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SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #6

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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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EEPA Jury – Professor Thomas Cooney returns for 2017

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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!

Who is on the EEPA 2017 Jury? – Meet Karen and Lisa

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Who chooses the projects for the EEPA 2017 shortlist? Curious about who makes the decisions? Time to meet the EEPA Jury 2017! Today Promoting Enterprise is introducing the first two members of the EEPA 2017 Jury: Karen Boers and Lisa Steigertahl, who shared with us what they will be looking for in a project and what they are looking forward to at this year’s SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn.

Karen Boers is co-founder and Managing Director of Startups.be, which brings hundreds of startups together with incubators, accelerators, investors and public actors in a local startup ecosystem. She also runs the European Startup Network, which aims to help create a truly pan-European bottom-up startup ecosystem.

Lisa Steigertahl is co-founder and and CEO of the European Startup Network (alongside fellow jury member Karen Boers). Previously she also worked at the German Startups Association as both Head of Research and International Strategy and European Relations Manager.

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

Karen: I am looking out for projects that have made a real impact on entrepreneurs’ lives, either by helping to change the rules of the game in the local ecosystem or by providing entrepreneurs with better access to (national and/or international) customers, financing and talent.

Lisa: For me a project that creates a new solution for a demand that we did not know we had yet, or has found an innovative way of solving a problem will stand out. I am also interested in European applicability and projects that could be transferred to other markets.

Which is your favourite category and why?

Karen: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, as I believe investing in human capital – youngsters as well as adults – is the best way to boost entrepreneurship and counteract poverty and extremism through a more inclusive approach.

Lisa: Supporting the internationalisation of business, since I believe that moving from national borders to international markets will not only tremendously determine the success of a business in times of globalisation but further shape a strong European market

Finally, what are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?

Karen: To meet all the highly motivated people across Europe that are putting their best efforts to make a difference and create opportunities for others.

Lisa: To meet and engage with the people behind the projects.

Interested in finding out who else is on the Jury with Karen and Lisa? Come back next week to meet another juror!

Five finalists, two winners…who will represent the Netherlands at EEPA 2017?

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Congratulations to Innofest and IMC Weekend School who will represent the Netherlands at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017! The EEPA 2017 finals will take place in Tallinn, Estonia during the SME Assembly 2017 and feature the most original and successful initiatives of governments and public-private partnerships from the EU and COSME participating countries.

On the 11th of May, during the Dutch Entrepreneurship Week, the Dutch national finals for EEPA 2017 took place. Five projects pitched their initiatives to a jury and an audience of more than 100 SME entrepreneurs. After an exciting ceremony, Innofest and IMC Weekend School were chosen as the national winners, and the public award was awarded to Day for change.

Innofest is an innovative concept: the idea is to use festivals as live testlabs for new products and services. The audience is wide ranging as there are millions of festival goers every year in the Netherlands. The idea is transferable and applicable in other European countries. The jury liked the originality of Innofest as they really satisfy a need and effectively make use of the test environment at the final stage of development.

IMC Weekend School is a school for supplementary education in which youth from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, aged from 10-14, attend courses for three years every sunday given by passionate professionals, usually volunteers. The program comprises 15 subjects including: journalism, enterprise, philosophy, politics, law, medicine and arts. They have a large reach, with around 1 100 students attending and over 4 000 guest teachers each year. The jury praised the initiative, which is starting to roll out this inspiring design across the Netherlands and Europe.

Public Award

In addition to the jury prize there is also a public award, which this year went to Day for change. Day for Change is committed to a fair economic system, with (social) entrepreneurship and where inclusive finance is central. With the Day for Chance Activities, the Dutch youth are operating with a microcredit. Their profits are supporting entrepreneurs in developmental countries. Each academic year between 5 000 and 6 000 pupils participate in the Day for Change in the Netherlands

For more information on EEPA in the Netherlands: www.rvo.nl

Read the full press release (in Dutch): www.rvo.nl/actueel/nieuws

European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017 – Apply now!

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The 2017 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards is now under way! The prestigious awards ceremony will take place this November in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, as part of the SME Assembly. Many of the national deadlines have now been announced and national campaigns have been launched across all the participating countries.

Thinking about getting involved in the 2017 edition? Be sure to check your national deadline, as each country has a different deadline. Some of them are quite soon…so start applying!

For more information be sure to contact your national coordinator, they can help with the submission progress and any other questions. Perhaps you are looking for some inspiration? Wondering what it means to be an EEPA winner? Have a look at the testimonials from the 2016 winners, for exciting anecdotes, where they are now and advice for future applicants.

Have a look below for some important EEPA dates and start applying today!

Watch the 2016 Awards ceremony:

EEPA 2017 National Coordinators

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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 > copy email address; we don´t want them to be spammed :)).

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.

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

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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.

SME Week Newsletter: Issue #7

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SME Assembly 2016, EEPA Awards Ceremony

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The month of the SME Assembly 2016 is finally upon us – it is set to take place in Bratislava on 23-25 November, 2016. It will gather experts and entrepreneurs from across Europe with a common goal to collaborate on helping European enterprises strive and scale up in Europe and beyond.

The event will kick off with the Business Tours and the European SME Week Reception, both hosted by the Slovak Presidency.

The second day of the Assembly will include keynote addresses by EU SME Envoys and European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Slovakian Minister of the Economy Peter Žiga.

After that – Get in the Ring! As part of the Global Start up competition we will challenge entrepreneurs to a pitching competition like no other seen before. The day will culminate in the presentation of the nominees and announcement of the winners in the EEPA Awards, followed by a gala dinner.

Friday will begin by celebrating the EEPA’s tenth birthday. The session Ten Years On will be dedicated to predictions on how the world of SMEs, start-and scale-ups will look like in 2026. The winner of the Youth Essay Competition ‘What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs’ will present their prize-winning entry before an audience of delegates from around the world.

The rest of the day, participants will have the opportunity to participate and collaborate during the many policy sessions, workshops and master classes.

With seminars, pitch battles, an exhibition and so much more, this event is one to look forward to! Read more >>

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EEPA – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

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banner-eepa-blogWe have arrived at the end of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist showcase!

Today we present the national winners from Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship. These projects come from all over Europe and represent: Croatia, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden. They have been nominated for their recognition of national, regional or local initiatives by authorities or public/private partnerships that promote corporate social responsibility among SMEs. This category also covers projects that promote entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, especially long term unemployed, legal migrants, disabled or people from ethnic minorities.

eepa-2016An Enterprising and Responsible City Zagreb in Croatia, seeks to develop a socially responsible ecosystem that promotes inclusive entrepreneurship by empowering: the long-term unemployed, veterans, and other vulnerable groups to take up entrepreneurship, and to facilitate co-financing of their entrepreneurial projects. Since the project was launched in 2005, 508 subsidies have been granted totalling €1,630,295 and 492 businesses launched. The Public Works for Unemployed Croatian Veterans and the Unemployed Citizens of Zagreb programme resulted in 2 in 3 of the 3,445 participants finding jobs. The project was recognised by the EUROCITIES network as among the 12 best examples of European practice in promoting social inclusion through green jobs. Watch their video for more!

img_1407 The Grossbeerenstrasse Corporate Network (NG) in Germany, consists of 60 companies with 1,500 employees and 120 trainees. Alarmed by an increase in right-wing extremism in Berlin’s Grossbeerenstrasse commercial zone, they identified a need for increased social awareness and action to defend diversity, tolerance and non-violence. As a result, in 2013 member companies launched the initiative: Courageous Network: Against Xenophobia and Discrimination! (Netzwerk mit Courage), to raise public awareness and create active networks. The scheme provides training for managing directors, HR managers, trainers and apprentices on the topic of ‘diversity in practice’ and works with schools. It also supports the integration of displaced people by providing internships and around 500 people are currently involved in NG’s various activities. Find out more from their video!

eepa-picture-2The Rotterdam Business Case (De Rotterdamse Zaak) from the Netherlands is a work training company where students in higher vocational education and experienced business coaches help support entrepreneurs to improve their business practices and entrepreneurial skills. The project focuses on entrepreneurs who operate below the poverty line and are not financially able to find a solution to their problems. More than 600 entrepreneurs have already been helped through the combined efforts of experienced senior coaches, who act as a sounding board for entrepreneurs, and junior coaches who offer more practical support. Watch their video here!

entrepreneurial_west_hisingen-01Entrepreneurial West Hisingen from Sweden is an initiative that supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It covers three projects:

1) Entrepreneurship in education, in which 20,000 pupils pitched ideas, wrote, designed, published, marketed and sold their own books, at the largest book fair for children in Sweden. 2) Start your business, a joint venture with the University of Gothenburg and the Red Cross to pilot a start-up course for newly arrived refugees with a business background in their home country. 3) Develop your business, a training programme covering areas including online marketing, sales and trade, business negotiations, branding, etc. Watch this video to learn more!

With only two weeks to go before the assembly be sure to read up on all the national winners competing for the 2016 EEPA titles!

Have a look at the previous categories here:

EEPA – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

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We are up to Category 5 of our European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist showcase…have you been keeping up so far?

This week is the turn of the national winners competing in Category 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency. These projects have made it onto the shortlist because of their support for policies and initiatives at national, regional or local level that support SME access to green markets and help to improve their resource efficiency. From renewable energy to sustainable development, the top contenders for EEPA Category 5 are tackling important issues and are definitely ones to watch.

1-1-2-young-beekeeper-in-her-honey-bees-farm-city-of-novi-sad-limehoneyThe Lime Trees & Honey Bees for Sustainable Development of the Danube Microregion project in Serbia strengthens the competitiveness of beekeeping in the Fruška Gora region and motivates young people to start beekeeping businesses. The project aims to increase the market share of Fruška Gora lime honey by investing in human resources and skills development, improved knowledge through scientific research, education and the introduction of new technologies. In addition, it ran a high-profile promotional campaign to raise public interest and created a marketing plan that changed the ad hoc approach of 8 beekeeper associations to a value-added, branded product, with export potential. Check out their video to learn more!

renewable_energy_and_environmental_technologies_fiThe Renewable Energy and Environmental Technologies Financial Support Programme is the first regional programme in Turkey to focus on renewable energy and environment. Nine projects dedicated to the design and production of renewable energy systems and environmental technologies were supported, as were 18 solar energy, 6 wind energy and 6 hybrid (solar + wind) systems. At the start of the project there were no systems for unlicensed electricity production connected to the grid in İzmir, making the energy capacity achievements of the programme (8.7 MW) all the more impressive. Watch this video to find out more!

An overview of the previous four categories presented:

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