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SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #6

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived: We know who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived. Continue reading to find out who made it!

This year the Youth Essay Competition received almost triple the number of essays in comparison to the first edition back in 2016. The EEPA Jury are busy reviewing all of the essays, so stay tuned to the Promoting Enterprise Portal to find out who the shortlisted candidates are in October.

Enjoy reading this edition of the SME Week Newsletter and be sure to follow us on social media and on the portal for all the latest updates.

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Who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist? Time to find out!

We have kept you waiting long enough, today is the day that we can finally reveal which outstanding projects have made it onto the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017 shortlist!

Before we do, we would like to highly commend the hard work of all the 2017 national winners, who have all presented a very high standard of work this year, and made the 2017 EEPA Jury’s decision very difficult. In 2017 305 National EEPA entries were received from 32 participating countries and a total of 56 projects were selected for judging by the awards jury. From these projects 15 were then narrowed down to the:

Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

Estonia Enterprise Village MTÜ Ettevõtlusküla
Finland Pikkuyrittäjät – Mini company program for primary school Nuori Yrittäjyys ry (JA Finland)
France Start’Up Lycée VISIONARI

Investing in entrepreneurial skills

Estonia Tech Sisters & Digigirls MTÜ Kogukond Tech Sisters
Latvia University of Latvia Student Business Incubator Latvijas Universitāte
Sweden Business Generator Inova

Improving the business environment

Austria Innovation to Company Vienna Chamber of Commerce
Italy
Netherlands Innofest Stichting Innofest
Spain Reempresa FUNDACIÓN CECOT INNOVACIÓN

Supporting the internationalisation of business

Austria Program Internationalization 2015 – 2020 ecoplus International GmbH
Portugal MADEIRA VINTNERS Cooperativa Agrícola do Funchal, CRL em parceria com Direção Regional de Agricultura da Região Autónoma da Madeira
UK Business West International Trade Centre Business West

Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

France Adie Microfranchise Solidaire (AMS) Adie (Association pour le Droit à l’Initiative Economique)
Portugal MUNDAR: Change your world – young entrepreneurship contest ACM IP, Gestor do Programa Escolhas in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

 

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted projects! Promoting Enterprise will be presenting each of the shortlisted projects in greater detail in the coming weeks so be sure to come back to find out more. So who will win an EEPA 2017 award? We will find out at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November…

Want to know more? See how many times your country has submitted entries during last years:

 

Also read about the EEPA 2017 national winners, the 2017 EEPA Jury and the EEPA 2016 winners, all right here on Promoting Enterprise.

The Second European Vocational Skills Week

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!

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European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017, 11 years of fostering entrepreneurship

The Portuguese national awards ceremony for the 11th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017 (EEPA) took place on 21 September 2017, in Lisbon. The two national winners were announced and all of the projects that submitted their hard work to the national competition were recognised for their efforts. The ceremony was chaired by Jorge Marques dos Santos, the President of the Board of IAPMEI the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation and SME Envoy, took place.

Since 2006, more than 3700 projects in the 31 countries have been submitted  in the national competitions, with Portugal contributing more than 14% of total participating projects. The ceremony was attended by 80 participants, with a large representation of EEPA candidates, a representative of the European Commission Representation in Portugal and other stakeholders. The Secretary of State for Industry and the Ministry of Economy Ana Lehmann, also attended the ceremony.

Congratulations to this year’s Portuguese national winners!

MADEIRA VINTNERS (Category 4 – Supporting the internationalisation of business) and MUNDAR: Change your world – young entrepreneurship contest (Category 5 – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship).

 

 

Who will make it onto the EEPA 2017 shortlist? Find out later this week right here on Promoting Enterprise! 

 

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

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.

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EEPA Jury – Professor Thomas Cooney returns for 2017

Our next Jury member has sat on the EEPA Jury before and we are delighted to welcome him back. Thomas Cooney is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Visiting Professor at the University of Turku (Finland). He is also Academic Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship, a Board Member of Startup Ireland and works in a supportive capacity with a number of businesses.

Today he is sharing with us what he will be looking for in a winning project and how to make yourself stand out in the eyes of a seasoned EEPA jury member!

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

A special project is one that is doing something distinctive or unique that is not being done elsewhere. The uniqueness could be the target community with whom it is working (e.g. survivors of domestic abuse), the nature of the project (e.g. summer camp on entrepreneurship), the method of delivery or some other differentiating feature to the project.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?    

To be shortlisted, a project must demonstrate:

  1. A well-written proposal that answers all of the questions asked
  2. A track-record of achievement
  3. The ability for the project to be replicated in other locations.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?    

The biggest benefit of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards is that they make people aware of what is being done in other countries and therefore successful initiatives can be replicated in other locations. To win the Grand Jury Prize, I am looking for a project that has demonstrable success, has some level of uniqueness and can be replicated by another person in another location or country.

Which is your favourite category and why?

My favourite category is ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ as I have long believed that entrepreneurship offers people from minority and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to maximise their economic and social potential.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?         

This is the first year that the Global Entrepreneurship Network will link with the SME Assembly and I think this will bring an additional exciting element to the activities of the week.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

My strongest piece of advice is to learn from past winners by benchmarking what you do against their success stories. The ultimate ambition is not to win an award but to improve the capacity of people to successfully start and grow a business, and learning from the experiences of others is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your initiative.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl and Daniela Ölmunger, and look out for the next EEPA Jury 2017 presentation!

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

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!

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From EEPA 2016 winner to EEPA 2017 Jury member – Daniela Ölmunger

Last year she was part of the project awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, this year she is part of the EEPA 2017 Jury! Today on Promoting Enterprise we have the pleasure to re-introduce Daniela Ölmunger and find out what she is looking for in a project and her advice for this year’s applicants.

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

I want to see both heart and brain, I want to feel the project but also understand it.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?     

  1. Relevant to existing areas of common societal interest
  2. With a new or updated angle – so something I have not necessarily seen in the same format or in the same way before
  3. Result oriented

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?          

I want great results, clearly described and with a twist somewhere. I want to feel something when I read the project. I will know when I know.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I don’t have a favourite category – they all appeal to me for different reasons and they are all interlinked and connected to European Union growth and sustainable development.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?             

I’m looking forward to several things such as listening to different angles of stories and experiencing the passion behind other people’s work when I speak to them. I am also looking forward to attending all of the interesting workshops and seminars, during which I hope to meet people with different ideas and perspectives that I can then take with me and put into my own work. Last but not least I’m looking forward to seeing and being in the wonderful and beautiful city of Tallinn!

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Just being a national contestant is a great achievement and means that a lot of hard and inspiring work has been put in, and that should not be forgotten. If you are a runner up, my advice is to get back in the ring for next time.

Read about the EEPA 2016 Grand Jury Prize winner here.

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Youth Essay Competition 2017 – What’s next?

The Youth Essay Competition 2017 submission period is now closed. Thank you to all the participants for all your hard work! This year the competition is getting even tougher, with submissions from across 23 countries and triple the number of entries from 2016. This year the top three countries were Ukraine, Serbia and the United Kingdom. We also received entries from Russia, Egypt and Nigeria. Unfortunately we can only accept submissions from citizens of COSME countries, but thank you for sending us your ideas!

So what happens now?

The Essay Competition jury will now deliberate and read through the entries to determine the top three submissions. These top three finalists will be announced right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media in the middle of October, so make sure to follow us to be the first to know!

The final step of the competition involves a live finale in Tallinn at the SME Assembly 2017. Each of the three finalists will present their essay to the 500+ Assembly delegates and the winner will be selected via a public vote.

What could you win?

Each finalist will win an all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, be given special presentation training before the event and finally have their essay and ideas promoted right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media.

Who were the 2016 finalists and what did they have to say? Read about Andri, Katie, Frici and Francesco.

Curious about who will be judging your entry? Meet the Jury!

Follow our social media so you don’t miss any news about the competition:

Twitter: @EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

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

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

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