What other inspiring projects are competing for an EEPA 2017 title? Today we introduce you to the shortlisted candidates in the ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ category, which recognises initiatives that give enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, opportunities and encouragement with regards to both EU and external markets. This year’s candidates are from Austria, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
With the programme “Internationalisation 2015 – 2020”, ecoplus International supports Lower Austrian SMEs in entering foreign markets, from the initial providing of information to realising first export deals or establishing branches, with free and customised services. The aim is to support SMEs in their international business activities and to increase their success in foreign markets. In addition the “High Potential Programme” supports selected enterprises with high internationalisation potential in their development to become “Exportchampions”. This is a new approach for supporting enterprises and start-ups, in their growth strategies and their international expansion, all in keeping with the concept of “start-up to scale-up”.
The all-female team at MADEIRA VINTNERS have spent the last 5 years working to establish their Madeira wine brand, after the last firm which was founded over 80 years ago. The all-female team is not only nationally innovative, but unusual across the sector. The first harvest in 2012 helped with Madeiran grape distribution, producing added value for Madeiran grape producers and vineyards. As an isolated EU territory, the success of this venture, which saw more than 100% increase in sales in 2016-2017, is important for the island’s agribusiness sector, which is a key source of revenue after tourism.
The International Trade Centre at Business West has transformed international trade services, combining regional, national and international expertise, funding and resources. It aligns its Chamber of Commerce objectives with UK and Pan European policy, combining private sector expertise from third party providers and the Banking Sector to benefit businesses and boost export sales in the South West of England. The centre now employs over 100 trade advisers and provides a range of digital solutions and support. To date it has engaged with 5,800 exporters, assisted 2010 companies with overseas sales to the value of £430 million and created 3,800 jobs.
Which project will win the 2017 title? Find out at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November! Find out about the Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills and Category 3: Improving the Business Environment nominees on the Portal, and come back next week to read about Category 6: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship…
Time for the Category 3: ‘Improving the Business Environment’ introductions! The Jury has selected four projects as 2017 finalists all with different innovative ideas. This year the Category 3 projects represent the Netherlands, Austria, Italy and Spain.
Innofest works with eight summer festivals in northern Netherlands as living labs for innovation, and provides a safe environment for entrepreneurs to test their prototypes before bringing them onto the market. Innofest sees festivals as temporary mini societies, with their own set of challenges in the areas of water, food, logistics, energy and waste, among others. As contained environments, product testing results are measurable, and can reduce innovation failure rates in an area with many SMEs but that is lagging behind the rest of the Netherlands in innovation. During the festival on-site support is offered along with networking opportunities and follow-up guidance.
‘Innovation to Company’, the project from the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in Vienna, brings together innovative and flexible start-ups with established enterprises with resources and market positioning. Through active networking and matchmaking, start-ups help with the development of innovation and solving of challenges that an established enterprise may face. In turn the established enterprises offer resources and market placement, making the cooperation mutually beneficial. To date, 16 enterprises (2015-2017) and 150 start-ups (2017 not yet included) have participated, and 2.5 million EUR in potential profit opportunities for start-ups has been generated.
Manufacturing Project – The Green Innovation Factory is transforming the historic Rovereto factory into an industrial innovation centre. The centre covers eco-sustainable construction, renewable energy, technologies for environmental management and monitoring, natural resources, and the circular economy. Within the project exists the Pole of Mechatronics, which involves public bodies, private individuals, and trade associations. It is an innovative hub serving a widespread production chain that involves the qualified participation of companies ranging from automotive, robotics, sensors, industrial automation, up to biomedical industries. It houses productive spaces, technological workshops, and school buildings.
Reempresa pioneers the innovative concept of a trading market for SMEs in Catalonia, which helps ‘re-entrepreneurs’ i.e. buyers take ownership of an existing SME. The business transfer scheme preserves existing businesses and jobs, thereby ensuring continuity, and promotes economic growth. It also promotes awareness about public-private collaboration and the benefits of standardising business transfer facilitation procedures. Since 2011, Reempresa has successfully transferred more than 1,230 businesses, preserved more than 3,500 direct jobs and generated more than EUR 56.8 million in investment. This one-stop-shop platform brings retiring business owners, or others who choose to sell their business on, together with young entrepreneurs that wish to acquire a business without having to start from zero. From the first meeting, through negotiation to the conclusion of the transfer, Reempresa provides mentoring and support to ensure a smooth transfer and the future viability of the business. The scheme is also an employment opportunity, providing sustainable careers for the ‘re-entrepreneurs’, 40% of which were previously unemployed. Not only is Reempresa a national success story, but it is also an example of a highly innovative and inspiring project with high replicability potential.
Who will be the Category 3 winner for 2017? Find out this November at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn! Find out about the Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills nominees, and stay tuned for Category 4 introductions next week!
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 by Human Security Finland for their project that tackles a key issue high on the global agenda, human suffering.
10 projects will be considered for a European title in this category. Well done to all the national winners and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!
Croatia: Pun ceker – kupujmo lokalno
Germany: Import Promotion Desk (IPD)
Greece: Greek Breakfast
Hungary: InnoTrade Program
Poland: Biznes Lubelskie
Portugal: MADEIRA VINTNERS
Slovenia: SKIS – Smart Key Information Support
Spain: ICEX Next
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 growth, simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses. In 2016 the prize was won by the Leader SME programme from Portugal for their activities to support national SMEs.
This year there are 8 projects competing for a European title in this category. Congratulations to all the national winners and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!
Austria: Innovation to Company
Czech Republic: Třebíč is lively
Ireland: Mayo Ideas Lab
Slovenia: Podjetno v prihodnost
#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 in Europe? Promoting Enterprise has selected a few projects to highlight from across different sectors:
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.
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!
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.
2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In this new feature, we catch up with former EEPA honourees who’ve gone on to do great things since winning the award.
This week, Prof. Dr. Norbert Kailer from the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Organizational Development reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA six years on:
|Name||Prof. Dr. Norbert Kailer|
|Organisation||JKU – Johannes Kepler University Linz, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Organizational Development|
|Award won||Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
(for the project, “Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries”)
It was a surprise for our team and we were very happy that our project, which was started and run without any subsidies, was awarded.
How did winning the award immediately impact your work?
The first impact was increased interest from the media. Following on from that, we got a lot of cooperation requests from other European institutions who came to know of us through EU publications. This resulted in several international research projects.
What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?
There was an immediate and very positive response from politicians, colleagues and the media.
What has been the long-term impact?
The project is still ongoing with a stable and increasing number of participants each year. We also offer courses and network events where students from business, technical and arts courses develop their ideas together. As a follow-up, in 2012 our home university (JKU Linz), together with the University of Arts Linz and the University of Applied Science Upper Austria, founded the first academic pre-incubator “akostart Upper Austria” supporting interdisciplinary academic founder teams from these universities. Our regional network, as well as our practical courses, have been improved and enlarged so that we’ve been selected as one of 25 good practice case studies in the EU report “Supporting entrepreneurship in higher education institutions“.
Why did you decide to enter the national competition?
In 2009, our project was presented as “Premium Case Recommended for Implementation in Other Member States” at the SBA European charter for Small Business Conference in Stockholm. Thereafter, the Ministry for Economy encouraged us to apply for the European Entrepreneurship Award.
How did you go about preparing your application and making it award winning?
We tried to gather detailed data on the impact of the project and looked for testimonials from our alumni, and for letters of recommendation from the local Ministry of Economy.
What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?
Prepare a detailed account of your activities including data on the short and long term impact of your activities. This takes more time than you think! Ask your stakeholders to work with you in the preparation of the application.
To find out more about JKU and their award-winning Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries project, visit the website.
Hundreds of projects competed in the 2015 national competitions for a chance to represent their country in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards; 19 projects have now been shortlisted. A record number of 32 countries entered the Awards this year with the most popular category being “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”.
This year’s jury was made up of members of the outgoing Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the current Luxembourg Presidency along with representatives from the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, business, and academia. Following much deliberation, the jury established a shortlist of 19 nominees in six categories. The winners for each of the categories will be announced at a central event of European SME Week, the SME Assembly in Luxembourg, to which all nominees will be invited. The prestigious Grand Jury Prize winner and special mentions will also be announced at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony.
Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
France: Youth Awareness Week for Female Entrepreneurship sees female entrepreneurs go into schools over the course of the week and put on presentations, talks or forums for young people aged 13–25 about female entrepreneurship and how women can start businesses and find success. The initiative aims to increase young people’s awareness of female entrepreneurship, and how women can start businesses and find success. Over the past three years 816 woman entrepreneurs, 18,000 young participants and more than 250 educational establishments – colleges, secondary schools and higher education institutions – have been involved.
Responsible organisation: The 100,000 Entrepreneurs Association
Organisation website: http://www.semaine-entrepreneuriat-feminin.com/
Netherlands: ZomerOndernemer allows young people to start their own companies and experience entrepreneurship during their summer holidays. By turning young people into proud business owners, the initiative helps them develop crucial skills as well as stimulate the spirit of entrepreneurship. Launched in 2010, the project has already attracted 265 young people and helped produce 82 companies.
Responsible organisation: The New Entrepreneur Foundation
Organisation website: www.zomerondernemer.nl
United Kingdom: The John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank supports the development of an entrepreneurial culture within the City of Hull by engaging young people from the age of 5, allowing them to gain “soft skills” and entrepreneurial experience. The initiative raises awareness of the self-employed option as a pathway post education. It has supported over 350 young people interested in business from across Hull and the East Riding area.
Responsible organisation: Hull City Council
Organisation website: www.youthenterprise.co.uk
Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Denmark: The Mobile FabLab is entrepreneurship on wheels, designed to raise awareness on new prototyping technologies and entrepreneurial skill by visiting and facilitating a large number of events, workshops and meet-ups all over Denmark for pre-entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs and SMEs. They have initiated the first mobile FabLab-facility of its kind worldwide, put on more than 60 events reaching almost 28,000 people, 232 SMEs have been through FabLab- counselling and competence development courses and they have facilitated workshops for 1600 students in FabSchool.
Responsible organisation: FabLab Danmark c/o Væksthus Sjælland
Organisation website: www.detmobilefablab.dk
Ireland: Going for Growth focuses on encouraging female entrepreneurs to be ambitious and supports them to achieve their growth aspirations. Based on annual cycles, the initiative leverages the volunteer efforts of successful female entrepreneurs. The impact is measured in increased revenues, employment created and first time exporters, as well as in greater ambition, confidence, and a heightened strategic perspective among the participants; to date, over 400 ambitious owner managers have been supported.
Responsible organisation: Fitzsimons Consulting in association with the Gender Equality Division, Department of Justice and Equality
Organisation website: Going for Growth focuses on encouraging female entrepreneurs to be ambitious and supports them to achieve their growth aspirations.
Italy: Alternating Work & School Experience provides students in secondary education with the professional skills required by businesses today, through a range of programmes and work experience opportunities. The initiative aims to ensure the best work experience school programmes are created to benefit the greatest number of students possible in the province. Some of the skills that are developed through the initiative are centred around business innovation, the corporate culture, the development of relevant statistical data, problem solving and marketing and business plan development. Since the initiative has been implemented, there has been a marked improvement for the schools and businesses involved, particularly in terms of skills and knowledge acquired.
Responsible organisation: Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Macerata
Organisation website: http://www.mc.camcom.it/P42A0C176S166/The-Chamber-of-Commerce.htm
Category 3: Improving the Business Environment
Croatia: Your Business Friendly Town acts as an accessible and practical example of how new and established entrepreneurs have the opportunity to succeed, by strengthening the capacity of local government. It has opened the doors of domestic and foreign investment to create new jobs, promote entrepreneurship in the local area, and to overcome administrative hurdles by adopting local government as “business partners”. The initiative has successfully increased the number of investors, entrepreneurs and jobs in the Economic zone of Jalševac, doubling the number of jobs in to over 850.
Responsible organisation: City of Jastrebarsko
Organisation website: www.jastrebarsko.hr
Malta: Strengthening the Business Environment through Active Social Dialogue focuses on providing professional management support to SMEs, as well as working to educate the general public on employment-related issues. Due to a series of specialised and focused activities, at least 14% of the SMEs in Malta have been empowered to become increasingly active participants in social dialogue in Malta.
Responsible organisation: Malta Employers’ Association (MEA)
Organisation website: www.maltaemployers.com
United Kingdom: Creative Quarter describes itself as an ‘incubator without walls’, which aims to support creative SMEs to generate prosperity and create jobs. It develops highly-skilled local workforce who are ready to compete with one another to transform The Creative Quarter area in the city to make it a great business location. The initiative has supported over 700 businesses and has created just over 600 jobs. It has also contributed to the development of over 7,500 sq m. of new workspace for SMEs, entrepreneurs and creative businesses.
Responsible organisation: Creative Quarter Nottingham Limited
Organisation website: www.creativequater.com
Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Estonia: GameFounders is a global gaming industry accelerator that aims to support technically strong teams with developing a business model and guidance on product development. Since its launch, the accelerator has implemented four cycles and has worked with 28 teams from 16 countries. GameFounders has contributed to the increase of Estonian gaming industry start-up numbers.
Responsible organisation: GameFounders OÜ
Organisation website: www.gamefounders.com
Latvia: TechHub Riga is a major technology and IT co-working space for startup companies. The space was created with a view to bring together like-minded startups that can help each other to successfully develop their projects. The initiative has provided office space for more than 30 technology startups since its creation. More recently, over the past 2 years, 50 businesses have been incubated, as well as several international and local conferences, meetings, and experience sharing events being organised and held each year.
Responsible organisation: Foundation TechHub Riga
Organisation website: riga.techhub.com
Italy: The Temporary Export Manager project provides businesses with the option to employ a junior/trainee member to the team to work in a company in close cooperation with company management in an international marketing position. The project aims to spread a culture of internationalisation among micro businesses and SMEs in the region, thus responding to the need for technical skills required by companies to possess and consolidate their business with those companies located overseas. Throughout the four years, over 150 new university graduates have been inserted in as many companies in the region.
Responsible organisation: Regional Union of the Chambers of Commerce of Emilia-Romagna
Organisation website: www.ucer.camcom.it
Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency
Austria: Resource-efficient Industrial Park Liesing works to help coordinate the management of the neighbourhood in the former industrial park of Liesing, ultimately creating a positive identity for the area. Research and advisory activities focus on resource-saving and resource-efficient economies. The initiative has successfully raised awareness of the issue of conserving resources, – both with companies and businesses and the local population – and have committed to the preservation of the industrial park as a site for manufacturing companies and businesses.
Responsible organisation: Vienna Chamber of Commerce
Organisation website: www.wkw.at
Luxembourg: SuperDrecksKëscht works to certify waste management concepts of facilities and plants, promotes the consumption of sustainable products and supports the further development of resource-efficient recovery operations. It aims to develop the classical waste management process for the recycling/de-manufacturing industry, and thus, expand and provide support to the environmental technology and services. The initiative has recorded an increase in the number of participating plants implementing ecological waste management, and has contributed to an increase in the sales of sustainable products.
Responsible organisation: The Environmental Administration/The Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructures.
Organisation website: www.sdk.lu
Spain: Green Business Network is the first networking platform in Spain to specialise in green business. Targeting entrepreneurs and investors, the project seeks to promote entrepreneurship in the environment sector and to encourage sustainable business development. The initiative has already attracted over 7,000 members, including 100 investors and funders.
Responsible organisation: Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Organisation website: www.fundación-biodiversidad.es
Category 6: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Austria: Business Start-up Programme for the Unemployed works with the Austrian Public Employment Service to provide start up advice, company specific qualifications and livelihood security for the unemployed. It does so through three core services: 1. Start-up advice from a commissioned third-party consulting firm 2. Company-specific qualifications and 3. Livelihood security. Their aim is to support unemployed people in taking up successful and sustainable self-employment. They have achieved a high number of start-ups (in 2014: 5,169 UGP start-ups, of which women accounted for around 40%), very good labour market success and “survival rates”: 64% after 5 years, and additional employment effects: 25% of company founders employ staff.
Responsible organisation: Public Employment Service Austria
Germany: Enterability is a management consultancy for people with disabilities that provides help before and after starting a business. The overarching goal is to enable people with disabilities to participate in the labour market through targeted counselling and training for self-employment. They provide peer counselling, advice, seminars with specific contents and methods, sign language interpreters and information on accessing loans specifically for disabled people.
Responsible organisation: Social Impact gGmbH
Organisation website: http://www.ifd-enterability.de/
Greece: Vocational Training & Certification of the unemployed workers of the ship repair industry in the Piraeus area, aimed at reduction of unemployment and recovery of the sector aims to enhance the capabilities of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry by providing a programme that hopes to increase employment levels in the local area. The programme aims to enhance entrepreneurship, mainly in the ship repair sector, and to reduce unemployment by involving those that are unemployed. Of the 1,500 unemployed who participated in the Vocational Training Programme, 867 obtained certification, and 150 gained employment.
Responsible organisation: Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry (EVEP)
Organisation website: www.pcci.gr
Portugal: Lisbon Micro Entrepreneurship is a programme working to support responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship, be it through helping to develop business plans, to advising on how best to obtain funding. It was set up in 2013 with the aim of stimulating the city’s economy and supporting company and job creation. The initiative is therefore a part of Lisbon Municipal Council’s (LMC) global strategy to support entrepreneurship, bringing together public, private and local and national bodies with a local focus, enabling anyone to get support for projects in a range of fields, from the planning phase through to the first years of activity. Support comes in the form of help to structure ideas, developing business plans, help with implementing their projects, and obtaining funding. Over 50 companies have been set up, 27 of which have been funded, over 100 jobs have been created, and over 550 meetings have been held with entrepreneurs.
Responsible organisation: Lisbon Municipal Council
Organisation website: http://www.cm-lisboa.pt/www.cm-lisboa.pt
About the awards
Since 2006, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards have rewarded excellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small business at a national, regional and local level. Over 2 800 projects have entered since the awards were launched and in total they have supported the creation of well over 10 000 new companies. Its objectives are to identify and recognise successful activities and initiatives to promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship, showcasing and sharing examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices, creating a greater awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in European society and encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs.
For more information on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the website, follow the Awards on Twitter or visit the official Awards Facebook page. For more information on European SME Week you can visit the website and follow on Twitter.
This year’s successful European SME Week saw participating countries around the continent hold a range of exciting events and initiatives in order to promote SMEs and entrepreneurship across Europe. We’ve rounded up some interesting examples below.
In Slovakia, European SME Week focused on promotion of business micro loans and more diverse events. This was coordinated by the Slovak Enterprise Europe Network, which has been supporting Slovak SMEs for more than 20 years.
Business support organisations from across Slovakia worked on a range of activities to boost entrepreneurship and motivate the general public to start their own enterprises. For example, the Europe4Business conference focused on ensuring people are aware of the EU support they are entitled to from 2014-2020. In October the Slovak Business Agency began to promote the value of innovation in businesses, as well as the opportunities for family businesses.
Similarly, as part of the Slovak Business Agency’s drive to offer more favourable micro loans to Slovakia-based SMEs, small businesses can ask for financial support of up to €50.000. The deadline for this is 31 October 2014.
SME Week in Malta was organised by the Ministry for Economy between 17-28 October.
One of the central national events, the Youth Entrepreneurship Conference, was aimed at students in tertiary education to encourage them to consider entrepreneurship as a career and allow them to meet and network with Maltese entrepreneurs.
Another central event was the ‘EU Access to Finance Day,’ hosted by the European Commission in the capital, Valetta on 24 October. In this session businesses and representatives from government received information on the EU financial instruments, and assessed the situation of access to finance in Malta. This was followed by a new pilot project ‘Business Clinics,’ where businesses were able to receive an on-the-spot diagnosis for problems they are facing.
Other events included a Crafts Conference which addressed challenges in this niche market. Two interesting seminars on business transfers and crowdfunding were hosted by Maltese business organisations, with another two organisations.
Malta introduced two new concepts during its SME Week. First, a Pitching Event took place, where eight teams of potential start-ups sold their ideas to investors. Secondly, a Start-Up Village was set up on the island of Gozo, where youth (and those young at heart) were able to browse through various business support services for advice and listen to established entrepreneurs during forums on various subjects related to starting up. The week ended with the annual Female Business Cafe, which gave the opportunity for women entrepreneurs and those interested in starting a business to network, sought advice from various business support services and attended training sessions.
More information on all of these events can be found here.
European SME Week in Austria was co-ordinated by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the Institute for Economic Promotion (WIFI) of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. There are a number of initiatives that these organisations have launched to help SMEs and promote entrepreneurship.
For instance, by the end of 2014 more than 150 SME focused events will have been held in Austria under the umbrella of the European SME Week. The main event of the European SME Week 2014 in Austria took place in Salzburg on 2 October. The event, ‘Austrian Business Opening: New impetus for our economy,’ saw around 400 experts from business, academia and politics come together.
The ‘Experteninfo kompakt’ series is an online knowledge-sharing platform. Through webinars, PowerPoint presentations and interviews with leading entrepreneurs, small businesses asked questions and learned more about starting up a business. The first in the series focused on innovation, content marketing, and working with employees.
Finally, the free ‘Hotspot SME 2014’ booklet was designed for European SME Week by the WIFI SME Support Centre. It shows the latest facts and figures on the performance of SMEs and also features their expectations for the future. The ‘Hotspot’ also includes information about the special services available for SMEs in Austria and for the first time ever, features data about the life cycle of specific companies. You can download the brochure here, or order a printed version here.
The Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Encouraging Business Start-ups by Mothers with Young Children, a Hungarian project that seeks to help mothers develop the skills and mind-set to launch and run successful businesses. It offers online resources and training programmes. The project also holds the Entrepreneurial Women’s Roundtable to help mothers navigate the world of business and build relationships with one another.
Winners in the six official categories included organisations from Lithuania, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal. These and many other initiatives encompassed areas as diverse as technology, sustainability and textile and proposed innovative solutions to a range of issues from pollution to lack of corporate social responsibility.
Below is the breakdown of winners and runners-up in each of the six competing categories.
Category 1: Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit
Lithuania – Mobile Apps Laboratories
Responsible organisation: App Camp, JSC
Austria – AplusB build!
Responsible organisation: build! Gründerzentrum Kärn GmbH
Netherlands – 20-80 Learning
Responsible organisation: Willem van Oranje College
Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Bulgaria – Brandiko
Responsible organisation: Ministry of Economy & Energy
Germany – Brennerei Next Generation Lab
Responsible organisation: Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH
Serbia – Western Balkans Business Challenge
Responsible organisation: Junior Achievement Serbia
Category 3: Improving the Business Environment
Spain – Start-up in 3
Responsible organisation: Ministry of Finance and Public Administration (MINHAP)
Italy – Grow and Compete with Business Network Contracts
Responsible organisation: Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna
United Kingdom – The Sharp Project
Responsible organisation: The Sharp Project
Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Responsible organisation: Matera Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture
Netherlands – Get in the Ring
Responsible organisation: Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship
France –The Living Heritage Company Label
Responsible organisation: Directorate for Competitiveness, Industry and Services
Category 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency
Portugal – AMS – Thinking Ahead
Responsible organisation: Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal, Public Enterprise (“AICEP”) in partnership with AMS-BR STAR PAPER, S.A. (“AMS”).
Malta – EU LIFE+ Investing in Water
Responsible organisation: Malta Business Bureau
Turkey – Developing a Widely Applicable, Low-Cost Model for Clean Production in the Textile Finishing Industry
Responsible organisation: Uludağ Textile Exporters Association (UTEA)
Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Germany –Wiesbaden Engaged
Responsible organisation: Municipality of the City of Wiesbaden – Agency for Social Work
Poland – Consortium of the design “Construction and equipment of the Intramunicipal Vocational Rehabilitation Centre”
Responsible organisation: Polish Association for Persons with Mental Handicap, Szczecin Branch
France – The Entrepreneurs Team
Responsible organisation: National Association of Designer Groups (ANGC)
United Kingdom – Primary to Professional
Responsible organisation: Gower College Swansea
Austria – Sources of Strength
Responsible organisation: Industrie- und Wirtschaftsentwicklung Murtal GmbH
Portugal – DO IT – Ideas of Portuguese Origin
Responsible organisation: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs