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Follow your ideas – become an entrepreneur

The Entrepreneurship Conference “Follow your ideas – become an entrepreneur” will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria on 6 March 2018 under the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference is organised by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Bulgaria and the European Commission.

The conference will bring together participants from all over Europe and include: young entrepreneurs, SMEs, education representatives, science organisations, NGOs and the European institutions. During the conference participants will question youth entrepreneurship in the EU and explore how best to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option for European youth.

The conference will be divided into three main panels:

  • Entrepreneurship education and youth entrepreneurship in Europe
  • The young entrepreneurs speak
  • Best practices in promotion youth entrepreneurship in Europe

Speakers will include representatives from Bulgarian ministries, the European Commission, youth organisations, Ideas from Europe finalists and former European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) competitors.

For more information visit the event website.

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EEPA 2017 Testimonial: “Enterprise Village” – ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ Winner 2017

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back again for 2018, and ready to discover more outstanding European projects in the fields of enterprise and entrepreneurship. In order to help potential applicants, Promoting Enterprise has asked EEPA 2017 winners to share their success stories give advice on how to submit and present an EEPA winning project. Today’s winner  is Enterprise Village from Estonia, the 2017 winners in the category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’.

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

We first found out about the national competition from a colleague that saw it advertised on social media and in a local mailing list.

Seeing as we had just had a successful season and started to build a local track-record, we decided to give it a try. We did not have very high expectations, but we thought that even getting a little positive feedback on our mission would already be a success. Once we made it to the national finals, we started to think about how EEPA could help us with our marketing and also help motivate our team, especially our volunteers.

How did you prepare your application?

We didn’t launch anything special for EEPA, but we did make our video before we sent the application. It was something that had already been planned a long time before, but the EEPA application was definitely good motivation to finally do it!

What was it like to win the award?

When you find out that you are shortlisted of course you start to think “what if…”, but we didn’t expect to win. We were really excited when we did win because it was a complete surprise!

How did winning the award impact your work?

An important outcome from winning the award was that it gave us positive attention and resulted in us making some international contacts at the EEPA event. As a result of the international contacts we are actually working on one possible co-project with Cyprus.

The media coverage after the EEPA event was actually pretty low and we were a bit disappointed with the Estonian media. However, Euronews published a story about us before the EEPA event so we got our publicity anyway. Interestingly, we got more overall attention (including media) from abroad rather than from local sources.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

Do not hesitate, apply! If you are doing the right thing, eventually someone will notice, and sometimes it’s the EEPA jury. 🙂

What are your plans for the future?

Our new programmes, meant for schools, are almost ready to ship to our first users. This means that in addition to visiting our learning center, teachers can also use our programmes at their own schools. In the near future we are also planning to translate our materials into English so as to introduce and expand our method to other countries. In the long term we hope to have several Enterprise Village style learning centers and schools as partners so that our programmes can be used in different European countries.

To find out more about Enterprise Village, read about them in the 2017 EEPA compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

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Have your say on the SME definition!

The European Commission is currently preparing for an evaluation and possible revision of some aspects of the SME definition and is inviting any interested actor to provide feedback on its evaluation and impact assessment.

The SME definition is a widely used tool in EU policies such as competition (state aid), structural funds, research and innovation (Horizon 2020).

Moreover, the SME definition is relevant for some European administrative exemptions and reduced fees, such as for Regulation on registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH).

If you would like to know more about this initiative please check the public consultation on the review of the SME definition. You can contribute until 6 May 2018.

Read the original article on EASME news here.

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EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back for 2018, and Promoting Enterprise has the honour of presenting the first EEPA 2017 winner testimonial from Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017. The Innofest project will be sharing their EEPA story as well as their advice for other planning to submit their projects and embark on the EEPA journey.

How did you first hear about the national competition?

The Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs contacted us to ask us if we were interested in joining the competition. We didn’t hesitate and joined straight away.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

That’s twofold. First we were having some plans to expand within the rest of the Netherlands, but also to other regions in Europe. The EEPA provided us with the opportunity to get to know other regions, but also to get in touch with policymakers and entrepreneurs throughout Europe. Secondly, we felt that after two years of learning and pioneering it was time to share the first successes with The Netherlands. We felt that EEPA and the publicity around EEPA were a great way to do that.

How did you prepare your application?

Part of our preparation involved speeding up some of the research we were doing, to make sure that we could provide the jury with accurate numbers on Innofest. We also made sure that we were ready to talk to other European regions, entrepreneurs and festivals and prepared our international strategy. Getting ready for this was very helpful, because quite a few regions contacted us in order to work with us after the EEPA. We were happy that we were well prepared and knew what we could offer them.  

What was it like to win the award?

Of course it was a surprise! Within an impressive group of finalists which included investors programs, incubators and accelerators with a long track record, we felt like the underdog. We don’t have a long track record yet, although we have enough data to have an evidence-based method to help innovators. But still we were the new kids on the block, with a crazy new kind of entrepreneurial program, involving festivals. So for us, winning was an encouragement to keep going and support other regions to make festivals part of their innovations ecosystem.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning had a big impact on Innofest. The media coverage was great, both locally and internationally. But the impact on our network was more important. Our funders were recognised for supporting Innofest, and many new partners wanted to connect to Innofest. At our latest festival, Eurosonic Noorderslag in January, a delegation from Finland came to learn from Innofest and is aiming to set up their own Innofest model. We have also been contacted by other festivals and regions to join the Innofest program. The number of applicants has also increased in comparison to previous years, so it is possible that the award may have helped with that as well.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

EEPA has helped us to gain more brand awareness and it contributed a lot to our position in the Dutch and European start-up ecosystem. But even if we had not won, it was very helpful to get pitching experience and advice on our Innofest-proposition. One of the main reasons behind our win was that we presented a new proposition (i.e. festivals as testing grounds for innovators) to add to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Based on this, our advice for future applicants is to make sure that you highlight why your initiative isboth effective and unique.

What are your plans for the future?

This year we are researching how we can connect festivals on a national level to Innofest and we hope to scale up in 2019. We are also working on an international proposition to help other regions and festivals in the world set up their own Innofest model. In the future we hope to have white-label Innofests throughout the world!

To find out more about Innofest, read about them right here in the 2017 compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

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European Enterprise Promotion Awards – 2018 edition launch

It is that time of the year again, when the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) commence and the best projects from all across Europe begin to compete for a place on the EEPA 2018 shortlist.

Today 05 February, marks the opening of the EEPA 2018 and the project nominations, which will be happening on a national level. National deadlines will differ across countries and will be communicated by the National Coordinators. Once the national competitions have taken place, European level submissions will be accepted until the deadline on 03 July. Once the European nominations have been received, the EEPA 2018 Jury meeting will take place in mid-September which will be followed by the announcement of the shortlist by the end of September. The final step will be the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place in Graz, Austria on Tuesday 20 November as part of the annual SME Assembly.

Public bodies and public-private partnerships from across the EU Member States, will be competing for the coveted awards, which go to the most imaginative and successful initiatives that support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). All the information about the awards and application process can be found on the DG Growth website, and is available in all EU languages.

The 2018 EEPA categories are as follows:

For the 2018 edition the previously suspended ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ is back and accepting submissions.

Interested in learning more about EEPA? Want to know what the awards ceremony is like? If you are thinking about applying for an award speak to your national coordinator and be sure to read past EEPA winner testimonials which will soon include interviews with all of the latest EEPA winners. For more information about EEPA 2017 take a look at the shortlist and watch the winners videos below!

2017 EEPA: Grand Jury Prize winner – Innofest (NL)

2017 EEPA: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit winner – Enterprise Village (EE)

2017 EEPA: Investing in entrepreneurial skills winner – Business Generator (SE)

2017 EEPA: Improving the business environment winner – Reempresa (ES)

2017 EEPA: Supporting the internationalisation of business winner – Ecoplus International (AT)

2017 EEPA: Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship winner – Adie (FR)

The EEPA secretariat team look forward to supporting you throughout the 2018 EEPA campaign. For support with social media, blogs and promoting EEPA in your country please contact Megan Gardner promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu and for all other technical  and administrative questions, please contact Andrew Dec, Secretariat Manager andrew.dec@LOWeurope.eu.

Stay updated with all EEPA news by following us on Twitter (@EEPA_EU and #EEPA2018) and Facebook (@PromotingEnterprise).

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Ideas from Europe – Wildcard winner 2017-18

Today’s post comes from Ideas from Europe who have an announcement that we have all been waiting for…who is the wildcard winner?

A dream has come true…Hugo Mercies from Rhythm’s DREEM has been voted as the twelfth speaker for Ideas from Europe!

Thousands of votes were cast over the last two months, in order to find the twelfth speaker that will take the Ideas from Europe stage on April 24 in the Knight’s Hall in The Hague. It was a tough battle, particularly in the last two weeks, which ended with a real sprint for the finish over the last days. We would like to extend a big round of applause to all of our candidates who fought with great energy and effort and were able to mobilise public support!

With 37,5 per cent of the votes, DREEM was chosen to share their breakthrough wearable technology that improves deep sleep quality. Not only by studying our sleep behavior, but also by actively enhancing our deep sleep, which improves both cognitive and physical performance throughout the day.

We would like to thank everybody that voted for their favourite idea and to remind you that in addition to the finalists, all of the semi-finalists will be attending the Ideas from Europe event in April in The Hague.

Congratulations Hugo, we look forward to welcoming you on stage!

Watch Hugo Mercier sharing the Rhythm solution at the semi-finals in Tallinn in November 2017, and watch all the other Ideas from Europe here.

Find out more about Ideas from Europe on the Promoting Enterprise Portal.

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The SME Assembly 2017 – eMagazine

The SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, focused on starting, scaling and spreading your wings, and provided a platform for discussion, networking and knowledge sharing. The outcomes of this European flagship event are now available for you to read, and look at in graphic representations, in the eMagazine on the newly updated SME Assembly 2018 webpage.

In the magazine you will find summaries of the daily activities as well as the key messages from the various sessions, speakers and masterclasses. In addition to the key takeaways for 2017, you will also find a selection of images taken during the event, all of which are available on the Promoting Enterprise Flickr. The magazine also highlights and displays visual documentation from the CoCreative Flow team who captured everything in realtime on site.

Be sure to read through to learn about everything that happened in Tallinn and don’t forget to check the updated SME Assembly webpage for the latest news on the upcoming SME Assembly 2018 in Graz.

 

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EEPA 2016 and beyond – The Rotterdam Business Case

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), provide a chance for many projects to gain recognition on a European stage across a variety of categories. During the selection process and the awards themselves, we get to meet all of these interesting projects and witness their winning moments, but what happens after the awards ceremony? What comes next for EEPA winners? Today on Promoting Enterprise we bring you the story of EEPA 2016 winner ‘The Rotterdam Business Case’, winner of theResponsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurshipcategory. Two years on and the Rotterdam Business Case is scaling up and looking to become a European Business Case, but how have they been working to scale up a successful project to support struggling entrepreneurs? Read on to find out…

Every country needs entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are ambitious, they take risks a  nd create most of the wealth, jobs, and prosperity in a nation. Who helps them however, when they are in difficulty? Who gives them a second chance or the advice they need to be successful? Who makes sure they have options like the customers they serve?

Economic Sustainability

The Rotterdam Business Case, founded in The Netherlands, provides help to struggling entrepreneurs. The project began with the initiation of a pilot in Rotterdam in 2012 to support entrepreneurs operating below the poverty line. The goal was simple; help entrepreneurs to help the economy! Or, in other words: “To increase income and economic sustainability by improving entrepreneurial skills and vision.” The pilot soon became a project – The Rotterdam Business Case – which since then has supported more than 800 entrepreneurs in the Rotterdam region  to get their enterprises back on track. In November 2016 The Rotterdam Business Case was awarded a European Enterprise Promotion Award in the category ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’. Since being awarded the project has been scaling up, in both the Netherlands and in Finland, where pilots are starting.

‘Young and Old is Gold’

The concept is based on a tripartite cooperation between the University of Applied Sciences, the City of Rotterdam and a foundation made up of successful retired entrepreneurs (OKB). The retired entrepreneurs act as senior coaches for the struggling entrepreneurs by providing  advice and mentoring to overcome obstacles and challenges. Their role is to encourage the struggling entrepreneur to regain control, (re-)captain their entrepreneurial ship and help draw up a re-start plan. The students from the University of Applied Sciences act as junior coaches, and provide practical assistance for the re-start (streamlining/sorting out the administration, drawing up a cost-calculation), drafting of reports to plan out the various aspects of the re-start (business plan or acquisition plan). This successful cooperative approach is described with the slogan ‘Young and Old is Gold’.

Triple Helix for win-win-win

The triple helix cooperation with education, entrepreneurship and government results in a win-win-win-situation on all sides. The university offers internships to students who can practically apply their theoretical knowledge (Win 1), the city/region support entrepreneurs to strengthen the regional/city economy (Win 2) and finally former entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to use and re-use their knowledge and experience to help entrepreneurs in need (Win 3). But the biggest Win of all is of course for the struggling entrepreneur who gets a fair chance to overcome problems and become successful again.

Scaling up in the Netherlands & beyond

Due to the project attracting interest of other cities and regions the founders of The Rotterdam Business Case decided to set up a new foundation: The Dutch Business Case for Entrepreneurs, with funding from a Dutch National Foundation (GAK). The newly formed foundation works with a ‘reversed franchise concept’. New Business Cases in other cities/regions receive methods, systems, support and a 25% subsidy on the condition that they work within the concept of The Rotterdam Business Case. So far six new projects and pilots have started in the cities of Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Eindhoven and the provinces of Friesland, Friesland and Drenthe, with discussions underway for additional cities and regions to start in 2018.

 

First European Step

In 2016 the concept received the EEPA prize, which provided a European ‘stamp of approval’ for the foundation. Since receiving the award, professionals, decision makers and politicians who are enthusiastic about the concept make reference to the EEPA recognition of the Rotterdam Case. This has also helped other cities and regions come forward with their own proposals for applying the concept in their individual contexts.

One of the first results from scaling up is the start of a Finnish project in the City of Tampere. The City, the University of Applied Sciences and a Foundation of Former Entrepreneurs started a partnership to assist first time entrepreneurs using the Rotterdam Concept. The experiences of tweaking a successful Dutch project into a successful Finnish project will be shared later this year so that other cities and regions in other countries can also profit from the concept of ‘Young and Old is Gold’.

For more information on the Rotterdam Business Case and project scale up activities, please contact r.gringhuis@rotterdam.nl

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EU Sustainable Energy Awards – 2018 nominations open

The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is back for its 13th edition and giving you the chance to encourage and nominate projects to take part in this year’s Awards competition to determine the most innovative and impactful initiatives in energy transition.

If you are working on, or know someone who is, developing projects that fit the description, it is your time to shine: you can either apply for an award or nominate your favourite activities, projects and actions.

Interested? We look forward to receiving your application for one of this year’s categories: ‘Consumers’, for actions that lead to the behavioural change of individual energy users;‘Public Sector’, for exemplary initiatives led by public and non-profit organisations; ‘Businesses’, for forward-thinking businesses; and this year for the first time there will be a ‘Young Energy Leaders’ category, which aims to recognise extraordinary young individuals, or groups of individuals (under 30 years old), who are leading by example and impacting the sustainable energy field.

Additionally, there is the ‘Citizens’ Award’ which will be granted via an online vote allowing the general public to reward their favourite project among the finalists of the aforementioned categories.

You can find further information about the awards, as well as eligibility, assessment rules and the application process, on the EUSEW2018 website.

The deadline for applications is 23 February 2018.

Organised by the European Commission (Directorate-General for Energy and EASME), EUSEW takes place every year in June. The 2018 focus is on energy transition and will cover a series of activities with an EU-wide scope. In addition to the EU Sustainable Energy Awards, event activities will feature a policy conference (5–7 June 2018), networking opportunities and local sustainable energy events, all dedicated to building a secure energy future for Europe.

Read the original article here on the EASME website.

Interested in green projects and initiatives? Read through the European Enterprise Promotion Awards submissions for the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category and discover the leading European projects in the sector.

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From waste to circular economy – ecoBirdy: A European Toy Story

Supported by the EU’s programme for the competitiveness of SMEs (COSME), ecoBirdy will unveil its first collection of design furniture for kids made of recycled plastic toys at the trade fair Maison & Objet in Paris from 19 January.

The launch follows an in-depth two-year study period exploring how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. ecoBirdy has created pieces that are 100% made of recycled plastic waste and can easily be recycled again.

The Antwerp-based designers, Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan, have not only created design pieces, but a whole system from the collection and recycling of old, unused plastic toys to the design and production of the furniture.

It was essential to the founders that each step be based on social and environmental responsibility. An accompanying storybook and school programme has been designed to introduce youngsters to the circular economy and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future. The design, recycling and production of ecoBirdy furniture is all done in Europe.

“We found that plastic toys use plastic more intensively than other consumer goods: 80% of plastic toys end up in landfills, incinerators or in the ocean. By giving old plastic a new life, our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact. As we use innovative technologies, made for the reuse of plastic, there is no need to add any pigments or resin.”

For the first collection, the designers have aimed to create pieces that enable kids to experience creativity and at the same time raise awareness of sustainability. All items are made entirely out of recycled plastic from European waste. Due to accurate sorting, cleaning and grinding during the recycling process, the plastic of all products is absolutely free from harmful chemicals. It is clean, pure and 100% safe. The whole collection is produced in Italy and includes a chair, a table, a storage container and a lamp.

The furniture will be available on the market from the end of January and can be ordered from the ecoBirdy online shop. ecoBirdy is one of the 10 projects funded under the EU programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs (COSME) 2016 Design-based consumer goods call.

Read the original article here on the EASME website. To find out more about other European sustainability and green projects, read about past EEPA entries in the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category.

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    • Follow your ideas – become an entrepreneur February 20, 2018
      The Entrepreneurship Conference “Follow your ideas – become an entrepreneur” will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria on 6 March 2018 under the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference is organised by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Bulgaria and the European Commission. The conference will bring together participants […]
      promotingenterprise
    • EEPA 2017 Testimonial: “Enterprise Village” – ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ Winner 2017 February 15, 2018
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back again for 2018, and ready to discover more outstanding European projects in the fields of enterprise and entrepreneurship. In order to help potential applicants, Promoting Enterprise has asked EEPA 2017 winners to share their success stories give advice on how to submit and present an EEPA winning […]
      promotingenterprise
    • Have your say on the SME definition! February 13, 2018
      The European Commission is currently preparing for an evaluation and possible revision of some aspects of the SME definition and is inviting any interested actor to provide feedback on its evaluation and impact assessment. The SME definition is a widely used tool in EU policies such as competition (state aid), structural funds, research and innovation (Horizon 2020). […]
      promotingenterprise
    • EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017 February 8, 2018
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back for 2018, and Promoting Enterprise has the honour of presenting the first EEPA 2017 winner testimonial from Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017. The Innofest project will be sharing their EEPA story as well as their advice for other planning to submit their projects and embark […]
      promotingenterprise
    • European Enterprise Promotion Awards – 2018 edition launch February 5, 2018
      It is that time of the year again, when the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) commence and the best projects from all across Europe begin to compete for a place on the EEPA 2018 shortlist. Today 05 February, marks the opening of the EEPA 2018 and the project nominations, which will be happening on a […]
      promotingenterprise
    • Ideas from Europe – Wildcard winner 2017-18 February 1, 2018
      Today’s post comes from Ideas from Europe who have an announcement that we have all been waiting for…who is the wildcard winner? A dream has come true…Hugo Mercies from Rhythm’s DREEM has been voted as the twelfth speaker for Ideas from Europe! Thousands of votes were cast over the last two months, in order to […]
      promotingenterprise
    • The SME Assembly 2017 – eMagazine January 30, 2018
      The SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, focused on starting, scaling and spreading your wings, and provided a platform for discussion, networking and knowledge sharing. The outcomes of this European flagship event are now available for you to read, and look at in graphic representations, in the eMagazine on the newly updated SME Assembly 2018 […]
      promotingenterprise
    • EEPA 2016 and beyond – The Rotterdam Business Case January 25, 2018
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), provide a chance for many projects to gain recognition on a European stage across a variety of categories. During the selection process and the awards themselves, we get to meet all of these interesting projects and witness their winning moments, but what happens after the awards ceremony? What comes […]
      promotingenterprise
    • EU Sustainable Energy Awards – 2018 nominations open January 23, 2018
      The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is back for its 13th edition and giving you the chance to encourage and nominate projects to take part in this year’s Awards competition to determine the most innovative and impactful initiatives in energy transition. If you are working on, or know someone who is, developing projects that fit […]
      promotingenterprise
    • From waste to circular economy – ecoBirdy: A European Toy Story January 18, 2018
      Supported by the EU’s programme for the competitiveness of SMEs (COSME), ecoBirdy will unveil its first collection of design furniture for kids made of recycled plastic toys at the trade fair Maison & Objet in Paris from 19 January. The launch follows an in-depth two-year study period exploring how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. ecoBirdy […]
      promotingenterprise