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Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards – Jury’

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.

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.

Meet the EEPA 2021 Jury

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Today on the Promoting Enterprise news portal, we introduce you to the members of the 2021 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury. 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.

EEPA has now progressed to the European level of the competition! The national coordinators have selected up to two of the best national projects to put forward to this stage. Now it is the turn of the European jury to select the best of these national projects to include on 2021 European shortlist. But before that happens, we would like to take a moment to introduce this year’s jury members.

Jury member Professor Thomas Cooney

There are seven jury members in total.  We begin with 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 Franciso Sá

Next is Franciso Sá, president of the board of directors of the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI). Franciso represents the Portuguese EU Presidency on the jury. Mr Franciso Sá is the SME Envoy of Portugal.

Jury member Jernej Salecl

Representing the Slovenian EU Presidency is Jernej Salecl. Jernej is director-general of the Internationalisation, Entrepreneurship and Technology Directorate and former head of division for Industry, Innovation and Technology at the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. Mr Salecl is the SME Envoy of Slovenia.

Jury member Dimitri Pivot

Dimitri Pivot represents last year’s Grand Jury Prize winner ‘Le Portail du Rebond’ or ‘The Recovery Portal’, a French organisation made up of associations that together provide a nationwide service to entrepreneurs to help them through difficult times.

Jury member Veronique Willems

The next jury member that we present to you today is Veronique Willems. Veronique represents crafts and SMEs in Europe as the Secretary-General of the SME organisation SMEunited (formerly known as UEAPME), a position she has held since January 2017.

Thomas Wobben

Another veteran jury member is Thomas Wobben, Director of the Directorate for Horizontal Policies and Networks at 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.

Jury member Kristin Schreiber

Finally, we introduce you to Kristin Schreiber. Kristin represents the European Commission, where she was appointed Director for Chemicals, Food and Retail in 2021, having served as Director for SME Policy from 2015 until 2021 and prior to that as Director for Governance of the Single Market and International Affairs.

The jury will meet in Brussels on 17 September to deliberate on this year’s entries and to select a shortlist to move forward to the next stage of the competition. Choosing between so many different projects demonstrating innovation, creativity and passion to support entrepreneurship makes their job difficult. We wish them the very best of luck in their deliberations.

Make sure to visit the News Portal regularly for updates on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) and to find out which projects are selected for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2021 jury.

Meet the EEPA 2020 Jury – Sabine Hepperle, Ben Butters & Bastian Coes

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury is made up of members representing the European Commission, business associations, academia, the current European presidencies and the last Grand Jury Prize winner.

The EEPA jury has the difficult task of selecting which national winners will make it onto the European shortlist, as well as the projects that will go on to win each respective category and the prestigious Grand Jury Prize.

Each year the jury sees experienced returning members, like EEPA jury chair Kristin Schreiber, Thomas Wobben, Professor Thomas Cooney and Anke Wiegand, as well as new faces. Today on the News Portal we are meeting this year’s new members.

The first new jury member for the 2020 edition is Ms Sabine Hepperle, who is Head of the Directorate-General at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs & Energy in Germany. She also previously served as head of Berlin’s promotional trade programme and headed the Representation of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Brussels. Ms. Hepperle will be representing the German presidency on this year’s jury.

“A winning EEPA project is one that is unique and innovative. It should also have a significant impact on the local business environment. In times of COVID-19 we particularly need innovative and successful projects, which are transferrable to other regions and countries. While evaluating the EEPA projects, I have especially looked at the local impact of the projects as well as on the benefit the projects have on SMEs.”

Our next new member is new to the EEPA jury but not to the SME Assembly, Mr Ben Butters, Deputy CEO of EUROCHAMBRES, will also be joining this year’s EEPA jury. Ben has covered a wide range of issues that are of relevance to chambers of commerce and the European business community, including the single market, SME policy, regulatory reform and skills. Before joining EUROCHAMBRES, he created and for several years ran his own business providing EU advocacy support to small business associations.

Finally our last new face on the EEPA 2020 jury is Mr Bastian Coes, Manager & Business Developer for GreenPAC iLab, the project that won the Grand Jury Prize at the EEPA finals in 2019. Mr Coes and his team impressed the jury with their project which supports new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry to help them start their businesses and achieve sustainable and circular business models.

“A great part of the success of our economy depends on a new generation of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who know how to adapt and can switch between different competences where creativity can make the difference. This creativity can be recognized in the great entries of  the various EEPA projects. They show the need for continuous investment in the entrepreneurs of the future. ”

Welcome to our new jury members! Don’t forget to read about our returning experienced jurors: Kristin Schreiber, Thomas Wobben, Professor Thomas Cooney and Anke Wiegand. The EEPA jury will be meeting soon to discuss and decide which projects will be on this year’s European shortlist so keep coming back to the News Portal and don’t miss the announcement.

Find out more about EEPA 2020 and read about specific updates to the 2020 edition from EEPA jury chair Kristin Schreiber here on the News Portal.

Meet the EEPA 2020 Jury – Anke Wiegand & Professor Thomas Cooney

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Being on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury is an exciting yet difficult task. For 2020 we have already met two of our jurors, Kristin Schreiber and Thomas Wobben, but who else will be joining them this year to select the best project for the European shortlist?

Time to meet two more returning members of the EEPA 2020 jury!

Our first returning member of the EEPA jury today is Ms Anke Wiegand, who first lent her expertise to EEPA judging in 2019. Ms Wiegand is Head of Unit Innovation I Funding Financing for the Enterprise Europe Network Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. She joined last year’s jury and presented the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency award at the EEPA awards ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.

“Under the impression of this year’s pandemic, SMEs all over Europe came up with excellent ideas, digital skills and visions for sustainable, health and climate friendly solutions for the future. Support schemes need to adapt in order to encourage this spirit of resilience. My preferred EEPA projects will help and support these innovations to find their way into our societies.”

Another returning member of the EEPA 2020 jury brings significant experience to the role and has been a part of the EEPA jury for several years. Professor Thomas Cooney is a Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology, 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. As a member of the 2019 EEPA jury he presented the Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit award at the EEPA awards ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.

Welcome back to Anke Wiegand and Professor Thomas Cooney! Don’t forget to read about the first two jurors we introduced: Kristin Schreiber and Thomas Wobben, and make sure to come back to the News Portal to meet the remaining members of the 2020 jury: Mr Bastian Coes, Ms Sabine Hepperle and Mr Ben Butters.

Find out more about EEPA 2020 and read about specific updates to the 2020 edition from EEPA jury chair Kristin Schreiber here on the News Portal.

Meet the EEPA 2020 Jury – Kristin Schreiber & Thomas Wobben

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) have moved into the next phase, the European level competition! Up until now the EEPA National Coordinators have been working hard to collect and select their top two national entries for the consideration of the EEPA 2020 Jury.

The EEPA 2020 Jury will now take the time to review all of the national winners and then collectively decide which projects they would like to include on their 2020 European shortlist. But who exactly are the EEPA 2020 Jury? Who are the people behind this important and difficult decision?

Time to meet two of our experienced jurors:

Coming back as our experienced EEPA Jury chair is Kristin Schreiber, Director for SME Policy & COSME, in the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the European Commission. Kristin has been involved in the SME Assembly and the EEPA judging process for many years, from hosting important SME Assembly keynote sessions and panels, leading the SME Envoy meetings, and chairing both the Youth Essay Competition and EEPA juries. This year we are welcoming her back once again to chair the EEPA 2020 jury and facilitate the final decisions.

Another veteran jury member who we are welcoming back is Mr Thomas Wobben, Director of the Directorate for Horizontal Policies and Networks at 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. Thomas presented the 2019 Special Mentions at the EEPA awards ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.

Welcome back to Kristin Schreiber and Thomas Wobben! Come back to the News Portal to meet the rest of the EEPA 2020 jury: Professor Thomas Cooney, Mr Bastian Coes, Ms Sabine Hepperle, Mr Ben Butters and Ms Anke Wiegand. Most importantly stay tuned for their decision in September on their choices for the 2020 European shortlist.

Find out more about EEPA 2020 and read about specific updates to the 2020 edition from EEPA jury chair Kristin Schreiber here on the News Portal.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the Jury!

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The European EEPA 2019 deadline has passed, and the jury are reviewing all of the national applications ahead of their jury meeting in September. But who are the EEPA 2019 jury? Who will be judging this year’s EEPA competition?

It is time to meet the EEPA 2019 jury!

Every year the EEPA jury has some experienced faces that return to help and judge the new set of applicants. We are proud to welcome back Prof. Thomas M. Cooney (Professor in Entrepreneurship, Dublin Institute of Technology)Thomas Wobben (Committee of the Regions),  and Kristin Schreiber (DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) to once again sit on the EEPA jury.

In addition to our returning members, we also have several new faces that will be joining the jury this year and lending their experience and expertise to the judging process. In 2019 we are pleased to welcome Mr Darius Vodă (Romanian SME Envoy), Mr Petri Peltonen (Finnish SME Envoy), Ms Agnes Mathis (Director of Co-operatives Europe), Ms Anke Wiegand (Head of Unit Innovation Funding Financing at the Enterprise Europe Network Berlin Partner for Business and Technology) and Mads Váczy Kragh (CEO of Erhvervshus Sjælland, ‘Lean Landing’ Grand Jury Prize Winner 2018).

Promoting Enterprise will be presenting the newer Jury members over the next few weeks, so keep coming back to the News Portal to find out more. Read about our experienced jury members Prof. Thomas M. CooneyThomas Wobben and Kristin Schreiber right here on the News Portal!

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