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‘Being successful is having a good enterprise and being a good entrepreneur’ – The Rotterdam Business Case

Entrepreneurs are ambitious, daring and think outside of the box to help advance and innovate our daily lives. Yet who helps them when they are in difficulty? Who gives them a second chance or the advice they need to be successful? The Category 6 (Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship) winner of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), is a project that does just that. Today’s interview with Rob Gringhuis, one of the project partners, gives insight into this cutting edge project that is helping innovative individuals through challenging times.

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

We first heard about EEPA when one partner got an email from the university of applied sciences in Rotterdam who had seen the EEPA announcement from our national economic ministry. Once we started looking into it we thought that we had a lot to offer with our project and were enthusiastic about showing people what we are doing. We had already been asked by the ministry of social affairs to present our project to other cities and regions in the Netherlands, so we saw this as a chance to take that to a European level. Our project is on the cutting edge of economic and social problems by providing entrepreneurial support, as entrepreneurs often become dependent on welfare and can cause societal difficulties. We were also curious about where our project stood on a national level and how we compared to other initiatives across the Netherlands.

How did you go about preparing your application?

Our national coordinator was very helpful and shared important advice with us during the application stage. We actually entered in 2015 but were unsuccessful, so 2016 gave us a chance to improve our original application and demonstrate the progress we had made in one year. Our 2016 application included more results which had since been expanded outside of Rotterdam and across the Netherlands.

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

Winning the award was fantastic! When we first saw our competitors in our category there was a familiar project there, the Swedish nominee Entrepreneurial West Hisingen. We already knew about each other because we lost to them in a previous eurocities competition, so we knew that they were an appealing and tough project to beat.

During the awards ceremony, we realised that there were only three projects announced in our category and that the Swedish project was no longer there, which made us feel a little more hopeful about winning. We were confident that we had shown the Jury the effect our project had on entrepreneurs, and also its potential for scaling up on a national level. When we were announced as the winners it was a big acknowledgment of our hard work and made us think about our project on a European level.

Before EEPA we were already developing our international expansion, but winning EEPA has certainly helped accelerate that process. We were congratulated by the EEPA team and also by previous Dutch winners from 2015, who we met not that long ago.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

We have had the Rotterdam business case since 2013, and have since started a foundation to help other cities. We are also in conversation with other regions to see if we can help them to do the same. All of this was already under way before the EEPA win but we now have an ‘approval stamp’ on our project which has helped us accelerate our processes, made it easier for others start their own business cases and also helped our partners put proposals forward faster. The win has been a tremendous push forward and as well as boosting enthusiasm also resulted in a lot of congratulations from our peers.

Ultimately this could also attract the interest of other cities and help us with our international vision. We are already in talks with Finland and may be looking at expanding to Bulgaria, so hopefully the EEPA quality stamp will help these developments.

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

This is now a strategic question for us, how do we go forward from here? We have been asked to go to seminars and tell our story, and the foundation that we started is helping other cities and helping with scaling up of existing cases. In the long term we would like to push the project forward on a European platform, maybe in 1-2 years time we will be able to have European level business cases, but this is ambitious and would require European partners. As our foundation board is entirely made up of volunteers the problem is not enthusiasm or ambition, it is time and money, but hopefully through our research programme which interviews entrepreneurs over the years to analyse the effectiveness of the project methods, we will continue to improve and grow.

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

Entering the national competition forces you to step outside of your project and learn how to: market it, develop a pitch and most of all make it interesting and inspirational for others. Inspiration is a very important part of EEPA work, it is what makes a project stand out. Aside from that, you should enter because it is fun! The whole process requires a lot of work and you need to invest the necessary time, but once that part is done you can really enjoy the experience of being in the competition.

What are your plans for the future?

Our vision is a global one, meaning that we want to expand on an international scale. The project is here to assist entrepreneurs that are almost failing and so far around 50% of those who have been helped have recovered and become successful. Being successful is having a good enterprise and being a good entrepreneur, and currently there is a very large group of hard working entrepreneurs in Europe that just need help, which is why we want to expand the project, so that we can provide that necessary support. The goal is to make success a possibility for as many entrepreneurs as possible. The current target in the Netherlands is to assist 1 000 entrepreneurs a year, now we want to turn that into helping 10 000 entrepreneurs across Europe every year.

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Secrets of Success 2016/2017 – What makes an entrepreneur successful?

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What makes an entrepreneur successful? How do entrepreneurs define their success? What are the secrets behind their inspiring journeys? Promoting Enterprise presents the ‘Secrets of Success 2016-2017’ brochure, which answers all of these questions and more. So what is inside? This year the brochure features interviews with 33 successful business owners from across Europe, under the themes of: Concept/Idea, Drive, Leadership/Team, Success and finally Europe.

From Albania to the United Kingdom, tourism to medical innovation, the entrepreneurs and businesses featured in this brochure offer something for everyone. Each entrepreneur provides details of their personal success, as well as encouraging and inspiring words for other entrepreneurs to learn from and reflect upon. Each profile is also available in the native language of the entrepreneurs, so why not browse through and discover the some of the inspiring minds of Europe in the field of SMEs, startups and scaleups.

Read the brochure here.

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

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

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

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

How did you go about preparing your application?

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

What was it like to win the award?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your plans for the future?

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

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2017 and beyond: How digital innovation will impact the world

sme_instagram_07_03_2017Digital innovation, one of the themes of the SME Assembly 2017, is by far the biggest influencer, changing the way we do just about everything, from shopping to communication to running a business. Recently Gartner, Inc., revealed its top predictions for IT organisations and users for 2017 and beyond, focusing on three fundamental effects of continued digital innovation: experience and engagement, business innovation, and the secondary effects that result from increased digital capabilities.

  • Augmented Reality
    • By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality.
  • Web Browsing
    • By 2020, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen.
  • Mobile App Abandonment
    • By 2019, 20 percent of brands will abandon their mobile apps.
  • Knowledge Algorithms
    • By 2020, algorithms will positively alter the behavior of more than 1 billion global workers.
  • Blockchain Technology
    • By 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion.
  • Digital Giants
    • By 2021, 20 percent of all activities an individual engages in will involve at least one of the top-seven digital giants.
  • Digital Innovation Costs
    • Through 2019, every $1 enterprises invest in innovation will require an additional $7 in core execution.
  • Internet of Things Data Demands
    • Through 2020, Internet of Things will increase data center storage demand by less than 3 percent.
  • Internet of Things Savings
    • By 2022, Internet of Things will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year in maintenance, services and consumables.
  • Health Care Costs
    • By 2020, 40 percent of employees can cut their health care costs by wearing a fitness tracker.

Interested in Digital Innovation? Curious about what lies in store for 2017 and beyond? Find out more about the predictions and where digital innovation is set to take us in 2017…

Source: www.itbusinessedge.com

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EEPA 2017 National Coordinators

After the successful launch of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017 last week on February 23, it is time to introduce to you to some very important people who make it all possible…the EEPA 2017 National Coordinators! The coordinators are the national contact points across all member states and participating countries, who coordinate national EEPA activities and lead the national promotion campaigns.

7-national-coordinator-ready-to-answer-questionsHow can the National Coordinators help me?

The National Coordinators can help by providing support with deadlines, applications and preparation, as well as give examples from previous years. They are there to help you be the strongest EEPA 2017 competitors, so use them!

Who should contact the National Coordinators?

Anyone from a participating country that is thinking of participating or just looking for more information about EEPA, can contact their National Coordinator.

Where can I find them?

National Coordinators are usually representatives of ministries or national business agencies. Below, you may find the list of websites for each country and a corresponding National Coordinator´s email (“NC” > right click).

Austria
NC
Finland
NC
Latvia
NC
Romania
NC
Belgium FR/NL
NC
France
NC
Lithuania
NC
Serbia
NC
Bulgaria
NC
Germany
NC
Luxembourg
NC
Slovakia
NC
Croatia
NC
Greece
NC
Malta
NC
Slovenia
NC
Cyprus
NC
Hungary
NC
Montenegro
NC
Spain
NC
Czech Republic
NC
Iceland
NC
Netherlands
NC
Sweden
NC
Denmark
NC
Ireland
NC
Poland
NC
Turkey
NC
Estonia
NC
Italy
NC
Portugal
NC
United Kingdom
NC

By following this link you can find useful information in all European languages (except Irish).

Interested in EEPA? Read all about the awards to learn about eligibility, the selection process and past editions. Be sure to also have a look at the EEPA 2016 winner testimonials for some insights from past winners.

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The JADE Spring Conference 2017 – Gathering the professionals of tomorrow

The European Conference for Junior Entrepreneurs (The JADE Spring Conference) takes place on 02‐05 March 2017, in Brussels, and is the main international Junior Enterprise event in Europe, bringing together over 300 Junior Entrepreneurs from over 14 countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, the United States and Tunisia. This year, 2017, marks the 25th anniversary of JADE and the 50th of the Junior Enterprise concept. The conference theme is “Co-create the future. Celebrate the past, act today, shape our tomorrow”, and will focus on the power of youth assuming a leadership role in shaping the society of the future.

Andrey Novakov, youngest Member of the European Parliament, will launch the conference, followed by high level panels and keynote speaker Dr. Georg Tacke, CEO of Simon Kucher & Partners. During the conference, the Junior Entrepreneurs will have the chance to foster their skills development with dedicated workshops delivered by the event’s partners, experienced professionals and chosen multipliers of the JADE network. The Gala Dinner will close the event, during which the best Junior Enterprises in the network will be awarded with JADE Excellence Awards.

Interested in the work of JADE? Have a look at their website, and read through the 2016 JADE conference report, to get ready for this exciting event.

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SME Week Newsletter: Issue #1

Welcome and join us to celebrate the EEPA launch!

Nominations for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards open today (Thursday 23rd February 2017). The prestigious awards ceremony will take place this November in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, as part of the SME Assembly. Public bodies and public-private partnerships from across the EU Member States and COSME participating countries, will be competing for the coveted awards which go to the most imaginative and successful initiatives that support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This year there will be one minor modification to the award categories: the ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ category will be suspended for one year, as the number of entries was consistently very low; we are using the time of the suspension to review the categories.

Therefore the five active categories for 2017 will be as follows:

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Find about more about the EEPA launch and other exciting things to come in the first issue of 2017! Read more >>

<< Previous Issue #8

SUBSCRIBE AND DON´T MISS ANY UPDATES

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European Enterprise Promotion Awards – 2017 edition launch

3, 2, 1…. GO! EEPA 2017 is here! Across Europe the EEPA National Coordinators have been working hard to get ready for the 2017 edition of the awards.

Throughout 2017 there will be important dates to remember, starting with today, 23rd February, which marks the opening of EEPA 2017 by the European Commission. The national deadlines will differ across countries but will all be before the European deadline for submissions, on the 3rd of July. This will be followed by the Jury meeting and the announcement of the shortlist by the end of September. Finally, the prestigious awards ceremony will take place on the 23rd of November in the Estonian capital Tallinn as part of the SME Assembly.

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Public bodies and public-private partnerships from across the EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Serbia and Turkey will be competing for the coveted awards, which go to the most imaginative and successful initiatives that support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). All the information about the awards and application process can be found on the DG GROW website, and is available in all EU languages except for Irish. For 2017 there is a slight modification to the categories, and Category 5 ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’, has been suspended for one year.

The 2017 active EEPA categories are as follows:

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Interested in learning more about EEPA? Want to know what the awards ceremony is like? If you are thinking about applying for an award speak to your national coordinator and be sure to read the EEPA 2016 winner testimonials for some inspiration and advice. For more information about EEPA 2016 take a look at the shortlist and watch the ceremony below!

The EEPA secretariat team look forward to supporting you throughout the 2017 EEPA campaign. For support with social media, blogs and promoting EEPA in your country please contact Pavlina Dravecka promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu and for all other technical questions, please contact Andrew Dec, Secretariat Manager andrew.dec@LOWeurope.eu.

Stay updated with all EEPA news by following us on Twitter (@EEPA_EU and #EEPA2017) and Facebook (@PromotingEnterprise).

Download the Press release (doc).

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Becoming a pragmatic thinker – A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking

Pragmatism, knowing what works and thinking practically, all powerful tools for those in the world of entrepreneurship, startups, scale-ups and SMEs. This month’s featured book is Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking by William James. The book explores the validity of ideas based on their experiential and practical consequences, as well as the philosophical concept of radical empiricism.

pragmatismPart of entrepreneurship is looking at existing problems and finding solutions, which can also mean defining the problem itself, something that William James explores in this collection of essays. Using a simple yet entertaining anecdote, Does a man go around a squirrel that is on a tree trunk if the squirrel keeps moving on the tree to keep the trunk always between himself and the man?, James demonstrates that an important distinction must be made and defined, ‘what constitutes ‘going round’ the squirrel?’. While abstract this principle can certainly be applied to entrepreneurs, who re-define ideas and concepts through innovation and in turn find effective solutions.

 

For more information:

https://www.enotes.com/topics/pragmatism/summary

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/681508.Pragmatism

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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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