executives and senior representatives from the European Commission (DG GROW), its Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), the Creative Business Cup and WATIFY, will decide on the overall WATIFY Solution Award winner 2017.

The prize

The winner will:

  • Receive a 1000 euro prize
  • Have the opportunity to showcase their technological transformation in a promotional video
  • Be awarded a CBC/WATIFY Diploma certificate
  • Have opportunities to network with entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe

Who can apply?

European SMEs and entrepreneurs that have gone, or are going through, a high-impact and innovative technological transformation.

In particular, the Jury will be looking for a creative transformation that:

  • Innovates in terms of technology, product or service
  • Brings about change in the value chains of industry and inside the company itself and/or can inspire new business models
  • Shows unique value propositions
  • Has scalability potential.

The application deadline is 24 October 2017. More information on the WATIFY Solution Award can be found here.

Apply here.

Targeted consultation on the draft Guidance on Public Procurement of Innovation

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On 3 October 2017, the draft Guidance on Public Procurement of Innovation was announced as part of the Public Procurement Package from the European Commission.

This Guidance is part of the ongoing work of the European Commission to encourage wider uptake of public procurement across the EU. In addition to the modernisation of public procurement rules in 2014, the European Commission has been exploring the area of public procurement of innovation as a means to ensure sustainable growth, job creation and innovation across the European Single Market.

The Guidance covers four main areas:

  • added value of public procurement of innovation
  • policy related considerations
  • tools attracting innovative suppliers through procurement policy decisions
  • tools for designing innovation-friendly tenders, including explanation and interpretation of legal instruments under the modernised public procurement directives from 2014.

This document will be open for public consultation in order to gather stakeholder feedback until 2 January 2018. If you are an interested stakeholder you can read more here about how to respond to the consultation.

The Second European Vocational Skills Week

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The Second European Vocational Skills Week will take place on 20 to 24 November 2017! This year the week will have events in Brussels, Member States and EFTA and EU candidate countries. Have a look at the current programme to find out about the events and keep checking the website for more events to come.

The theme from last year’s week, Excellence in Vocational Education and Training (VET) to promote VET as a first career choice, will continue this year and be supported by three other areas of focus. These are:

  • Mobility in VET
    • Mobile learners are able to gain skills that will increase both their employability and life prospects.
  • Sector skills cooperation
    • The Week will be looking at how to foster and promote sector-specific solutions through cooperation and collaboration.
  • Business-VET partnerships
    • The Week will be highlighting the particularly important role of employers in these necessary partnerships.

The week will also include the second edition of the very popular vocational education and training (VET) excellence awards, which will be presented during a ceremony by Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. To find out more about the different categories have a look here.

Make sure to keep up with the Week and all the activities across social media and follow the #EUVocationalSkills hashtag for all the latest!

Taking the future into their own hands – Youth work and entrepreneurial learning

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Is youth entrepreneurship really happening? How is the Union aware of what innovations youth are working on, or whether they are being supported adequately? The following report provides insights into youth work and their necessary entrepreneurial learning and development.

The EU and its Member States have been promoting entrepreneurial competences among young people as a pathway to taking an active part in society. This report presents the findings and conclusions of a major study which mapped, described and analysed the contribution of youth work to supporting young people to become active and entrepreneurial citizens of Europe. The report delivers concrete recommendations for policymakers, as well as for the formal education sector and for youth work organisations, on how to increase the impact of young people’s entrepreneurial learning.

Read the full report.

Ecoscooter – The brain child of 24 year old entrepreneur Getrin Reesar

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Time to meet the last entrepreneur in our ‘Meet an Estonian entrepreneur’ series! Why Estonian entrepreneurs? 

This year the SME Assembly 2017, the flagship event for European SME Week,  will be held in Tallinn under the Estonian presidency from 22-24 November 2017. In order to get ready for the event, Promoting Enterprise will be exploring Estonia as a digital pioneer as well as meeting the exciting entrepreneurs it has to offer! The last of our entrepreneurs is 24 year old Getrin Reesar who co-founded small family business Ecoscooter.

At the age of 24 Getrin, from Tallinn in Estonia, already holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, is currently studying graphic design and is an entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of a small family business called Ecoscooter, which has been running for one and a half years, and distributes electric self-balancing vehicles in Estonia. Ecoscooter started small but is now present in Finland, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania.

What motivates you?

Hands-on experience and gaining knowledge is inspiring, and the idea, that one day I (hopefully) do not have to work from 9 to 5 is also very motivating!

The best thing about being an entrepreneur?

Although I am not working for Ecoscooter full-time right now and it is a side-business, I can work for myself. All the effort that I put in for me, meaning I do not mind working the extra hours, dealing with complicated clients and navigating difficult situations. At the end of the day, everything I do is for myself and for my family.

What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?

Firstly, languages like Chinese, Arabic and German. Learning a foreign language is a great and necessary investment. Knowing the language of your market is a good way to break down walls and make connections, a having a good network is everything.

Secondly, the idea of starting a side-business can be challenging in many ways, so actually the best advice is having the courage to start. You can always go back to a 9 to 5 job!

From leather design to Quality Assesment – Find out about Stella and Kristel

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We are back with the next two entrepreneurs in our ‘Meet an Estonian entrepreneur’ series! Why Estonian entrepreneurs? This year the SME Assembly 2017, the flagship event for European SME Week,  will be held in Tallinn under the Estonian presidency from 22-24 November 2017. In order to get ready for the event, Promoting Enterprise will be exploring Estonia as a digital pioneer as well as meeting the exciting entrepreneurs it has to offer! Today it is time to meet Stella Soomlais, a sustainable leather accessories designer and studio owner, and Kristel Kruustük, co-founder and CEO of Testlio – an end-to-end Quality Assessment management platform.

Stella Soomlais

Stella Soomlais is a leather accessories designer and studio owner, who designs and creates bags made to last. In 2004 she began making custom orders whilst at Tartu Art School, and set up her own company in 2011. In 2014 she began recruiting employees and now has over 10 people working for her. Her vision, and that of her company, is a sustainable one, and champions the idea of reusing leather after its first life cycle so as to maximise material use.

What motivates you?

I’m motivated by the ability to make things better and to improve situations. It makes me happy when I see that my actions are making a difference.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur?

Freedom – I can pick the projects and people I love to work with and be the boss of my own time.

What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?

I would say that tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need to treat others as they would like to be treated. This includes everybody and everything, clients, colleagues and Mother Nature as well. Understanding different characters, the way they work and feel motivated, and the importance of sustainability is the key to success. In addition, good old patience is still necessary – it takes years of 24/7 work to implement your dreams and visions. But it’s worth it!

Find out more about Stella and her sustainable products: www.stellasoomlais.com

Kristel Kruustük

Kristel Kruustük is co-founder and CEO of Testlio – an end-to-end Quality Assessment management platform and community of highly vetted testers that help businesses deliver amazing customer experiences. At the age of 23 she came up with the id ea of building a platform that would appreciate the work of testers and elevate the importance of Quality Assessment within organisations.  Since launching in 2012, the company has raised $8M in funding, hired over 60 employees, and established offices in Tallinn and San Francisco. Clients include Salesforce, Lyft, Microsoft, CBS Interactive, Flipboard and Strava.

What motivates you?

I’m motivated by my vision for Testlio which is to change the way Quality Assessment is done and to help businesses create successful products with a great team, community and customers. Even when things get very challenging and hard, I know that there’s always a solution for every problem.

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?

Making your vision and dream come true. Testlio began because of my own frustration about how software testers were treated in the industry. Testing was often perceived as an afterthought and testers were often blamed when things didn’t go as expected.

What’s especially rewarding about being an entrepreneur is when things move in the right direction. It is so inspiring when the people around you are happy, excited and motivated to make a difference. I have written more on what I love about entrepreneurship here.

What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?

Putting people first and not treating business like a machine. Businesses are all about people (your team, your customers, your community) and in today’s world, ideas don’t matter anymore, what matters is people, making connections and building long term relationships.

Read more of Kristel’s ideas and thoughts on her entrepreneurial journey: https://medium.com/@kristelkruustuk

Estonian entrepreneurs: Meet Kenneth and Sander!

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This week Promoting Enterprise is starting a series of interviews with a group of Estonian entrepreneurs to find out about what they do! From motorised scooters to furniture, these entrepreneurs are diverse, creative and not afraid to think outside of the box. Read on to meet our first two entrepreneurs, Kenneth and Sander and learn about where their entrepreneurial path has led them…

Kenneth Pert

Meet Kenneth – he is 24 and the founder of his brand Kenneth Pert Natural Furniture. Kenneth is a designer and furniture craftsman. At the moment, his company is a ‘one man show’, Kenneth has to fill different roles – from managing the business side to cleaning his workshop. At this point, he has been in the field for 5 interesting and challenging years.

What motivates you?

I am inspired by people who have overcome challenges, their own personal struggles and added some extra value to the world. People play an important part in my life. That is why my closest friends and family are also my biggest driving force. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur?

The opportunity to use my time as I wish. I have been able to focus on my own interests and to grow at my own pace. This gives me enough room to devote time to the people I hold most dear. At the same time, it is important to stay disciplined and remember that I have a lot of responsibilities.

What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?

The skills of today’s and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs largely overlap, for example, adaptability, consistency, discipline and curiosity. There has been a rising demand for people to have emotional intelligence regardless of their role or position in an organisation. It is quite essential to identify the right people to hire, because without help, it’s almost impossible to create a successful business.

When developing a product or service a lot of research, testing and feedback analysis goes into it. In this phase being good with numbers and having analytical skills is definitely another essential entrepreneurial skill.

Sander Sebastian Agur

Sander Sebastian is the 26 year-old co-founder of Inventory.com, the first online B2B marketplace to offer a comprehensive inventory management service by comparing suppliers and transactions up to the final delivery of products. Sander is also a Senior Vice President of ERPLY Retail Platform, which is a web-based on Enterprise resource planning application with support for accounting, inventory, invoicing, e-commerce, Point Of Sale (POS) and more, offering retailers a complete IT solution that can be adapted to meet unique requirements. The company includes well known clients such as Sony, Walt Disney, Amazon, Elizabeth Arden, Garmin and many others.

At the young age of 22, Sander was chosen as the successor to the head of Estonian Air, the former national airline of Estonia, but decided to work in private enterprise instead.

What motivates you?

Learning new skills and applying them usefully. I’ve definitely failed more than I’ve succeeded. As most long-term goals require skills that we don’t have when we set the goals, this motivates me to grow together with the challenges.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur?

In my sector there are almost no limits to what can be built. Once you realise that everything around you has been created by people that are no smarter than you, it all becomes doable.

What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?

I think skills are important, but they can also be acquired on the way. What is more important is your mindset for what’s coming and your openness to learn and make stuff happen. Everything changes so fast so you must be able to work in constant chaos. I think that’s what a startup is, nonstop chaos you need to navigate.

Anything else you want to share?

For Inventory.com, we got a small grant at the beginning of 2017 of 50, 000 EUR from the European Commission to kickstart the development, which we are super grateful for.  Unfortunately we were rejected for the second phase of the  Horizon2020 program, but we are continuing to invest our own resources to help Europe have a multinational sales channel for product exchange and we hope that our  next application in November will be successful!

The project “Inventory.com” increases the visibility and competitiveness of manufacturing SMEs on the EU market by creating conditions for an open and efficient market. Currently manufacturing SMEs lack access to suppliers and clients. They are reliant on a small number of business partners and are invisible to any other potential partners. Many SMEs, due to their niche products, find it hard to expand their client network, find suppliers and create international contacts. Product availability, specifications, price and delivery information is not available to market participants and the required information is not presented, standardised and/or not available in different languages. Therefore, companies cannot compare and decide on the best choice. This is a problem our European customers face daily and we would like to change that.

The 2017 SME Assembly will take place in Tallinn, Estonia from 22 – 24 November 2017.
The conference will be the flagship event of European SME Week.

Inspiring the future with today’s success stories

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What does it take to be an entrepreneur? What comes after the Junior Entrepreneur experience? Where can we learn more about the inspirational entrepreneurs of the future? Today Promoting Enterprise has the honour to present the success stories booklet from JADE, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises.

The booklet aims to inspire the next generation of leaders, by showcasing successful alumni from the Junior Enterprise network. In the booklet the alumni share the lessons learned as Junior Entrepreneurs and their impact on today’s businesses. They all had the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and mindset through the Junior Enterprise concept and this helped them to advance their careers as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is not only a set of skills but a spirit that enables you to turn ideas into actions. It is with those skills and this spirit that the JADE junior entrepreneurs can truly have an impact on society and co-create the future.

The following success stories are designed to inspire and provide life lessons, and are a gift to the network from the alumni.

For the last 25 years JADE has been contributing to the development of entrepreneurship among Europe’s youth by spreading a unique concept: the Junior Enterprise, a non-profit organisation, formed and managed exclusively by undergraduate and postgraduate students of higher education. They provide services for companies, institutions and society, under the guidance of teachers and professionals with the goal of consolidating and enhancing the learning of their members. Junior Enterprises are similar to real companies, with components such as corporate governance (e.g. management council and executive board), and self-regulation.

By connecting a network of 300 Junior Enterprises in 14 European countries and supporting the growth of its 22 000 members, JADE is one of the most powerful European youth organisations that fights skills mismatch and creates great potential for a more entrepreneurial society and active citizenship. After 25 years, JADE is actively working to spread the concept of Junior Enterprise to more countries, to give this unique opportunity to more students. Outside Europe, Junior Enterprises are present in around 40 countries, with over 40 000 Junior Entrepreneurs across the world.

Interested in what JADE does? Interested in knowing more about the Junior Enterprise Concept? Dive in, and meet former Junior Entrepreneurs that turned what they learnt during their Junior Enterprise experience into a successful career!

For more information visit the JADE website: www.jadenet.org

Still got questions? Contact JADE to find out more: communication@jadenet.org

ECOSTAR – The custom built accelerator and entrepreneurship hub for nature based business

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What kind of support is out there for green and eco-entrepreneurs? How can you sell an idea that is innovative, eventually profitable but also green and sustainable? Entrepreneurs in this field may find it difficult to convince investors or find the right support systems for their offered products and services. This is where the newly launched ECOSTAR accelerator is there to help!

ECOSTAR is the research-enterprise impact hub and accelerator that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation for nature-based businesses. The initiative is promoted by a university-enterprise partnership between European and US-based institutions, and it is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, and other private investors. It’s an Impact Hub that promotes the start-up and acceleration of new business initiatives with a positive impact on environment and society. It’s a Research-Business alliance that links universities and companies, providing networking and market-oriented training. It focuses on business models that make profit by marketing, promoting and enhancing biodiversity, and ecosystem services. The initiative provides business opportunities and real benefits for the environment through the following main actions:

JOIN: Create a wide research-enterprise network at EU level, linking together entrepreneurs, scientific and business mentors, and investors, wanting to create value for nature through new business ideas.

LEARN: Deliver a series of specialised entrepreneurship and innovation trainings targeted to MEEB through multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning.

GROW: The ECOSTAR Nature-Accelerator selects and invests in early-stage impactful startups that are developing innovative and sustainable solutions for disrupting the agriculture, forestry and natural resource sectors.

E-learning technology, business model case studies, EU support networks, and free ad hoc MEEB business plan advice, are some of the methods that are delivered through a strong and committed partnership of businesses and universities at country and European level.

To find out more about this exciting initiative and to read some of the success stories from participating eco-ventures, visit their website: www.ecostarhub.com

Eco-Innovation: When business meets the environment

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Environmentally friendly innovation, is it possible? Can new ideas be sustainable, economically viable and still be innovative?

The Eco-innovation action plan aims to prove that innovation does not have to be separate from being sustainable and environmentally friendly. In fact, many of the projects supported under the eco-innovation scheme prove that the two go hand in hand! Through promoting the concept of circular economy and engaging in sustainable practices, SMEs do not have to be excluded from eco-innovation and can in fact make it a strong part of their identity and a unique selling point.

Sound interesting? Interested in finding out more about: Eco-friendly paper bottles, Eco-lights made from soda bottles or ECO°PAPER made out of confectionary production waste? Browse through the project gallery to discover the diverseness of Eco-innovation in Europe.

Source: DG Environment Eco-Innovation

For more information on how to apply and benefit from funding for eco-innovative ideas have a look at the DG Environment Eco-innovation website: http://ec.europa.eu

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      What happens to EEPA winners after the ceremony? What do they get up to next? Today Promoting Enterprise is proud to introduce Leny van der Ham, the founder of International Business College 20-80 Learning, a 2015 EEPA finalist. Today she shares with us what her project is about and her exciting updates since being a […]
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    • Youth Essay Competition 2017 – Who is going to Tallinn? October 16, 2017
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    • WATIFY Solution Award – Could you be the 2017 winner? October 13, 2017
      The first edition of the WATIFY Solution Award will take place this year on 15-16 November in Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of the Global Finals of the Creative Business Cup 2017. The Award is looking to recognise the next innovative SME that has technological transformation at the core of its successful business. This SME should […]
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    • Targeted consultation on the draft Guidance on Public Procurement of Innovation October 9, 2017
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