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‘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.

Winners of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016 prove diversity of entrepreneurial spirit in Europe

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30415999933_56c9c9d966_zCongratulations! The seven winners of the 10th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) were announced by Peter Varinský with the Grand Jury Prize being awarded to a Swedish city project.

The six projects that each won their category came from France, UK, Portugal, Finland, Serbia, and The Netherlands. The categories covered the broad areas of entrepreneurship, enterprise start-up and growth, international market opportunities, and green markets. Three projects from Latvia, Ireland and Greece received Special Mentions from the EEPA jury, which comprised seven representatives from government, business and academia from the EU.

The top prize was awarded to the district of West Hisingen in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. The  project supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It is divided into three parts: Entrepreneurship in education; Start your business, a course for newly arrived refugees with a business background in their home country; and Develop your business, a comprehensive business training programme.

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To see photos from the yesterday´s joyous ceremony, visit our Flickr. We will present all projects fully in coming weeks, but if you can´t wait, you can have a look at the EEPA 2016 Compendium.

Speaking of the awards, Ms Kristin Schreiber, chair of the EEPA jury and Director for COSME programme at Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission, said: “The 57 projects selected to compete at European level, not just the winners, runners-up and special mentions, are a testimony to the passion and innovation that puts ideas into practice. These are examples that can inspire the creation of an ecosystem that helps entrepreneurial spirits, nurtures enterprises and helps them grow. All these projects have tangible results: they help to create new companies and new jobs. I hope they will be an inspiration to authorities, organisations and individuals across Europe to do more for entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

Next year’s awards ceremony will take place during the 2017 SME Assembly in Tallinn, under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

And by the way – the cake for the 10th EEPA´s birthday was delicious! 🙂

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 2016 shortlist announced!

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mailchimp-banner-2016

In total, 343 National EEPA entries were received from 31 participating countries in 2016, which were then narrowed down by the national EEPA coordinators to 57 projects put forward for the European level of the competition.

At a meeting in Brussels on 27 September, the EEPA Jury drew up a project shortlist for each of the EEPA’s six project categories.  Let´s meet 18 shortlisted winners for EEPA 2016!

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The winners are spread pretty evenly across Europe, with only Serbia featuring on the list more than once, with winning projects in the Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency categories. We will present all of the shortlisted projects, category by category, on the Promoting Enterprise blog over the next six weeks.

The winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia, when the Grand Jury prize-winner will also be announced. All of the national winners will have their costs covered to send one representative to attend the SME Assembly, while shortlisted projects will be able to send two representatives.

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted projects – they are all worthy winners, and the EEPA Jury will have a difficult task in selecting the winning projects in each category. We wish them all the best of luck at the SME Assembly in November.

 

Final call! Deadline for Swedish national EEPA contest is 1 May

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swedish flagThe deadline for the Swedish national competition for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is fast approaching.

If you’re a Swedish-based organisation working within the enterprise promotion sector, then you need to submit your application online by Sunday, 1 May in order to be in with a chance of being one of two Swedish entrants in the pan-European EEPA.

The Swedish competition has six categories:

  1. Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  2. Increase knowledge about entrepreneurship
  3. Improving the business environment
  4. Increasing internationalisation
  5. Develop “green” entrepreneurship and resource efficiency
  6. Responsible and comprehensive entrepreneurship

We spoke to Swedish National EEPA Coordinator, Maria Evertsson, about what she’s looking for in a winning entry, and more:

What would you like to see from entrants this year? Maria Evertsson, SE EEPA NC

We would love to have good entries in the green entrepreneurship and resource efficiency category. This includes initiatives at the national, regional or local level that will help boost “green” employment and resource efficiency. This is a fairly new area that we would like to see more of.

Advice for those considering entering

To anyone thinking of nominating a project, think about the possible networking that you could gain. I’m positive the SME Assembly in Slovakia this year will be very interesting from a networking perspective.

Tell us about a previous project that won the competition and the impact winning had on their business

The nominees from the last couple of years are, predominantly, continuing to develop the projects and concepts that they were nominated for. Last year, for instance, we nominated the national web portal verksamt.se, which is continuously developing its information and services for companies at all stages of development, from start-ups to close-downs. The next phase is to provide better information on internationalisation.

The lady in the photo below (2014 Swedish national award winner, Sara Json Lindmark, Managing Director of Designlabland) has moved on to an executive job in her home region in North Sweden. Her project was about creating alternative job opportunities in a geographical area which is dominated by traditional industries, such as mining, and having creative companies working together with traditional companies.

On Sweden’s enterprise environment

Entrepreneurship has been a priority in Sweden for many years. It is part of the national curriculum in schools, but not solely to foster more business start-ups. Entrepreneurial skills and problem solving are important skills whatever you want to do in life.

If you’ve been inspired to be a part of this wonderful competition to recognise the best in entrepreneurship support in Europe, and are from a Swedish-based enterprise support organisation, enter the national competition today! Visit http://tillvaxtverket.se/eu-tavling.

Remember: the deadline for entries is Sunday, 1 May, 2016. So get entering!

2014 Swedish national award winner, Sara Json Lindmark, Managing Director of Designlabland

2014 Swedish national award winner, Sara Json Lindmark, Managing Director of Designlabland

Secret of Success – Anna Gullstrand (Fröjd)

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Anna Gullstrand - Froejd InteractiveI set up Fröjd because I felt strongly that there was a better way of conducting business – a way that would benefit both clients and employees. Fröjd creates e-commerce solutions, websites, campaign sites and mobile applications that support our customers in achieving their objectives. Our vision is to be “The Web Agency of the Future”, an ongoing challenge that means we must stay curious, alert and ahead of market trends. This gives us valuable insights and new business areas to explore, and keeps us on our toes. I believe I am an entrepreneur at heart, regardless of what the digital era has given us, but I believe the dynamics of the industry have helped me grow faster.

My shopping list for further improvements in enterprise promotion would be: subsidise broadband and computers to minimise socio-economic gaps; add programming to the school curriculum; establish more accelerator programmes; and free Wi-Fi in public areas.

“Entrepreneurs like me are important to society because we are driven by change and progress, to find solutions to everyday problems and long-term challenges.”

Hero(es): Astrid Lindgren

Mentor(s): No

Can you code? No

Employees: 14

Education / Training: Digital communications

Product / Service: Digital communications

 

Winners of the 2012 European Enterprise Promotion Awards

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Winners of the 2012 European Enterprise Promotion Awards

Winners of the 2012 European Enterprise Promotion Awards

Category | Grand Jury Prize

A special prize awarded to the entrepreneurial initiative considered the most creative and inspiring in Europe

Winner

Making enterprise a realistic option for the hard-to-reach

Outset, YKTO Ltd, United Kingdom

Outset-YKTO

Outset is designed to show the unemployed that self-employment and enterprise is a realistic alternative to unemployment.

Specifically created to help the most vulnerable groups, including the long-term unemployed, recently redundant, under-25s, women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, people with mental and physical disabilities and those who are over 50 years of age, the programme takes a unique approach to supporting start-ups. A national project that works in urban and rural settings, it seeks to change beliefs about the ability to start a small business.

The project ethos involves using support teams that often have similar challenging backgrounds, come from the same local areas and have had first-hand experience of being self-employed or running a business. Outset actively reaches, through all types of community spaces, from sports centres to Diwali and Chinese New Year festivals to find the people that will benefit most. This in-person outreach is reinforced by highly effective, targeted promotions including radio ads with direct response SMS facilities, quirky and enticing posters, postcards and flyers plus online and email marketing and lots of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We use normal, jargon-free language.

Since the start of the programme, Outset has engaged with over 6,000 people. Of those, 673 have started a business, together creating 890 jobs. Outset Finance has helped its clients raise £790,258 from a variety of funding sources to either start or expand their business.

Most importantly, the businesses that Outset support do last: survival rates, particularly for women entrepreneurs, far outstrip national averages. Within disadvantaged client groups, conversion rates from engagement to start are approximately 1:5 and Outset’s new business survival rate after four years is over 80%.

Contact

Bev Hurley, Chief Executive

St John’s Innovation Centre, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0WS, UK

bev.hurley@ytko.com

www.outset.biz

 

Category | Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Recognising actions that promote an entrepreneurial culture and mindset and raise awareness about entrepreneurship in society.

Winner

Boosting women’s entrepreneurship by providing easy access to financing Women’s Co-operative Bank Ltd Women’s Co-operative Bank ‘initiative’ Ltd, Cyprus

The Women’s Co-operative Bank seeks to boost women’s entrepreneurship by providing easy access to financing. The organisation identifies gaps in the economy, promotes support programmes for female entrepreneurs and provides free advice and guidance, as well as loans, that are tailor-made to the needs of small business owners. Since the project began, women’s entrepreneurship has increased in Cyprus overall from 12% in 2001, to 28% in 2012.

Contact

Artemis Toumazi, Chairman/Director

Sinergatikos Organismos Protovoulias, Ginekon Kiprou Ltd, 30 Pavlou Valdaseridi Street, Branches 1-4, 6018 Larnaca, Postal Code 42251 6530, Larnaca, Cyprus

womens.coop.bank@cytanet.com.cy

www.womenscoopbank.com.cy

 

Category | Investing in Skills

Recognises regional or local initiatives to improve entrepreneurial, vocational, technical and managerial skills

Winner

Fostering knowledge transfer and digital visualisation

Visualisation Park, Sweden

Visualisation Park in Sweden focuses on the commercial application of digital visualisation technology. Using a business park model, the location in Eksjö offers a home to a cluster of businesses with expertise in this emerging field. They are gathered around Campus i12, which offers a range of vocational courses. 50 partner companies support the educational programmes and the Park provides a meeting place for educational environment and industry to identify and develop projects. Since it was founded in July 2009 the number of partner companies has more than doubled, to over 100. Most importantly, students’ attitudes shifted. More of them are now inclined to be entrepreneurs themselves, either by launching their own start-up or freelancing.

Contact

Joakim Falkäng, Manager

Visualisation Park, Kaserngatan 26, SE-575 35 Eksjö, Sweden

joakim@vispark.se

www.vispark.se

 

Category | Improving the Business Environment

Recognising measures to simplify administrative procedures for businesses, particularly for start-ups

Winner

Tackling difficulties faced by SMEs in urban areas

FaciliTO, Municipality of Turin, Italy

FaciliTO is a model that the Municipality of Turin adopted to tackle the difficulties that small enterprises encounter in struggling urban areas. Micro and small businesses in Turin have faced particular difficulty in accessing credit, which is often due to the absence of project expertise. FaciliTO attempts to meet these needs by providing free consultations to support the development of business plans as well as direct financial support. Over 200 businesses have accessed FaciliTO and 93 of them have received financial support.

Contact

Elisa Rosso, Servizio Fondi europei Innovazione

Sviluppo Economico, Via Braccini 2, Cap 10144, Turin, Italy

elisa.rosso@comune.torino.it

www.comune.torino.it

 

Category | Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Recognises policies to encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets both inside and outside the European Union

Winner

Co-operating to bring Douro wines to the world

Douro Boys, Aicep Portugal Global, Portugal

A group of five small wine producers from the Douro region worked together to create the Douro Boys brand. Designed to exchange information and support each other to steadily improve the quality of the wines they produce, the group also aims to co-ordinate a marketing strategy centred on promoting the Douro region and its wines to the world. Between 2002 and 2011, the exports of wine from the five producers increased from €4.7 million to €11 million, an increase of 134%.

Contact

Jorge Holtreman Roquette, Administrator for Quinta do Crasto SA

aicep Portugal Global, Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal, EPE

O’Porto Bessa Leite Complex, Rua António Bessa Leite, 1430 – 2o Andar, 4150-074 Porto

comercial.pme.nort@portugalglobal.pt

info@douroboys.com

www.portugalglobal.pt

www.douroboys.com

 

Category | Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Recognises regional or local actions promoting corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices

Winner

Supporting disabled people into the workplace, Disabled at Work, Denizli Municipality, Turkey

Disability is a major cause of social exclusion and poverty, primarily due to the lack of employment opportunities. Disabled at Work, a joint Turkish-Dutch project, seeks to change attitudes and support the integration of physically disabled people into the labour market. The group comprises 16 organisations from Turkey and the Netherlands. The projects provide training as well as a matching programme which offers disabled people mentors as they prepare to enter the workforce. At the end of the programme, 194 people had been trained and 65 were employed.

Contact

Ms Pınar GÜLMEZ AĞIRBAŞ, Director of Survey and Project Department

Altıntop Mahallesi Lise Caddesi No:1, 20100 Denizli, Turkey

pgulmez@denizli.bel.tr

www.denizli.bel.tr

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