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Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards’

Inside a National EEPA campaign with Belgian coordinator Françis Otte

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are joined by Belgian European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) National Coordinator Françis Otte. Françis is an experienced National Coordinator and today he is sharing that experience and advice on how to run a successful national campaign, reaching out to potential applicants and what he has learnt throughout his time as coordinator.

How did you prepare for EEPA 2019?

After 13 EEPA editions, the preparation of each edition has become a form of routine. We think it’s important to put together a qualitative jury that will appoint the two Belgian nominees and will take enough time to do so.

Updating the website still takes a lot of time and energy from our various services, especially because for the last two or three editions participants in Belgium can download all the necessary documents from the website in their respective languages, and are able to submit their entry form in Dutch, French, German or English.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?  

  • Always keep track of the information of interested participants and former participants
  • Get help from someone who knows a target group with potential participants better than yourself
  • Try to orient participants towards an award category with less competition.

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2019 campaign?

We usually don’t really work around a “main aspect”. In fact, we always fall back on what we have been successfully using for years. Specifically: clear communication by means of a clear website, social media and service to potential participants. For the communication we work together with the regions and other organisations. Something else that we believe is an important aspect is that we try to add something new to each edition.

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

Be patient. 13 editions have taught us that participants always wait until the last moment to send us their entry forms.

Don’t forget to reach out to your 2019 EEPA National Coordinator before your national EEPA deadline! They can help with applications, getting ready for the competition and any other questions you may have about the exciting EEPA process.

Inside a National EEPA campaign with Finnish coordinator Kati Shibutani

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As the European deadline for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) gets closer, Promoting Enterprise wants to highlight one part of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Today we have Finnish National Coordinator Kati Shibutani telling us about her work in organising EEPA as well as her advice on how to run a successful national EEPA campaign.

How did you prepare for EEPA 2019?

As a national coordinator for EEPA, I’m glad that I have many colleagues here in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment who deal with SME promotion and with whom I can discuss and share ideas for EEPA. There is also a team of 3-4 persons especially for EEPA preparations and together we plan and decide on EEPA related issues.   

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?  

I have found it very useful to inform as many people and entities as possible about the EEPA competition. It could be that someone knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone – in this way you may learn about new and potential candidates for EEPA – and if a candidate is not eligible to apply this year, they may be eligible next year.

In addition to the excellent support and assistance the national EEPA coordinators get from the Commission it is good to have some advertising in the national language – and that is why our communications team did a video for EEPA with Finnish subtitles. The video and the message were spread across Twitter which has been our main advertising channel for the campaign. We have also sent some direct emails to relevant people and organisations in the business promotion field who could assist us in spreading the word of the EEPA competition. By designing short, clear and fresh messages we hope to interest and attract as many potential EEPA candidates as possible.   

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2019 campaign?

This year – as well as last year – we aim to courage potential candidates to apply by saying that “this is your chance to meet other candidates and ideas from Europe, to share best practices and learn from them”, and if you aim to win, the first step is to apply!   

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

Many countries may have initiatives for SME promotion that may look similar at first glance but may have a small detail – a different aspect, approach etc. – that makes them better, more effective etc. These details are worth studying and if applicable adopted or tested in your country.  Therefore, cooperation – sharing best practices and learning from them – is the most important thing, and also applies to the field of EEPA.    

In order to get in touch with Kati or any of the other 2019 EEPA National Coordinators, have a look here and make sure to reach out to them for help with your EEPA 2019 applications.

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Industry 4.0 – “Improving the Business Environment” Winner 2018

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Another project, another story! Today EEPA 2018 winner Open Innovation 4.0., shares what brought them to the winner’s stage at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 and their advice for 2019 competitors. TheOpen Innovation 4.0. project from Spain won the Improving the Business Environment category in 2018 for their 4.0 acceleration programme that gave selected start-ups the opportunity to join a 4.0 acceleration programme featuring both group and individual tutorials with sector experts. As well as obtaining initial funding to prepare joint proposals, selected start-ups also have access to specific funding for Open Innovation to implement collaborative projects.

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

The national EEPA competition has always been on our radar, and we have been aware of EEPA for a while due to close links with both our national authority and the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. As such, we knew that in order for our application to be strong we need to include and clearly state our focus, approach, innovation, transferability, sustainability and impact. We believed that Open Innovation 4.0 had these elements so we prepared our application.

How did you prepare your application?

Once we had taken the decision to apply, the process was easy. All of the rules, instructions and the general process were very clear and we received answers to all our questions. We also really benefited from receiving a lot of information on past EEPA editions.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award represented recognition of our firm commitment to promote modernisation through digitalisation, as well as recognition of the work of both the IDEPA staff and the European Business and Innovation Centre (CEEI Asturias), both of which invested a lot of effort and enthusiasm in developing the Open Innovation 4.0 programme.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Receiving the award has given us great visibility. The regional press picked up our story and has positioned the Open Innovation 4.0 programme in the media, which has contributed to disseminating and raising awareness of the programme in the Asturian business ecosystem.

In addition to increased regional awareness, the award has also contributed to our position on the international stage. This is largely down to the respect that the institution that awarded us, the European Commission, receives. As a result, the organisations that drive the Open Innovation programme, IDEPA and CEEI Asturias, are now positioned at the European and even international level as points of reference among the key players in regional economic promotion.

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

Receiving an EEPA is a recognition of the effort put in, and of the innovation that your project brings to Europe. It is also an opportunity for winning projects to receive great visibility for both their work and good practice.

What are your plans for the future?

The future will clearly involve a continued commitment to promoting Industry 4.0 through the Open Innovation 4.0 programme, due to this programme being central to the strategy implemented by the Government of the Principality of Asturias.

The programme is lively and dynamic, and is now in its third year. The programme is currently dealing with six tractor companies that have posed their technological challenges in Industry 4.0 to more than sixty startups in order to receive their innovative solutions. These actions form part of the Asturias Digital Innovation Hub, the platform that we use for coordinating our resources in order to speed up the digitalisation process of Asturian industry, and which is made up of the main centers of scientific-technological competence in Asturias.

Find out more about the Open Innovation 4.0 programme in the EEPA 2018 compendium and keep coming back to the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for more information on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.

EEPA 2019 FAQ – How to make it onto the European shortlist

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Applying for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is one thing, but how can you ensure that your project will stand out? The first challenge is to make your project stand out for your National Coordinator, the second is to impress the European jury. Today on Promoting Enterprise we have collected answers from previous EEPA Jury members to find out what top three qualities will make a project stand out for them.

For more information on the EEPA 2019 read the launch post, find out about your 2019 National Coordinators and have a look at all of the EEPA information on the promoting Enterprise News Portal.

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab – ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ Winner 2018

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It is time to discover another story and the secrets behind a prizewinning project from the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2018. The EEPA aim to find, promote and boost projects from across Europe that are working to strengthen and improve the European enterprise ecosystem across a number of categories. Today we travel to Portugal to meet the 2018 winner of theSupporting the development of green markets and resource efficiencycategory. The “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” project was the first to win in this category after it was temporarily suspended in 2017.

The “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” tests sustainable and innovative solutions, products and services to foster a local carbon market in an industrial coastal municipality. Local residents and businesses are encouraged to develop and propose projects, which are then implemented and made available for municipal use. The local carbon market uses CO2 emissions credits gained through the adoption of sustainable solutions such as bike sharing, sustainable lighting or artificial intelligence applied to building management. The credits can be exchanged for goods and green services and are an incentive for sustainability in the municipality, which previously had a high carbon footprint.

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

The Municipality of Matosinhos was contacted by CEiiA – Centre for Engineering and Product Development, and jointly we decided to apply to the EEPA 2018 with the project “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” due to the creative and innovative characteristics of the initiative. The information about the national competition was provided by IAPMEI by e-mail and through their website and social networks.

How did you prepare your application?

The application was prepared in collaboration between the Municipality of Matosinhos and CEiiA, with contributions from other project partners. IAPMEI gave us a lot of strong support throughout the process.

What was it like to win the award?

It was a great honour to win this award. It is perfectly aligned with our strategy to transform Matosinhos into an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive city. Winning is also a recognition of the work the Municipality of Matosinhos is doing to benefit its companies, organisations and citizens.

How did winning the award impact your work?

The European award was very important for both national and international visibility to the project. This recognition is a relevant tool to promote the attractiveness of the city of Matosinhos for talents, tourists and investments. Moreover, the “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” focused on the development and testing of low-carbon solutions in a specific area of the city, with the final objective being the replication of these solutions in other parts of the territory, and even exporting them to other cities and regions in Portugal and abroad. The award represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase this replication potential.

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

Participation in EEPA is a good opportunity to share experience and good practices with other European organisations, and to become aware of innovative and creative initiatives that are being implemented in Europe.

What are your plans for the future?

The “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” is part of an integrated strategy to promote the decarbonisation of the municipality. We will continue the development of this project, enlarging its scope in terms of partners, solutions to be tested and users.

Read about Matosinhos in the EEPA 2018 compendium and keep coming back to the News Portal for further EEPA updates!

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.

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      Today on Promoting Enterprise we are joined by Belgian European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) National Coordinator Françis Otte. Françis is an experienced National Coordinator and today he is sharing that experience and advice on how to run a successful national campaign, reaching out to potential applicants and what he has learnt throughout his time as […]
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    • EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Industry 4.0 – “Improving the Business Environment” Winner 2018 May 2, 2019
      Another project, another story! Today EEPA 2018 winner Open Innovation 4.0., shares what brought them to the winner’s stage at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 and their advice for 2019 competitors. TheOpen Innovation 4.0. project from Spain won the Improving the Business Environment category in 2018 for their 4.0 acceleration programme that gave selected […]
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    • EEPA 2019 FAQ – How to make it onto the European shortlist April 18, 2019
      Applying for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is one thing, but how can you ensure that your project will stand out? The first challenge is to make your project stand out for your National Coordinator, the second is to impress the European jury. Today on Promoting Enterprise we have collected answers from previous EEPA […]
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