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Launch of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards #EEPA2022

The time for a new edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) has come! Annually, EEPA identify and recognize the most successful promoters of enterprise and entrepreneurship around Europe.

The competition rewards the most innovative initiatives from public bodies and public-private partnerships, which support entrepreneurship, and small and medium sized enterprises.

How will it work?

The participating countries invite projects or initiatives to apply for the national competitions for the 2022 edition. Each national competition will announce two national winners, who will proceed to compete at the European level prior to the European deadline of 25 July 2022. The prestigious EEPA jury of 2022 will then carefully review each of the national winners, where the top projects will make the European shortlist.

All shortlisted nominees from both the national and European competition levels will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly co-hosted by the Czech Presidency of the Council and the European Commission in November.

Here are the six categories of this year:

Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
Investing in skills
Improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition
Supporting the internationalisation of business
Supporting the sustainable transition
Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

Plus…

The Jury’s Grand Prize that can be from any category and will go to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

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

Stay Updated #EEPA2022

For information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website, and for the latest updates, follow Promoting Enterprise News Portal as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

EEPA 2021 Testimonial – COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of the first category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ – Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre from Spain.

Today we are bringing the story of Grand Jury Prize winner COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V. was also awarded first prize in Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards at the SME Assembly 2021.

COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige, which is supported by the non-profit association Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen (ISI), supports migrant women with training and professional development, providing them with the skills they need to become self-employed. By providing free training, coaching and networking opportunities, both migrant women who are willing to start a business and those who are already self-employed, are enabled to put business ideas into practice and sustainably build up their own business start-ups in Berlin. The project is guided by the principle that migrant women stand up for migrant women.

Here is what they shared with us about their experience at the European Promoting Enterprise Awards 2021.

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

We decided to enter the EEPA 2021 upon invitation of the RKW Kompetenzzentrum, which conducts the German preliminary round of the competition. The program’s features caught our attention immediately, and we believed it was worth applying with our project “COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige”.

How did you prepare your application?

Two persons were involved in drawing up the application, which took 3-4 days in total. We prepared a tailor-made application, which not only included the general information about our project but also hard facts about its achievements and success during the last years. For example, we have provided information about the number of women attending our qualification offers and the variety of their individual features and needs, as well as concerning the increase of their individual skills progress, in terms of technical, methodological, social and personal competence. Moreover, we supplied a detailed description of the innovative traits of the project and our plans for further development in the next future.

What was it like to win the award?

If winning the award in the category “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills” has been a big surprise on its own, the “Grand Jury Prize” came totally unexpected. It was an unbelievable, overwhelming feeling. It was such an honour to represent our team on stage and be able to dedicate the awards to all brave and amazing migrant women founders, who are the soul of our organization. We felt very proud of all of them and of our achievements. This international recognition is not only a point of arrival for us, yet most and foremost, a new starting point to grow and reach new goals.

As a project team, we are aware of carrying a big responsibility for all migrant women. As we won the award, I immediately experienced a feeling of relief. I thought, “okay, we are not alone in this. We now carry this responsibility, even at a European level, together with all stakeholders.”

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the awards had great resonance among our participants and partner organizations. We have received many congratulations and encouraging messages. Some magazines have reported about us.

But most important is that we make the most of the awards and their prestige in order to further promote the offers of the “COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige” and reach even more migrant women, to foster them on their way to self-employment. Thanks to years of fieldwork, we know exactly what the needs and wishes of our target group are and have the right know-how and solutions to support them in realizing their business ideas. The potential is huge. And our big success at the award ceremony gave us an extra boost to get the most out of our service for women entrepreneurs.

That’s why we are looking for the necessary financial and personal resources to achieve these goals. Any kind of support from concerned associations, foundations and authorities will be very valuable to us.

What are your plans for the future?

Our goal now is to make our qualification model for migrant women entrepreneurs known throughout Germany and, in the medium term, internationally. Where necessary, we also would like to improve and further develop our approach.

At this point, we primarily want to support refugee women, especially in their mother tongue, as well as migrant women in the pre-founding phase and those in the post-start-up phase. For these three target groups, we would like to implement specific demand-based concepts. Some pilot projects have already been carried out.

Fortunately, in 2022 our project will keep on receiving funds from ESF and the State of Berlin. Nevertheless, we believe that we could also consider further funding opportunities for the various concepts and different target groups. Only in the last three years, more than 600 participants have been registered in our database. These women still expect and need our help in order to have better opportunities to gain a professional foothold in Germany.

Winning the EEPA-Award allows us to hope for growth, and we want to take this opportunity now.

Why should others enter EEPA 2022? What advice would you give them?

The EEPA is a great chance to make your project more visible and cooperate with other organizations to spread information about your successful work. It gives you the possibility to present your project as a model, both at the national and international level and, ultimately, to reach your goals for a larger community all over Europe. Applying is definitely worth a try.

Do you want to watch other key moments from SME Assembly 2021? Relive the experience below!

EEPA 2021 Testimonial – Culinary Action!

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Here on Promoting Enterprise, we are excited to bring you the first of our European Enterprise Promotion Award winner testimonials! Throughout this series we will be interviewing the EEPA Class of 2021 to find out more about these outstanding projects, what they do, what winning the awards means to them, their journey to the finals and more.

We are launching the series with the winner of our first category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’. The 2021 winner is Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre from Spain.

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

It is a very well known competition and we thought that it was the perfect moment to enter “Culinary Action !” into it. CA! was created seven years ago by the Basque Culinary Center, a leading European Gastronomy Sciences University, as one of the first initiatives to foster entrepreneurship on food tech in Europe and, after its initial run helping food tech startups in Spain, we are going international, creating a network of initiatives with partners thorough the continent, so we thought that 2021 was the year go for EEPA.

How did you prepare your application?

We talked to some of our main stakeholders (entrepreneurs, corporate, public institutions) and ask them to share their views and feedback. We took some time preparing it and putting together their testimonies and feedback.

What was it like to win the award?

It came as a surprise since we knew some of the other contestants and we thought it was going to be quite competitive. An unforgettable moment.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award has put into perspective not only the work that we have done at Culinary Action ! for the last few years (before food tech became the trending topic concept that is today)  but it is also an important validation at a paramount time for startups on food and gastronomy innovation. Food is after all, along with energy generation and mobility one of the three main drivers of climate change and as such it requires to reinforce and take “to the next level” those tools that help the entrepreneurs in the field, such as Culinary Action !.

What are your plans for the future?

This recognition of the work of Culinary Action! comes at a time that food tech is quickly becoming a trend to reckon with both in Europe and globally. Culinary Action ! will foster the incoming wave of innovation on food and gastronomy by connecting European ecosystems, their startups, corporates, VCs and other stakeholders with different initiatives: “On the road “ competitions, accelerator programs, helping connect worldwide incubators … We want to be one of the leading collaborative players at the incoming wave of food innovation.

Why should others enter EEPA 2022? What advice would you give them?

It will validate their work at an international level. Just by being selected as a finalist, they will get an European wide recognition and the opportunity to interact and network with a variety of European actors.

Do you want to watch other key moments from SME Assembly 2021? Relive the experience below!

European Enterprise Promotion Awards Class of 2021

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Over the past months, you have followed us as we showcased the best projects in the six European Enterprise Promotion Awards categories here on the Promoting Enterprise portal. The EEPA story of these projects reached its climax on the second day of the SME Assembly on November 16, when the winners in the six categories were announced.

We extend our warmest congratulations to our entire EEPA class of 2021 and in particular to our category champions.

Category 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Spain: Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre

Category 2  – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Germany: COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V.

Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment & Supporting the Digital Transition

Portugal: Digital Commerce Programme by ACEPI – Digital Economy Portugal in partnership with CCP – Portuguese Commerce and Services Confederation and with Municipal Council of Viana do Castelo

Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Spain: Iberian Centre for Research and Forest Firefighting – Firefighting Open Innovation Lab-CILIFO (FOIL-CILIFO), Fundación by Delegación Fundación Finnova

Category 5 – Supporting the Sustainable Transition

Slovenia: Green Penguin, Iskraemeco, d.d

Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Sweden: Inkludera by Inkludera

Grand Jury Prize

Germany: COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V.

The SME Assembly is not over yet! Make sure to join us for the final day of the Assembly to attend the streamed sessions. You can also follow the live coverage on Twitter @EEPA_EU. Haven’t registered yet? Last minute registrations are still possible but be quick! You can register here.

 

EEPA 2021 – Meet the Special Mentions

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Every year at the EEPA finals at the SME Assembly expert jury selects a number of projects for Special Mention. While these projects may not have made it to the finals, they nevertheless stood out to the jury due to their excellent work.

This year during the European Enterprise Promotion and Small and Mid-Caps Awards Ceremony the EEPA jury has awarded two Special Mentions from two different categories as an appreciation of their work.

Finland: DRAFT Program – Exploratory Entrepreneurship

The Special Mention in Category 1 went to DRAFT Program from Finland. Draft Program – Exploratory Entrepreneurship is a small but innovative entrepreneurship programme shared by five eastern Finnish educational institutions. It provides microfinance and coaching for student, staff and alumni teams.

The programme has developed an operating model for exploring entrepreneurship, where each customer team is seen as an expedition that produces locally relevant industry-specific information. Entrepreneurship coaches transform lessons learned from working with teams into useful publications – so-called “business developers” – that help to transfer local industry-specific good practices to other start-up entrepreneurs in the area. More than 60 useful publications have been created over the past 12 months, and nearly a dozen companies have benefited from the programme every year in recent years.

The Netherlands: The New Economy

In Category 5 – Supporting the Sustainable Transition, Special Mention goes to The New Economy, from MVO Nederland, a network organisation from the Netherlands that is teaming up with entrepreneurs to create a movement to reach a tipping point towards the New Economy by 2025.

The New Economy is one that’s future-proof. It is climate-neutral, circular and inclusive and is based on fair supply chains. The project has produced a New Business Agenda, which shows the quickest way to get to the New Economy, and supports this roadmap by facilitating innovation through collaboration and by lobbying to create an enabling environment. The project has a goal of reaching 20% of Dutch GDP earned in the New Economy, and aims to reach this tipping point by 2025.

Congratulations to the EEPA 2021 Special Mentions!

EEPA 2021 Shortlist – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

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We have already introduced you to the 2021 shortlist of finalists in the first five categories of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Today we will take a closer look at the projects shortlisted in the final category, Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

The three projects shortlisted in this category come from Sweden, Turkey and the Netherlands. They take an innovative approach to scaling-up social entrepreneurship, create opportunities for Syrian refugees in Turkey and leverage recycling to create social jobs. The worthy finalists in this category have interesting stories to tell so, let’s take a closer look.

And so, in alphabetical order, we start with….

Inkludera – Sweden

Since 2011, Inkludera has been working to turn social innovations developed at the grassroots level into viable solutions that tackle the challenges that Sweden is facing. It does this by supporting social entrepreneurs who have developed unique solutions, helping them to scale up and become financially sustainable. One such solution is the Changers Hub, which creates positive meeting places for young adults and provides them with the tools they need to make constructive choices and achieve success. Inkludera selects the entrepreneurs and start-ups and supports them in building partnerships with the public sector. The combined experience of the Inkludera team is then put to use in strengthening the social organizations’ ability to work long-term and sustainably. Since 2013, entrepreneurs supported by Inkludera have entered into over 900 partnerships with 108 of Sweden’s municipalities. These partnerships have resulted in the entrepreneurs working with 27,200 people in 2020 to address various social issues.  

Opportunities for Entrepreneurs – Turkey

Migration not only involves a movement of labour, but also a movement of entrepreneurs. This project looks at the millions of Syrian refugees that have arrived in Turkey as a great opportunity, with many people ready to start a business and create jobs for others if they have access to guidance and support. The EU funded Opportunities for Entrepreneurs project provides this support and promotes refugee entrepreneurship in Turkey by mobilising the available local structures in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. To date the project has trained more than 500 budding entrepreneurs and mentored more than 100 others. The project has also provided seed funding to 70 entrepreneurs, enabling them to start or improve their businesses.

Opstuwen Kringloopbedrijven – The Netherlands

The programme Opstuwen Kringloopbedrijven (Pushing Up Recycling Companies), implemented by the cooperative Social Enterprise Lab U.A. and Branchevereniging Kringloopbedrijven Nederland (BKN), promotes social entrepreneurship at recycling shops in the BKN netowrk. The project helps to build an inclusive society by creating social jobs, while contributing to the circular economy through the collection, sale, recycling and upcycling of second hand products and materials. It adopts a large-scale approach at industry level, supported by various funds and partners, in combination with a top down and bottom up strategy. This approach has been successful and the project has created approximately 300 additional learning/work places for vulnerable people in the labour market since 2014.

Be sure to read about the projects listed in previous categories, and stay tunes for future updates on the EEPA 2021 finalists!

EEPA 2021 Shortlist – Supporting the Sustainable Transition

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We have already introduced you to the 2021 shortlist of finalists in the first four categories of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Today we will take a closer look at the projects shortlisted in Category 5: Supporting the Sustainable Transition.

The three projects shortlisted in the category come from Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia. These projects provide novel ways to optimise water use in buildings, streamline urban waste management, and engage children as the climate protectors of the future. Let’s take a closer look at these innovative projects.

We will look at the shortlisted projects in alphabetical order, starting with….

AQUA+® Rating water at your household – Portugal

AQUA+ is an initiative of the Agency for Energy in Portugal (ADENE). Recognising that water is a scarce and indispensable resource, the project offers a simple, agile and voluntary way to evaluate and classify water use in buildings, identifying opportunities where people can improve their water use and save water. In addition to classifying a building’s water performance, AQUA+ provides guidance on good practices for renovations and the design of new buildings, offering a greater choice of equipment, systems and solutions that allow a more efficient use of water. A sample 50 audits conducted by the project estimated an annual potential reduction in water consumption of 30%. AQUA+ is currently available for residential properties and will soon be extended to other areas, such as hotels, businesses and services.

ELWIS – Household-level waste tracking – Slovakia

For towns and villages to make informed decisions on waste management they need hard data on actual waste production. This is where ELWIS comes in. The system monitors waste management at household level and provides municipalities or collection companies with an overview of the actual amounts of waste produced by households and other entities in the municipality. Municipalities can then use this information to decide on the distribution of waste containers and the scheduling of trucks. What’s more, through their MyELWIS waste account, citizens can see how their home performs, motivating them to adopt a more sustainable approach. The system has contributed to a significant reduction in the cost of municipal waste, enabled the introduction of fair charges and encouraged citizens to sort their waste.

Green Penguin – Slovenia

Cities are responsible for more than 70% of all GHG emissions and so it will be critical to engage cities in the fight against climate change, encouraging them to adopt innovative solutions to mitigate risks and achieve carbon neutrality. With this goal in mind, Green Penguin combines real data with smart digital technologies in a digital game for schoolchildren. Through the game, Green Penguin teaches schools and children environmental and digital literacy. It shows children how to achieve significant CO2 reductions, raises their awareness of environmental challenges and sustainable development and, importantly, creates future generations of environmental protectors, engaging them in the co-creation of solutions for the carbon-neutral cities of the future.

Be sure to read about the projects listed in previous categories, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2021 finalists!

EEPA 2021 Shortlist – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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We have already introduced you to the 2021 shortlist of finalists in the first three categories of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Today it is the turn of Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business.

Two projects were shortlisted in Category 4. The finalists are an Irish aerospace project that aims to develop the aerospace business in the Republic of Ireland, and a project that supports entrepreneurs and start-ups involved in forest fire prevention in Spain. Let’s take a closer look at these two innovative projects.

We will present the two projects in alphabetical order, starting with….

Emerald Aero Group – Ireland

Emerald Aerospace group is a cluster of 11 indigenous manufacturing companies, brought together in early 2017 with the specific purpose of enhancing aerospace manufacturing export revenues and growing the aerospace business in the Republic of Ireland. The project focuses primarily on aircraft build. By supplying manufacturing solutions at all levels of the supply chain, it has generated new business, built an expanded customer base, aligned industry systems and standards, promoted innovation and developed new export opportunities for the Group’s members. With a combined industry experience of over 225 years, the Group’s dedicated and local pathfinder team meets with clients to identify their requirements. Emerald Aero members then meet to discuss and analyse these requirements to come up with the best possible solution, offering the customer access to precision engineering, plastics moulding, tooling, 3D printing, fabrication, surface treatment, thermoforming and other services, all from one point of contact.

Iberian Centre for Research and Forest Firefighting Open Innovation Lab-CILIFO – Spain

Forest fires are a hazard that we see with alarming frequency in Europe, and Spain has been particularly hard hit. To build the country’s and Europe’s firefighting capacity, the Firefighting Open Innovation Lab-CILIFO (FOIL-CILIFO) accelerator, managed by the Finnova Foundation within the framework of the Iberian Centre for Research and Fight against Forest Fires (CILIFO), has been supporting entrepreneurs, technologies, companies and start-ups in the sector of forest fire prevention and extinction and forest management. The project offers companies the opportunity to test innovative technology in a real environment, helps them find international partners to replicate their results, and provides legal advice and support in accessing European funding with the help of specialised mentors. To date, 25 companies from up to 10 countries are benefiting from the services offered by the accelerator, which is the first of its kind in the sector.

Be sure to read about the projects listed in previous categories, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2021 finalists!

EEPA 2021 Shortlist – Improving the Business Environment & Supporting the Digital Transition

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Recently we have been giving you a closer look at the projects shortlisted in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) by our EEPA 2021 jury. Last time you read about the shortlisted projects in Category 2. Today it is the turn of the projects competing in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment & Supporting the Digital Transition.

The three finalists this year come from Portugal, Germany and Austria. Their projects promote the digitisation of business, support start-ups at the intersection of art, culture, business, technology and science and take an innovative approach to regional development. Sounds interesting? Let’s take a closer look.

We will take a look at the shortlisted finalists in alphabetical order, beginning with…

Digital Commerce – Portugal

Having a digital presence is a key first step for companies wishing to create more business and value and to reach new markets. Digital Commerce, a programme being implemented by ACEPI – Digital Economy Association – supports the digital transformation of SMEs, in particular micro-enterprises, in the commerce and services sector. In three years, the programme has trained 67 digital consultants and provided expertise to 50 business and commercial associations. What’s more, 1,345 entrepreneurs have graduated from its Digital Academy and the programme has conducted 51 sessions and workshops as part of a National Roadshow, in which around 3,000 entrepreneurs and traders took part. It has also organised a series of 34 free webinars, with over 1,500 participants. The programme has set itself an ambitious target – by 2022 it aims to digitally train more than 50,000 companies.

Next Mannheim – Germany

NEXT MANNHEIM has developed a unique, dynamic and steadily growing start-up ecosystem, which is establishing Mannheim as a start-up hotspot. A key goal of the project is to enable entrepreneurs in the tech, creative, cultural and urban innovation sectors to network and exchange experience with each other and with other economic stakeholders in the Rhine-Neckar-Region. The start-up ecosystem currently includes eight different start-up centres. It provides an optimal mix of funding, consulting, incubators and accelerators, supporting budding entrepreneurs and start-ups with direct access to investors, international networks, small and medium-sized businesses and industry. The project’s cultural innovation and creative economy unit focuses on cross-cutting projects that develop at the intersection of art, culture, business, technology and science.

Region 4.0 – Austria

The overarching goal of the Region 4.0 project is to make the regions of Kufstein, Untere Schranne and Kaiserwinkl even more liveable. Thanks to the start-up business development competition STADT UP KUFSTEIN, the number of vacant premises in the centre of Kufstein has fallen by 20%. These premises now house innovative retail, gastronomy and services start-ups. By providing these businesses with support – varying from graphic design to legal and tax advice, communications and much more – the project is helping to keep jobs, know-how and purchasing power in the region. The project also provides digital coaching and, to date, 121 entrepreneurs have participated in ten workshops, where they improved their knowledge of social media and websites, allowing them to increase their reach and digital presence.

Be sure to read about the projects listed in previous categories, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2021 finalists!

EEPA 2021 Shortlist – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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You have already read about the projects shortlisted in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to each project that has been carefully evaluated and selected by our EEPA 2021 jury. Last time you read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1. Today it is the turn of the projects competing in Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills.

The three finalists this year come from Germany, Lithuania and Italy. Their projects support the professional development of migrant women, empower young people with entrepreneurial skills and promote the development of e-commerce. Let’s find out more.

We are listing the shortlisted finalists in alphabetical order, beginning with…

COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige – Germany

COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige, which is supported by the non-profit association Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen (ISI), supports migrant women with training and professional development, providing them with the skills they need to become self-employed. By providing free training, coaching and networking opportunities, both migrant women who are willing to start a business and those who are already self-employed, are enabled to put business ideas into practice and to sustainably build up their own business start-ups in Berlin. The project is guided by the principle that migrant women stand up for migrant women.

No Quarantine on the Internet – Lithuania

After quarantine was declared in Lithuania, the entrepreneurship and export development agency “Versli Lietuva” came up with the business assistance initiative “No quarantine on the Internet”. The initiative focuses on the digitisation of business and the development of e-commerce and helps small and medium-sized businesses to enter the virtual space. Over 1,500 Lithuanian e-shops have used the initiative so far, more than 70 partners have joined in, and over 150 e-commerce experts have offered mentorship. During the big national holidays in Lithuania, residents gave each other a special gift card produced by the initiative, enabling them to shop at more than 100 Lithuanian e-shops, helping to support small businesses during the lockdown.

Startup Super School – Italy

Startup Super School is a business simulation initiative that has involved more than 2,000 young people throughout Italy in training courses dedicated to learning business dynamics, increasing digital skills and achieving a heightened awareness of work dynamics. Through innovative approaches to teaching and a process of entrepreneurial empowerment, the project helps students to bridge the digital gap and enter the world of work and of new technologies.

Be sure to read about the projects listed in previous categories, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2021 finalists!

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