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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:

Positive discrimination for national SMEs – Portuguese EEPA winner supports national enterprise

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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can be sources of employment and innovation in a national economy, yet conditions are not always favourable when these enterprises compete against larger competitors. The winner of Category 3 (Improving the Business Environment) at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016, strives to create these conditions and an SME supportive environment. The Leader SME programme is a mechanism to qualify enterprises that aims to highlight the merits of the most successful  national SMEs by creating conditions to strengthen their market reputation and fast-track access  to funding. The goal is to promote growth strategies and consolidate their competitiveness.

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

We first heard about the competition through several public and private entities that promote and encourage participation in the competition throughout Portugal, and applied using our public/private partnership. We felt that our project was a good and strong example of what EEPA represents. Our results from previous years were also very successful, so we thought that our project had good replication potential and could serve as a European example.

How did you go about preparing your application?

The preparation of an EEPA application is quite “heavy” in terms of the work involved. We did not prepare something special for EEPA, but instead created a working group for the preparation of the application as soon as the period of application was announced.

What was it like to win the award?

It was a surprise, considering the quality of other applications. However, we felt that we had a very good chance in this competition, since we were strongly convinced of the quality of our application. Just being included in the shortlist gave as a sense of achievement! Winning the competition was very important to us, and it was an extraordinary feeling: a reward for the work done, and concrete proof that we are on the right track.

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

Winning the award helped us not only externally, the increased visibility helped with publicity and will also help us in the future, but also internally. Internally the win helped to solidify our relationships with partners and make us a stronger network. It also resulted in overall better general knowledge of the objectives and better understanding of the technicalities of the project. The response was great and made us feel like we have an increased sense of responsibility, now we just have to maintain and increase the impact of the project. Whilst it was fantastic to represent our project, it was also very satisfying to be able to represent Portugal.

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

Yes. Considering the results of the initiative, and the relevance of the award, we think that the partners will be able to approach companies more easily in order to tighten the network links and increase the impact of the SME Leader initiative.

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

It is important to evaluate whether a project has the following: quality, results, strong partnership, and replicability. Our advice would be that if your project has all of the above, then you should definitely compete! The preparation for EEPA stimulates evaluation, strengthens partnership, and gives visibility, all of which can only help strengthen your project.

What are your plans for the future?

Our project has the potential to increase the level and scope of impact on the companies, through a tightening of the network. We hope to raise awareness and increase knowledge about the companies considered to be SME Leaders, and disseminate their best practices to help others achieve the same leader status. Our whole project is about helping SMEs get access to finance, whether it be through creating the right conditions or helping them comply with requisites, in terms of the future we want to keep doing just that and increase the number of enterprises that we help and who can benefit.

‘Find your own distinctive formula’ – Sustainable beekeeping triumphs at EEPA 2016

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winner-cat-5Beekeeping and sustainable development can be a winning combination, as seen with the success of ‘Lime Trees & Honey Bees’ at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016.

Lime Trees & Honey Bees triumphed in Category five “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency” with a project promoting sustainable development through beekeeping in the Danube Microregion of Serbia. This interview gives us an insight into their application journey, their advice for EEPA 2017 applicants and what to expect from the project team in future.

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We first heard about the national competition through a public notice on the web site of our national EEPA coordinator, the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Economy. Their experience and support was invaluable during the preparations, especially because it was the first time we were applying.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

The Local Economic Development Office (LED Office) team prepares, supports and monitors the implementation of a significant number of projects regarding local economic development for the City of Novi Sad. The moment we found out about the competition we knew we had to apply with the project “Lime Trees & Honey Bees for Sustainable Development of the Danube Microregion”. It already had outstanding results in supporting entrepreneurship in a not so commonly exploited field but a significant one for the entire ecosystem.

How did you go about preparing your application?

2-5-beekeepers-in-honey-bees-farm-best-practice-examples-from-serbia-and-austria-limehoneyFrom when the project was first created and implemented by the LED Office team, to filling in the application, we were sure that the “Lime Trees & Honey Bees” experience was worth sharing. However, the preparation of some supporting materials was challenging since the project officially ended in February 2015. Luckily our enthusiasm about this project once again inspired colleagues from several city departments. We joined forces and completed the application materials. In general, it was rather joyful remembering all the hard work on this project and the great results and we believe that is what made our application stand out.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award was a complete surprise! Of course we were secretly hoping for it, but we were also aware that the competition was very strong. Even on a national level we had two winners, the other competitor from Serbia was SEE ICT’s project “We know we can”. Therefore, we thought being on the shortlist was already a success.

We were competing in category number five “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency” and, as the time was passing by, we were completely focused on the ceremony, enjoying the presentations and great organisation of the EEPA team. Hearing the name of our project being announced as the award winner was an incredible moment. It was overwhelming and exciting, but above all such great recognition for everyone who had worked on this project and supported it.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

One 1-1-2-young-beekeeper-in-her-honey-bees-farm-city-of-novi-sad-limehoneyof the main reasons for our application was to further support the producers of Fruska Gora lime honey and we expected certain publicity thanks to the award, but we were quite surprised by the amount of interest and increase in the media coverage by the local as well as the national media. This boosted the interest in beekeeping and quality product Fruska Gora lime honey as we hoped. In addition, work on this initiative and winning the award brought recognition to the City of Novi Sad LED Office, as well as invitations to relevant events. It also strengthened our cooperation with the Ministry of Economy on supporting entrepreneurship.

What kind of response did you receive?

The reactions were very positive from the general and professional public. The significance of EEPA was clear despite the fact that in most cases it was introduced for the first time. We have used the increased interest of the Serbian national and regional media to promote Fruska Gora Lime honey and beekeeping as an ecologically sustainable business as much as possible.

We hope that the success of the City of Novi Sad in the EEPA competition will inspire others to create innovative projects on the subject of SME development and to enter the EEPA competition.

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

Winning this prestigious award has given greater exposure to the City of Novi Sad, thus significantly contributing to our credibility, improving our chances in creating new project partnerships across Europe and working on innovative solutions for supporting the development of SME’s

1-city-of-novi-sad-fruska-gora-lime-honey-limehoneyWhy should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

Entering the EEPA 2017 gives a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and contacts with colleagues, experts and other stakeholders, drawing focus to the relevant questions and impact SME development. A good idea, a quality product, enthusiasm, detailed planning, active stakeholder involvement and teamwork were the key to our success. Our recommendation to future competitors would be to make sure to find their own distinctive formula

What are your plans for the future?

Currently we are working on Horizon 2020 projects, Cross-border-cooperation IPA Hungary-Serbia and IPA Croatia-Serbia with special emphasis on SME development. We will continue our work on improving the business environment and encouraging faster economic development of Novi Sad and expect to achieve even better results in future. As for the “Lime Trees & Honey Bees” we expect that beekeeping associations will continue to follow the guidelines set within the project, use and expand acquired knowledge and skills, and increase the market share of the Fruska Gora lime honey, an exceptional high-quality product, typical of this area.

Where are they now? Catching up with past EEPA winners

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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, Paulo Santos (pictured) from the award-winning AMS – Thinking Ahead project in Portugal reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA two years on…

Paulo Santos, Navigator Tissue Rodao

Name Paulo Santos
Organisation NAVIGATOR TISSUE RODAO (FORMER AMS-BR STAR PAPER, SA)
Country Portugal
Website http://www.amspt.eu/en/
Award won Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency
Year 2014

AMSThinkingAhead_noticia_21-07-2015

 

What was it like to win the award?

It was recognition of all the work that we’ve been doing since 2009. The European Enterprise Promotion Award confirmed that, by thinking in a green way, we can convert a standard production process into an eco-friendly production process that, in this case, amounts to a huge combination of sustainability and profitability.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

It was great for our social media exposure. Before the EEPA, the company was very well known in local social media, but after the award, we got a lot of coverage nationally on social media, who were trying to cover the ecoview of the tissue production process. At the same time, we had a visit from the Deputy Prime Minister and the Environment Minister to show their support for this green concept.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?

The best response that we’ve received from our peers is to see that nowadays, our eco view of the tissue production method is being emulated by them. If we go back in time, we remember that in 2009, all our peers said that producing paper by pipeline – getting the liquid pulp from our supplier to our plant – was pure imagination.

What has been the long-term impact?

We can’t say for sure whether the European Enterprise Promotion Award was the big factor in our acquisition by one of the biggest global enterprises in the paper industry – The Navigator Company. However, the EEPA gave us the kind of social media exposure that we wouldn’t have had without it.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

We decided to enter the national competition to promote our concept internationally and show that our production method not only works, but works better than the standard production model. We were trying to be the disruptors in our industry.

How did you go about preparing your application and making it award winning?

I would say it was quite easy. We explained the production process in a simple way and summarised all the economic and social benefits of our project from the beginning.

What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

My best advice would be keep it simple. My second best advice would be to describe the project very clearly and to quantify all the impacts (not only the economic impacts, but the social ones too).

To find out more about AMS Thinking Ahead, visit http://www.amspt.eu/en/

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