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Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards – winners’

EEPA 2020 Compendium

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One of the highlights of this year’s SME Assembly 2020 was the finals of the 14th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) which took place on Monday 16 November.

The EEPA recognise the best of the best, with six individual category awards, 1 Grand Jury Prize and Special Mentions. We got see all of the winning moments on screen but it is now time to learn a little more about these winning projects and why the EEPA jury selected them!

The 2020 EEPA compendium is now available for you to read and explore here.

The EEPA Compendium is an annual publication that compiles all of the shortlisted projects to celebrate their achievements and provide an insight into the Awards process. This year’s Compendium features introductions to all of the shortlisted projects, as well as additional information on the Grand Jury Prize winner.

Learn more about each of our EEPA jury members as well as the EEPA judging process that goes on behind the scenes. This year’s compendium also contains

In addition you will find out more about this year’s prestigious jury, their experience being behind the scenes of EEPA, testimonials from previous winners and a focus on how SMEs are leading the recovery.  

To find out more about the EEPA, visit the EEPA website, and look through the previous compendiums from 201920182017 2016201520142013, and 2012.

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – Class of 2020

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Today during the yearly SME Assembly, the most important event for small and medium enterprises in Europe, the European Commission announced the winners of the 2020 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The initiative rewards entities promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses at national, regional and local level.

The 2020 winners are as follows:

The Grand Jury Prize: France: Le PORTAIL DU REBOND

CATEGORY 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Denmark: Open Entrepreneurship

CATEGORY 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Estonia:  Mobile Workshops, Merkuur OY

CATEGORY 3 – Improving the Business Environment

Spain: BIND 4.0 – Basque Industry 4.0 Accelerator Program

CATEGORY 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Portugal: Portugal Bike Value

CATEGORY 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Germany: Greentech.Ruhr

CATEGORY 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Netherlands: Social Enterprise NL

Congratulations to our class of 2020! Re-live their winning moments by watching their videos and stay tuned for the winner testimonials.

What is the impact of winning an EEPA?

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There is still time to submit an application for this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) and get involved in this celebration of enterprise! Check your national deadline here.

The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.

We have once again asked our EEPA Class of 2019 for their advice and experiences of being winners in the EEPA 2019 competition. Today we wanted to bring you their insights on what winning an EEPA has done for their projects and their work.

Winning the award impacted our work directly because there is outside endorsement for what we do. Awards like this help develop the GreenPAC iLab further and to sustain the work we do. We have also had a lot of questions about our programme from the international community, and the EEPA has facilitated this by giving us an international podium to share how we support sustainable startups.

Receiving an EEPA also highlights and recognises the support provided by the regional government. GreenPAC iLab has strong connections with (regional) governments, and the province of Overijssel and the municipality of Zwolle are crucial for stimulating sustainable entrepreneurship in the region. Both provide support for our program and can function as a launching customer for startups. Winning the EEPA Grand Jury Prize has given us additional proof to demonstrate that the regional funding of GreenPAC iLab should be sustained.

It is really motivating to have your work recognised at European level. The award is very important for both national and international visibility for the project and represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase its replication potential.

Winning this award served as motivation for the local Municipality, employees and the broader Tilos community to continue their hard work and remain dedicated to the vision of energy autonomy for the island of Tilos. As with the two prestigious EUSEW 2017 Awards, the EEPA 2019 award will also contribute to our efforts to communicate the success stories of our island to a wider audience, making Tilos an attractive destination for all Europeans.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch. It has also helped on a practical level with our new funding application to Interreg ÖKS, who also congratulated us on our win.

Winning the award has put a spotlight on our work and the change that we are trying to bring about for SME involvement in public procurement. The prize not only represents recognition of the teamwork and effort that went into the project, but also that this work has a positive effect on sustainable business development and thus on employment generation.

We have received congratulations and encouragement from fellow colleagues, family and friends, and have also been mentioned in the local media which is quite exciting. It is also nice to see the City Council being recognised as an organisation and being praised for some of the valuable work it does. It is a shame that the national media has hardly mentioned the award, which has limited its effect in bringing the issue of SME involvement in public procurement to the authorities that need to be made aware.

Winning an EEPA has given us a lot of publicity in national press, across both printed and digital channels. We have also received congratulations from the government, business associations and from so many people. Most importantly, we made our partners and supporters proud, and we would like to especially mention the visionaries at the Bank of Cyprus, that believed and supported IDEA since its inception. For us, the IDEA team, who invest a significant amount of personal time and voluntary work into the IDEA project, being the winners of a prestigious EEPA is a powerful motivation to continue our work and keep aiming higher.

Winning the award gave us an identity on European level. As a young organisation this is really important as we need to find new European level partners to work with, but has also proved valuable at local level as EEPA has created more visibility and recognition for the hard work we are doing. The biggest opportunity as a result of EEPA for us now is to work together with new partners and expand our methodology.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

EEPA 2019 Catch-up – How to get SMEs involved in public procurement

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with one of our 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winners, who have produced some useful documentation that they would like to share throughout the EEPA network.

“Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes” or “Public Procurement for SMEs”, won the“Improving the Business Environment” category last year during the final EEPA ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. This project was recognised for its work on implementing measures in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement. These measures promote and facilitate SME participation in public contracts and have successfully increased the awarding of contracts to SMEs to twice the national and European average.

The public procurement market accounts for more than 20% of the European Union GDP. If SMEs had access to part of that, it would be significantly more than current public funding offerings but without additional cost and simultaneously stimulate SME innovation and growth.

The city Council of Valladolid public procurement system has proved that it can be done, with more than 80% of their contracts being awarded to SMEs to date. Their model is replicable and is based on the three 2014 Contracting Directives. In order to help other European contracting authorities follow their example, or take inspiration from Valladolid, this EEPA winning project had created the following guiding documents:

This document contains more specifics on the measures put in place to facilitate the participation of SMEs in public contracts

This document provides explanations on what is needed and how to implement an SME friendly public procurement system, including legal and directive references

This document outlines the advantages of contracting with the public sector and the basic requirements and actions

For more information on their work and the produced documents, contact the project here.

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Grand Jury Prize

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It is our last EEPA 2019 winner testimonial! Today on the News Portal we are learning more about the project that took home the top EEPA prize at the 2019 SME Assembly. The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the project that the jury designates to be truly outstanding regardless of its category. For 2019 the jury decided to award this honour to GreenPAC iLab, a project from the Netherlands competing in the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category.

At GreenPAC iLab, new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry are supported to help them start their businesses and achieve sustainable and circular business models. The project functions as a community where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for a plastic product or service are coached and given access to a network of professionals that help with feasibility studies, research and product development. Through collaboration with plastics professionals and research groups, the GreenPAC iLab is fostering a new generation of plastics entrepreneurs guided by circular and sustainable values. To date, 66 start-ups have received assistance and 84 jobs have been created.

We spoke to Bastian Coes, Manager & Business Developer for GreenPAC iLab to discover the story behind this winning project.

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

We heard about the national competition via a promotion by RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) that runs the EEPA national competition about three years ago. At the time we decided not to enter because we had just started with a new strategy and method of supporting startup businesses. Before applying we wanted to make sure that we had a lot of examples of successful startup businesses that we had supported because, successful companies are the biggest proof that our concept and strategy works. So not “fake it till you make it”, but rather “make it and then talk about it”.

How did you prepare your application?

We wrote our application for the national competition and really emphasised the link between the results of the startup businesses and the methods we use. It was important to stress that in addition to results such as revenue and employment of the startups, at GreenPAC iLab the emphasis is on the connection between research carried out by applied universities and the knowledge gap of a startup. We then add to that knowledge, for example by facilitating necessary feasibility studies.

Both the startups and the universities benefit: the startups have access to knowledge and equipment which are not available in the market and the universities have access to new economic and technological developments which they otherwise have no access to. 

What was it like to win the award?

It was a great feeling and surprise to win the award. It represents a great acknowledgment for the hard work of the GreenPAC iLab team, the universities Windesheim and NHL Stenden. It was not always easy to get funding for our plans and recognition of the work that the startups and GreenPAC iLab do. Over the last couple of years we have developed a big movement and community which have had an impact on sustainability, circular business models and growth of startups. It is truly a great feeling for all of this to be recognised and valued by the EEPA jury.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award impacted our  work directly because there is outside endorsement for what we do. Awards like this help develop the GreenPAC iLab further and to sustain the work we do. We have also had a lot of questions about our programme from the international community, and the EEPA has facilitated this by giving us an international podium to share how we support sustainable startups. 

Receiving an EEPA also highlights and recognises the support provided by the regional government. GreenPAC iLab has strong connections with (regional) governments, and the province of Overijssel and the municipality of Zwolle are crucial for stimulating sustainable entrepreneurship in the region. Both provide support for our program and can function as a launching customer for startups. Winning the EEPA Grand Jury Prize has given us additional proof to demonstrate that the regional funding of GreenPAC iLab should be sustained.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

Entering EEPA 2020 is a great way to reflect on what you have done over the last couple of years and also about the way you want to move forward. EEPA gives a lot of exposure for your initiative but also makes your team and everyone involved proud to be part of a shortlisted initiative. We were already proud of being on the shortlist, so just imagine what it is like if you win the Grand Jury Prize! 

What are your plans for the future?

We want to continue our work of helping startup businesses achieve their sustainable and circular business models. We want to increase and strengthen the community of sustainable and technology based startups, and build a startup entrepreneurship hub in The Netherlands. By doing this we want to support a new generation of entrepreneurs and contribute to a sustainable SME economy.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

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It is time to meet our last EEPA 2019 category winner, German project “Start-Up Your Future” the winner of the Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship category at the EEPA finals at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.

“Start-Up Your Future” is a pilot project of the Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland (WJD), funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It aims to help refugees in Berlin-Brandenburg to set up their own businesses by giving them support and offering them the option of self-employment through mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten. The mentorships invite voluntary mentors to guide refugee entrepreneurs through the founding process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan. Since the project began, 185 mentorships have been implemented, 207 refugees have been helped in their business ventures and 22 businesses have received support.

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

We heard about the national competition from Ms. Kummer from RKW Kompetenzzentrum and saw it as a good opportunity to encourage others to get involved in the field of the social and economic integration of refugees and migrants. By entering the national competition, we got the chance to present our programme and share positive success stories with a wider audience.

What was it like to win the award?

Being awarded with an EEPA prize is a great honour for us. Winning this award shows us that our efforts to successfully establish a target group-oriented offer for refugees who want to become founders have paid off. Special thanks go to our volunteer mentors, who have contributed significantly to this success story. We would also like to thank our founders, who brought this mentoring program alive with their good ideas. Unfortunately, our team could not be present at the SME Assembly so we would also like to thank our EEPA National Coordinator Ms. Kummer from the RKW who represented us and accepted our prize on our behalf. Thank you very much!

How did winning the award impact your work?

It is really motivating to have your work recognised at European level. The award is very important for both national and international visibility for the project and represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase its replication potential.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

We would definitely recommend participating in EEPA as it is a good opportunity to exchange experiences and views with other European organisations.

What are your plans for the future?

Start-Up Your Future has constantly learned from ongoing activities and improved its structure over the course of the last 2.5 years. We have learnt that our approach can be applied to other target groups and regions and hope to see the concept expand. The final project evaluation also underlined the strong potential to transfer the Start-Up Your Future approach elsewhere. The evaluation further highlighted that mentorships between voluntary entrepreneurs and refugees and migrants are a valid way to foster integration on a social and economic level.

The project funding will expire by March 2020, so the final phase will focus on the examination of the key learnings, which will be available and published in the first quarter of 2020.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

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What goes into a successful EEPA project? How do these projects make it to the shortlist and go on to win their categories? This week we are back with another EEPA 2019 testimonial from the winner of Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency. In 2019 the TILOS project from Greece impressed the EEPA jury with their green energy project.

The TILOS initiative created an integrated energy solution with innovative features to help island regions transition to new models of production and management of electricity energy. The solution uses clean, renewable energy sources and the application of modern energy storage technologies to reduce dependency on cost-intensive and polluting oil. The solution was successfully implemented on Tilos and a toolbox of innovative products was created to facilitate international and community adoption of smart energy practices. Tilos has been able to penetrate up to 75% of the renewable energy sources and exports additional clean energy to the island of Kos.

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

We were first informed about the national competition from the local Ministry of Economy and Development and more precisely from the General Secretariat for Industry. Since we believed that the project of Tilos was a good fit for the Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category, we decided to enter the competition which we thought could further support our efforts in advancing our island with regards to its energy transition.

How did you prepare your application?

The application was prepared with the invaluable support of the local Ministry of Economy and Development, which provided us with all the necessary information, and followed closely the progress of our application. We also benefitted from and really appreciated the support of the TILOS project consortium partners that in collaboration with the committed employees of Tilos Municipality prepared a strong proposal.

What was it like to win the award?

We take great pride in winning this award, which stands as another recognition for the accomplishments of our island in the clean energy and environment protection sector. Tilos and its people remain faithful to the vision of sustainable development for the island, welcoming innovation and producing inspiring results for small enterprises and for addressing the problems of the most vulnerable island regions in Europe. 

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning this award served as motivation for the local Municipality, employees and the broader Tilos community to continue their hard work and remain dedicated to the vision of energy autonomy for the island of Tilos. As with the two prestigious EUSEW 2017 Awards, the EEPA 2019 award will also contribute to our efforts to communicate the success stories of our island to a wider audience, making Tilos an attractive destination for all Europeans.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

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

What are your plans for the future?

We aim to continue our vision of sustainable development and clean energy autonomy. Our next steps will be to deepen renewable energy integration on the island in collaboration with local prosumers and through the gradual introduction of Green Electromobility.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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Another category another European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) 2019 winner! This week we are discovering the story behind HealthTech Nordic, the winner of ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business.

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 270 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

We spoke to Margareta Wallentén from the project team to discover the story behind this winning project.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
I received a general email from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Tillväxtverket, (the Swedish EEPA coordinator) informing us about the EEPA and requesting us to apply. We had never heard about EEPA before and were not even aware that the SME Assembly or EEPA existed.

How did you prepare your application?
Just before applying for EEPA, we had been requested to apply for the RegioStar Award, so we used that application as a base and updated it with more recent information and specific aspects relevant to EEPA. Overall the application process was very smooth, and the hardest part was actually getting the recommendation letter signed by the right person at the Swedish Agency of Innovation, Vinnova.

What was it like to win the award?
Amazing! It was really nerve-wracking sitting in the audience and listen to the presentations of the three category finalists. Both we and the project from the Netherlands were convinced that the Romanian project would win, their film was so good! When we heard our project announced as the winner we couldn’t believe it!

As I was standing on the podium giving my Thank You speech I just blacked out and completely forgot the name of my project colleague standing next to me. We have worked together for almost 2 years and her name was totally gone. I almost panicked there and then, on stage, so I just admitted that I had forgotten her name! Looking back at the recording I realise that the ‘eternity’ when I blacked out was really just a second or two.

After the ceremony so many people came up to me and thanked me for being me on stage, displaying happiness, surprise and passion and for giving them a reason to laugh at this otherwise very formal event.

Overall it was an amazing evening and experience.

How did winning the award impact your work?
I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch.

It has also helped on a practical level with our new funding application to Interreg ÖKS, who also congratulated us on our win.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?
Our advice is to just apply! Applying gives good visibility to your project, from clients, financiers, politicians and other stakeholders. It also made our six project partners come together and focus on this goal, the application, and realising how much we have achieved so far. What the EEPA prize will bring in the long run we don’t know yet, we will have to wait and see.

What are your plans for the future?
HealthTech Nordic applied for continued financing from the Interreg ÖKS budget in the category Job Creation, and we recently found out that we have been successful and received the financing to continue our work with our growing community. With the funding we are able to continue as planned, supporting our members so they can grow and thereby create new jobs – all while also facilitating better health worldwide.

We have a community of more than 270 startups in the healthtech sector and will continue to support them as much as we can as the disruptive change of the digitalisation of healthcare has just begun.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Improving the Business Environment

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Onto the next category! Today we are meeting the 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Award winner of the “Improving the Business Environment” category, Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes from Spain. The project was recognised for its work in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement.

Since 2015, the City of Valladolid has adopted specific measures to promote and facilitate the participation of SMEs in public sector contracts. The city adapted contracts to the capacity of SMEs, allowing them to acquire valuable experience and credibility that could be re-used when competing in other tenders from other awarding authorities. According to municipal data, the awarding of contracts to SMEs is twice the national and European average, reaching 75% of contracts awarded in 2016 and 2017, and even 81% in 2018, with 51% of the total amount of the municipal expense managed through contracts awarded to SMEs.

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

Our desire to facilitate SME participation in public procurement led us to carry out several activities with the General Subdirectory of SMEs of the Ministry of Industry of the Government of Spain. As such, they informed us about the EEPA competition and encouraged us to participate.

How did you prepare your application?

Since 2016 our work surrounding the improvement of social efficiency in municipal public sector contracts has been under evaluation, and in response to that we put into place procedures to ensure that all awarded SMEs were up to the highest standard. This particular work helped us to prepare our EEPA application and finding the level of detail required. We also drew on past experience and collaborative work with local companies which allowed us to get the support of different local business associations for our EEPA candidacy.

What was it like to win the award?

It was tremendously exciting, as we did not expect it! It was already a huge achievement for us to have passed the national phase and be nominated for the EEPA jury shortlist. We knew that our project was different from past category winners, which tended to be specifically aimed at the creation or development of new companies as opposed to our project which involves indirect support to existing companies. But luckily for us the Jury recognised the impact of our public procurement system on companies and how it allows them to develop their potential as a public supplier, be more competitive and innovative, and receive fair and fast payment for their work.

Winning an EEPA showed us that our path is the right one and implements one of the objectives of public procurement in Europe, as stated by the Commission and the European Parliament in the three Contracting Directives of 2014.  We hope that our win can also serve as an example to others with similar projects to keep going and inspire contracting authorities in particular to undertake similar SME-friendly measures.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award has put a spotlight on our work and the change that we are trying to bring about for SME involvement in public procurement. The prize not only represents recognition of the teamwork and effort that went into the project, but also that this work has a positive effect on sustainable business development and thus on employment generation.

We have received congratulations and encouragement from fellow colleagues, family and friends, and have also been mentioned in the local media which is quite exciting. It is also nice to see the City Council being recognised as an organisation and being praised for some of the valuable work it does.

It is a shame that the national media has hardly mentioned the award, which has limited its effect in bringing the issue of SME involvement in public procurement to the authorities that need to be made aware.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

Getting European-level recognition for your work is hugely satisfying, both professionally and personally. But above all it allows the organization in which you work to become more visible in the business and social sphere, with an image of commitment to innovation and sustainable development.

The SME Assembly experience is another great part of EEPA, and allows you to meets other projects and people from across the European Union. It opens your mind to new opportunities and ideas, all within a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

What are your plans for the future?

Internally, we will continue to improve the system based on experience and evaluation, as well as on the ideas and experiences of other entities. Externally, we will try to spread our work and methodology throughout the European Union. We have prepared guides to help other contracting authorities easily incorporate SME involvement in public procurement and to spread awareness about how important it is for SMEs to have opportunities to work with the public sector through contracts. This will allow SMEs to become more competitive and innovative, without incurring more public spending, which highlights our slogan for SMEs: “Don’t subsidise me, buy me”.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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Ready to meet our next European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winner? Meet IDEA Innovation Centre & Incubator – Accelerator for Start-ups from Cyprus, the winner of Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills!

IDEA is an innovation centre and incubator and acts as an accelerator for startups. In order to invest in entrepreneurial skills, IDEA undertakes a cluster of activities that focus on providing an entire spectrum of business support, positively altering perceptions of entrepreneurship, facilitating cross-sector cooperation, promoting Cyprus as an innovation hub, developing investment networks, promoting volunteering, and ensuring entrepreneurship is open to all regardless of gender, age or ability. Social inclusion is put into practice through inclusive entrepreneurship, specifically opening doors to entrepreneurs with special needs. To date, IDEA has developed 48 New Businesses and created over 70 new jobs.

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

In 2018 our Cypriot Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy informed all of our national institutions about the competition. We applied back in 2018 and went on to become two of the national winners and participate in the SME Assembly in Graz. We were so impressed by the magnitude of the organisation, the valuable knowledge gained and the very focused networking opportunities, that we decided to apply again in 2019, and really showcase how our project could bring valuable, win-win relationships for both us and our European partners.

How did you prepare your application?

The ‘preparation’ for the application was our intense activity over the past four years. We needed to organise all the information and experience that we had gathered to demonstrate the extent of our activity, our commitment and the EEPA values that it represents. At this point, we were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide their own testimony for our work.  

Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team closer and boosted our confidence. It also brought our collaborators closer to us and their support was incredible!

What was it like to win the award?

The award made the whole of Cyprus proud! It proved that it is not the size of the country that matters, but the ambition, vision and extent of collaboration that count. Through our win we inspired confidence and showed the rest of Cyprus that we can achieve great things in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. We proved that by applying the values of sharing, giving-back and creating opportunities, the benefit comes back to all of us involved. Winning this Award is a noble endorsement from our European Family.   

Being in Helsinki and experiencing the moment was amazing, and even though not all of our team could make it to Helsinki we were all there together in spirit. This illustrates another beautiful side of Europe: In the same way that it brings businesses together, it brings people together, and we are grateful for this.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning an EEPA has given us a lot of publicity in national press, across both printed and digital channels. We have also received congratulations from the government, business associations and from so many people. Most importantly, we made our partners and supporters proud, and we would like to especially mention the visionaries at the Bank of Cyprus, that believed and supported IDEA since its inception.

For us, the IDEA team, who invest a significant amount of personal time and voluntary work into the IDEA project, being the winners of a prestigious EEPA is a powerful motivation to continue our work and keep aiming higher.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

At IDEA, we believe that setting very ambitious targets is motivating, drives us to achieve more and brings out the best in us. Winning an EEPA is a very ambitious target therefore; we encourage institutions with intense, comprehensive and passionate activity to chase it! When you prepare for an EEPA it is a chance to demonstrate the true extent of your efforts and activity, as well as a valuable opportunity for international collaboration.

What are your plans for the future?

IDEA really strives to create an innovative culture and form a cluster of activities to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in our small country through partnerships and hard work. We have just opened our 5th cycle for new startups and will continue towards the creation of viable businesses with higher focus on their extroversion.

At the same time, we aim to strengthen the business innovation bond between Cyprus and our European partners, and exploit the unique position of Cyprus at the cross-roads of three continents. We are proud to belong to the European family and are determined to transform Cyprus into a regional innovation hub, and a bridge between Asia, Africa and Europe.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

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    • EEPA 2020 Compendium November 26, 2020
      One of the highlights of this year’s SME Assembly 2020 was the finals of the 14th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) which took place on Monday 16 November. The EEPA recognise the best of the best, with six individual category awards, 1 Grand Jury Prize and Special Mentions. We got see all […]
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    • European Small and Mid-Cap Awards – 2020 winners November 24, 2020
      This year at the SME Assembly 2020 the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) joined forces with the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards to bring you a bigger awards ceremony with more outstanding projects and initiatives to highlight. The European Small and Mid-Cap Awards aim to promote best practices and to highlight the best European Small […]
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    • SME Assembly 2020 – Day 2 November 18, 2020
      The second and final day of the SME Assembly 2020 was opened by Shona Murray, who brought together all of the conclusions and thought provoking ideas from throughout Day 1 and entered into conversation with renowned economist Maja Göpel. In her keynote speech, Maja Göpel stressed how humanity plays a huge factor in economic success […]
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    • SME Assembly 2020 – Day 1 November 17, 2020
      The first day of the SME Assembly 2020 opened with an address from Minister Peter Altmaier, who reflected on the problems SMEs have faced during the COVID pandemic and emphasised that liquidity assistance has been provided efficiently so far but needs to continue. He also discussed the recovery plan for Europe and discussed the German […]
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    • Schumpeter Lecture with Joseph Stiglitz at the SME Assembly 2020 November 16, 2020
      Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz says, “We need to transform our economic system from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables and to do that we need rapid innovation” and calls for a new partnership between the public and the private sector. This year’s Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture was given by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel […]
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    • European Enterprise Promotion Awards – Class of 2020 November 16, 2020
      Today during the yearly SME Assembly, the most important event for small and medium enterprises in Europe, the European Commission announced the winners of the 2020 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The initiative rewards entities promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses at national, regional and local level. The 2020 winners are as follows: The Grand Jury […]
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    • SME Assembly 2020 – The programme November 12, 2020
      Only a few more days until the SME Assembly 2020! Don’t forget to register for the event in advance and get ready to enjoy the online event on Monday 16 November and Tuesday 17 November. The SME Assembly always brings a variety of workshops, masterclasses, expert panels and roundtables as well as focused sessions with […]
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    • Pact for Skills launched by Commissioners Schmit and Breton November 11, 2020
      The original press release is available in the Commission Press Corner. Commissioners Schmit and Breton officially launched the Pact for Skills on 10 November during the fifth edition of the European Vocational Skills Week 2020, organised by the European Commission in partnership with the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. Europe’s skill needs are affected […]
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    • What is on the 2020 programme? – Virtual Reality and Youth Essay Competition final November 5, 2020
      The SME Assembly 2020 is getting closer and still accepting registrations. Make sure that you don’t miss out on the online edition taking place from 16-17 November and register now to secure your place. This year’s programme promises to be high-level and diverse with many famous faces such as Peter Altmaier, Minister for Economic Affairs […]
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