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Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards – winners’

EEPA Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Join us as we continue our deep dive into the six European Promotion Enterprise Awards’ categories!

Last week, we took a look at the first category: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit. This week, we are turning our attention to the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category, which celebrates initiatives that help enhance the skills of entrepreneurs, managers and employees.

2021’s Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills prize was awarded to COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige (CfS), an initiative started by the German nonprofit, Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen (ISI). Through CfS, ISI promotes entrepreneurship amongst immigrant women in Berlin by providing free training and access to networking events. What’s more, ISI — 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.

Our aim is to be a meeting point where immigrant women can implement their ideas and realise their own professional projects in a new country’, said ISI’s Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker during the 2021 EEPA ceremony. ‘This international recognition confirms that we are on the right [track] and encourages us to keep on going. We dedicate this award [to] all these brave and amazing women…

Throughout the past decade, EEPA has celebrated numerous projects of this high caliber. We believe it is incredibly important that these initiatives receive the recognition that their work deserves.

In 2019, Cyprus’ IDEA Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre was the recipient of this category. To help develop Cyprus into a hub of innovation IDEA works to give Cypriots of all ages and genders entrepreneurial opportunities. The project places particular emphasis on making these opportunities accessible to people with special needs. Alongside this it also develops investment networks, encourages volunteer work, facilitates cooperation between businesses in different industries, and strives to shift perceptions of entrepreneurship in the country. As of 2019, forty-eight new businesses have been developed and seventy new jobs created as a direct result of IDEA’s work.

IDEA“, said manager Angela Panayiotou in 2019, “made a gigantic effort to create a culture and form a cluster of activities that boost innovation and entrepreneurship in our small country through partnerships and hard work … We [have committed] ourselves for more.”

Speaking about the preparation process for the application, the team admitted that while it was a challenging activity, it brought the team and collaborators closer and the support they received was incredible:

We needed to organise all the evidence of our activities to demonstrate the extent of them and our commitment to the EEPA values. We were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide testimonies to our work. Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team and collaborators closer and boosted our confidence.

Sweden’s Business Generator was the category II prize winner in 2017. With expertise in analytics, finance, customer relationship management, business development, and innovation, amongst other fields, Business Generator’s various teams provide external support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that would not otherwise have the resources to afford it. In addition to the extensive and wide-ranging expertise of Business Generator’s teams, their third-party perspective enables them to objectively analyze the challenges faced by SMEs and more effectively disrupt the status quo.

There is great potential for improvement when it comes to developing knowledge about creating economic growth’, said Business Generator’s Anette Rhudin in 2017. ‘Fortunately, the debate is changing — slowly [but] surely — [and the] EEPA and [a] growing awareness [of] SMEs have arrived at the right time! It’s very inspiring…

About the European Enterprise Promotion Award

The EEPA rewards those promoting entrepreneurship and the development of small businesses locally, nationally, and regionally.

Initiatives in any EU Member State; Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Kosovo; Montenegro; North Macedonia; Serbia; Turkey; Armenia; Moldova; Ukraine; Iceland; and the United Kingdom are eligible to be nominated for prizes, as are local, national, and regional public-private partnerships in any EU Member States; Iceland; Montenegro; Serbia; Turkey; and Ukraine.

More information regarding eligibility criteria can be found on the European Commission website.

For the latest EEPA-related news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

EEPA Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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Since 2006, over 4,000 projects have entered the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). EEPA is a competition that rewards organisations promoting entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.

This article is the first of six that we will be sharing with you as we work our way through the EEPA categories. Each article will elaborate on the objectives of the chosen category as well as presenting previous winners, their stories, businesses and key pieces of advice they wish to impart to other entrepreneurs.

Category 1 is directed at Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. This category recognizes initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people and women.

Let’s take a look at the spectacular past winners in this category!

In 2016 the category winner was Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat (Lyon City of Entrepreneurship) from France. This initiative is a network of 46 organizations and 200 experts from across the region working to promote an entrepreneurial spirit in order to increase the number of businesses created in the region and improve the robustness of new businesses. Each year, the network provides support to between 10,000 and 12,000 businesses and entrepreneurs, with 17 “access points” which provide information and guidance.

The initiative is built on the belief that it is important to encourage and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that entrepreneurs should share their experiences so that others can learn and benefit from them. EEPA provides an incredible opportunity to do exactly this, as was highlighted by Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat’s advice to orgnaisations considering participation:

Apply and share as much as possible! Participating in a competition is a real opportunity to meet and share with initiatives and people, learning from their experiences is very enriching. Of course, if winning the prize is at the end of your competition journey; then it just makes it even better.

Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, a project in the blue entrepreneurship and economy sector which covers the sustainable use of the sea and its resources for economic development was crowned the category winner in 2018. The Municipality of Piraeus has implemented several blue entrepreneurship programmes including the BlueGrowth innovation competition, the BLUACT network, the Blue Development Strategy, two European programmes and the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Centre for Blue Development.

When asked what it was like to win the award, they responded that: “It was an incredible honour to be awarded an EEPA prize. We also felt that our carefully planned efforts over the last few years to bring out Piraeus as one of the first cities promoting new and sustainable jobs through investing in the blue economy has now been widely acknowledged. This acknowledgment has made us even more confident and increased our dedication to continue our blue growth development strategy.

The most recent EEPA Category I was an initiative that provides training and supports the professionalization of the gastronomy sector. Culinary Action! (CA!), implemented by the Basque Culinary Centre in Spain, contributes to innovation and growth in the gastronomy sector through its involvement in the Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences at Mondragon University and the unique Centre for Research and Innovation in Food and Gastronomy, where the project is helping to shape the chefs and food scientists of the future.

What’s more, through other projects, such as Building a Green Gastronomic City, CA! is helping to find circular economy solutions to food sustainability challenges and create an environment where experts, suppliers, producers, chefs, and consumers can co-create solutions to reactivate local gastronomy and educate citizens on sustainability. The project’s overarching goal is to instill the values of passion, excellence, and social commitment into gastronomy research and innovation.

Speaking of the impact that this award has had on them and their work they said: “Winning the award has put into perspective not only the work that we have done at Culinary Action! for the last few years (before food tech became the trending topic concept that is today) but it is also an important validation at a paramount time for startups on food and gastronomy innovation. Food is after all, along with energy generation and mobility one of the three main drivers of climate change and as such it requires to reinforce and take “to the next level” those tools that help the entrepreneurs in the field, such as Culinary Action!.

The final winning initiative we will introduce to you are the 2019 winners, the Belgium Haven team. Who emphasised the benefits of participating in EEPA such as the network it connects you to: “The EEPA network is an incredibly diverse and encouraging network, and shows that Europe is investing in entrepreneurship and bringing together social entrepreneurs from across Europe. Just give it a try!

Their winning project involved creating a risk-free environment within which entrepreneurial youth were encouraged to learn, experiment and fail, and thus enhance their competences for their future enterprises. As a result, these youth will be better equipped to address evolving societal challenges. The project has been active for three years and 80 young affiliates have benefited from the scheme.

These are just a few examples of the impressive winning projects from previous years. If you would like to participate in the competition you can find your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here and perhaps next year we will be talking about you and your project…

Initiatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Iceland and the United Kingdom, as well as all EU countries are welcome to apply for this year’s edition of the awards series. For further information on eligibility you can check the criteria here.

For more information on these topics, please follow the European Commission website, for the latest updates, follow Promoting Enterprise News Portal as well as our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

EEPA 2021 Testimonial – Inkludera by Inkludera

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We continue our conversations with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2021 winners. Last time we brought you the story of Grand Jury Prize winner COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V., who was also awarded first prize in Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards at the SME Assembly 2021.

Today we meet the Responsible and Incusive Entrepreneurship category winner, Inkludera by Inkludera.

Inkludera is supporting social entrepreneurs with unique solutions in order to scale them and make them financially sustainable. To accomplish this, 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 several different social issues.

Here is what they shared with us about their experience at the European Promoting Enterprise Awards 2021.

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

We are grateful that the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth nominated us, and we chose to enter to honor their trust and belief in us.

How did you prepare your application?

Two persons were involved in drawing up the application, which took 3-4 days in total. We prepared a tailor-made For us, the entrepreneurs that we support are always front and center. We wanted our application to be about them, and to share their stories.

What was it like to win the award?

We were honored and happy and we thank you for the recognition!

How did winning the award impact your work?

The award is a great testament to the work we have been dedicated to during the past decade and of course a motivation going forward.

What are your plans for the future?

Apart from continuous support of our entrepreneurs, we plan to spread our accumulated knowledge and experience of scaling social entrepreneurship to further strengthen the field in Sweden.

Why should others enter EEPA 2022? What advice would you give them?

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.

Do you want to watch other key moments from SME Assembly 2021? Relive the experience below!

EEPA 2021 Testimonial – COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of the first category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ – Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre from Spain.

Today we are bringing the story of Grand Jury Prize winner COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V. was also awarded first prize in Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards at the SME Assembly 2021.

COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige, which is supported by the non-profit association Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen (ISI), 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 sustainably build up their own business start-ups in Berlin. The project is guided by the principle that migrant women stand up for migrant women.

Here is what they shared with us about their experience at the European Promoting Enterprise Awards 2021.

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

We decided to enter the EEPA 2021 upon invitation of the RKW Kompetenzzentrum, which conducts the German preliminary round of the competition. The program’s features caught our attention immediately, and we believed it was worth applying with our project “COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige”.

How did you prepare your application?

Two persons were involved in drawing up the application, which took 3-4 days in total. We prepared a tailor-made application, which not only included the general information about our project but also hard facts about its achievements and success during the last years. For example, we have provided information about the number of women attending our qualification offers and the variety of their individual features and needs, as well as concerning the increase of their individual skills progress, in terms of technical, methodological, social and personal competence. Moreover, we supplied a detailed description of the innovative traits of the project and our plans for further development in the next future.

What was it like to win the award?

If winning the award in the category “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills” has been a big surprise on its own, the “Grand Jury Prize” came totally unexpected. It was an unbelievable, overwhelming feeling. It was such an honour to represent our team on stage and be able to dedicate the awards to all brave and amazing migrant women founders, who are the soul of our organization. We felt very proud of all of them and of our achievements. This international recognition is not only a point of arrival for us, yet most and foremost, a new starting point to grow and reach new goals.

As a project team, we are aware of carrying a big responsibility for all migrant women. As we won the award, I immediately experienced a feeling of relief. I thought, “okay, we are not alone in this. We now carry this responsibility, even at a European level, together with all stakeholders.”

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the awards had great resonance among our 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. Thanks to years of fieldwork, we know exactly what the needs and wishes of our target group are and have the right know-how and solutions to support them in realizing their business ideas. The potential is huge. And our big success at the award ceremony gave us an extra boost to get the most out of our service for women entrepreneurs.

That’s why we are looking for the necessary financial and personal resources to achieve these goals. Any kind of support from concerned associations, foundations and authorities will be very valuable to us.

What are your plans for the future?

Our goal now is to make our qualification model for migrant women entrepreneurs known throughout Germany and, in the medium term, internationally. Where necessary, we also would like to improve and further develop our approach.

At this point, we primarily want to support refugee women, especially in their mother tongue, as well as migrant women in the pre-founding phase and those in the post-start-up phase. For these three target groups, we would like to implement specific demand-based concepts. Some pilot projects have already been carried out.

Fortunately, in 2022 our project will keep on receiving funds from ESF and the State of Berlin. Nevertheless, we believe that we could also consider further funding opportunities for the various concepts and different target groups. Only in the last three years, more than 600 participants have been registered in our database. These women still expect and need our help in order to have better opportunities to gain a professional foothold in Germany.

Winning the EEPA-Award allows us to hope for growth, and we want to take this opportunity now.

Why should others enter EEPA 2022? What advice would you give them?

The EEPA is a great chance to make your project more visible and cooperate with other organizations 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.

Do you want to watch other key moments from SME Assembly 2021? Relive the experience below!

EEPA 2021 Testimonial – Culinary Action!

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Here on Promoting Enterprise, we are excited to bring you the first of our European Enterprise Promotion Award winner testimonials! Throughout this series we will be interviewing the EEPA Class of 2021 to find out more about these outstanding projects, what they do, what winning the awards means to them, their journey to the finals and more.

We are launching the series with the winner of our first category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’. The 2021 winner is Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre from Spain.

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

It is a very well known competition and we thought that it was the perfect moment to enter “Culinary Action !” into it. CA! was created seven years ago by the Basque Culinary Center, a leading European Gastronomy Sciences University, as one of the first initiatives to foster entrepreneurship on food tech in Europe and, after its initial run helping food tech startups in Spain, we are going international, creating a network of initiatives with partners thorough the continent, so we thought that 2021 was the year go for EEPA.

How did you prepare your application?

We talked to some of our main stakeholders (entrepreneurs, corporate, public institutions) and ask them to share their views and feedback. We took some time preparing it and putting together their testimonies and feedback.

What was it like to win the award?

It came as a surprise since we knew some of the other contestants and we thought it was going to be quite competitive. An unforgettable moment.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award has put into perspective not only the work that we have done at Culinary Action ! for the last few years (before food tech became the trending topic concept that is today)  but it is also an important validation at a paramount time for startups on food and gastronomy innovation. Food is after all, along with energy generation and mobility one of the three main drivers of climate change and as such it requires to reinforce and take “to the next level” those tools that help the entrepreneurs in the field, such as Culinary Action !.

What are your plans for the future?

This recognition of the work of Culinary Action! comes at a time that food tech is quickly becoming a trend to reckon with both in Europe and globally. Culinary Action ! will foster the incoming wave of innovation on food and gastronomy by connecting European ecosystems, their startups, corporates, VCs and other stakeholders with different initiatives: “On the road “ competitions, accelerator programs, helping connect worldwide incubators … We want to be one of the leading collaborative players at the incoming wave of food innovation.

Why should others enter EEPA 2022? What advice would you give them?

It will validate their work at an international level. Just by being selected as a finalist, they will get an European wide recognition and the opportunity to interact and network with a variety of European actors.

Do you want to watch other key moments from SME Assembly 2021? Relive the experience below!

European Enterprise Promotion Awards Class of 2021

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Over the past months, you have followed us as we showcased the best projects in the six European Enterprise Promotion Awards categories here on the Promoting Enterprise portal. The EEPA story of these projects reached its climax on the second day of the SME Assembly on November 16, when the winners in the six categories were announced.

We extend our warmest congratulations to our entire EEPA class of 2021 and in particular to our category champions.

Category 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Spain: Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre

Category 2  – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Germany: COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V.

Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment & Supporting the Digital Transition

Portugal: Digital Commerce Programme by ACEPI – Digital Economy Portugal in partnership with CCP – Portuguese Commerce and Services Confederation and with Municipal Council of Viana do Castelo

Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Spain: Iberian Centre for Research and Forest Firefighting – Firefighting Open Innovation Lab-CILIFO (FOIL-CILIFO), Fundación by Delegación Fundación Finnova

Category 5 – Supporting the Sustainable Transition

Slovenia: Green Penguin, Iskraemeco, d.d

Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Sweden: Inkludera by Inkludera

Grand Jury Prize

Germany: COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V.

The SME Assembly is not over yet! Make sure to join us for the final day of the Assembly to attend the streamed sessions. You can also follow the live coverage on Twitter @EEPA_EU. Haven’t registered yet? Last minute registrations are still possible but be quick! You can register here.

 

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Le Portail du Rebond

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We are back with our final European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we introduced you to Social Enterprise NL from the Netherlands, 2020 winner in our ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ category. Make sure to read their story if you haven’t yet!

Our final testimonial tells the story of our 2020 Grand Jury Prize winner, ‘Le Portail du Rebond des Entrepreneurs’ from France. ‘Le Portail du Rebond’ or ‘The Recovery Portal’, is made up 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 portal provides a single online point of access so that entrepreneurs can choose the association that corresponds to their entrepreneurial recovery needs. The associations help the entrepreneurs navigate necessary measures and authorities, and remove obstacles to their recovery.

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

The ‘Portail du Rebond des Entrepreneurs’ was told about the competition by BPIFRANCE. Our work to help struggling entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who find themselves in hard times bounce back, corresponded exactly to the EEPA competition criteria. After discussing further with BPIFRANCE and working with their teams, we decided to enter, which was the right decision!

How did you prepare your application?

The ‘Portail du Rebond des Entrepreneurs’ is made up of six associations which create a ‘value chain’ that allows us to accompany the entrepreneurs we work with from the beginning when they are in difficulty, all the way through to when they have bounced back. We made this aspects of our work stand out in our application as we thought it was innovative and unique in the European setting.

We also decide to include a testimonial in order to illustrate our work and show how our unique value chain works. We presented one of our entrepreneurs who had successfully made their way through the entire value chain and managed to bounce back with support from one of our associations ‘Second souffle’.

What was it like to win the award?

Wining the Grand Jury prize was amazing! 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.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award saw all the actors within the ‘Portail du Rebond des Entrepreneurs’ wanting to highlight this great prize and recognition, and this was done by increasing our communication activities and actions with entrepreneurs and public authorities to share the news.

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

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 participation associations!

What are your plans for the future?

We hope to further open and expand the ‘Portail du Rebond des Entrepreneurs’ to new associations that carry out meaningful work in relation to our own. We also hope to develop more events dedicated to entrepreneurs. After that, why not see if we can bring our organisation up to European level, and see if we have the support to succeed with this challenge!

Congratulations to our 2020 Grand Jury Prize Winner ‘Le Portail du Rebond’ from France! Make sure to read all the inspiring EEPA winner testimonials right here on the News Portal and re-live the Grand Jury Prize winning moment right here:

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Social Enterprise NL

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we introduced you to Germany’s Greentech.Ruhr, the winner in our ‘Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency’ category. If you haven’t read it yet, there is no time like the present!

We now travel to the Netherlands for an introduction to Social Enterprise NL, the ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ winner. 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 405 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. Social Enterprise NL also aspires towards better regulation and legislation and, with this goal in mind, is active in promoting these objectives at the municipal, regional and national levels.

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

We received a call from RVO – the national Dutch Enterprise Agency – in which they informed us that Social Enterprise NL might be a suitable candidate for the EEPA award. The RVO call came at the perfect time; we had just started working on various projects to support social entrepreneurs and the EEPA had the potential to boost our work even more.

How did you prepare your application?

The RVO provided us with all the necessary information and documents, which, despite the short deadline, enabled us to send a complete and comprehensive application. Of course, it was not difficult for us to write about our work, as we feel so passionate about it and deal with it on a daily basis. We also used our past experience and our research carried out with partners, which is of great value for us in terms of the impact we have on the sector.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award filled us with optimism, especially during these COVID-19 times. We feel so very grateful! We were already extremely pleased with the national award and the nomination for the EEPA jury shortlist. And then there it was, the European award! It stands as a great recognition of the work we’ve done so far. I immediately called the team after the announcement to share my happiness and excitement. Unfortunately, we were not able to celebrate with each other directly, but we definitely will when we can come together again.

How did winning the award impact your work?

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 prize represents recognition for all the work we have done, and we will keep on doing the best we can to support social entrepreneurs.  

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

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!

What are your plans for the future?

We will continue our work to improve and further develop the social enterprise sector and to make our network become even bigger. We will always have enough ideas and projects to support social entrepreneurs. We can also give you a scoop – we have a podcast coming up! As the representative of the social enterprise sector in the Netherlands, we want to continue to lobby at the local, national and even international level. The EEPA awards shows us that we have to keep going, hold our heads high and strive for more impact. We want to make Europe a better place: better for the planet and better for our people.

Congratulations to Social Enterprise NL! Keep coming back to the News Portal for more EEPA winner testimonials and re-live their winning moment right here:

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Greentech.Ruhr

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ winner Portugal Bike Value from Portugal. Check it out, if you haven’t read it yet.

This week we travel to Germany to meet with Greentech.Ruhr, winner in the ‘Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency’ category. 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. Increased cooperation between all players in the Ruhr environmental economy is needed to deal with growing environmental protection challenges. Greentech.Ruhr facilitates this 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.

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

We were contacted directly by RKW (Rationalisierungs- und Innovationszentrum der Deutschen Wirtschaft – Rationalisation and Innovation Centre of the German Economy), the coordinator of the national competition in Germany. They explained that our project would fit perfectly into the category ‘Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency’. Public awareness is essential for our Project, so we were glad to get this opportunity.

How did you prepare your application?

The application process was less effort than we thought. Presenting our project to new partners and reporting on our work to our current partners is part of our day-to-day business. Therefore, it was easy to put this down in the application. Greentech.Ruhr has been operational for four years already, so we already had enough results and testimonials to show what we do and explain about our work. We remained in close contact with RKW and were able to clarify all questions very quickly.

What was it like to win the award?

It was very exciting going through the whole process. First the recognition of being the national winner, then the good news of being shortlisted and then finally the big moment when Bastian Coes opened the envelope and announced the winner. It is a great honour for us, and very motivating for everybody involved in the project. Sure, we were a bit disappointed that, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the SME Assembly 2020 had to be a virtual event and our award-celebration was a home-office party but it was still an incredible honour to be named an EEPA 2020 winner.

How did winning the award impact your work?

The award gave our project a lot of positive public attention. 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.

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

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 2021.

What are your plans for the future?

We are definitely striving to expand the network. We will further expand Greentech.Ruhr and will constantly improve our offers for our partners. With this in mind, we will intensify our collaboration in the environmental economy in our region to be independent from funding, with the support of our strong partners.

Congratulations to Greentech.Ruhr on your win! Don’t forget to watch and share their winning moment and keep up with their work and their greentech network on their website.

Don’t forget you can also catch up with SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Portugal Bike Value

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Improving the Business Environment’ winner BIND 4.0 from the Basque Country. Check it out, if you haven’t read it yet.

This time we take a bike ride to Portugal to meet with Portugal Bike Value, winner in the ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ category. Portugal Bike Value is working to support and promote the potential of the Portuguese bicycle industry, establishing it as a player in the European supply chain. It is also promoting Portugal as a destination for foreign investment in the area of soft mobility. The initiative’s efforts saw exports to more than 50 destinations increase from EUR 226 million in 2011 to EUR 402 million in 2019. By investing in cleaner technologies that have a reduced environmental footprint, Portugal Bike Value is also helping to support the European Green Deal.

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

The first information we received was from AICEP, the Portuguese agency for investment and foreign trade. Then we looked for more details on the internet, where we received a lot of helpful information. The Commission website and News Portal were very informative and from the data we collected, we understood that Portugal Bike Value had a good chance of doing well.

How did you prepare your participation?

Preparations for participation were conducted almost completely internally, within the National Association of Two Wheel Industries (ABIMOTA), using two external consultants who have been involved in the Portugal Bike Value project from the very beginning. This means that it was quite easy to prepare for our EEPA participation.

What was it like to win the award?

First, it was a big surprise. Our job is to work on behalf of our associates, promoting the hardware and furniture sectors and, of course, two wheels and smooth mobility. Until that moment, we had no experience of participating in a contest like this. Later it made us think about the real value of Portugal Bike Value. After winning a prize like this, we could better understand the real value of our project.

How did winning the award impact your work?

First of all, as I said, it gave us a real perspective on the value of the project. Then, this victory gave us a major boost in terms of communication, both in Portugal and abroad. The EEPA awards are highly visible and boost the image of the participants.

Why should others join the EEPA? What advice would you give them?

In our experience, the best advice is – participate. As long as you have a solid, well-developed project, you can only win. The gains that you will receive in terms of experience and contacts with other projects are overwhelming. If you can reach the final, you will gain additional visibility and in the event of victory, then the return is massive.

What are your plans for the future?

The Portugal Bike Value project is concluding its cycle and, therefore, we are developing a new project, where we seek to deepen and build on the experience we have gained and, if possible, do even better.

Congratulations to Portugal Bike Value! Re-live their winning moment and make sure to keep up with their work and activities.

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

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