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EEPA 2017 Jury – Meet Thomas Wobben

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Our next Jury member also has previous EEPA jury experience and joins us as a representative from the Committee of the Regions. Since March 2012, Thomas Wobben has been Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks in the Committee of the Regions. His responsibilities include monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, relations with the OECD and Eurostat, and prospective works of the Committee of the Regions. Today he shares with us what kinds of projects got his vote.

 

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

Above all, a successful project should demonstrate how it responds to specific local needs. Rather than adopting an unimaginative “one-size-fits-all” approach, it should lead the way by tackling the specific challenges of its territory – which could include a lack of entrepreneurial activity in a rural or economically less-developed area, low numbers of SMEs that are ready to scale-up and exploit the opportunities of the Single Market or global markets, or factors such as high unemployment or a low level of education — through innovative, forward-looking and sustainable solutions.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?

In my view, the most convincing EEPA applications are those driven by a strong partnership – involving business, public authorities, research and educational institutions, etc. – that can act both as a guarantor for the project’s continued sustainability and as a vehicle for sharing good practices and lessons learnt.

It is also crucial that the project contains an innovative element that goes beyond merely replicating established methods, but rather introduces new ideas and finds new ways to adapt existing methods to the specific context of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Last but not least, a strong project should of course make a tangible contribution to economic growth and job creation in its territory.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?

Beyond merely contributing to a specific area of entrepreneurship development, a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize should attest to a strategic vision that integrates the project activities into a broader objective and creates an additional added value for society in areas other than business development in the narrow sense. Lisbon’s micro-entrepreneurship programme, which won the Grand Jury Prize two years ago, is an excellent example in this respect:

After being selected for the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label a year earlier thanks to its outstanding and forward-looking entrepreneurial strategy, the City of Lisbon went on to prove the success of this strategy by presenting some of its first results in its EEPA application. The Lisbon micro-entrepreneurship programme demonstrates how an intelligent policy implemented at local level can create synergies between entrepreneurship development, economic integration of disadvantaged groups such as migrants and unemployed people, and urban rehabilitation of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A number of Lisbon’s entrepreneurship support actions have since been scaled up at national level in Portugal.

Which is your favourite category and why?

While I do not have a favourite category as such, some of the most inspiring projects in recent years have been submitted in the category “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship”. In addition to the project from Lisbon, which I just mentioned, the Swedish project “Entrepreneurial West Hisingen“, which won last year’s Grand Jury prize, is another outstanding example. Through actions such as the Syrian Fast Track Incubator for refugees who had businesses in their home country, this project responds to the vital challenge of integrating refugees and migrants into our societies and has produced extraordinary results, including the creation of hundreds of new companies in a socially divided and economically disadvantaged area.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?

For me, the SME Assembly is a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the principal European actors in the area of SME and entrepreneurship development: policy-makers from the European, national, regional and local levels, stakeholders, academics, and of course entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the SME Assembly illustrates not only the excellent cooperation between the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), but also the complementarity of our actions in the field of entrepreneurship promotion: while the EEPA recognizes actions that have already proven successful, the CoR’s European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label encourages cities and regions to develop their entrepreneurial potential even further in the future. I am therefore particularly looking forward both to the EEPA 2017 award ceremony and to the launch of the EER 2019 edition in Tallinn.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

By being successful in the national selection round, you have already demonstrated the outstanding quality of your projects. Even if not all of you will be selected for the EEPA this year, you are doing important work on the ground that directly contributes to boosting growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl, Daniela Ölmunger, Thomas Cooney and Viljar Lubi.

From EEPA 2016 winner to EEPA 2017 Jury member – Daniela Ölmunger

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Last year she was part of the project awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, this year she is part of the EEPA 2017 Jury! Today on Promoting Enterprise we have the pleasure to re-introduce Daniela Ölmunger and find out what she is looking for in a project and her advice for this year’s applicants.

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

I want to see both heart and brain, I want to feel the project but also understand it.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?     

  1. Relevant to existing areas of common societal interest
  2. With a new or updated angle – so something I have not necessarily seen in the same format or in the same way before
  3. Result oriented

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?          

I want great results, clearly described and with a twist somewhere. I want to feel something when I read the project. I will know when I know.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I don’t have a favourite category – they all appeal to me for different reasons and they are all interlinked and connected to European Union growth and sustainable development.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?             

I’m looking forward to several things such as listening to different angles of stories and experiencing the passion behind other people’s work when I speak to them. I am also looking forward to attending all of the interesting workshops and seminars, during which I hope to meet people with different ideas and perspectives that I can then take with me and put into my own work. Last but not least I’m looking forward to seeing and being in the wonderful and beautiful city of Tallinn!

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Just being a national contestant is a great achievement and means that a lot of hard and inspiring work has been put in, and that should not be forgotten. If you are a runner up, my advice is to get back in the ring for next time.

Read about the EEPA 2016 Grand Jury Prize winner here.

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!

European Enterprise Promotion Awards

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This year, a record number of 32 countries entered the competition, with the most popular category being “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit. The Jury meeting took place yesterday in Brussels to review the national entries and decide on the shortlist for the 2015 European Enterprise Promotion Awards. The winners for each of the six categories will be announced at the Awards which will take place at the SME Assembly in Luxembourg on Thursday 19 November.

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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.

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards showcase the most successful promoters of enterprise and entrepreneurship around Europe. They celebrate the best entrepreneurship policies and practices, create a greater awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in society and encourage and inspire budding entrepreneurs from across Europe.

Since 2006, the Awards have rewarded excellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small business at a national, regional and local level. Watch highlights from the 2014 ceremony here.

 

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