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Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards – Jury’

EEPA 2017 Jury – Meet Thomas Wobben

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Our next Jury member also has previous EEPA jury experience and joins us as a representative from the Committee of the Regions. Since March 2012, Thomas Wobben has been Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks in the Committee of the Regions. His responsibilities include monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, relations with the OECD and Eurostat, and prospective works of the Committee of the Regions. Today he shares with us what kinds of projects got his vote.

 

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

Above all, a successful project should demonstrate how it responds to specific local needs. Rather than adopting an unimaginative “one-size-fits-all” approach, it should lead the way by tackling the specific challenges of its territory – which could include a lack of entrepreneurial activity in a rural or economically less-developed area, low numbers of SMEs that are ready to scale-up and exploit the opportunities of the Single Market or global markets, or factors such as high unemployment or a low level of education — through innovative, forward-looking and sustainable solutions.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?

In my view, the most convincing EEPA applications are those driven by a strong partnership – involving business, public authorities, research and educational institutions, etc. – that can act both as a guarantor for the project’s continued sustainability and as a vehicle for sharing good practices and lessons learnt.

It is also crucial that the project contains an innovative element that goes beyond merely replicating established methods, but rather introduces new ideas and finds new ways to adapt existing methods to the specific context of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Last but not least, a strong project should of course make a tangible contribution to economic growth and job creation in its territory.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?

Beyond merely contributing to a specific area of entrepreneurship development, a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize should attest to a strategic vision that integrates the project activities into a broader objective and creates an additional added value for society in areas other than business development in the narrow sense. Lisbon’s micro-entrepreneurship programme, which won the Grand Jury Prize two years ago, is an excellent example in this respect:

After being selected for the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label a year earlier thanks to its outstanding and forward-looking entrepreneurial strategy, the City of Lisbon went on to prove the success of this strategy by presenting some of its first results in its EEPA application. The Lisbon micro-entrepreneurship programme demonstrates how an intelligent policy implemented at local level can create synergies between entrepreneurship development, economic integration of disadvantaged groups such as migrants and unemployed people, and urban rehabilitation of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A number of Lisbon’s entrepreneurship support actions have since been scaled up at national level in Portugal.

Which is your favourite category and why?

While I do not have a favourite category as such, some of the most inspiring projects in recent years have been submitted in the category “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship”. In addition to the project from Lisbon, which I just mentioned, the Swedish project “Entrepreneurial West Hisingen“, which won last year’s Grand Jury prize, is another outstanding example. Through actions such as the Syrian Fast Track Incubator for refugees who had businesses in their home country, this project responds to the vital challenge of integrating refugees and migrants into our societies and has produced extraordinary results, including the creation of hundreds of new companies in a socially divided and economically disadvantaged area.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?

For me, the SME Assembly is a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the principal European actors in the area of SME and entrepreneurship development: policy-makers from the European, national, regional and local levels, stakeholders, academics, and of course entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the SME Assembly illustrates not only the excellent cooperation between the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), but also the complementarity of our actions in the field of entrepreneurship promotion: while the EEPA recognizes actions that have already proven successful, the CoR’s European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label encourages cities and regions to develop their entrepreneurial potential even further in the future. I am therefore particularly looking forward both to the EEPA 2017 award ceremony and to the launch of the EER 2019 edition in Tallinn.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

By being successful in the national selection round, you have already demonstrated the outstanding quality of your projects. Even if not all of you will be selected for the EEPA this year, you are doing important work on the ground that directly contributes to boosting growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl, Daniela Ölmunger, Thomas Cooney and Viljar Lubi.

Who is our Estonian EEPA 2017 Jury member? – Meet Viljar Lubi

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Ready to find out who the Estonian representative on the EEPA 2017 Jury is? Meet Viljar Lubi, Deputy Secretary General for Economic Development for the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Today Viljar shares what he is looking for and also what it has been like to be involved with the organisation of this years’ SME Assembly 2017!

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?     

A project that has the capacity to achieve greatness and to create something innovative with limited resources will always stand out for me. It is special to see the passion and perseverance the people nominated for this award have had to show. I am often amazed at the regional and national differences that I see and how diverse the projects are.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?

First of all, it should be something unique and inspirational to be a good example for others. It is also important for the project to be transferable so that it would be possible to create something similar in other countries. Last but not least, the project should have a real and preferably measurable positive impact.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?      

A project that is worthy of the Grand Jury Prize must be truly excellent. It must offer a true positive influence and exhibit a remarkable achievement together with an innovative approach. I am glad to see that there is tough competition in this respect.

Which is your favourite category and why?

Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. In my job as the Deputy Secretary General for Economic Development a lot of my daily tasks revolve around entrepreneurship. It is the government’s job to help create the best possible conditions for enterprises to flourish. But this would be nothing without the enthusiasm and hard work of the entrepreneurs themselves. Therefore, I find it extremely important to have initiatives that help to promote this, especially among young people and women. However, it is difficult to just pick one – all categories highlight invaluable criteria.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?         

As I have been involved in the process of creating the SME Assembly in Tallinn, I am sure it will offer participants a varied programme that is exciting, offers new ideas and of course has an Estonian twist to it. We will hopefully be offering some innovative ideas and new ways of looking at things, while still keeping the traditions of the excellent forum that the SME Assembly is.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Good luck! You have already achieved a lot by getting this far and I hope that you take this experience as a positive reinforcement – vision, perseverance and, of course, a little luck, is the key.

Read about who else will be joining Viljar on this year’s Jury: Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl, Daniela Ölmunger, and Thomas Cooney.

EEPA Jury – Professor Thomas Cooney returns for 2017

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Our next Jury member has sat on the EEPA Jury before and we are delighted to welcome him back. Thomas Cooney is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Visiting Professor at the University of Turku (Finland). He is also Academic Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship, a Board Member of Startup Ireland and works in a supportive capacity with a number of businesses.

Today he is sharing with us what he will be looking for in a winning project and how to make yourself stand out in the eyes of a seasoned EEPA jury member!

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

A special project is one that is doing something distinctive or unique that is not being done elsewhere. The uniqueness could be the target community with whom it is working (e.g. survivors of domestic abuse), the nature of the project (e.g. summer camp on entrepreneurship), the method of delivery or some other differentiating feature to the project.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?    

To be shortlisted, a project must demonstrate:

  1. A well-written proposal that answers all of the questions asked
  2. A track-record of achievement
  3. The ability for the project to be replicated in other locations.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?    

The biggest benefit of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards is that they make people aware of what is being done in other countries and therefore successful initiatives can be replicated in other locations. To win the Grand Jury Prize, I am looking for a project that has demonstrable success, has some level of uniqueness and can be replicated by another person in another location or country.

Which is your favourite category and why?

My favourite category is ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ as I have long believed that entrepreneurship offers people from minority and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to maximise their economic and social potential.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?         

This is the first year that the Global Entrepreneurship Network will link with the SME Assembly and I think this will bring an additional exciting element to the activities of the week.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

My strongest piece of advice is to learn from past winners by benchmarking what you do against their success stories. The ultimate ambition is not to win an award but to improve the capacity of people to successfully start and grow a business, and learning from the experiences of others is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your initiative.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl and Daniela Ölmunger, and look out for the next EEPA Jury 2017 presentation!

From EEPA 2016 winner to EEPA 2017 Jury member – Daniela Ölmunger

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Last year she was part of the project awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, this year she is part of the EEPA 2017 Jury! Today on Promoting Enterprise we have the pleasure to re-introduce Daniela Ölmunger and find out what she is looking for in a project and her advice for this year’s applicants.

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

I want to see both heart and brain, I want to feel the project but also understand it.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?     

  1. Relevant to existing areas of common societal interest
  2. With a new or updated angle – so something I have not necessarily seen in the same format or in the same way before
  3. Result oriented

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?          

I want great results, clearly described and with a twist somewhere. I want to feel something when I read the project. I will know when I know.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I don’t have a favourite category – they all appeal to me for different reasons and they are all interlinked and connected to European Union growth and sustainable development.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?             

I’m looking forward to several things such as listening to different angles of stories and experiencing the passion behind other people’s work when I speak to them. I am also looking forward to attending all of the interesting workshops and seminars, during which I hope to meet people with different ideas and perspectives that I can then take with me and put into my own work. Last but not least I’m looking forward to seeing and being in the wonderful and beautiful city of Tallinn!

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Just being a national contestant is a great achievement and means that a lot of hard and inspiring work has been put in, and that should not be forgotten. If you are a runner up, my advice is to get back in the ring for next time.

Read about the EEPA 2016 Grand Jury Prize winner here.

Who is on the EEPA 2017 Jury? – Meet Karen and Lisa

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Who chooses the projects for the EEPA 2017 shortlist? Curious about who makes the decisions? Time to meet the EEPA Jury 2017! Today Promoting Enterprise is introducing the first two members of the EEPA 2017 Jury: Karen Boers and Lisa Steigertahl, who shared with us what they will be looking for in a project and what they are looking forward to at this year’s SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn.

Karen Boers is co-founder and Managing Director of Startups.be, which brings hundreds of startups together with incubators, accelerators, investors and public actors in a local startup ecosystem. She also runs the European Startup Network, which aims to help create a truly pan-European bottom-up startup ecosystem.

Lisa Steigertahl is co-founder and and CEO of the European Startup Network (alongside fellow jury member Karen Boers). Previously she also worked at the German Startups Association as both Head of Research and International Strategy and European Relations Manager.

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

Karen: I am looking out for projects that have made a real impact on entrepreneurs’ lives, either by helping to change the rules of the game in the local ecosystem or by providing entrepreneurs with better access to (national and/or international) customers, financing and talent.

Lisa: For me a project that creates a new solution for a demand that we did not know we had yet, or has found an innovative way of solving a problem will stand out. I am also interested in European applicability and projects that could be transferred to other markets.

Which is your favourite category and why?

Karen: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, as I believe investing in human capital – youngsters as well as adults – is the best way to boost entrepreneurship and counteract poverty and extremism through a more inclusive approach.

Lisa: Supporting the internationalisation of business, since I believe that moving from national borders to international markets will not only tremendously determine the success of a business in times of globalisation but further shape a strong European market

Finally, what are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?

Karen: To meet all the highly motivated people across Europe that are putting their best efforts to make a difference and create opportunities for others.

Lisa: To meet and engage with the people behind the projects.

Interested in finding out who else is on the Jury with Karen and Lisa? Come back next week to meet another juror!

The countdown for the #EEPA2017 shortlist begins

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The entry deadline for the European level of the EEPA competition closed on 3 July 2017. The entries are now being checked and prepared for evaluation by the Jury.

In 2017 305 National EEPA entries were received from 32 participating countries. 56 projects were then selected by the National Co-ordinators as the best of the best and were put forward for the European level of the competition.

Interested in finding out who will be competing for the European awards? What does each country have to offer this year? Promoting Enterprise will be introducing you to all the categories and national winners throughout the summer…so stay tuned!

Who will be judging the entries? This year the diverse EEPA 2017 jury is made up of eight representatives from across different sectors and professions:

Kristin Schreiber (Chair) – Director, SME Policy & COSME, DG Grow, European Commission
Mr Thomas Wobben – Director, Committee of the Regions
Mr Christian Cardona – Minister of Ministry of the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Malta
Mr Viljar Lubi – Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, Estonia
Karen BoersCo-founder & President, European Startup Network
Lisa Steigertahl – Co-founder & Director, European Startup Network
Ms Daniela ÖlmungerGrand Jury prize winner of 2016 edition, Entrepreneurial West Hisingen
Professor Thomas Cooney – Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology

The EEPA Jury will meet in Brussels in September to decide on a project shortlist for each of the EEPA categories. The shortlisted projects will be announced soon after the Brussels meeting, and the winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 23 November in Tallinn, Estonia.

Keep up with all the latest EEPA news right here on Promoting Enterprise, and good luck to all competing projects!

SME Assembly 2016 – The delegate verdict is here!

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Welcome back to the Promoting Enterprise blog! Are you ready for 2017? We have decided to kick off the year with a look at what you all thought of the SME Assembly 2016.

The response rate was 48%, with the most responses coming from Belgium, Slovakia, Netherlands and Greece. Of all the respondents, 98% believed the SME Assembly 2016 was worth attending, of which 47.44% said definitely. What does this mean for SME Assembly 2017? 92% of respondents indicated that they would definitely or were likely to attend, so we hope to see you in Tallinn!

sme-assembly sme-assembly-2017

We were happy to see that the event was perceived to be successful in  “creating the environment when people are ready and willing for the real networking”, and “very well organised”. Other comments are also being used to improve our performance and your experience at the SME Assembly 2017.

Moving on to the business tours, which firstly took participants to see Slovakia’s flying car, an automotive innovation that makes use of existing aviation and automobile infrastructure to offer a future with the possibility of real door-to-door travel. The second tour featured an innovative Slovakian SME GA drilling, is working towards revolutionising current drilling technology to allow for cheaper and more efficient drilling, with the idea of providing affordable and sustainable geothermal power to all. It seems these tours were a hit with 97% of the tour attendees finding them extremely/relevant and useful.

31203527695_47a6e51219_kga-drill

Overall, SME Assembly 2016 attendees appeared very satisfied with the rest of the 3 day conference events, including; the SME Week Reception (94% found it extremely relevant and useful) and the EEPA ceremony (87% said it fully met or exceeded their expectations), although participants would have appreciated more networking time.

slovak-dancers peter-v gjp

We also asked our delegates what they thought of the graphic recording of the SME Assembly, a real time depiction, which summarised the event with visuals, created by entrepreneur Sabine Soeder and fellow artist Martin Saive. 82% of delegates found this useful. The event app was also greatly appreciated with 92% of delegates believing it to be relevant and useful. The app can always be improved and with your suggestions regarding programme alerts, information about other attendees, networking facilitation and more.

catering musicians dinner

Thank you to everyone who provided us with feedback and took time to fill in the survey. The preparations for SME Assembly 2017 are already underway…so stay tuned and see you in Tallinn this November!

“Be open, flexible and ready to act in the now” – Sabine Soeder

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Today we have the honour of presenting Sabine Soeder, an entrepreneur and owner of CoCreativeFlow, a “connector in a vibrant global network”. Sabine, along with artist Martin Saive, was responsible for the graphic recording of the SME Assembly 2016, all of which you can see right here !

sabineSabine first started as an architect and lighting designer, before moving on to found CoCreative Flow in Frankfurt, Germany, and work as a ‘Flow Architect’. They offer clients visuals as graphic recordings to facilitate discussions and processes, alongside Co-Creation. Today Sabine shares her entrepreneurial journey, where she sees herself in the future and her advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Since I was little I’ve been drawing and using my drawings as a communication tool to make emotions more tangible and digestible. Going on to study architecture taught me two very important skills, which have built the foundation for my work today: Learning to “think with your hand” and explaining that to others through visuals, and to think and work strategically by finding the best structure for that unique place and special need. 10 years ago I realised that these skills were not only useful for architectural design, but also in designing and creating collaborations, which is what I do with my clients as a flow architect. Co-designing with my clients is the best way to create the most effective collaboration and visuals have a huge impact in that process.

Jumping into your own business can be a small or a huge step – it depends so much on your strengths and how you interact with others. I built my business step by step through diverse partnerships until I felt ready to open my own company. It’s important to have business experiences, and to build connections to people in various networks. I really love having my own rhythm, to connect different threads and bring them together in a new way. It also helps to have some financial foundation at the beginning. When you offer an experience based and innovative service it needs more explanation and demonstration, which can be a challenge. Balancing work and family life, is also challenging as having my own business has allowed me to be at home more but as we become more successful there is a need for flexibility, meaning sometimes working late nights or on weekends. As the business is growing I am thinking about scaling up and enlarging the enterprise and CoCreative Flow brand on a global scale.

My advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs would be to look at who is active and inspires you in your professional field. Get into contact with these people and try to learn from them, find opportunities to collaborate with them – sometimes there are apprenticeship opportunities and build from there. Find opportunities where you can learn, be it through enterprises or through different events and networking. Utilise online community platforms (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook) to connect to people all around the world. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, ask for help and connect with those who can strengthen what you already have to offer. Finally, keep a clear vision and the purpose of your enterprise at the centre of your work and surround yourself with your chosen team, that way you can create something meaningful with an impact.

sabine-co-creative-flow-agenda

http://www.cocreativeflow.com/

 

EEPA – our final Jury introduction

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Each year, in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, an independent high-level Jury is faced with the difficult task of drawing up a shortlist of projects that will compete for the first prize during the SME Assembly. This year is no different – the EEPA Jury should select three shortlisted projects in each of the six project categories by mid-September, a task that is made especially difficult by the high quality of the participating projects.

The EEPA Jury is typically made up of a representative from the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the countries holding the first and second semester EU presidencies (this year the Netherlands and Slovakia), a European SME organisation, the Grand Jury prize winner from the previous year (this year Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship) and a representative from academia.

We have been introducing you to the members of this year’s EEPA Jury in a series of blog posts over the past few weeks, So far, there has been Dublin Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Professor Thomas M. Cooney, Thomas Wobben from the Committee of the Regions, Pieter Waasdorp from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, UEAPME Vice President Alban Maggiar, Ana Margarida Figueiredo from Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship and Marián Letovanec from the Slovak Business Agency.

Last, but by no means least, this week it is the turn of the Jury member from the European Commission, represented this year by Kristin Schreiber from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).

Kristin Schreiber

DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

kristin-schreiber Kristin joined the European Commission in 1990 and has held a variety of positions since then. She was appointed Director of the COSME Programme and SME policy in 2015 having served as Director for Governance of the Single Market and International Affairs, first in DG MARKT and then in DG GROW since February 2014.

Previously, she was Head of Cabinet of Employment Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and a member of the Cabinet of Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen. She has also served as Head of Unit for International Affairs in DG Employment and as an administrator in various DG’s.

The judging process

For the EEPA Awards, individual countries were invited to conduct national competitions to determine the best projects to represent their nation. Hundreds of projects competed in these national competitions in 2016 for a chance to vie for an EEPA. Countries were allowed to nominate a maximum of two entries per category to the European competition. Each Jury member reads and assesses every entry against defined criteria covering: originality and feasibility, impact on the economy, improvement of stakeholder relations and transferability. The Jury then meets to discuss their top entries in each category, before agreeing on winners, runners up and any special mentions. The shortlist is published shortly after the jury meeting and the winners are announced during the Awards Ceremony at the SME Assembly.

For more information check the European Enterprise Promotion Awards

EEPA – time to meet some more of the Jury

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Each year, in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, an independent high-level Jury is faced with the difficult task of drawing up a shortlist of projects that will compete for the first prize during the SME Assembly. The Jury typically consists of a representative from the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the countries holding the first and second semester EU presidencies (this year the Netherlands and Slovakia), a European SME organisation, the Grand Jury prize winner from the previous year (this year Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship) and a representative from academia.

In a series of blog posts over the past couple of weeks, we have been introducing you to the members of this year’s EEPA Jury. So far, you have been introduced to Dublin Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Professor Thomas M. Cooney, Thomas Wobben from the Committee of the Regions, Pieter Waasdorp from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and UEAPME Vice President Alban Maggiar. This week it is the turn of the Grand Jury prize winner from last year and the representative of the Slovak EU presidency.

Ana Margarida Figueiredo

Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship

Ana Margarida FigueiredoAna Margarida is Director of Employment, Entrepreneurship and Business at Lisbon City Council. She is responsible for the areas of Investment Attraction, Entrepreneurship, Employment and Commerce Promotion.

Ana Margarida was responsible for the launch of the Lisbon-based business incubator Startup Lisboa, and for LISBOA EMPREENDE, an inclusive entrepreneurship programme created in 2013 by Lisbon City Council with other public and private organisations to develop the city’s economy by supporting the creation of small businesses. Previously, she was Chief Financial Officer at URBAFRICA and UCCLA, non-governmental organisations with a focus on cooperation and the development of Portuguese-speaking countries.


Marián Letovanec

Slovak Business Agency

Marián LetovanecMarian is Director of National and International Programmes at the Slovak Business Agency, the oldest agency dedicated to SME development in the Slovak Republic. He represents Slovakia on the COSME committee and serves as a deputy SME Envoy and SBA representative to UEAPME – the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Marian is also vice chairman of The Platform of Entrepreneurs for Foreign Development Cooperation and was a board member of the Slovak Women’s Platform. In 2015, he initiated the establishment of The Better Regulation Centre within the Slovak Business Agency, which aims to introduce Business Impact Assessment and the SME Test into national regulatory procedures.

The judging process

For the EEPA Awards, individual countries were invited to conduct national competitions to determine the best projects to represent their nation. Hundreds of projects competed in these national competitions in 2016 for a chance to vie for an EEPA. Countries were allowed to nominate a maximum of two entries per category to the European competition. Each Jury member reads and assesses every entry against defined criteria covering: originality and feasibility, impact on the economy, improvement of stakeholder relations and transferability. The Jury then meets to discuss their top entries in each category, before agreeing on winners, runners up and any special mentions. The shortlist is published shortly after the jury meeting and the winners are announced during the Awards Ceremony at the SME Assembly.

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