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Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards’

There is only a short time left to register for EEPA! Check out the national competitions that are still open!

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The EEPA national competitions are underway and are currently looking for the best projects to compete at national level. If you are from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey, we have great news for you. The national competitions are still open in your country and you still have a chance to apply to the most prestigious European competition that rewards those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.

If you want to participate, you can find your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here. For any further questions, be sure to contact your National Coordinator or the EEPA Secretariat.

For some amazing inspiration before applying, we recommend you take a look at the EEPA Compendium that showcases all projects that were shortlisted in the competition last year. It is the best way to get some insight into the awards process right from the source.

One last tip: make sure you read our exclusive interview with jury members. Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker, Outi Slotboom and Marian Piecha have been the first four to give us valuable insights on the three top qualities they will look for in a winning project.

France and Luxembourg will soon communicate their own national deadlines, so make sure you visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly to be up to speed. For all remaining participating countries – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, and Romania – applications are now closed.

For more information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website and for the latest updates make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Marian Piecha

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We have already published interviews with three of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members (Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker and Outi Slotboom). Today it is the turn of Marian Piecha, who represents the Czech EU presidency on this year’s jury. Marian shares his advice for this year’s participants along with some other valuable insights, so read on!

Before being appointed Deputy Minister of the EU Funds and Digital Economy Section on February 1, 2018, Marian was in turn Director of the Department of Business and Investment at the Czech Ministry of Industry and Tradem the CEO of the business and investment support agency CzechInvest, and Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s SME Support Department.

EEPA Jury Member Marian Piecha

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

I consider the EEPA to be very beneficial in terms of rewarding activities to promote entrepreneurial spirit and the growth of private enterprise and which should enable SMEs in particular to make better use of opportunities in the European Union and the world.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

I believe that a large number of interesting projects from all over the EU will enter the competition and the decision-making will be difficult for the whole jury. I will definitely appreciate an interesting presentation of the project, which will include not only its development, but also visible results, including the outlook for the future.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

This competition has a long tradition of promoting interesting ideas for the development of European SMEs. In view of the current situation, I believe that the jury will look forward to projects that help to overcome the current crisis and difficulties that SMEs are currently facing.

Which are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

I will definitely appreciate projects that are original, bring unique solutions and will be transferable worldwide, not only within the EU.

We will introduce you to the other members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Outi Slotboom

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We have already heard from two of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members – Thomas Cooney and Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. This time we have the pleasure to introduce you to one more jury member – Outi Slotboom, a newcomer to the EEPA jury, representing the European Commission.

EEPA Jury Member Outi Slotboom

Outi is Director for Strategy and Economic Analysis at the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission. Her Directorate is in charge of the strategy for EU industrial policy and the Single Market, small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship, the international aspects of industrial policy, as well as economic analysis underpinning these policies. Outi has some good advice for the participants in this year’s competition, see below!

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

EEPA highlights and celebrates local and regional initiatives that support entrepreneurs and SMEs where they may need it most: supporting them to become more sustainable, more digital or supporting them to become more inclusive.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

An application stands out when the actions and impacts of the initiative are tangible and innovative but also easy to grasp.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

Just having overcome the most adverse effects of the COVID-crisis, European SMEs are again confronted with a particular set of challenges: high inflation with particularly high energy prices and disrupted supply chains, also due to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Thus, projects that support SMEs/entrepreneurs to become more energy-efficient, less dependent on fossil fuels, or increase the resilience of supply chains would be particularly welcome. If initiatives include elements that improve the (entrepreneurial) skills of migrants or refugees, this would be most welcome in the current context of Ukrainian refugees. Projects that mitigate the consequences of the climate crisis would also certainly catch my attention.

What are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

The three qualities that I will be looking for are: (1) the impact of the initiative; (2) its innovative elements (what is new/done differently as opposed to similar initiatives); and (3) its ability to be replicated in other countries/settings.

We will introduce you to the other members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker

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Today we are continuing to introduce you to the members of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury by talking with Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. Selma represents the organisation that won last year’s Grand Jury Prize. Her recent experience as a participant in the competition means her advice for this year’s cohort is particularly valuable. Keep reading to hear it!

Selma is Programme Director of COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige (CfS), an initiative started by the German non-profit Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e.V. (I.S.I. e.V.) working in Berlin. For more than 30 years, I.S.I. e.V. has been empowering and qualifying women with a migration background to pursue entrepreneurship. Before being awarded last year’s Grand Jury prize, CfS was selected as the winner in the competition’s Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category.

EEPA 2022 Jury Member Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker

Through CfS, I.S.I. e.V. promotes entrepreneurship amongst immigrant women in Berlin by providing free training and access to networking events. What’s more, I.S.I. e.V., which is itself managed by immigrant women, not only supports women looking to become entrepreneurs, but also those who are already entrepreneurs and are looking to expand their businesses. Below, Selma talks about her experience in the competition, gives some excellent advice, and lets us know what will make a project stand out for her in this year’s competition.

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

It showcases entrepreneurship initiatives from the whole of Europe, sharing valuable examples and boosting entrepreneurship by increasing the recognition and value of entrepreneurs. By shining a light on local initiatives, it shows the great European potential of entrepreneurship and its role in nurturing and shaping our society.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

It is very important to include information on the impact the initiatives have had, both with figures and performance indicators and with concrete examples. The vision for the future is also very important, since these initiatives must constantly adapt to changes in the environment and respond to the real needs of society.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

The difficult political situation has brought instability and economic crisis, as well as uncertainty about the future. To build trust and hope, we need to move toward a healthy society that is attentive to social values and gender equality, thus promoting sustainable, equitable and responsible initiatives and projects. In this context, attention to the needs of the most vulnerable is crucial, as well as a focus on people’s mental and physical well-being.

What are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

An innovative and engaging approach, impact on people and on the local economy, and attention to the well-being of people.

We will introduce you to the other members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Thomas Cooney

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Every year, during the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), we introduce you to the members of our jury, who play are responsible for choosing the most innovative and exciting competition entries and selecting the winner of the Grand Jury Prize. We kick off our introductions this year with an EEPA stalwart Professor Thomas Cooney.

Thomas is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin, and Academic Director of the TU Dublin Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship. He is also a director of four businesses, works in a supportive capacity with a variety of organisations and has published widely on the topic of entrepreneurship. Thomas has been an EEPA jury member for several years now, so we asked him for his advice for participants and what the jury will be looking for in 2022. Read on for his enlightening insights!

EEPA Jury Member Professor Thomas Cooney

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

What is wonderful about EEPA is that it recognizes unsung heroes and celebrates the amazing work being done by people to encourage greater levels of entrepreneurial activity at local and regional levels. These people also support the inclusion of marginalized communities whose needs are not being met by formal government interventions, and this competition enables their incredible work to be acclaimed.

Do you have any advice for EEPA participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

Successful applications have one common feature – they provide statistics and evidence of the success of their initiative. Hard data showing the number of people who have successfully completed the programme and the measurement of the impact of the programme is much more powerful than any testimonial.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are critically important in terms of addressing the current challenges facing governments and people across Europe. Therefore, I believe that showing how an initiative tackles a specific UN SDG would be helpful, but applicants need to identify which specific target they are addressing (e.g. SDG Target 10.1) rather than being quite broad with their relationship to the UN SDGs.

Which are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

The three qualities that I would like to see are: (1) level of innovation (what is the project doing that nobody else is doing?); (2) the ability for the initiative to be replicated in another country, by other people; and (3) the long-term sustainability of the initiative. Excel in these three qualities and you will be in contention for a prize!

We will introduce you to the other five members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

EEPA Compendium now available!

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In 2021, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) celebrated its 15th edition and continued to award projects that demonstrate the pinnacle of innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. Despite the continued influence of the global pandemic, with COVID-19 still having an impact on the SMEs and the European economy as a whole, EEPA made sure that the latest innovative enterprise concepts were showcased in the European arena. These innovative concepts have now been gathered in one place – the EEPA Compendium.

Every year the EEPA Compendium showcases all of the projects that were shortlisted in the competition, to celebrate their achievements, while at the same time providing some insight into the Awards process. This year is no different, and the Compendium contains a wealth of information on all of 2021’s shortlisted projects.

In total, there were 204 national projects in the 2021 edition of the competition, from which a shortlist of 47 projects was selected, representing the strongest ideas from across the EU and COSME countries. At the SME Assembly, six projects were awarded as winners in the six competition categories:

  1. Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  2. Investing in entrepreneurial skills
  3. Improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition
  4. Supporting the internationalisation of business
  5. Supporting the sustainable transition
  6. Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

In addition, there was also the Grand Jury Prize along with many interesting runners-up and two special mentions: you can find more information about all of these in the Compendium, where you can also learn more about each of our EEPA jury members as well as the EEPA judging process that goes on behind the scenes.

The Compendium also features feedback from last year’s winners about what winning the prize has meant to them and in addition information on the Grand Jury Prize winners from the last four years.

To find out more about the EEPA, visit the EEPA website and look through the previous compendia from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.

Introducing the 2022 EEPA Jury

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Today on the Promoting Enterprise news portal, we are excited to introduce you to the seven 2022 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members. The EEPA jury is made up of representatives from the European Commission, business associations, academia, the current European presidencies, and the last Grand Jury Prize winner.

Let´s give a warm welcome to Thomas Wobben, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker, Thomas Cooney, Outi Slotboom, Christel Delberghe, Caroline Mischler and Marian Piecha.

There are seven jury members in total. We begin our introduction with Thomas Wobben, who is representing the Committee of the Regions. After studying Economics and Politics, Thomas worked for voluntary sector organisations and, in 1993, joined the European policy services of Saxony-Anhalt. In 1995, he began working in the Liaison Office of Saxony-Anhalt in Brussels, taking over as Director in 2000. Since March 2012, he has been Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks and later for legislative works at the Committee of the Regions.

Jury member Thomas Wobben

Every year the EEPA competition offers me a sample of a European diversity. Looking at the EEPA projects, I try to assess their impact and added value in a specific territorial context, in particular shortlisting those that inspire and provide at least some transferability potential to other territories with similar characteristics,” Thomas said.

Representing last year’s Grand Jury prize-winner is Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. Selma is Programme Director of “COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige” at ISI (Initiative of Self-Employed Migrant Women), a non-profit association in Berlin, Germany which, for more than 30 years, has been empowering and qualifying women with a migration background, preparing them for professional self-employment.

Jury member Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker

Representing academia is Professor Thomas Cooney, who has been a jury member for several years and brings significant experience to the role. Thomas is Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology and Academic Director of the TU Dublin Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship.

Jury member Thomas Cooney

Next, we introduce you to Outi Slotboom. Outi is Director for Strategy and Economic Analysis at the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission. Her Directorate is in charge of the strategy for EU industrial policy and the Single Market, small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship, the international aspects of industrial policy, and the economic analysis underpinning these policies.

Jury member Outi Slotboom

Next, we meet Christel Delberghe, providing expertise from a business association perspective. Christel has been Director General of EuroCommerce since November 2021, where she acts as the chief advocate for the retail and wholesale sector with the EU institutions, stakeholders and the media. Previously, she was EuroCommerce’s Executive Director for Competitiveness and Communications, leading action on commercial relations and competition issues, as well as the interests of wholesalers and SMEs.

Jury member Christel Delberghe

Next, we would like to introduce you to Caroline Mischler, who is representing the French EU presidency. Caroline is the Director of the European and International Department of the Directorate General for Enterprises, at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. Caroline joined the Directorate General in 2005 and has held various positions, designing public policies to support competitiveness, innovation and industry. She was appointed Director of the European and International Department in 2019.

Jury member Caroline Mischler

Finally, we would like to introduce you to Marian Piecha, who represents the Czech EU presidency on this year’s jury. In 2008, Marian was appointed the Director of the Department of Business and Investment at the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade. From 2013 to 2014, he was the CEO of the business and investment support agency CzechInvest. Since 2014, he was the Director of the MIT ́s SME Support Department. He was appointed Deputy Minister of the EU Funds and Digital Economy Section on February 1, 2018.

Jury member Marian Piecha

About #EEPA2022

The EEPA competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country nominates up to two entries for the European competition in six categories:

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

The #EEPA2022 jury then chooses a shortlist of nominees to compete at the final awards ceremony, which recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

For more information, visit the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

For more information, visit the the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA: The Grand Jury Prize

In addition to the winners in each of the six European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) categories – we have introduced you to all six categories in previous blogs on the portal – every year the EEPA Jury selects a project to receive the Grand Jury Prize. The winning project can be from any category and the prize is awarded to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

Let’s look at some Grand Jury Prize winners from previous years for inspiration.

In 2021, the Grand Jury Prize went to COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V., which was also the winner of first prize in the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category. The initiative 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 build up their own business start-ups in Berlin. The project is guided by the principle that migrant women stand up for migrant women.

The COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige team noted that winning the awards had great resonance with their 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,” the team said.

The team heartily encourages others to participate in the competition. “The EEPA is a great chance to make your project more visible and cooperate with other organisations 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,” they said.

The 2020 Grand Jury Prize winner Le Portail du Rebond des Entrepreneurs comes from France. Le Portail du Rebond or ‘The Recovery Portal’ consists of associations that together provide a nationwide service to entrepreneurs to help them through difficult times. The associations have unique specialisations across different areas, allowing them to cover the entire value chain, from entrepreneurial failure and its prevention to entrepreneurial recovery and its promotion. The associations help entrepreneurs to navigate the measures needed for recovery and any encounters with the authorities, while removing obstacles to their recovery.

The Le Portail du Rebond team said that wining the Grand Jury prize had been an amazing experience. “Firstly it was a wonderful recognition of our 10 years of work supporting entrepreneurs in difficulty. We also feel that winning this award and having our services recognised and spoken about during this period of health and economic crisis will also help us reach additional entrepreneurs that may be in difficult situations.”

Potential participants shouldn’t think twice, the team says. “Firstly, there is absolutely nothing to lose, but so much to win. Secondly, this competition allows for the work and initiatives we work so hard on to be shared with the public as well as other actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Participating in this competition was an incredible collective adventure for the Portail du Rebond community, which helped further solidify the strong bonds that we have between the participating associations.”

In 2019 the Grand Jury Prize was awarded to GreenPAC iLab, a project from the Netherlands, competing in the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category (currently Supporting the sustainable transition). GreenPAC iLab supports new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry in starting their businesses and achieving sustainable and circular business models. The project functions as a community where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas receive coaching and access to a network of professionals that help with feasibility studies, research and product development.

We spoke to GreenPAC iLab Manager and Business Developer Bastian Coes to discover the story behind the winning project. “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 start-ups. Winning the EEPA Grand Jury Prize has given us additional proof to demonstrate that the regional funding of GreenPAC iLab should be sustained,” Bastian said.

Entering EEPA 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,” he said.

This year it could be your turn to join the ranks of EEPA alumni! If you are interested in participating, check out your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

If you have missed the introductions into each of the six EEPA categories, you can check them out here:

EEPA Category I – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

EEPA Category II – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

EEPA category III – Improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition

EEPA Category IV – Supporting the internationalisation of business

EEPA Category V – Supporting the sustainable transition

EEPA Category VI – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

For more information, visit the the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA Category 6: Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

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We have already introduced you to the first five categories in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Today, it is the turn of the sixth and final category – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship. This category aims to reward projects that offer new and innovative solutions and approaches to promote socially and environmentally responsible business. This could include encouraging disadvantaged groups to take part in entrepreneurship initiatives, or promoting corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises with a view to creating a more inclusive society.

Let’s take a look at some winners from previous years to get an idea of the type of project that is successful in this category.

The 2021 Category 6 winner was Inkludera from Sweden. Inkludera is supporting social entrepreneurs with unique solutions to scale them and make them financially sustainable. With this in mind, Inkludera supports the entrepreneurs in building partnerships with the public sector. Since 2013, the entrepreneurs Inkludera supports have entered into over 900 partnerships with 108 of Sweden’s municipalities. These partnerships enabled the entrepreneurs to continuously work with 27 200 people in 2020 – addressing various social issues.

The EEPA award is a great testament to the work we have been dedicated to during the past decade and of course a motivation going forward,” the team said, adding: “We believe it’s a great forum for being inspired by other organisations. It’s important to be true to your cause and focused on impact – in your everyday work and in your application.

From Sweden we travel southwest to the Netherlands to introduce you to Social Enterprise NL, the Category 6 winner in 2020. Social Enterprise NL is a national network and a key driver in the growing movement towards social entrepreneurship in the Netherlands. The network currently has over 400 members, all of whom benefit from various workshops and growth programmes aimed at strengthening their business. Members also receive support from network coaches and experts and gain online visibility and publicity.

EEPA participation gave the project a lot of positive attention. “After winning the award, we received many compliments from an astonishing number of people and organisations all over the world! It led to so much engagement online. This is giving a great boost to the social enterprise movement in the Netherlands and to everyone involved with Social Enterprise NL,” the team said.

Give the publicity that they received, it is no surprise that the Social Enterprise NL team strongly encourage others to participate. “EEPA is a great opportunity to showcase your work and its results and to present them at the highest level. It puts a spotlight on your business and on the work that you do, and it helps you to become more visible. We definitely recommend others to apply!

From the Netherlands, we travel east to Germany to visit the 2019 Category 6 winner Start-Up Your Future. Start-Up Your Future is helping refugees in Berlin-Brandenburg to set up their own businesses by giving them support and offering them the option of self-employment through mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten. The partnerships invite voluntary mentors to guide refugee entrepreneurs through the start-up process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan.

We regard the nomination for the EEPA Award 2019 as a recognition and appreciation of the work and impact “Start-Up Your Future” has achieved over the last two and a half years in Berlin. Special thanks go to our nearly 200 business mentors, who have contributed so much on a voluntary basis. With their support, SUYF was able to foster entrepreneurial spirits and contribute to the integration of refugees at an economic and social level,” the team said.

It is really motivating to have your work recognised at European level. The award is very important for both national and international visibility for the project and represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase its replication potential,” they said, adding, “We would definitely recommend participating in EEPA as it is a good opportunity to exchange experiences and views with other European organisations.”

Judging by the experience of the EEPA alumni, the benefits of participating in the competition are clear. So why not try it yourself? This year it could be your turn to join the EEPA family! If you are interested in participating, check out your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

For more information, visit the the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA Category 5: Supporting the sustainable transition

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We have already introduced you to the first four categories in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. This time it is the turn of Category 5 – Supporting the sustainable transition. Projects in this category have a strong sustainability focus and propose innovative approaches to help the European economy transition to a more sustainable path.

This category recognizes initiatives that promote a circular economy approach or that have specific environmental features such as encouraging the use of recycled materials or renewable energy. This Category was renamed in 2021; it previously went under the title “Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency”.

The winner of the Supporting the sustainable transition category in 2021 was Green Penguin, an initiative that 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.

Next, to meet with the Category 5 winners in 2020, we travel to Germany to visit Greentech.Ruhr. Greentech.Ruhr is an environmental management network in the Ruhr region that aims to strengthen the region’s environmental economy, thereby supporting its transition from a mining region to a diversified economy with a high degree of specialisation in tackling ecological challenges. Greentech.Ruhr facilitates increased cooperation between all players in the Ruhr environmental economy by bringing together local companies, educational and research institutions, and public bodies to promote the Ruhr’s innovative potential in the field of environmental economics.

The Greentech.Ruhr team spoke about the positive public attention generated by their participation in EEPA. “We received many congratulations from our community. As a network for the environmental economy, it is very important for us to be known. Not only in our region but also all over the world. The EEPA will help us to enlarge our European network significantly. By winning the EEPA, we have provided further proof that the idea of a greentech network is worth sustaining and this will help us to acquire financial support later on.

The team highly recommends taking part in the competition to other potential participants: “Taking part in the competition and writing the application helps you to reflect on your project and your work. So, even if you don’t win, the time invested is not wasted. The positive effect when winning the award may differ from project to project, but it certainly brings a lot of attention and contacts. We definitely recommend taking part in EEPA.”

In 2019, the Category 5 winner was Tilos from Greece, which created an integrated energy solution with innovative features to help island regions transition to new models of production and management of electricity energy. The solution uses clean, renewable energy sources and the application of modern energy storage technologies to reduce dependency on cost-intensive and polluting oil.

SME Assembly 2019 Helsinki/ Kanizaj

Participation in the competition had a major positive impact on the initiative. “Winning this award served as motivation for the local municipality, employees and the broader Tilos community to continue their hard work and remain dedicated to the vision of energy autonomy for the island of Tilos. The EEPA 2019 award will contribute to our efforts to communicate the success stories of our island to a wider audience, making Tilos an attractive destination for all Europeans,” the team said.

The team has words of encouragement for any initiative that may be thinking about participating in EEPA. “The EEPA contest provides a unique platform for the promotion of entrepreneurship and especially SMEs. It is also an excellent opportunity to showcase the results of your work and agenda at the highest level, while getting to know the work of others in the field. Networking with policy makers, entrepreneurs, and experts from across the EU is a great way to accelerate the progress of your work, maximise your impact and start work towards replicating your results in other European markets of interest.”

Are you ready to join the European Enterprise Promotion Awards family? Since 2006, the EEPA has been recognising projects that promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level. This year it could be you! If you are interested in participating, check out your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

In our next blog, we will look at previous winners in the final EEPA Category 6 – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship, don’t miss it!

For more information, visit the the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

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    • Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Marian Piecha June 10, 2022
      We have already published interviews with three of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members (Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker and Outi Slotboom). Today it is the turn of Marian Piecha, who represents the Czech EU presidency on this year’s jury. Marian shares his advice for this year’s participants along with some other valuable […]
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    • Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Outi Slotboom June 3, 2022
      We have already heard from two of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members – Thomas Cooney and Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. This time we have the pleasure to introduce you to one more jury member – Outi Slotboom, a newcomer to the EEPA jury, representing the European Commission. Outi is Director for Strategy and […]
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    • SME Week Newsletter 2022: Issue #15 June 2, 2022
      Welcome to the latest edition of the SME Week Newsletter  In this edition of the SME Week newsletter, we are delighted to remind you that the 2021 EEPA Compendium is now available for download. Every year the Compendium showcases all of the shortlisted projects from the previous year and celebrates their achievements, as well as […]
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    • Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker May 25, 2022
      Today we are continuing to introduce you to the members of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury by talking with Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. Selma represents the organisation that won last year’s Grand Jury Prize. Her recent experience as a participant in the competition means her advice for this year’s cohort is particularly valuable. Keep reading […]
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    • Get Digital: Go Green and Be Resilient May 24, 2022
      On the Promoting Enterprise portal today, we are highlighting a call for expression of interest related to green, resilient and digital companies in the European Union, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. The ‘Get Digital – Go Green and Be Resilient’ initiative launches on Tuesday, 24 May, with the goal of creating a catalogue featuring innovative digital […]
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    • Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Thomas Cooney May 20, 2022
      Every year, during the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), we introduce you to the members of our jury, who play are responsible for choosing the most innovative and exciting competition entries and selecting the winner of the Grand Jury Prize. We kick off our introductions this year with an EEPA stalwart Professor Thomas Cooney. Thomas […]
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    • It’s that time of year again – Youth Essay Competition (YEC) 2022 is launching soon! May 17, 2022
      The launch of the seventh edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is imminent. Work is continuing on the concept for this year’s competition and we will make an announcement soon – so make sure to check the Prompting Enterprise portal regularly for details. In the meantime, read on to learn about the competition […]
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