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What can you do as a consumer to support small businesses?

The current situation with the spread of COVID-19 is challenging for many and is a particularly uncertain and stressful time for small businesses. As a consumer you have spending power and influence, which you can choose to use to help support your favourite local and small businesses. But how exactly can you help?

At the moment several governments and international bodies have taken strict and necessary measures to “flatten the curve” and control the COVID-19 outbreak. Whilst these measures are necessary for public safety and to ensure that health services and infrastructures can cope, they have affected many businesses, both large and small.

The results of these measures range from severely reduced business, to none at all, and the need to find alternative solutions in order to survive. Some businesses have gone online; others are making that transition, or finding other ways to continue providing services during these uncertain times.

But how can you use your consumer power to support small and local businesses? What action can you take to help?

Have a look through some easy tips below:

  • Order online and provide regular business
    • Want to keep your favourite businesses open? Continue being a regular customer and recommend their services to others. Several businesses are developing and expanding their online presence to cater to new demand, so have a look at what is on offer.
    • Have a look at dedicated online platforms that support local business
  • Use food delivery and takeaway services
    • Many restaurants and other Food & Beverage businesses are having to adapt to fewer or no customers. Continue to support them and their employees by using food delivery and takeaway services.
  • Buy gift cards from small businesses as presents or to use later
    • Don’t need anything from ‘non-essential’ small businesses at the moment? Buy a gift card or a voucher! These small businesses also need your support and even if you don’t need their products right now you can always offer them as a gift or save the voucher to use at a later date, while providing a lifeline for small business.
  • Avoid pausing memberships where possible
    • Has your small independent gym, yoga studio or other small fitness establishment offered to pause your membership? This is an important source of revenue for small fitness businesses, so why not ask about online options or remote individual sessions and consultations?

Got any other suggestions? Write them in the comments and share your tips for helping and supporting small businesses.

Sources and useful resources:

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Making Europe’s businesses future-ready

The European Commision has developed an industrial policy package to help Europe’s industry lead the twin transitions towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. The package aims to drive Europe’s competitiveness and its strategic autonomy at a time of moving geopolitical plates and increasing global competition.

The package of initiatives outlines a new approach to European industrial policy that is firmly rooted in European values and social market traditions. It sets out a range of actions to support all players of European industry, including big and small companies, innovative start-ups, research centres, service providers, suppliers and social partners. A dedicated strategy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aims to reduce red tape and help Europe’s numerous SMEs to do business across the single market and beyond, access financing and help lead the way on the digital and green transitions. Today’s initiatives also include concrete steps to address barriers to a well-functioning single market, Europe’s strongest asset to allow all our businesses to grow and compete in Europe and beyond.

The industrial policy package includes the following initiatives:

  • A new industrial strategy
  • A new SME strategy
  • A single market that delivers for our businesses and consumers

For more information read the full announcement and consult the factsheet.

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SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #2

Welcome to the March edition of the SME Week Newsletter.

The Promoting Enterprise team will continue to bring SME, enterprise and policy related updates during this time, and are still open to receiving your updates. In particular, the Promoting Enterprise team would like to draw on your experience and knowledge to share best practices on how to support small businesses and business organisations that may be experiencing difficulties due to current restrictive measures. Please do not hesitate to send in contributions, tag us on social media or share your content directly.

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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EntreComp – The European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework

Digitalisation, environment, equality… The European Union is facing new challenges that require citizens with a new outlook. How to act upon these opportunities? The European Commission has developed “EntreComp”, the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework. It aims to shape an entrepreneurial mindset by identifying its components and creating conversations across different sectors. Discover its two newly funded projects!

EntreComp identifies 15 competences (such as working with others, using creativity or mobilising resources) that describe what it takes to be entrepreneurial and outlines how these competences can de described and mapped from the most basic up to advanced levels.

Since its launch, this initiative has played a key role in creating conversations and understanding of what being an entrepreneur means. 

EntreComp aims to serve across sectors, disciplines and systems to enable people to develop entrepreneurial competences as individuals, as well as groups.

This framework can be used to support policy shaping and start-ups, to train educators, to design programmes and learning opportunities and to recognise and certify skills.

New COSME actions

Two new actions have just been funded under this framework! These initiatives will translate it into concrete activities and will build and test a model that could be replicated in any other EU country.

EntreComp Food aims to build a European Collaborative Communities of practice (CoCos) to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship among students and young entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector. 

EntreComp Europe will focus on increasing the quality and uptake of entrepreneurship as a key competence across Europe, in particular on youth work and formal education. 

The projects have received €1 million in funding and will implement their activities over the next three years. Belgium, Slovenia, France, Spain, Italy, Moldova and Turkey are taking part.

Do you want to know more about COSME actions? Then check out the COSME data hub and get insightful information, figures, participant countries, budget and much more! 

Read the original article on the EASME website.

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The 2020 call for energy efficiency is now open!

Around €64 million of EU funding is now available for energy efficiency innovation and market uptake projects.

The funding is available for proposals submitted under 10 topics addressing 5 main areas:

  • Buildings
  • Innovative finance
  • Public authorities
  • Consumers
  • Services

The call is managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of the European Commission (EASME). All proposals for Horizon 2020 funding must be submitted through the EU’s Funding and Tender Opportunities portal.

Need help with preparing your proposal?

Each specific funding topic has supporting videos that provide additional information on EU policy context and specific EASME guidance on submitting a proposal. You can also have a look at the guide to writing an excellent proposal with top tips from EASME.

The deadline for applications is 10 September 2020, 17:00 Brussels time.

For more information, read the original EASME article and check out the infographic.

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EEPA 2020 – What’s new?

Dear EEPA Community,

I am writing this letter to announce some changes to the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA).

The EEPA has been running for 14 years, and whilst their goal to showcase the best in enterprise and entrepreneurial promotion from across Europe and COSME countries, remains the same, the EEPA are constantly updated and evolve to remain current and relevant.

With the beginning of 2020 and the start of a new decade, we have decided to make these changes to the EEPA in order for them to align with our current priorities and aims.

The first change to EEPA 2020 is the element of sustainability. The European Commission has been working across various fields and sectors to ensure that Europe is moving into the future sustainably. From the Plastics Directive to the Circular Economy white paper, to the annual sustainable energy week, Europe as a whole is building a sustainable future. In light of this, the EEPA jury will judge each project according to its category, but also on its environmental impact and consciousness. Not only does this complement the Green Deal, announced by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, but is also an important step for EEPA to continue recognising outstanding projects, and ensuring that they contribute to an increasingly circular economy.

The historic green category, “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency” is one that I strongly believe in and with the new increased emphasis on sustainability I hope to encourage projects from across all categories to adopt this greener and sustainable mind-set.

The second change to EEPA 2020, is the broadening of the category ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’. The jury would like this category to welcome more diverse projects, and as such, has expanded the category description to include employee skills. The jury is inviting applicants who have launched and championed initiatives to improve employee skills and better equip their employees both in terms of entrepreneurship and increasing digital literacy needs. This change has been introduced to expand the EEPA further and ensure that we are able to recognise more initiatives.

With each new edition I am reminded of how much I believe in the EEPA and with each change I am proud to see this award scheme grow and develop to accommodate the growing innovation and talent across Europe.

I look forward to reading the 2020 submissions and would like to thank the National Coordinators in advance for their hard work in bringing EEPA to life every year.

Sincerely,

Kristin Schreiber

EEPA 2020 Jury Chair

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European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2020 launch

That exciting time of year is back…time for the start of a new edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! The EEPA competition rewards innovative initiatives from public bodies and public-private partnerships which support entrepreneurship, and small and medium sized enterprises.

The national competitions across the different participating countries are opening and getting ready to accept nominations for the 2020 edition. Each national level competition will produce two national winners. These national winners will then compete at European level before the European deadline of 3 July 2020. The national winners will then be carefully considered by the prestigious EEPA 2020 jury, who will select their top projects to make up the European shortlist. All shortlisted nominees from both the national and European competitions will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the 2020 SME Assembly in November 2020 in Berlin.

The 2020 categories are as follows:

Want to participate? Find your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

For more information on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website and for the latest updates follow Promoting Enterprise News, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Innovation at the service of the EU Green Deal

The European Innovation Council Accelerator pilot supports innovation that creates the markets of tomorrow and therefore has its part to play in bringing the European Green Deal to life. Here’s how the EIC supports innovators that deliver a climate-neutral circular economy on the ground, in a few numbers. 

The push towards a green economy has received new impetus under European Green Deal – the EU’s pledge to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world. This transition will largely be market-driven and will require many new technologies, processes, economic circuits to support the shift. From waste-sorting robots and more efficient production chains, to air-cleaning flower pots, cars that inhale their own fumes and smart energy devices, green innovations supported by the EIC Accelerator are making the transition towards a circular, low-carbon economy a reality. 

Young green companies at the forefront

The EIC supports over 1.100 green companies for over € 550 million in total. This represents almost 25% of all EIC-supported companies. Since the latest EIC Accelerator cut-off, companies can get equity in addition to their grant. So far, 14 green companies were offered equity for a preliminary total of € 36 million that will be negotiated on a case by case basis. 

Most green companies are young – almost half of them were founded between 2012 and 2017. A majority of 70% manufacture green technologies and products. 
Green innovators have attracted around € 730 million private investment after receiving their grant, which means that every 1€ invested in green companies by the EIC leveraged 1.72 € of private investment.

Most of the private investments were made in the energy, food and enterprise software industries. Five companies started floating on the stock market, mostly on Nasdaq First North, and eight companies were acquired by bigger players. 

Most of the funded companies are from Spain, Italy and the UK – as are most of the EIC-funded companies in general. However, most of the private investment rounds occurred in Germany, the UK and Croatia, which hosts a project that benefitted from a € 88 million investment in the clean tech electric car company Rimac Automobili by Huyndai and KIA. 

More support expected

More opportunities will soon be available for companies that support the European Green Deal through breakthrough innovations. 

one-off EIC Accelerator call for ‘green deal’ start-ups and SMEs is expected, whereby all applicants submitting for the 19 May 2020 cut-off will need to demonstrate how their innovation contributes to the goals of the European Green Deal. The 7 October 2020 cut-off for the EIC Accelerator Pilot will remain open to all innovations.
An advanced version of the amended EIC Work Programme is due to be released by the end of February, and the final version by the end of March, replacing plans for the year ahead in the current EIC Pilot Work Programme 2018 – 2020.

Discover all green innovations supported by the EIC Accelerator pilot in our datahub

Read the original article on the EASME website.

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EEPA 2019 Catch-up – How to get SMEs involved in public procurement

Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with one of our 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winners, who have produced some useful documentation that they would like to share throughout the EEPA network.

“Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes” or “Public Procurement for SMEs”, won the“Improving the Business Environment” category last year during the final EEPA ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. This project was recognised for its work on implementing measures in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement. These measures promote and facilitate SME participation in public contracts and have successfully increased the awarding of contracts to SMEs to twice the national and European average.

The public procurement market accounts for more than 20% of the European Union GDP. If SMEs had access to part of that, it would be significantly more than current public funding offerings but without additional cost and simultaneously stimulate SME innovation and growth.

The city Council of Valladolid public procurement system has proved that it can be done, with more than 80% of their contracts being awarded to SMEs to date. Their model is replicable and is based on the three 2014 Contracting Directives. In order to help other European contracting authorities follow their example, or take inspiration from Valladolid, this EEPA winning project had created the following guiding documents:

This document contains more specifics on the measures put in place to facilitate the participation of SMEs in public contracts

This document provides explanations on what is needed and how to implement an SME friendly public procurement system, including legal and directive references

This document outlines the advantages of contracting with the public sector and the basic requirements and actions

For more information on their work and the produced documents, contact the project here.

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EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Grand Jury Prize

It is our last EEPA 2019 winner testimonial! Today on the News Portal we are learning more about the project that took home the top EEPA prize at the 2019 SME Assembly. The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the project that the jury designates to be truly outstanding regardless of its category. For 2019 the jury decided to award this honour to GreenPAC iLab, a project from the Netherlands competing in the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category.

At GreenPAC iLab, new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry are supported to help them start their businesses and achieve sustainable and circular business models. The project functions as a community where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for a plastic product or service are coached and given access to a network of professionals that help with feasibility studies, research and product development. Through collaboration with plastics professionals and research groups, the GreenPAC iLab is fostering a new generation of plastics entrepreneurs guided by circular and sustainable values. To date, 66 start-ups have received assistance and 84 jobs have been created.

We spoke to Bastian Coes, Manager & Business Developer for GreenPAC iLab to discover the story behind this winning project.

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

We heard about the national competition via a promotion by RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) that runs the EEPA national competition about three years ago. At the time we decided not to enter because we had just started with a new strategy and method of supporting startup businesses. Before applying we wanted to make sure that we had a lot of examples of successful startup businesses that we had supported because, successful companies are the biggest proof that our concept and strategy works. So not “fake it till you make it”, but rather “make it and then talk about it”.

How did you prepare your application?

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. 

What was it like to win the award?

It was a great feeling and surprise to win the award. It represents a great acknowledgment for the hard work of the GreenPAC iLab team, the universities Windesheim and NHL Stenden. It was not always easy to get funding for our plans and recognition of the work that the startups and GreenPAC iLab do. Over the last couple of years we have developed a big movement and community which have had an impact on sustainability, circular business models and growth of startups. It is truly a great feeling for all of this to be recognised and valued by the EEPA jury.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award impacted our  work directly because there is outside endorsement for what we do. Awards like this help develop the GreenPAC iLab further and to sustain the work we do. We have also had a lot of questions about our programme from the international community, and the EEPA has facilitated this by giving us an international podium to share how we support sustainable startups. 

Receiving an EEPA also highlights and recognises the support provided by the regional government. GreenPAC iLab has strong connections with (regional) governments, and the province of Overijssel and the municipality of Zwolle are crucial for stimulating sustainable entrepreneurship in the region. Both provide support for our program and can function as a launching customer for startups. Winning the EEPA Grand Jury Prize has given us additional proof to demonstrate that the regional funding of GreenPAC iLab should be sustained.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

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! 

What are your plans for the future?

We want to continue our work of helping startup businesses achieve their sustainable and circular business models. We want to increase and strengthen the community of sustainable and technology based startups, and build a startup entrepreneurship hub in The Netherlands. By doing this we want to support a new generation of entrepreneurs and contribute to a sustainable SME economy.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

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    • What can you do as a consumer to support small businesses? March 26, 2020
      The current situation with the spread of COVID-19 is challenging for many and is a particularly uncertain and stressful time for small businesses. As a consumer you have spending power and influence, which you can choose to use to help support your favourite local and small businesses. But how exactly can you help? At the […]
      promotingenterprise
    • Making Europe’s businesses future-ready March 24, 2020
      The European Commision has developed an industrial policy package to help Europe’s industry lead the twin transitions towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. The package aims to drive Europe’s competitiveness and its strategic autonomy at a time of moving geopolitical plates and increasing global competition. The package of initiatives outlines a new approach to European industrial […]
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    • SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #2 March 19, 2020
      Welcome to the March edition of the SME Week Newsletter. The Promoting Enterprise team will continue to bring SME, enterprise and policy related updates during this time, and are still open to receiving your updates. In particular, the Promoting Enterprise team would like to draw on your experience and knowledge to share best practices on […]
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    • EntreComp – The European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework March 17, 2020
      Digitalisation, environment, equality… The European Union is facing new challenges that require citizens with a new outlook. How to act upon these opportunities? The European Commission has developed “EntreComp”, the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework. It aims to shape an entrepreneurial mindset by identifying its components and creating conversations across different sectors. Discover its two newly […]
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    • The 2020 call for energy efficiency is now open! March 12, 2020
      Around €64 million of EU funding is now available for energy efficiency innovation and market uptake projects. The funding is available for proposals submitted under 10 topics addressing 5 main areas: Buildings Innovative finance Public authorities Consumers Services The call is managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of the European Commission (EASME). All […]
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    • EEPA 2020 – What’s new? March 10, 2020
      Dear EEPA Community, I am writing this letter to announce some changes to the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The EEPA has been running for 14 years, and whilst their goal to showcase the best in enterprise and entrepreneurial promotion from across Europe and COSME countries, remains the same, the EEPA are constantly updated and […]
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    • European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2020 launch March 5, 2020
      That exciting time of year is back…time for the start of a new edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! The EEPA competition rewards innovative initiatives from public bodies and public-private partnerships which support entrepreneurship, and small and medium sized enterprises. The national competitions across the different participating countries are opening and getting ready […]
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    • Innovation at the service of the EU Green Deal February 27, 2020
      The European Innovation Council Accelerator pilot supports innovation that creates the markets of tomorrow and therefore has its part to play in bringing the European Green Deal to life. Here’s how the EIC supports innovators that deliver a climate-neutral circular economy on the ground, in a few numbers.  The push towards a green economy has received new impetus under […]
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    • EEPA 2019 Catch-up – How to get SMEs involved in public procurement February 25, 2020
      Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with one of our 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winners, who have produced some useful documentation that they would like to share throughout the EEPA network. “Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes” or “Public Procurement for SMEs”, won the“Improving the Business Environment” category last year […]
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    • EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Grand Jury Prize February 20, 2020
      It is our last EEPA 2019 winner testimonial! Today on the News Portal we are learning more about the project that took home the top EEPA prize at the 2019 SME Assembly. The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the project that the jury designates to be truly outstanding regardless of its category. For 2019 […]
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