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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

Let the adventure begin: get ready for the EYE2018!

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Have you heard the news? The third edition of the European Youth Event (EYE2018) is taking place on 1 and 2 June 2018. On this occasion, the European Parliament seat in Strasbourg will welcome more than 8,000 people aged between 16 and 30 from any EU member State or another European country.

Young people chatting in front of the Parliament

The European Parliament offers once more a unique opportunity for young Europeans to make their voices heard and to come up with innovative ideas for the future of Europe. Participants will get the chance to discuss them with political decision-makers and inspiring personalities on the European stage.

EYE2018 includes a wide range of activities in English, French and German run under the motto “The plan is to fan this spark into a flame.” (Hamilton, My Shot). The activities centre around five main themes:

  • Young and old: Keeping up with the digital revolution
  • Rich and poor: Calling for a fair share
  • Apart and together: Working out for a stronger Europe
  • Safe and dangerous: Staying alive in turbulent times
  • Local and global: Protecting our planet

Young people who want to take part need to register on this website between October and December 2017. After successfully registering, they can also shape the EYE programme by proposing to organise an activity or an artistic performance.

Those who cannot make it to Strasbourg will still be able to debate the five main themes of the event online and take part in competitions on social media before and during the event.

For more information about this exciting event have a look at their website: www.europarl.europa.eu
Also be sure to follow all of their social media channels for the latest updates!
Twitter: @EP_EYE2018
Instagram: @ep_eye

#InvestEU – The innovation of Europe

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#InvestEU represents some of the incredible initiatives and innovative projects that the European Union (EU) is supporting. To find out about what #InvestEU is and what kinds of projects it covers, read the previous Promoting Enterprise articleBut what about some concrete examples about where this funding is going? What kind of innovation is going on in Europe? Promoting Enterprise has selected a few projects to highlight from across different sectors:

Support for research start-ups, France

Quadrivium 1 is a €56.1 million seed fund launched in 2013 by French venture capital firm Seventure Partners. It supports high-potential start-ups in the life science – including bio, health and clean technology – and digital and robotic technology sectors. The aim of this project is to give startups extra support in the early stages so that their potential innovations are not lost due to financial issues, it also helps these startups gain recognition which is very useful when they are starting out.

Villach vocational school, Austria

Villach vocational school in Carinthia, Austria gives professional support to young people who have finished school but aren’t ready to take the next step. The aim of the school is to give youth aged from 21-24 additional support to develop core skills needed for the labour market. From traditional training in writing and arithmetic, to building of new media skills, the school provides opportunities to pursue a variety of vocational paths. Since early 2011, more than 220 people have completed its comprehensive support programme. The school is backed by the EU and Carinthia’s Social Ministry Service.

Jennewein: a biotech leader, Germany

12 years after founding Jennewein Biotechnologie in Rheinbreitbach, Germany, Managing Director Stefan Jennewein has reached a defining moment. His company is a leader in its field and with help from an EU-backed loan, it is expanding production, allowing it to safeguard jobs. This once small start-up aims to make the production of  monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, in particular sugar molecules, easy and cost effective. This in turn will allow for further research into the health benefits of these sugars and potential product development.

Smart beekeeping systems, Bulgaria

Bees play a huge role in maintaining the balance of nature. Food production, biodiversity and environmental sustainability all depend on them. EU funding has helped Bulgarian company Bee Smart Technologies to develop a remote digital diagnostic and monitoring system for beekeeping. This enables beekeepers to breed more and healthier bees.

Follow the links to find out more about these projects and be sure to visit the Follow the links to find out more about these projects and be sure to visit the #InvestEU page and browse through all the other projects!

The future of innovation and enterprise – What can we expect?

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Tue David Bak, director of Innovation and Growth for Region Zealand in Denmark, is back for a final interview with Promoting Enterprise. Today the subject is the future, what does it hold for innovation and enterprise? What can we expect? What are the trends telling us? Read on to find out…

What trends do you see in innovation?

In Denmark specifically, the public sector is embracing innovation, which I see as a positive thing. Overall, user driven innovation is increasing, as consumers and users begin to play larger roles in development, and there is a shift from only research based innovation. The current trend is disruption of society as there is a need for innovation for us to advance.

What measures/steps are you taking to encourage digital innovation in Region Zealand?

In Region Zealand we currently don’t do enough and as such we are not a front runner in the digital space. In Denmark however there have been some steps towards pushing companies to work digitally and make that digital transformation. The Danish Business Authority (which takes care of company registrations and working in the Danish public sector) took the controversial decision to make it mandatory for all companies to digitally invoice if they wanted to work in the public sector. Initially there was a lot of resistance but overall it helped – and is still helping companies – to transition to the digital sphere. As such, Denmark has no physical paper trails for monetary transactions and the public sector is going fully digital. That is truly innovative.

As director for innovation and growth, what do you see as the future of enterprise?

The same situation can be seen across all the EU countries, the public sector is under enormous strain which has and will continue to be a catalyst and driver for innovation. This in turn will result in increased cooperation and further blurring of public and private divisions. This blurring of divisions also relates to how the idea of employment is changing and evolving, which is not to say it is negative, but simply means that new working models are beginning to emerge. I see the future of enterprise as no longer including the ‘employee’ concept, I think this will be phased out. It is not uncommon now and nor will it be in future to have multiple jobs or hybrid employment models, alongside an overall merging of individuals and companies.

What does the future of enterprise look like in Denmark? Do you think it is different to global trends or where the future of enterprise will go globally?

Denmark has always had a strong focus on creating a business environment conducive to startups and entrepreneurs. So far we have been successful, but we also need to change in order to stay competitive and innovative. The new focus now needs to be on helping startups to scale up. So the big question for us now is how do we scale up in Denmark? Perhaps a larger and certainly important question is, how do we scale up in the EU?

Innovation in large companies: CP Kelco, Region Zealand

If you enjoyed this insightful interview with Tue David Bak, be sure to read his other interviews right here on the Promoting Enterprise Portal.

First interview: Innovation – What is it and how can it be fostered?

Second interview: Startup Culture – Tue David Bak shares his insights and predictions

#InvestEU – Find about European funded initiatives

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What does the European Union (EU) invest in? What projects do they support? The EU is here to help support great ideas and give everybody a chance to get ahead and to give innovative European ideas a chance. Through different funding schemes the EU is able to invest in projects across the spectrum, from those that are investigating cleaner sources of energy, to those that aim to provide cutting edge healthcare.

In order to invest in such a diverse range of initiatives, the EU has a comprehensive Investment Plan. The investment plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. To achieve these goals, the plan is active in three areas:

  •         mobilising investments of at least €315 billion in three years;
  •         supporting investment in the real economy;
  •         creating an investment friendly environment.

The Investment Plan provides background and context, but where does this investment go? On the InvestEU website, there are many different project stories to browse through, which highlight some of the innovative European projects that are being funded. In upcoming posts, Promoting Enterprise will be highlighting some of the projects from across the Member States and from different sectors.

Startup Culture – Tue David Bak shares his insights and predictions

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Promoting Enterprise is proud to welcome back Tue David Bak, director of Innovation and Growth for Region Zealand in Denmark. In his second interview with us, Tue sheds some light on startups, accelerators and incubators in Region Zealand and Denmark, current trends and the regional influences on startup culture.

Do you have many accelerators and incubators in Region Zealand? Are they successful?

In Denmark we have actually worked to avoid having too many regional accelerators and incubators, we prefer to have these bodies on a national level so as to keep them open to all Danish and even global companies. Global companies are not excluded from accessing our incubators and accelerators. As long as they have a Danish license and a physical presence in Denmark they can access all the resources. Through this openness we hope to facilitate a link between the Danish and global markets, thus making Denmark just as attractive as the Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs.

What trends are you seeing on the startup scene?

There is an increasing acknowledgement from startups that they do need help. The old idea of two guys in a garage doing everything on their own and not needing any support is starting to be replaced by the realisation that getting a startup to take off is difficult and that there a multitude of resources to draw from and that they are there for a reason. This links to another trend which is an overall change in mindset regarding partnerships. Similar to the collective realisation that they need help, startup founders are specifically beginning to value the need for partnerships with mentors, larger companies etc.

What trends are you seeing in startup culture? For example, does geography play a role?

Absolutely, just looking at the differences between Northern and Southern Europe is an illustration of the role of geography. I have more experience and expertise in Northern Europe, and overall I have seen that there is a strong entrepreneurial culture in Northern Europe, including acceptance of changes of career as a ‘normal’ part of professional life.

Even within countries geography is a big influence, a startup or company located in a rural area will not behave in the same way as an urban counterpart. Rural startups are more traditional working on the idea of being your own boss and are often less aggressive in their approach to scaling up. They are also more in line with the traditional Danish culture which means not standing out or drawing attention to yourself. In contrast urban areas are experiencing an aggressive growth of entrepreneurs.

Innovation in startups: Synchrotron-based microscopy at laboratory scale (Xnovo)

Tue David Bak will be back next week on Promoting Enterprise for his final interview on the future of innovation and enterprise and what Denmark and the EU need to focus on to stay competitive.

Read his first interview: Innovation – What is it and how can it be fostered?

Innovation – What is it and how can it be fostered?

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are joined by Tue David Bak, director of Innovation and Growth for Region Zealand in Denmark. In the first of a series of interviews, he shares with us his experiences in identifying innovation and creating innovative environments.

How is innovation fostered in your region?

Firstly, we must identify how innovation takes place before talking about how it is fostered. Innovation takes place via two processes:

1. Internal innovation within companies and organisations

2. Public or other innovative institutions creating innovation frameworks

In this context, I am going to focus more on the second process, as this is where the region plays a role. In Region Zealand there are different schemes which establish innovation frameworks to encourage innovative behaviour, for which specific funds are set aside. For example, one of the things that we do at the regional level is to reduce the risk for companies that are willing to invest in innovative ideas. Currently the focus is on innovation in the healthcare system. The region has set aside funds so that investors are taking financial fewer risks, and, hence, willing make much investments that are much greater than expected in innovation.

We also run gap financing schemes through universities, which also aim at reducing the level of risk for potential investors. Our role as the region is to bridge the gap between research and commercial finance, which in many cases could stop a potentially innovative body of research from receiving the necessary support to grow and expand. One example is the company Xnovo, which began as a research idea developed at the Technical University of Denmark. Through the support provided with the gap financing scheme it has now developed into a commercial company with its own private employees.

What are the key aspects of an environment that encourages innovation?

There are three main elements required for an innovative environment:

1. Private and public risk capital

You need free money to finance risk taking

2. The ability for public institutions to purchase innovative ideas

Region Zealand has recently changed its internal procurement laws to stimulate innovation by incentivising public institutions to purchase novel ideas and technology.

3. Excellent advising systems

Companies and individuals require guidance when it comes to innovation, therefore it is necessary to have easy to use support systems in place.

Innovation in startups: 4D X-ray videos showing microstructure evolution (Xnovo)

In the case of Region Zealand, I believe that we have all of the elements above but simply not enough of each. We can strengthen the advisory and support systems that currently exist. We can increase our in-house purchase of innovative ideas. In the United States the small business administration had special programmes to acquire public contracts, which is something we can learn from and build upon. In Denmark certain requirements for companies, e.g. a three year track record, have been taken away in order to make it easier for new startups which would not fulfil this criterion. Taking away this type of requirement could make certain steps in the process of scaling up and establishment easier, for example access to funds and schemes. Removing barriers is absolutely key, you have to make it easy, to provide incentives and minimise the risk of purchasing innovative ideas.

Stay tuned for more from Tue David Bak on global innovation, where it will lead us, the future of enterprise and trends in startup culture.

European Innovation Scoreboard

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Ever wondered how innovative your country is? What about in comparison to its neighbours or overall in the region? The European Innovation Scoreboard is a European Commission initiative that provides a comparative analysis of innovation performance in EU countries, other European countries, and regional neighbours. It assesses relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems and helps countries identify areas they need to address.

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard is a regional extension of the European Innovation Scoreboard, assessing the innovation performance of European regions based on a limited number of indicators.

European Innovation Scoreboard 2017

The 2017 edition of the Scoreboard presents a refined analytical framework. Rankings are therefore not directly comparable with previous editions, but time series using the new analytical framework allow performance to be tracked over time. New indicators capture investments in skills, digital readiness, entrepreneurship, and public-private innovation partnerships. In addition, a new toolbox with contextual data can be used to analyse and compare structural differences between countries.

The new scoreboard reveals that EU innovation performance continues to increase, especially due to improvements in human resources, the innovation-friendly environment, own-resource investments, and attractive research systems. Sweden remains the EU innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany. Lithuania, Malta, the UK, the Netherlands, and Austria are the fastest growing innovators.

In a global comparison, the EU is catching up with Canada and the US, but South Korea and Japan are pulling ahead. China shows the fastest progress among international competitors.

Interested in finding out more? Have a look at country profiles, an interactive online score board and find out who is leading innovation in Europe.

https://ec.europa.eu

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    • EEPA National Winners 2017 – Supporting the internationalisation of business August 17, 2017
      We have already met the national EEPA winners from Categories 1, 2 and 3…time for Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business! This category recognises initiatives that encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. In 2016 the prize was won […]
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    • Inspiring the future with today’s success stories August 15, 2017
      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, […]
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    • EEPA National Winners 2017 – Improving the business environment August 10, 2017
      Who else will be competing for a place on the European shortlist for EEPA 2017? Time to find out about the European projects competing in Category 3: Improving the business environment! Don’t forget to have a look at the national winners in Category 1 and Category 2. Category 3 recognises initiatives that support enterprise start-up and […]
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    • ECOSTAR – The custom built accelerator and entrepreneurship hub for nature based business August 8, 2017
      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 […]
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    • EEPA National Winners 2017 – Investing in entrepreneurial skills August 3, 2017
      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 […]
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    • Eco-Innovation: When business meets the environment August 1, 2017
      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 […]
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    • Let the adventure begin: get ready for the EYE2018! July 27, 2017
      Have you heard the news? The third edition of the European Youth Event (EYE2018) is taking place on 1 and 2 June 2018. On this occasion, the European Parliament seat in Strasbourg will welcome more than 8,000 people aged between 16 and 30 from any EU member State or another European country. The European Parliament […]
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    • EEPA National Winners 2017 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit July 25, 2017
      As the jury decision for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist draws closer it is time for us to meet all of the outstanding projects from across Europe that are competing on European level! Promoting Enterprise will be presenting all of the national winners that are being considered for the European shortlist as well […]
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    • #InvestEU – The innovation of Europe July 20, 2017
      #InvestEU represents some of the incredible initiatives and innovative projects that the European Union (EU) is supporting. To find out about what #InvestEU is and what kinds of projects it covers, read the previous Promoting Enterprise article. But what about some concrete examples about where this funding is going? What kind of innovation is going on […]
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    • The countdown for the #EEPA2017 shortlist begins July 18, 2017
      The entry deadline for the European level of the EEPA competition closed on 3 July 2017. The entries are now being checked and prepared for evaluation by the Jury. In 2017 305 National EEPA entries were received from 32 participating countries. 56 projects were then selected by the National Co-ordinators as the best of the […]
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