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Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards’

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme – ‘Supporting the internationalisation of business’ Winner 2018

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019, are looking for the next winners that will demonstrate the diversity of European projects working to promote enterprise, support entrepreneurs and contribute to the European ecosystem. Here on Promoting Enterprise we have been contacting past winners to share their experiences, winning projects and advice for future applicants.

Today is the turn of Kasvu Open from Finland, the winners of Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business, in the EEPA 2018 cycle. Kasvu Open offers sparring to companies interested in growth, free of charge. The goal is to promote company growth and business development, thus improving the SMEs’ chances of achieving international growth. Through sparring the companies’ growth plans are challenged, adapted and supported by experts representing several different fields. The selected companies come from all industry sectors across Finland and receive access to expert networks. The experience also includes a tailored growth path, run by several partners who facilitate free participation at events, provide funded support for the participating SME and ultimately guide the enterprise in the right direction.

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

We were already familiar with EEPA seeing as our parent company, the Central Finland Chamber of Commerce, won an EEPA prize back in 2006. We decided to enter because people within our network encouraged us to try and promote our work on a European stage.

How did you prepare your application?

The Kasvu Open method has been in use since 2011 and annual number of companies applying the coaching programme has grown from 35 to 800 during these years. Kasvu Open has sparked the flame of growth in more than 3500 companies, 1652 of which have received free sparring from experts. Based on this we already knew our project results; Kasvu Open is efficient, valuable and successful. For the application it was just a question of clearly writing down the work that we have done, documenting our activities over the years, and presenting the numbers, which speak for themselves.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award was a great honour on behalf of the whole growth company ecosystem in Finland. The award is dedicated to all growth companies, experts (“growth millers”), partners and everyone who has been a part of the Kasvu Open journey during the years.

Being recognised with an EEPA award confirmed that we are on the right path towards becoming the best growth company nation in the world.

How did winning the award impact your work?

This win has motivated us to keep working even harder! Now we can say that we have been recognised in Europe, meaning that our next target must be higher. It has also made us humble. We can celebrate our win, but we need to keep developing our processes to maintain our status as a frontrunner in our field.

Why should others enter EEPA 2019? What advice would you give them?

It is definitely worth trying. Submit your project and see what happens! In terms of advice, be yourself, present your project proudly, and you will be noticed. This is the approach we took.

When you are shortlisted for an EEPA prize you get to attend the SME Assembly, which is an opportunity to meet other nominees and hear their stories. This is really valuable because you can get new ideas from hearing these stories. EEPA is a great competition which allows nominees to present their work and build upon what they are doing on a European scale. The event itself is a very well organised and good place for networking, so it is a great experience for everybody.

What are your plans for the future?

We are continuing to develop Kasvu Open by exploring the possibilities of technology and Artificial Intelligence. One of our main focuses is on adapting the digital platform and marketing automation solutions for Kasvu Open processes.

Watch Kasvu Open’s winning moment below and stay tuned for their future updates! Have a look here for more information on EEPA 2019 and get applying!

 

EEPA 2019 FAQ: How to prepare an EEPA application

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are looking for the next set of inspiring projects that support entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem across Europe. Every year there are hundreds of applications from across the participating countries, so how can you make your application stand out? What will catch your National Coordinator’s eye? What will draw the attention of the prestigious EEPA jury?

Promoting Enterprise has collated advice from both past winners on what they did to prepare their applications, and from past and present EEPA Jury members on what made projects stand out for them.

Making your application stand out

Ensuring that your application is unique and stands out amongst all the other strong projects it will be competing against is key to getting noticed by both your National Coordinator and later the EEPA jury. Being unique is important and can even lead to a Grand Jury Prize win.

“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

EEPA jurors in particular want to see unusual and innovative projects that creative contribute to the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“In my opinion, the most important characteristic for a project to be special is that it is innovative. It has to bring something new and show creativity.”

“An outstanding project combines innovation and cooperation and supports enterprises throughout their life cycle. It has visible and presentable results and helps to improve the role of entrepreneurs in society or to start up a business.”

Your application is also a chance to tell your project story and give a full picture of your work, how far you have come and the journey that both you and your project have been on. Including tangible results, lessons learnt and successes will ensure your application is complete and robust.

“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.”

Dedicate the necessary time to your application

Previous winners mention the need to take the necessary time when preparing an EEPA application, to not rush and ensure that all necessary supporting documentation is collected with enough time and included in the final application.

“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.”

“We spent quite some time on the application to make sure that we got all the right and important information filled in.”

 

For more support with your EEPA 2019 applications be sure to have a look through previous EEPA winner testimonials for their advice and success stories and contact your National Coordinators for specific country information on your national EEPA competition.

The Belgian search for the next EEPA winners has begun!

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 have opened across Europe and national competitions are well underway. Today on Promoting Enterprise we are having a look at one specific country, Belgium.

Belgium has been an active EEPA participant since 2006, submitting many projects at both national and European level. In its first EEPA year, Belgium won the Investing in entrepreneurial skills category with Fondation pour la Recherche et l’Enseignement de l’Esprit d’Entreprendre (FREE) and went on to win the same category the following year (2007) with Cap’Ten, sois capitaine de ton projet. The next win for Belgium came in 2013 when Starterscontracten voor Ondernemers won the Improving the business environment category. In addition to three European level wins, Belgium has also been nominated by the EEPA Jury on four occasions for the European shortlist.

This year Belgian EEPA candidates will have until Thursday 9 May 2019 to submit their projects to be considered for the 2019 national competition.

For more information on the Belgian EEPA 2019 competition, read the flyer in FR and NL, or visit the FR and NL websites. For specific questions, please contact the Belgian EEPA National Coordinator.  

EEPA 2019 FAQ: National factsheets

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) celebrate the best of Europe and allow for the diversity of enterprise and entrepreneurial support schemes across the EU to shine through. As such, each country has its own deadlines and variations for its national competition, all of which is coordinated by a designated national coordinator.

In order to understand the EEPA 2019 requirements in your country you will need to have a look at your national factsheets. Each factsheet (available in your national language) gives a breakdown and explanation of the six active competition categories, as well as the Grand Jury Prize. You can also find the central European Commission website for EEPA related information, as well as all of the specific contact information for your National Coordinator, including their email address and your national EEPA website.

Have a look at your national factsheet, get in touch with your National Coordinator and prepare your EEPA 2019 application today!

For further support and information contact the EEPA Secretariat and the EEPA Communications Team.

EEPA 2019 FAQ: What categories can I apply for?

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Thinking about applying for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019? The first thing you should do is get in touch with your 2019 EEPA National Coordinator to find out about your national competition and for all the details regarding the 2019 entry criteria.

What about all the different categories, do you know what criteria apply? Where does your project fit best? Today on Promoting Enterprise we will take you through each category and have a look at some past winners to inspire your 2019 entries.

Grand Jury Prize

The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the best overall project for the EEPA cycle that year. This prize is not dependant on category and goes to outstanding projects that are recognised on a higher level than in the category they entered.

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Projects in this category are recognised for their initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women.

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Projects entering this category should possess initiatives that improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Improving the Business Environment

This category focuses on initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth, and simplify both legislative and administrative procedures for businesses.

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

This category includes an international perspective, and should be considered by projects that encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU.

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

After a temporary suspension in 2017, this category came back in 2018 looking for initiatives that support SME access to green markets and help to improve their resource efficiency through, for example, green skills development and matchmaking, as well as funding.

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

The final EEPA category is for projects that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities.

Don’t forget to direct all of your EEPA 2019 questions to your National Coordinators and to the EEPA Secretariat and best of luck with your applications.

EEPA National Coordinators 2019

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With the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) officially launched for 2019 it is time to get to know the important people that run the national awards in each country…your National Coordinators!

National Coordinators ensure that the national EEPA competitions run smoothly and that all applicants are supported throughout the competition process. They also have the very important role of nominating the two lucky projects that will represent their country at the European level of the EEPA competition.

If you are considering applying for EEPA 2019 then be sure to get in touch with your National Coordinator as soon as possible and make your application as strong as possible. Find all of the contact details for the 2019 National Coordinators below and don’t hesitate to contact the EEPA Secretariat for more information.

Find out more about EEPA participation and the national competitions for 2019 here.

Belgique/België Ελλάδα Lietuva România
България España Luxembourg Slovenija
Česko France Magyarország Slovensko
Crna Gora/Црна Гора Hrvatska Malta Suomi/Finland
Danmark Ísland Nederland Sverige
Deutschland Italia Österreich Türkiye
Eesti Κύπρος Polska Сpбија
Éire/Ireland Latvija Portugal  

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week for the latest EEPA 2019 information as well as the freshest updates from the worlds of entrepreneurship and enterprise.

Why should you enter the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2019?

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With the beginning of a new European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) cycle, many of you might be wondering if you should take the chance and try to secure your place in the EEPA hall of fame. But why should you enter EEPA? What should you prepare?

Promoting Enterprise has collected some advice from previous winners to showcase the best parts of entering EEPA and their advice for prospective candidates. Collect some tips and tricks from our past winners, and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel!

“Other organisations and projects should enter EEPA because it is a great way to get recognised for the work that each of us put in daily and it is truly a great experience to participate in the ceremony. Furthermore, it is great way to meet like-minded people and expand your network.”

  • Lean Landing, Grand Jury Prize Winner 2018

“Any organisation that believes its project has a beneficial impact on promoting entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional or local level should enter EEPA. It is a great opportunity to make your project known to a wider audience, to have insight into similar ones running across Europe and to be part of a pan-European business promotion environment.

EEPA 2019 candidates should extensively document their activities, carefully assess the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of their initiatives, and present concrete, measurable and usable results. The potential of transferring the project to other regions in Europe is an important asset too. Overall, do not hesitate to participate in EEPA if you have a significant entrepreneurship promotion practice to share.”

  • Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit Winner 2018

“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 this 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

Firstly, it is always useful to take, from time to time, an “outside view” on what you do, based on the criteria of the EEPA.  Taking part in an EU Award means competing with a lot of other projects – so there is also the chance to learn from others.

Secondly, EEPA is a chance for recognition on an EU level. 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.

Finally, prepare well! Be aware that it requires quite a lot of work until your documents are “final” (based on the requirements of the EEPA). Advice and help from the national body (in our case the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy) might also 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. Showing that the submitted project has a positive impact on their territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!

  • Reempresa, ‘Improving the business environment’ Winner 2017

Keep coming back to the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for the latest on EEPA 2019 and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – 2019 edition launch

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back again for another cycle to identify and reward the best projects from across Europe. Get ready to see the most innovative and inspiring projects from across Europe compete against each other to win a coveted EEPA 2019 prize.

On Tuesday 29 January, EEPA 2019 and the project nominations, which will be happening on a national level, were officially opened. National deadlines are individual to each participating country 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 2019 Jury meeting will take place in mid-September which will be followed by the announcement of the shortlist on by the end of September. The final step will be the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place in Helsinki, Finland on Tuesday 26 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 2019 EEPA categories are as follows:

  • Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Investing in entrepreneurial skills
  • Improving the business environment
  • Supporting the internationalisation of business
  • Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency
  • Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

EEPA is a great opportunity to be recognised on a European level and to meet like-minded Europeans and international actors working to promote and advocate for SMEs. If you are interested in applying, make sure to have a look at the application information page and speak to your national coordinator. There are also past EEPA winner testimonials available to inspire your entry and to learn more about the competition. For more information about EEPA 2018 watch the 2018 winners’ videos on our YouTube channel!

The secretariat team look forward to supporting you through the 2019 EEPA campaign. For support with social media, blogs and promoting EEPA in your country please contact Megan Gardner megan.gardner@gopacom.eu for all other technical questions, please contact Ann Garrot, Secretariat Manager ann.garrot@LOWeurope.eu.

Stay updated with all EEPA news by following us on Twitter (@EEPA_EU and #EEPA2019) and Facebook (@PromotingEnterprise).

Business Generator becomes Navigator Scale-up

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Back in 2017, the project “Business Generator” from Sweden, won the EEPA Category “Investing in entrepreneurial skills” for their work in identifying the gap in the strategic management process for SME companies, as well as a way to reach SMEs and provide them with useful skills for their daily lives as entrepreneurs.

After initial struggles to keep the Business Generator going after the EEPA competition, this project, and specifically coordinator Anette Rhudin, are back with a brand new and improved ‘Navigator Scale-up’. The Navigator serves as a support for SMEs that need to have a board under Swedish law. Due to financial constraints it is normally a challenge for SMEs and entrepreneurs to have an external board not made up of family and friends, and thus miss the chance, to have that input, that the right matched, external competence can give. Having a competent board can help avoid bankruptcy, develop necessary company procedures and aid in the overall management of the SME.

Through the Navigator SMEs can be matched with externals that serve as a board or ‘navigators’, without taking away control from the SME. The Navigator is a particularly good option for SMEs looking to scale up, as the externals are there to coach, ask critical questions and offer guidance based on their extensive experience. Through their experience, external board members are able to make SMEs aware of ‘hazards’ and guide them so as to avoid expensive failures.

Positive changes can only happen in a safe environment, which is why a Navigator’s primary task is help the entrepreneur navigate a changeable environment and give them enough control to feel safe and be able to scale up their company. One of the crucial success factors in the Business Generator project was that the four external navigator members had all gone on their own scalable business journeys. Being able to understand the current entrepreneur’s experience enables externals to truly coach and give the best advice to the SME they are assisting.

The Navigator has already been helping several SMEs, specifically OptiPack, an SME in a typical small Swedish village which started last year. Optipack began with four young people who had no experience of owning a company and who required a bank loan to get started. In order to qualify for a loan they needed an external board with experienced members, which is where Business Navigator came in to help. After being assigned a Navigator team they began to advance, thanks to the collective experience of their external board members who between them are experienced businesspeople and own large international companies.

Thanks to help from their Navigator, Optipack were able to invest EUR 2 428 882 in their latest product and continue working and developing.

Optipak are a successful example of what a Navigator can do for an SME, and we hope to keep coming back with more success stories as the Business Navigator gets bigger and spreads its message, support and advocacy for SMEs.

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Lean Landing – ‘Grand Jury Prize’ Winner 2018

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Ready for our next EEPA winner interview? Today we are proud to welcome our 2018 Grand Jury Prize Winner, Lean Landing from Denmark!

The Lean Landing network consists of a total of 19 partners, accelerators and incubators. The network has members from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom. Members of the Lean Landing network open up their facilities to the 190 participating SMEs, giving them bases in their target countries, as well as a local business support system. These local bases allow SMEs to gather first impressions of the foreign market, establish contacts, and learn important local business etiquette and practices. So far, of the 190 SMEs involved, 80 have successfully been abroad with the Lean Landing project.

The project is run by Væksthus Sjælland, a non-profit organisation established in 2007 that provides services for entrepreneurs and micro SMEs with scalability and growth potential. The organisation is also responsible for providing business support to the Zealand Region of Denmark and is one of five national units.

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

Our organisation has known about the national EEPA competition for a few years, and in the past been national winners three times as well as receiving a ‘special mention’ award. We decided to enter again because EEPA is THE place and event to be at, if you are running EU projects, and winning the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ this year is the biggest prize any EU project can receive.

How did you prepare your application?

We didn’t really prepare, but we spent quite some time on the application to make sure that we got all the right and important information filled in.

What was it like to win the award?

We were honestly just very overwhelmed and very surprised. We had hoped to win in our category ‘Supporting internationalisation for business’ but we did not expect to win the ‘Grand Jury Prize’. It has probably been the biggest recognition our organisation has ever received for any EU project.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award hasn’t really had that much of an impact on my daily work, but there has been a lot of positive attention from many people from other organisations both nationally and internationally. Furthermore our 19 partners in the project have also been very happy about the result and it has sparked a new sort of energy internally, that we have actually done something really special with our project.

The exposure from EEPA and Euronews, who worked with the EU commission since we won, has also been great. The video from when we received the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ was available the day after and the film that was shot by Euronews for ‘Euronews Business Planet’ is going to be part of our ongoing marketing material for the project.

Why should others enter EEPA 2019? What advice would you give them?

Other organisations and projects should enter EEPA because it is a great way to get recognised for the work that each of us put in daily and it is truly a great experience to participate in the ceremony. Furthermore, it is great way to meet like-minded people and expand your network.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans for the future are to continue to develop new and value-creating projects like Lean Landing, with the purpose of helping SMEs to grow locally, nationally and internationally.

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