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EEPA 2020 – How to prepare your application

There is still a chance to participate in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! Make sure that you submit your applications before your national deadline. Remember that each national deadline is different so check yours here.

What goes into an EEPA application? What makes your application stand out from all the others? Here on Promoting Enterprise the EEPA Class of 2019 have shared their advice for preparing an EEPA application and some top tips they used to make their applications stand out. Read through their advice below and don’t forget to apply!

We wrote our application for the national competition and really emphasised the link between the results of the startup businesses and the methods we use. It was important to stress that in addition to results such as revenue and employment of the startups, at GreenPAC iLab the emphasis is on the connection between research carried out by applied universities and the knowledge gap of a startup. We then add to that knowledge, for example by facilitating necessary feasibility studies.

Both the startups and the universities benefit: the startups have access to knowledge and equipment which are not available in the market and the universities have access to new economic and technological developments which they otherwise have no access to.

The application was prepared with the invaluable support of the local Ministry of Economy and Development, which provided us with all the necessary information, and followed closely the progress of our application. We also benefitted from and really appreciated the support of the TILOS project consortium partners that in collaboration with the committed employees of Tilos Municipality prepared a strong proposal.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Just before applying for EEPA, we had been requested to apply for the RegioStar Award, so we used that application as a base and updated it with more recent information and specific aspects relevant to EEPA. Overall the application process was very smooth, and the hardest part was actually getting the recommendation letter signed by the right person at the Swedish Agency of Innovation, Vinnova.

Since 2016 our work surrounding the improvement of social efficiency in municipal public sector contracts has been under evaluation, and in response to that we put into place procedures to ensure that all awarded SMEs were up to the highest standard. This particular work helped us to prepare our EEPA application and finding the level of detail required. We also drew on past experience and collaborative work with local companies which allowed us to get the support of different local business associations for our EEPA candidacy.

The ‘preparation’ for the application was our intense activity over the past four years. We needed to organise all the information and experience that we had gathered to demonstrate the extent of our activity, our commitment and the EEPA values that it represents. At this point, we were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide their own testimony for our work. 

Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team closer and boosted our confidence. It also brought our collaborators closer to us and their support was incredible!

We prepared the application with a small group of our members. It was interesting to write the application and define what we are doing and how we differ from others. Some of our preparation was a bit rushed and looking back we could have done more, but in the end it all worked out and the experience was worth it.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

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The European Entrepreneurial Region Award 2021-2022 – Call to Apply

The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award, run by the Secretary-General of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), is now open for applications. The submission deadline is 28 October 2020.

The current call for applications covers the merged 2021 and 2022 edition of the EER Award and is open to “all EU territories below the level of the Member State that are endowed with competences at a political level and able to implement an overall entrepreneurial vision, regardless of their size, wealth or specific competences”.

The original EER 2021 call was launched at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki with an original deadline of 31 March 2020, later extended to 15 April 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the EER jury decided to re-open the call and change the focus to Entrepreneurship for a sustainable recovery. In light of the current health crisis and economic circumstances, the EER jury also decided to merge both the 2020 and 2021 calls, in order to allow for the challenging need to re-draft various regional development plans and strategies that were in force prior to the crisis.

The application form is available on the EER web page. Any applications received after the deadline of 28 October 2020 will not be eligible.

For more information on eligibility, evaluation criteria and the Award please visit the EER website.

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Why should you enter EEPA 2020?

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2020 are still going through the national rounds and looking for outstanding projects to compete. But why should you apply for EEPA 2020? We asked the EEPA Class of 2019 what advice they would give to those thinking about entering this year. Have a read through what they have to say and make sure to apply before your national deadline!

Entering EEPA 2020 is a great way to reflect on what you have done over the last couple of years and also about the way you want to move forward. EEPA gives a lot of exposure for your initiative but also makes your team and everyone involved proud to be part of a shortlisted initiative. We were already proud of being on the shortlist, so just imagine what it is like if you win the Grand Jury Prize! 

We would definitely recommend participating in EEPA as it is a good opportunity to exchange experiences and views with other European organisations.

The EEPA contest provides a unique platform for the promotion of entrepreneurship and especially SMEs. It is also an excellent opportunity to showcase the results of your work and agenda at the highest level, while getting to know the work of others in the field. Networking with policy makers, entrepreneurs, and experts from across the EU is a great way to accelerate the progress of your work, maximise your impact and start work towards replicating your results in other European markets of interest.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Our advice is to just apply! Applying gives good visibility to your project, from clients, financiers, politicians and other stakeholders. It also made our six project partners come together and focus on this goal, the application, and realising how much we have achieved so far. What the EEPA prize will bring in the long run we don’t know yet, we will have to wait and see.

Getting European-level recognition for your work is hugely satisfying, both professionally and personally. But above all it allows the organization in which you work to become more visible in the business and social sphere, with an image of commitment to innovation and sustainable development.

The SME Assembly experience is another great part of EEPA, and allows you to meets other projects and people from across the European Union. It opens your mind to new opportunities and ideas, all within a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

At IDEA, we believe that setting very ambitious targets is motivating, drives us to achieve more and brings out the best in us. Winning an EEPA is a very ambitious target; therefore we encourage institutions with intense, comprehensive and passionate activity to chase it! When you prepare for an EEPA it is a chance to demonstrate the true extent of your efforts and activity, as well as a valuable opportunity for international collaboration.

The EEPA network is an incredibly diverse and encouraging network, and shows that Europe is investing in entrepreneurship and bringing together social entrepreneurs from across Europe. We would advise future participants to join EEPA 2020 because it opens so many doors and opportunities. Just give it a try!

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

For more questions about this year’s competition contact your national coordinator or get in touch with the EEPA secretariat.

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Hungarian agri-food SMEs to receive support under the Commission’s State aid Temporary Framework

The European Commission has approved a Hungarian scheme to support the agri-food value chain in the context of the coronavirus outbreak, which is expected to mobilise at least approximately €314 million (approx. HUF 111 billion). The scheme will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in all sectors, but is aimed at the wider agri-food value chain. The objective of the measure is to provide those companies with financial means to cover their immediate working capital and investment needs, and help them maintain their activities during these difficult times.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This Hungarian guarantee scheme, expected to mobilise at least €314 million, will support the Hungarian agriculture and food industry, as well as the wider agriculture and bio-economy value chain. This measure will improve the liquidity of businesses and help them continue their activities in these difficult times. We continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place quickly and effectively, in line with EU rules.

The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020. The Temporary Framework enables Member States to combine support measures, with the exception of loans and guarantees for the same loan and exceeding the thresholds foreseen by the Temporary Framework.

The Framework allows Member States to provide the following types of aid:

  • Direct grants, equity injections, selective tax advantages and advance payments
  • State guarantees for loans taken by companies
  • Subsidised public loans to companies 
  • Safeguards for banks that channel State aid to the real economy 
  • Public short-term export credit insurance 
  • Support for coronavirus related research and development (R&D) 
  • Support for the construction and upscaling of testing facilities 
  • Support for the production of products relevant to tackle the coronavirus outbreak 
  • Targeted support in the form of deferral of tax payments and/or suspensions of social security contributions 
  • Targeted support in the form of wage subsidies for employees 

More detailed information on the Temporary Framework can be found here.

The full original press release can be found here in the Commission Press Corner.

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Event spotlight: Useful advice and information for SMEs

During these unpredictable and uncertain times we have seen an explosion in the number of events and the amount of content and advice available online. Whilst this wealth of knowledge can be valuable for businesses, the volume can sometimes be quite overwhelming and it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. At Promoting Enterprise we have collected information on a few different events covering various topics of interests for SMEs to help in your search.

Let us know your thoughts on the events and get in touch (promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu) if you want us to feature your event in an upcoming post!

Blockchain for SMEs–Hype or Opportunity?

This discussion focused on blockchain from the perspective of SMEs and featured entrepreneurs Petko Karamotchev , Jeroen Perquin and Enrico Talin, who presented their visions for the development of blockchain technologies and demonstrated their own use cases and applications. In addition, Mikuláš Peksa, Member of the European Parliament, addressed the issue of regulation surrounding blockchain. The discussion was moderated by Sebastiano Toffaletti, Secretary-General at European Digital SME Alliance.

Watch the webinar here.

Project meetings online

On 12 May at 10:00 (CET) Interreg Europe project partners will share their experience in using online meetings in their project work as well as their tips and tricks for navigating different tools. Find out more and register here. You can also access their previous webinar and summary on online meetings here.

Digitalising the commercial lending process in times of crisis

On 19 May at 15:00 (BST) expert speakers will discuss the digitalisation of commercial lending and how it could help small businesses during the current pandemic. This webinar will cover useful topics such as: ‘How e-signatures can help meet the urgent need for small business loans’ and ‘How ID document verification can help prevent fraud in the digital channel’, as well as security and authentication tips.

Register and find out more here.

Mind the Bridge Influence Virtual Summit

Looking for information on how to optimise your accounting? Perhaps you want to find out more about responsibly incorporating AI into your accounting? At the Mind the Bridge Influence Virtual Summit accounting professionals will have opportunities to exchange, learn best practices and listen to knowledgeable speakers on how to adapt and move forward with finance.

Visit the event website for more information.

Reviewing and re-setting your marketing strategy during the COVID-19 outbreak

The AD:VENTURE programme, supported by the 2014 – 2020 European Regional Development Fund, has invited guest speaker Jonny Ross (founder and digital marketing specialist at Fleek Marketing) to provide insight and share advice and techniques on all forms of marketing, including planning and strategy for these difficult times.

Find out more and register here.

Running an online event you think we should feature? Or perhaps you have seen another event you think should be on this list? Then please leave a comment or get in touch with us: promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu

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PARSEC Accelerator launches Open Call 2 for SMEs innovating in food, energy or environment

The PARSEC Accelerator invites SMEs and start-ups to meet the 100 winners of Open Call 1 to jointly develop Earth Observation-based business solutions for the food, energy or environment sectors and apply to the Open Call 2.

The PARSEC Open Call 2 will distribute €1.5 million equity-free funding to 15 winning consortia and provide access to business support services (investment readiness program, export promotion and coaching) and the PARSEC Business Catalysts in order to help their solutions enter the global market.

The PARSEC Accelerator is uniquely positioned to help SMEs and start-ups benefit from the rapid evolution of the Earth Observation sector, enabled by new, maturing and converging technologies such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence. The PARSEC Business Catalysts, three tools supporting big data processing, in situ data access and access to an Earth Observation marketplace, represent an exceptional opportunity for start-ups and innovative SMEs looking for efficient ways to launch their innovations.

In order to apply for the second Open Call, external SMEs or start-ups have to team up with one of the winners from Open Call 1 and form a cross-sectoral and/or cross-border consortium of 2-4 organisations. The PARSEC Accelerator will facilitate networking for interested SMEs and startups via the online PARSEC matchmaking platform. To join the matchmaking register for free here. You will receive an invitation to join within 48 hours of registering.

The deadline to apply is 20 June 2020 at 17:00 CET. Eligible consortia will be invited to pitch their business ideas in front of a jury of experts at the PARSEC Demo Days on 2-3 July 2020.

For more information visit the PARSEC website, watch the Info Webinar and for any questions get in touch with the Accelerator here.

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SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #3

Welcome to the April edition of the SME Week Newsletter.

This month has certainly been different, and for some in our Promoting Enterprise community it has been particularly challenging. April has seen many policy changes and updates, Commission initiatives, hackathons and further actions. We have seen SMEs pitching in and doing their part, pushes and drives to make funding available to those in need, and a strong commitment to keeping the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit alive.

On behalf of the Promoting Enterprise team we hope that you continue to stay well, healthy and safe, and we are committed to bringing you the latest updates and inspiring stories.

Thank you for continuing to subscribe and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

Read more >>

SUBSCRIBE AND DON´T MISS ANY UPDATES

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Coronavirus Global Response: EU launches pledging effort

In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the European Union (EU) has joined together with global partners to organise a worldwide pledging marathon, set to begin on Monday 4 May. The marathon is part of the Coronavirus Global Response, which is the response to the call to action launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other global health actors on 24 April to “Accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines”.

Read the call to action here.

To support this call to action the EU and its partners aim to raise €7.5 billion in initial funding via the worldwide pledging marathon starting on Monday 4 May 2020.  During the marathon countries and organisations around the world will be invited to pledge funds and support for the call to action.

European Commission President von der Leyen said: “We need to bring the world, its leaders and people together against coronavirus. We will launch a global pledging effort. A real marathon. Because beating coronavirus requires a global response and sustained actions on many fronts. We need to develop a vaccine, to produce it and deploy it to every corner of the world. And we need to make it available at affordable prices.”

The 4 May 2020 will mark the start of the marathon and pledges, and also see the European Commission announce the next milestones of a global campaign.

The collected funds will be allocated to three main strands:

  • Diagnostics
  • Treatments
  • Vaccines

Find out more about the effort and how to get involved on the Coronavirus Global Response website: europa.eu/global-response

Follow #UnitedAgainstCoronavirus across social media for updates and help raise awareness by sharing information and announcements surrounding the pledging marathon.

Read the original press release in the Commission press corner.

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Supporting digital skills development in European SMEs

The original article can be found on the EASME website.

Digitalisation is amongst the various challenges that European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must face in today’s climate. SMEs need to keep pace with current digital transformation and digitalisation in order to provide digital solutions and thus, keep up and keep their place in their respective markets.

One aspect of digitalisation for all companies big and small, is the skills that are needed to implement the new digital solutions, and how to acquire them. In order to respond to this need, the COSME “Skills for SMEs” project, which aims to research and support how SMEs can obtain the key skills needed in the fields of big data, internet of things (IoT) and cybersecurity, is helping SMEs to acquire those skills and not fall behind.

Digital transformation is important for SMEs as it can present unique opportunities. However in order to fully exploit those opportunities, SMEs must invest in training themselves and developing their digital skills in order to overcome existing skills gaps and mismatches.

The “Skills for SMEs” project worked with key experts and other stakeholders to collect information and identify ways to facilitate digital skills development for SMEs. One of the conclusions was that “ambitious skills policies and well-targeted supporting measures at EU and national level are of utmost importance to facilitate the access of SMEs to a larger European talent pool”.

To find out more about this project consult the brochure and for more detailed information have a look at the final report.

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Intellectual Property and SMEs

Intellectual property (IP) can improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and provide a potential source of revenue. However, SMEs often lack the time, resources, or knowledge to address IP issues.

What is Intellectual Property?

As defined by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a self-funding agency of the United Nations, Intellectual Property (IP) “refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”[1]

With different types of IP such as Copyright, trademarks, Patents and more, IP represents a potential source of income for SMEs that may be overlooked.

Where can I learn more about IP and get advice?

Learning about IP and the associated rights is important and the EU funds specialised helpdesks staffed by experts. These helpdesks provide multilingual support, advice, training sessions and further IP related information.  

There are four different EU funded helpdesks to choose from:

Learn more about European IP support for SMEs and discover further resources right here.


[1] https://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/

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    • EEPA 2020 – How to prepare your application May 21, 2020
      There is still a chance to participate in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! Make sure that you submit your applications before your national deadline. Remember that each national deadline is different so check yours here. What goes into an EEPA application? What makes your application stand out from all the others? Here on Promoting […]
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    • The European Entrepreneurial Region Award 2021-2022 – Call to Apply May 19, 2020
      The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award, run by the Secretary-General of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), is now open for applications. The submission deadline is 28 October 2020. The current call for applications covers the merged 2021 and 2022 edition of the EER Award and is open to “all EU territories below the […]
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    • Why should you enter EEPA 2020? May 14, 2020
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2020 are still going through the national rounds and looking for outstanding projects to compete. But why should you apply for EEPA 2020? We asked the EEPA Class of 2019 what advice they would give to those thinking about entering this year. Have a read through what they have […]
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    • Hungarian agri-food SMEs to receive support under the Commission’s State aid Temporary Framework May 12, 2020
      The European Commission has approved a Hungarian scheme to support the agri-food value chain in the context of the coronavirus outbreak, which is expected to mobilise at least approximately €314 million (approx. HUF 111 billion). The scheme will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in all sectors, but is aimed at the wider […]
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    • Event spotlight: Useful advice and information for SMEs May 7, 2020
      During these unpredictable and uncertain times we have seen an explosion in the number of events and the amount of content and advice available online. Whilst this wealth of knowledge can be valuable for businesses, the volume can sometimes be quite overwhelming and it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. At […]
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    • PARSEC Accelerator launches Open Call 2 for SMEs innovating in food, energy or environment May 5, 2020
      The PARSEC Accelerator invites SMEs and start-ups to meet the 100 winners of Open Call 1 to jointly develop Earth Observation-based business solutions for the food, energy or environment sectors and apply to the Open Call 2. The PARSEC Open Call 2 will distribute €1.5 million equity-free funding to 15 winning consortia and provide access […]
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    • SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #3 April 30, 2020
      Welcome to the April edition of the SME Week Newsletter. This month has certainly been different, and for some in our Promoting Enterprise community it has been particularly challenging. April has seen many policy changes and updates, Commission initiatives, hackathons and further actions. We have seen SMEs pitching in and doing their part, pushes and […]
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    • Coronavirus Global Response: EU launches pledging effort April 28, 2020
      In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the European Union (EU) has joined together with global partners to organise a worldwide pledging marathon, set to begin on Monday 4 May. The marathon is part of the Coronavirus Global Response, which is the response to the call to action launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) […]
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    • Supporting digital skills development in European SMEs April 23, 2020
      The original article can be found on the EASME website. Digitalisation is amongst the various challenges that European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must face in today’s climate. SMEs need to keep pace with current digital transformation and digitalisation in order to provide digital solutions and thus, keep up and keep their place in their […]
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    • Intellectual Property and SMEs April 21, 2020
      Intellectual property (IP) can improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and provide a potential source of revenue. However, SMEs often lack the time, resources, or knowledge to address IP issues. What is Intellectual Property? As defined by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a self-funding agency of the United Nations, Intellectual Property […]
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