Past winners have shared their tips for how to prepare for an EEPA submission, and their application journeys and lessons. But what does it feel like to be announced the winner of an EEPA category after putting in so much hard work? How did our past winners feel when they were recognised as some of the best projects in Europe? Today our 2017 winners reflect on their winning moments and what it was like to win the award.
“Of course it was a surprise! Within an impressive group of finalists which included investor programmes, 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 programme, involving festivals. So for us, winning was an encouragement to keep going and support other regions to make festivals part of their innovations ecosystem.”
Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017
“It was incredible! It was an amazing recognition and such a great source of motivation for us to continue our work! I later realised that winning and being identified in front of everyone was really important, because afterwards I was approached by several people who wanted to know more about the project. It was really interesting to be able to speak about our work with so many different people.”
ADIE – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship Winner 2017
“When we take part in awards of this kind we always want to win or, at least, be a nominee. Due to the time it takes to prepare all of the necessary documentation we rarely take part in these kinds of competitions. The last time we participated in something similar was in 2012 when we participated in an EU Award after being nominated by Austria. This time around, with EEPA, it was even better as not only were we nominated but ended up winning in our category!”
Internationalisation 2015 – 2020 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business Winner 2017
“It got my heart racing! We arrived in Tallinn without knowing at all what would happen and for us it was a big surprise. It is an honour to receive this award and we want to share it with everybody who made it possible!”
Reempresa – Improving the business environment Winner 2017
“We really wanted to win the European prize, but just because we thought we were the best project didn’t mean that the jury would think the same thing. When Business Generator was announced as the winner, I had a pulse of 1000! Friends who have seen the video of us winning say that I look unmoved, but really I was shocked. Just hearing Sweden mentioned with our project was incredible, I was representing our country!”
Business Generator – Investing in entrepreneurial skills Winner 2017
“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!”
Enterprise Village – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit Winner 2017
What can the SME Instrument do for you? The Instrument, promoted by the European Innovation Council is able to provide support through funding and access to expertise for SMEs looking to grow and innovate. Not only can the support lead to direct success, but can also contribute later down the line as was the case for companies Radisurf and Applied Nano Surfaces. Radisurf took home the prize for the most innovative company and Applied Nanosurfaces won best pitch at an exclusive brokerage event promoted by the European Innovation Council pilot in the world leading industry trade show in Germany. After a very demanding selection process, 70 SME Instrument funded companies were selected to pitch their ideas and vision for the future of industry, under the motto ‘Industry 4.0 and Smart Factory solutions’.
The event was organised by the EIC SME Instrument Business Acceleration Services, the Enterprise Europe Network and NBank, as part of a service promoting deals and business ventures between upcoming SMEs funded by the European Innovation Council pilot and corporate leaders.
Learn more about the winning companies:
Radisurf is developing and producing a specialised nanocoating for direct, strong, and tight adhesion between hard materials and polymer materials called Radibond. Radibond is a patented methodology and formulation for producing a nanometer thin, strongly bonded coating on metals, glass, ceramic, or carbon. With the Radibond coating on your materials, you can apply the polymer material through direct overmolding or a variety of standard welding techniques and obtain strong metal-polymer assemblies.
Applied Nano Surfaces has developed unique technologies to treat the surfaces of mechanical parts to lower friction losses, increase durability and minimise the wear in industrial machines and equipment. ANS products consist of: ANS Triboconditioning®, a mechano-chemical surface finishing process that improves the tribological properties of components made of steel and cast iron, ANS TriboNite®, an advanced thermal processing and coating technology that combines the advantages of nitriding processes with the superior properties of solid lubricant coatings and ANS Tricolit®, a series of thermocured surface coatings serving to reduce friction and wear, and suitable for use on a variety of materials.
For more information and the full article, visit the EASME website.
Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with 2016 Youth Essay Competition finalist Frici Barabas! The Youth Essay Competition is an opportunity for the youth of Europe and COSME partner countries to have their say on pressing issues in the area of entrepreneurship in Europe. Previous editions have asked the following questions:
- 2016: “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?”
- 2017: “What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?”
What will be the question for the 2018 edition? Stay tuned to the Promoting Enterprise News Portal and be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to find out as soon as the next edition is live! For more information on the competition have a look here.
When Frici entered the competition two years ago he was a budding entrepreneur with a t-shirt business, and his online venture ‘digital lifestyle’. So what has he been doing since then? Read on to find out!
What have you been doing since being a finalist in the Youth Essay Competition in 2016?
Since being a finalist I have been working as a freelancer in the online marketing and social media marketing space. My work has taken me global and I have worked with companies from Dubai, the US, India and Europe, specifically Hungary and Romania.
In addition to this I have also published more courses on Udemy and Skillshare, mostly on the topics of social media marketing, specifically Instagram marketing. I decided to focus on these topics because Instagram started to get big and become important in 2016, right when I began working as a freelancer. It seemed logical to focus on the platform that was growing and getting the most attention.
Do you have any exciting projects that you would like to share?
At the moment I have been focusing on my startup, which is a social media marketing agency in Romania. Over the past year I have started to help NGOs and local SMEs here in Romania with social media management and social media marketing, and would like to expand on my work and build a company.
Whilst this work has been really interesting, it has certainly come with its challenges. Here in Eastern Europe scepticism around social media is still pretty prevalent, meaning that businesses are not necessarily willing to pay for it. Due to this scepticism it can be pretty difficult to sell as a service as it is difficult to convince owners to invest in developing their social media profiles.
However, this is slowly beginning to change as small businesses realise that they need to do something with their Instagram and Facebook pages, and that they need expert outsiders to help with this. A good example which showed just how powerful social media can be was when the St. George startup week
was being organised. The event is a global celebration of startups and entrepreneurship, which originally had an expected number of 50 attendees. This became 200 attendees which in a small city of 40 000 people, where the local language is Romanian-Hungarian, is especially impressive for an English language event.
In general my work with NGOs has been much easier, as they normally need less convincing and see the value of social media. It also helps that their budgets come from elsewhere, namely local or European funds.
Based on your experiences since 2016, do you have any new advice for young entrepreneurs, or people thinking about starting out on their own?
The most important thing is to think about helping people with your products or services and not ‘the money you could make’, so start working and doing!
The moment I realised this was when I saw that working in social media in Eastern Europe represents a great opportunity. The market is still relatively open as traditional media still dominates most communication channels. Social media is not as hyped but it is growing, meaning that currently there is little competition and plenty of opportunities to take advantage of.
I have been approached by entrepreneurs who simply wanted to partner with me for the financial gains, and who wanted to make use of my expertise. I turned them down because I want to look past the just the financial gains and look at how I can use my expertise and passion to develop the sector and help SMEs with their social media communications.
Any additional information you would like to add?
I am currently looking for partners in Europe and in the industry in general to continue my work and gain experience. It would be great to find people specialised in certain social media platforms, or who are looking for help with online tools, and to partner up with. I’m open to collaboration!
The EU will support 257 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 31 countries who aim to get their innovations faster to the market. The companies have been selected in the latest round of the SME Instrument, which is part of the recently launched European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. The funding of €12.65 million in total comes from Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
Examples of the projects selected to receive EU funding include solar street lights, software that uses augmented reality to help industrial plants monitor their production chain, a diagnosis tool for sleep apnoea, an innovative mobile payment technology, a custom-made paint vending machine and a wrapping machine for sustainable packaging.
In this phase of the SME Instrument (the so-called Phase 1), each project will receive €50 000 to draft a business plan. There are 253 projects in total as several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also get three days of free coaching and business acceleration services.
Most companies selected for funding work in the field of health, engineering and information and communication technology (ICT). Most companies are based in Spain (45), Italy (28) and Israel (23).
The European Commission received 2009 proposals for this first Phase 1 cut-off of the SME Instrument this year. The next application deadline for SME Instrument Phase 1 is in May 2018.
Applications for phase 1 or phase 2 can be submitted at any time, as the SME Instrument is managed as a permanently open call with several cut off dates per year. Applications are evaluated as soon as there are submitted.
Immigrant entrepreneurs are becoming a very important part of the economic landscape in many urban cities of the world contributing to the phenomenon of globalisation. More than ever, in the context of the refugee crisis, European city leaders and decision makers need pragmatic, relevant and practical advice to address the migrant integration challenges and develop effective migrant integration strategies to help utilise the potential of immigration.
Rotterdam Has a Model for Solution
The Rotterdam Business Case, founded in The Netherlands, provides help to struggling entrepreneurs. The pilot began in Rotterdam in 2012 to support entrepreneurs operating below the poverty line. The goal was simple; to help entrepreneurs 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’.
Project Has Been Scaling Up
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 and help to 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 by streamlining/reorganising the administration, drawing up a cost-calculation, and drafting 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’. One of the first results from scaling up is the start of a Finnish project in the City of Tampere. The City of Tampere, the University of Applied Sciences and Pirkanmaa Business Mentors, a local Business Mentor organisation, started a partnership to assist first time entrepreneurs using the Rotterdam Concept.
Rotterdam Business Case Implementation in Tampere
At the moment we have an ongoing pilot in Tampere based on the Rotterdam Business Case. Its objective is to develop services to promote and support migrant entrepreneurs, who are facing challenges in running a business. The pilot is based on studies that have shown that the challenges most often faced are lack of capital, inadequate Finnish language skills, competition, distrust from locals and lack of understanding of business legislation and marketing aspects of Finnish society. In our pilot we are aiming to create a mentoring process model. With help and smart advice from the Rotterdam team we are proceeding fast with service implementation. At the beginning of April, we were happy to host guests from Rotterdam in Tampere and share our experiences in the field. During the visit we were able to have productive discussions on the Business Case implementation process and share practical advice on building the foundation and partnerships for a better execution of the project.
Sausages Finland Ltd, our migrant entrepreneur case that produce raw sausages, are facing challenges with understanding the Finnish customer market. With the help of junior and senior mentors they are working on a marketing strategy in order to develop better engagement of current customers and find ways to reach new customers. We already have new immigrant entrepreneurs interested in participating in the programme, therefore we see a great potential and a positive outcome of the process development and project implementation. Very soon we are hoping to widen the potential target group and offer our services to Finnish entrepreneurs, as they have a need for similar services.
For more information on the Rotterdam Business Case implementation process in Tampere please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
On 12 June, a limited number of SME Instrument companies working in Industry 4.0 smart factory solutions will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors and network with corporate representatives and other entrepreneurs in an exclusive event promoted by the SME Instrument Business Acceleration Services.
The event welcomes all innovative approaches to industrial automation and innovative manufacturing technologies. Prepare yourself to make a short pitch about your company (5 minutes), which will be followed by a brief question and answer session. If you are a Phase 1 or Phase 2 SME Instrument company with a solid international business strategy and are committed to participating in the event, we welcome you to apply.
Innovation is the best way to increase productivity and growth. Implementing industry 4.0 solutions and systems might generate enough momentum to ensure the EU’s position as a global manufacturing and industry leader. By enabling innovations across the entire value chain, start-ups and medium-sized companies are in a privileged position to tackle the new challenges posed by digitalisation and interconnection of products.
If you fit the description above then don’t miss out on this opportunity to join the next industrial revolution, and apply here until 13 May.
For more information on the competition, and to learn about similar events, read the full article on the EASME website.
What makes a successful European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) entry? What is the secret to winning at European level? Today on Promoting Enterprise, the 2017 edition winners tell us why others should enter EEPA 2018, and share their advice for making an application stand out.
The 2017 winners shared a lot of advice in their testimonials but there were certain things that each of them mentioned as key to their EEPA success, and reasons why an EEPA prize is so valuable. Firstly, all of the winners recognised the power of the EEPA scheme for bringing recognition to project work at European level, as well as the opportunity to see and interact with other projects that have been recognised as best European practices.
“The prize itself is valuable, but so is the opportunity to see how projects in other countries deal with the same issues and questions. You can see differences in financial solutions, project launches and how each country has their own solutions and plans, all of which are the best across Europe.”
- Business Generator – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills Winner 2017
In addition to European recognition, being a part of EEPA helped winners gain experience in pitching their projects. This is particularly useful when building awareness and a network around your work, and something that the EEPA application process values highly.
“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.”
- Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017
Finally, all winners agreed that EEPA is a big contributor to increasing awareness around project work. Through EEPA, the winners had the opportunity to attend the prestigious SME Assembly, where they mingled with a variety of stakeholders and players in the entrepreneurial, SME and startup ecosystems.
So what advice do the 2017 winners want to share with this year’s applicants?
“My advice for future applicants would be to work a little more upstream, and to focus on having good national mobilisation around your project and work. Once this is established, it can then be complemented by working with the public entities that transmit the EEPA message and that organise the awards.”
- ADIE, Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship Winner 2017
“Prepare well! Be aware that it requires quite a lot of work until your documents are “final”, so advice and help from the national body might be very useful, so make the most of it.”
- Internationalisation 2015 – 2020 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business Winner 2017
“I would recommend working on the tangible results of your projects. Show that the submitted project has a positive impact on its territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!”
- Reempresa – Improving the Business Environment Winner 2017
“When applying it is important to ask yourself if others can replicate what you do. Success is always a combination of vision, strategy, trial and error, lessons learnt and results, so be sure to include your project story and journey.”
- Business Generator – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills Winner 2017
“Do not hesitate, apply! If you are doing the right thing, eventually someone will notice, and sometimes it’s the EEPA jury.“
- Enterprise Village – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit Winner 2017
“Our advice for future applicants is to make sure that you highlight why your initiative is both effective and unique.”
- Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017
For more information on the 2017 winners, read the EEPA 2017 winner testimonials here. Some of the EEPA 2018 national competitions are still open, so check the national deadlines here and apply before it’s too late!
The future of European startup policy – Have YOUR say
Interested in finding out what the most innovative Europeans are up to? What about a chance to have your say in European startup policy making? Or perhaps you have an entrepreneurial project that deserves recognition on European level? You are in the right place!
In this edition of the SME Week Newsletter find out about the latest EEPA 2018 updates, the recent Ideas from Europe finals, an opportunity to contribute to EU startup policy and more.
Read on to find out more and don’t forget that we want to hear YOUR stories, so get in touch to see yourself featured in upcoming editions.
This week on 24 April in the Hague, ‘Ideas from Europe’ kicked off the joint development of shared purposes to take on global challenges. 12 inspiring entrepreneurs showcased their solutions and the audience, consisting of 500 European guests in the venue and many more watching via the livestream, elected the following three solutions as most relevant: Micreos, with the world’s first targeted antibacterial product; ApisProtect, using in hive-sensors, retrofitted into existing beehives to unobtrusively monitor honey bee colonies; and Too Good to Go, a smartphone application that helps restaurants and food sellers sell their surplus food instead of wasting it, thereby fighting food waste.
State Secretary Mona Keijzer of the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy opened this second edition of Ideas of Europe. “The new market model of Ideas from Europe brings together and encourages stakeholders to develop not just one, but rather groups of innovators to bring their solutions to market faster and more effectively. I am very enthusiastic about this approach.” European Commissioner for SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska reiterated that message, saying that even though “the challenges that we are facing today in regards to the environment, energy, health and demography are enormous, we must treat them as opportunities. All twelve solutions presented here today have been shared purposes and are all very good examples of sustainable solutions to global challenges.”
Watch the key note speeches below:
Ideas from Europe is an independent platform that facilitates the development of an idea into a mature, sustainable solution and connects all parties needed in this process. During biennial validation cycles, ground-breaking solutions to global challenges are scouted and validated in the EU. Part of this ongoing process are podium events throughout the EU, where innovators present their solutions and stakeholders participate.
Sustainable initiatives are first validated by Ideas from Europe on their basis of their benefit to society, taking into account all perspectives at once: societal, economic viability, feasibility and scalability. Once validated by the public, these ideas are subsequently launched by Value Tracks. The Value Track method focuses on joint development by market parties such as government agencies, innovators, investors, companies, scientists and citizens. The main advantage of this method is that it helps make mutual dependencies transparent, which allows for collaboration and new agreements.
But what about new value tracks? Ideas from Europe are taking their question global, and asking the general public what shared purpose they feel is the most relevant from their perspective. To vote for your favourite solution, go to the Ideas from Europe website and leave your opinion. The global choice will be announced on 6 July 2018, during the SME Envoy week in Cyprus.
Missed out on the finals? Or want to relive the excitement all over again? Watch the recorded livestream of the entire event here.
Are you looking for an opportunity to present your scale up on a European stage? Think you have what it takes to be recognised as a European best practice? Then look no further than the EBAN (the European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and Early Stage Market Players), Scaleup of the Month webinar!
The SME Instrument and EBAN are looking to invite participants to the first joint EBAN Scaleup of the Month webinar, where SMEs can present their innovations to a Jury of investors and get a pass and a pitching slot at one of EBAN’s flagship events!
Every month, EBAN holds a one-hour webinar where selected entrepreneurs and the investor who backs them present their projects to a jury of investors and an international audience, for a chance to become the Scaleup of the Month. Each Scaleup of the Month and their investor receive complimentary passes and a pitching slot to one of EBAN’s flagship events as well as premium visibility within the EBAN network.
This month the webinar is organised with the SME Instrument to give visibility to companies that have received investment from an early stage investor or have received an SME Instrument grant.
Companies looking to apply to the Scaleup of the Month initiative need to satisfy the following criteria:
- Have received investment in the form of a seed round OR are a beneficiary of SME Instrument 1/SME Instrument 2;
- Were incorporated no later than 5 years ago (exceptions made for companies certain industries like life sciences);
- Are looking for a follow-on round of equity investment between 1 Million Euros – 5 Million Euros;
- Can come from all sectors and industries.
The joint EBAN/EASME Scaleup of the Month webinar is scheduled for the last week of May. The date will be announced shortly. Don’t miss this great opportunity to give your company a boost – apply here or send your investor deck to email@example.com.
Read the original article on EASME news here.