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Turning graduate innovation into sustainable business – EEPA 2016 Special Mention

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.

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Ideas from Malta – Will we see you there?

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Calling all innovators! Do you know what is going to be happening in Malta on the 7th of March 2017?

The Ideas from Malta event is a collection of Ideas From Europe and Malta’s entries for business solutions to global challenges. If you are working on an idea that solves a global challenge, this is your opportunity to get recognised and gain the support you need to maximise impact. You can also nominate others.

From power, water & housing to education, healthcare & finance, if you are a Maltese / Dual citizen or resident of Malta building a solution to societal and environmental issues, we want you! Whilst the official deadline has passed you can still submit your ideas for consideration, feedback and guidance here.

Shortlisted innovators will be invited to present their idea at an event to be held in Malta on 7th March 2017. The winner will be Malta’s representative for Ideas from Europe. All innovators who submit an idea will be reviewed and provided with opportunities to further their development, including access to mentors, internships, partners and investors.

This is a unique opportunity to gain access to the partners and funding you need to reach your goals. Let’s help you get there and maybe even further: to the Ideas from Europe finals taking place at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn.

For more information: www.ideasfrommalta.com

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‘Find your own distinctive formula’ – Sustainable beekeeping triumphs at EEPA 2016

winner-cat-5Beekeeping and sustainable development can be a winning combination, as seen with the success of ‘Lime Trees & Honey Bees’ at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016.

Lime Trees & Honey Bees triumphed in Category five “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency” with a project promoting sustainable development through beekeeping in the Danube Microregion of Serbia. 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?

We first heard about the national competition through a public notice on the web site of our national EEPA coordinator, the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Economy. Their experience and support was invaluable during the preparations, especially because it was the first time we were applying.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

The Local Economic Development Office (LED Office) team prepares, supports and monitors the implementation of a significant number of projects regarding local economic development for the City of Novi Sad. The moment we found out about the competition we knew we had to apply with the project “Lime Trees & Honey Bees for Sustainable Development of the Danube Microregion”. It already had outstanding results in supporting entrepreneurship in a not so commonly exploited field but a significant one for the entire ecosystem.

How did you go about preparing your application?

2-5-beekeepers-in-honey-bees-farm-best-practice-examples-from-serbia-and-austria-limehoneyFrom when the project was first created and implemented by the LED Office team, to filling in the application, we were sure that the “Lime Trees & Honey Bees” experience was worth sharing. However, the preparation of some supporting materials was challenging since the project officially ended in February 2015. Luckily our enthusiasm about this project once again inspired colleagues from several city departments. We joined forces and completed the application materials. In general, it was rather joyful remembering all the hard work on this project and the great results and we believe that is what made our application stand out.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award was a complete surprise! Of course we were secretly hoping for it, but we were also aware that the competition was very strong. Even on a national level we had two winners, the other competitor from Serbia was SEE ICT’s project “We know we can”. Therefore, we thought being on the shortlist was already a success.

We were competing in category number five “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency” and, as the time was passing by, we were completely focused on the ceremony, enjoying the presentations and great organisation of the EEPA team. Hearing the name of our project being announced as the award winner was an incredible moment. It was overwhelming and exciting, but above all such great recognition for everyone who had worked on this project and supported it.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

One 1-1-2-young-beekeeper-in-her-honey-bees-farm-city-of-novi-sad-limehoneyof the main reasons for our application was to further support the producers of Fruska Gora lime honey and we expected certain publicity thanks to the award, but we were quite surprised by the amount of interest and increase in the media coverage by the local as well as the national media. This boosted the interest in beekeeping and quality product Fruska Gora lime honey as we hoped. In addition, work on this initiative and winning the award brought recognition to the City of Novi Sad LED Office, as well as invitations to relevant events. It also strengthened our cooperation with the Ministry of Economy on supporting entrepreneurship.

What kind of response did you receive?

The reactions were very positive from the general and professional public. The significance of EEPA was clear despite the fact that in most cases it was introduced for the first time. We have used the increased interest of the Serbian national and regional media to promote Fruska Gora Lime honey and beekeeping as an ecologically sustainable business as much as possible.

We hope that the success of the City of Novi Sad in the EEPA competition will inspire others to create innovative projects on the subject of SME development and to enter the EEPA competition.

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

Winning this prestigious award has given greater exposure to the City of Novi Sad, thus significantly contributing to our credibility, improving our chances in creating new project partnerships across Europe and working on innovative solutions for supporting the development of SME’s

1-city-of-novi-sad-fruska-gora-lime-honey-limehoneyWhy should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

Entering the EEPA 2017 gives a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and contacts with colleagues, experts and other stakeholders, drawing focus to the relevant questions and impact SME development. A good idea, a quality product, enthusiasm, detailed planning, active stakeholder involvement and teamwork were the key to our success. Our recommendation to future competitors would be to make sure to find their own distinctive formula

What are your plans for the future?

Currently we are working on Horizon 2020 projects, Cross-border-cooperation IPA Hungary-Serbia and IPA Croatia-Serbia with special emphasis on SME development. We will continue our work on improving the business environment and encouraging faster economic development of Novi Sad and expect to achieve even better results in future. As for the “Lime Trees & Honey Bees” we expect that beekeeping associations will continue to follow the guidelines set within the project, use and expand acquired knowledge and skills, and increase the market share of the Fruska Gora lime honey, an exceptional high-quality product, typical of this area.

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SME Assembly 2016 – Refresh your memory with presentations

2017-02-07

As we prepare for SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, let us not forget about the success of the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava! The presentation from the SME Assembly 2016 is now available for you to look at here.

Want to have a look at some of the presentations from the SME Assembly 2016? Browse the list below to refresh your memory:

Day 2 – Thursday November 24

Day 3 – Friday November 25

10 Years On

Ladislav Ambrovics (MINIT Slovakia)

Kenneth Ryan

Scale Up Lab

Pieter Waasdorp (NLGroeit)

Policy Session Skills for SMEs

Rosanna Kurrer (Digital Leadership Institute)

Alberto Onetti (Mind the Bridge, SEP)

Masterclass – Crowdfunding: Yannig Roth (Marketing Director, WiSEED)

Policy Session – Single Market Lab

Stefan Vratny (EEN)

Policy Session – Creating a Collaborative Economy

Marco Torregrossa: Rethinking Work in the Collaborative Economy (Secretary General, European Forum of Independent Professionals Managing Director, European Sharing Economy Coalition)

Julia Rzepecka (VVA – Europe)

Policy Session – Accessing Alternative Finance

Pim de Bokx (Founder PIONEERZ Chairman DIA – Dutch Incubators & Accelerators)

Kristof de Buysere (Eucaps)

Philippe Gluntz (Business Angels Europe)

Policy Session – The Growth of Social Enterprise

Roger Spear (OU&RUC)

Nils Dreyer (Hilfswerft GmbH)

Joseba Sagastigordia (Mondragon corp.)

Ariane Rodert (EESC)

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

This year the SME Assembly 2017 will take place in Tallinn, Estonia! Keep up with all the latest information, preparations and exciting announcements right here on Promoting Enterprise and we hope to see you in Tallinn…

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Helping Latvian youth realise entrepreneurial dreams – EEPA 2016 Special Mention

Innovative business ideas can come from all sorts of people, as seen today in the next European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016 winner interview. Read about these successful project journeys, and pick up their useful tips and tricks for future applicants.

This interview looks at one of the EEPA 2016 Special Mentions, Latvian project Radam Novadam (Create for County), represented here by project coordinator Andris Cheksters. This project, which received Erasmus+ funding that was granted by Agency of International Programms for Youth in Latvia, is a competition for students with three key objectives: To generate added economic value in Latvian regions, To discover and unleash the skills and abilities of students to help them along in their careers and finally to build a new generation of socially responsible entrepreneurs.

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

I first heard about the EEPA competition when I was working on the project, and thought it looked like a good opportunity. We were planning to launch the project one more time and thought that should we be recognised with this award that it might help us obtain the necessary funding to continue providing this opportunity for students to get into the entrepreneurial mindset.

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How did you go about preparing your application?

We actually applied quite late in June, and in Latvia the national winners are announced in July so we did not have much time to prepare. It was actually a surprise when we found out we were national winners because we did not hear anything for quite a while so just assumed that nothing had happened and forgot about the application.

What was it like to win the award and what kind of response did you receive?

It was definitely a surprise and it felt good to be promoted on a European level. We actually were surprised twice, first by being announced as national winners and again when we found out we were going to be a special mention at the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava! It made our work feel appreciated and recognised, which is great for our project because the student teams in the competition can also benefit from extra exposure.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

It was not particularly big news on a national level, but it was a big thing both for myself and all the project partners. There were several articles written about the project, and the exposure the award gives definitely helped with our credibility. I am not sure if this is a direct result of the exposure, but around the same time we also managed to secure some funding we had applied for to help continue running the competition for students.

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

The award has already helped in terms of scaling up the project, which really suits my vision for this project’s future. In future hopefully this project can be replicated across different European countries so that all European students and youth can start companies and use their local advantages in order to create international teams and in turn successful businesses. The project has a different structure to other ‘business idea’ competitions with a reality show style format and a focus on actual results and created economic values, so I want to bring this innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity to other European countries.

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

This award provides recognition which is always good for project, especially if that recognition comes from a higher and recognised entity like the European Commission. This level of validity and credibility makes it much easier to launch a project or to look for funding, which is support we need with our innovative approach.

eepa-2016-latvia

The project will re-launch again on 6 February to continue the search for inspiring entrepreneurs!

www.radamnovadam.lv

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Youth essay competition 2016 – Where are they now?

andri-pandoura-turns

Happy Birthday to Andri Pandoura, last years’ youth essay competition winner! Winning the Europe wide contest at the age of only 16, we caught up with the now 17 year old Andri to see what she has been up to since winning the competition

What was it like to win the Youth Essay Competition?

There are no words to describe what winning the Youth Essay Competition was like. It was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity for which I will always be grateful. Speaking at the SME Assembly 2016 helped me mature and be more confident in myself. All in all, the experience of winning the Youth Essay Competition and attending the Assembly is unforgettable.

What have you been doing since winning the Youth Essay Competition in 2016?

In between school and homework, I still try to be involved in youth work through projects and workshops. On returning back home after the Assembly I was awarded by the Cyprus Employers & Industrialists Federation (OEB) and have had various newspaper and television interviews. Recently, I won the National “Erifili” Award for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, which was not only a big honour, but also an encouragement to carry on with my involvement in the youth sector. Sadly, my term at the Cyprus Children’s Parliament ended last month, but I am nonetheless still attending some of the sessions and trying to support the members of the new term as much as I can.

What is next for you? What are your plans for the future?

Other than my IGCSE exams that are approaching, I have a trip planned to Brussels for March. I will be attending the March Session of the European Economic and Social Committee, as well as the Your Europe, Your Say 2017 debate that follows. Other than this, we’ll just have to wait and see!

Read about Andri  and the 2016 runners’ up: Katie, Francesco and Frici.

Are you between the ages of 16-25? Got something to say about entrepreneurship in Europe? Be sure to keep checking here on Promoting Enterprise for information about the 2017 edition of the youth essay competition.

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Meet the 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs changing Europe in 2017

From innovating scientists to high school founders, this year’s 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs list highlights entrepreneurs making an impact combating climate change, empowering the visually impaired, and activating developing markets.

The members of this year’s 30 Under 30 Europe list are culled from over one thousand online nominations and research by a team of reporters at Forbes and across Europe. Candidates for the Social Entrepreneurs list were evaluated by a panel of experts in their fields: Jean Case of the Case Foundation; Cheryl Dorsey of Echoing Green; and Randall Lane of Forbes Magazine. The final list is built from the recommendations of our judges.

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Here are some of notable areas the Under 30s will be impacting Europe and the world in 2017:

Making Fresh Produce Accessible

Agricool cofounders Guillaume Fourdinier, 29, and Gonzague Gru, 29, are making cities more sustainable with their Cooltainer, a storage container capable of producing fresh produce year round. The French duo recently harvested a $4.3 million funding round that will enable them to ramp up production in 2017.

Integrating New Arrivals

Ninon Demuth, 27, is using food as a catalyst for long-lasting refugee integration. She cofounded Über den Tellerrand, an organization that connects refugees with locals through refugee-led cooking classes, street food markets and cookbooks. The idea is catching hold: already they’ve spread to 25 cities in four European countries.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs of the Future

Ben and Jodie Cook, both 28, the husband and wife team behind Clever Tykes, realised that their entrepreneurial spark began in early childhood. Looking to inspire the next generation of leaders, they developed a series of children’s books featuring enterprising young role models. They scored a major partnership with the Lloyds Banking Group in late 2016 that now enables them to offer the books free of charge to every primary school across the United Kingdom.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Scientist turned entrepreneur Julian Melchiorri, 29, invented the first synthetic biological leaf that mimics the work of an actual leaf. By absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting breathable oxygen, the BioSolar Leaf holds limitless possibilities from increasing air quality in cities to even potentially making life on another planet possible.

These are only a few of the trailblazers leading the way to a better future. Meet the rest of the social entrepreneurs in the full Under 30 Europe – Social Entrepreneurs List.

Source: www.forbes.com

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European SME Week – Learning from Portugal’s 2016 strategy


european-sme-week-portugal-blog-post

Are you an SME Week National Coordinator? Need some inspiration for your campaign? Look no further! Start your planning for European SME Week 2017!

Today we share the action plan developed by the Portuguese Coordinator for the European SME Week 2016 to present some ideas and best practices. The action plan covers various topics, from communication tips and communication strategies, to possible target groups, dissemination practices and how to reach the audience using social media.

The report, which you may find here, resulted in a total of 39 Portuguese organised events being posted on the SME Week Event Calendar. Use the calendar as a European platform to get international exposure for your events, get posting and see the results!

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/support/sme-week_en

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‘Winning has given us room to manoeuvre’ – EEPA2016 increases project credibility

daniela_olmunger_photo_by_anders_feldtThe European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016 category winner interviews are here! Find out about the story behind these successful projects, and even pick up some of their useful tips and tricks for future applicants. Today is the turn of the Grand Jury Prize, which commends the entry that the Jury considers to be ‘the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe’. The winning project for 2016 was Entrepreneurial West Hisingen from Sweden, originally a competitor in Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship and represented by Daniela Ölmunger in this interview, 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.

Today’s interview gives insight into how this project became an EEPA 2016 winner, what happened next and where we can expect to see them in the future. This is just the first of several interviews so stick around to find out more about the EEPA 2016 winners in the coming weeks!

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We first heard about the national competition from the Swedish Agency for Economical and Regional Growth, Tillväxtverket. They called us and advised us to compete seeing as we were already competing for the ‘regional stars’, due to the results and lessons in the project Entrepreneurial West Hisingen.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

First of all I love to compete and write, I am also a project developer so I am used to working with deadlines and conducting analyses and I thought why not. It was also an honour to be asked to compete at European level, where you don’t always know what other people are doing, only that they are great projects.

How did you go about preparing your application?

Well we didn’t actually know that we were nominated until quite late, but once we did we conducted a workshop to discuss the application questions, look at different aspects of the project and consult our stakeholders to gather their opinions. Competing also gives you a chance to reflect, and we knew we had really good results but this reflective period was still very useful.

one_stop_future_shop_ali_tabrizi_jasmine_soufi_photo_by_anders_feldtstart-up-fasttrack-1-photo-by-jennie-olsson

What was it like to win the award?

It was so crazy! We actually thought that we had been forgotten at first because our movie was not presented when our category was announced and then we thought that perhaps there had been an administrative mistake and that we were not actually national winners. When the Grand Jury Prize was announced I had not even thought about that category as we had all been so focused on the original category we entered, as our achievements were being read out we started to think that someone might have stolen our ideas! Once we were announced as the winners everything was a bit chaotic, I had nothing prepared for when we went up on stage, but overall it was very surprising and exciting to win.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

The main difference we saw was definitely in terms of political impact. Upon our return, we began receiving several visits from different parties and politicians, including the minister of finance and her team, who came for some insight and points from our project after we were first nominated. This increased political interest has led to us being more respected, and being invited to various city council groups which in turn has increased our local impact and overall our role in national political development.

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

Winning this prize has helped us build our credibility and earned the respect of those around us in various circles. We are slightly unconventional in Swedish terms, but people now take notice of us and trust our opinions and views. Being winners has given us room to manoeuvre and the lasting impact will be that we can now stand up for and defend that room. This is important as we already have launched a new entrepreneurial project in Gothenburg – the EU-project One Stop Future Shop.

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

I think that entering EEPA gives you a chance to reflect on what you have done with your project, which is work worth doing and not something we get much of an opportunity to do. You can’t always focus on what you did well yesterday, but the analysis is important and it gives you a chance to make your learning journey visible so that others can learn from it. You should not be scared to point out things that you learnt from and definitely take help from others, don’t do it all on your own. In our case we asked for the opinions of our stakeholders and learnt a lot from them during this fun and honouring process.

one-stop-future-shop-project-managers_mohamed_ben_abdelhamid_daniela_olmunger_majid_fard_photo_by_jennie_olsson

What are your plans for the future?

Currently we are working on One Stop Future Shop, which is based on the learnings and results from Entrepreneurial West Hisingen. In this project we are already seeing substantial results. This has a lot to do with the experiences from the previous project where we have been able to sort out what the needs are and how to contribute to making a more entrepreneurial region. In the future we hope to contribute to local growth and the creation of local companies, as well as motivate people to see that they can do anything they want to in life. Future plans depend on a lot of things, I have a lot of ideas, but maybe some of them are too innovative!

Watch the EEPA 2016 Grand Jury Prize Winner video here.

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Get ready for EEPA 2017…the launch is almost here!

Today was the first meeting with all national coordinators for the upcoming launch of EEPA 2017. This first gathering gave us a sneak peek into all the exciting campaigns we can expect across Europe and on all sorts of different platforms.

Three inspirational presentations were given by the national coordinators who have implemented successful promotional activities in 2016:

The Netherlands:  gained a lot of national press coverage and awareness through having their projects perform the bell ceremony at the Amsterdam stock exchange.

UK: created a media campaign to find the “most enterprising place in Britain”, giving them a great platform to recruit entries for their national competition and then create substantial media interest once the winners were announced.

Germany: for the last three editions of EEPA Germany has performed very well in the Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship category and Germany’s coordinator Juliane Kummer highlighted the effectiveness of personal communication, have a read of her interview from 2016.

Have a look at a selection of other EEPA campaigns:

SwedenHungaryPolandPortugal with the 10 years of EEPA celebration, and last but not least the upcoming SME Assembly 2017 host Estonia


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Based on the ideas and discussion heard today we should all start getting ready and excited for all the EEPA 2017 activities coming up, so stay tuned and look out for all the announcements and information coming from
your national coordinators!

To all the national coordinators, we wish you the best of luck with the upcoming campaigns and look out for our tips, tricks and other materials available right here.

Just before we go…don’t forget about the EEPA 2016 winners testimonials

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