Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Archive for ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards – winners’

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship – ‘Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit’ Winner 2018

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 may be over, but Promoting Enterprise is back with a series of winner interviews! Today we begin with Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, which was won by “Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” from Greece.

“Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” highlights blue entrepreneurship and economy, which cover the sustainable use of the sea and its resources for economic development. The Municipality of Piraeus has implemented several blue entrepreneurship actions including the BlueGrowth innovation competition, the BLUACT network, the Blue Development Strategy, two European programs and the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Centre for Blue Development. The goal is to create new sustainable businesses and jobs in the Blue Economy and to promote a new innovative business ecosystem. So far the project has produced 20 new startups, 45 new jobs and 55 networking events.

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

The Municipality of Piraeus first heard about the EEPA national competition in February 2017 through a call launched by the Greek Ministry of Economy & Development (General Secretariat of Industry) as EEPA National Coordinator. At the time, the Piraeus Municipality chose not to compete and instead take the time to strengthen and document our candidacy in order to win the 2018 award, which is exactly what happened!

How did you prepare your application?

Every application of this kind should focus on the project’s goals, team, timing, and deliverables—and telling the story of the project correctly requires detailed planning and management. When preparing an application it is important to present the project scope and clearly define the objectives and steps, which is what we did throughout our preparation process. In addition the experienced and highly committed employees of Piraeus Municipality who planned and implemented the “blue projects” helped the candidature preparation team, which was extremely helpful and insightful.

What was it like to win the award?

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.

How did winning the award impact your work?

The most obvious part for us was the satisfaction of knowing that we are on the right path regarding our local development policy for the creation of new competitive and sustainable jobs in local level. The EEPA jury is well-known and reputable as an awarding body and thus winning an EEPA gave special credit to our efforts and recognition for the work our team have been doing. In addition, winning the award is an opportunity to take the time to look at what we have achieved, and where we want to take our blue growth policy in the future. It is a chance to take a step back and see how much we have accomplished and how we will motivate our municipality team to carry on working towards the future.

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

Any organisation that believes its project has a beneficial impact on promoting entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional or local level should enter EEPA. It is a great opportunity to make your project known to a wider audience, to have insight into similar ones running across Europe and to be part of a pan-European business promotion environment.

EEPA 2019 candidates should extensively document their activities, carefully assess the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of their initiatives, and present concrete, measurable and usable results. The potential of transferring the project to other regions in Europe is an important asset too. Overall, do not hesitate to participate in EEPA if you have a significant entrepreneurship promotion practice to share.

What are your plans for the future?

Regarding the promotion of entrepreneurship in the blue economy there are currently two ongoing flagship projects in Piraeus Municipality’s growth planning:

The first one involves the adaptation and effective transfer (re-use) of our Blue Growth Initiative (BGI) to other economic environments and countries through URBACT Programme. BGI helps young entrepreneurs realise innovative concepts and create jobs in Blue Economy. To this end we formed the BluAct transnational Transfer Network, the added value of which is to introduce and mainstream the BGI in the policy setting context of other seven European cities. Our goal is to expand and consolidate the BluAct network in the next two years.

Blue Growth Digital Innovation HUB (BG-DIH) aims to provide information, education and training services through the use of advanced technological equipment. It also seeks to promote experimentation in the production of innovative products and services by pupils, students and young people – potential entrepreneurs in the Blue Economy sector. BG-DIH is in the preparation phase and will be fully operational in spring 2019.

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – ‘Class of 2018’

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is now over, and after months of waiting we now know which projects were crowned best in Europe. Congratulations to all of the winners in the EEPA ‘Class of 2018’, your hard work has paid off! Have a look below to find out more about this year’s winners, and click on each project to see their video presentation from the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria. 

Grand Jury Prize: Lean Landing, Denmark

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, Greece 

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills: i2c STARTacademy, Austria

Improving the Business Environment: Open Innovation 4.0., Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme, Finland

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, Portugal

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship: ProjectTogether, Germany

Stay tuned for the publication of the 2018 Compendium of winners brochure (in English) to find out more about this year’s winning projects, and don’t forget to have a look at the EEPA 2018 ceremony photos here.

Keep following right here on the Portal and across social media (Twitter and Facebook) for winner interviews and updates.

EEPA 2018 – Meet the European shortlist

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 2018 EEPA shortlist has been finalised. After a successful EEPA 2018 jury meeting on 26 September, the jury made their selection from all of the national candidates to choose the top projects in each category. Congratulations to all of the selected projects and see you at the EEPA finals this November in Graz, Austria!

Category 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Belgium: De Makersrepubliek: Handmade in Brugge, The Box en Turbo

Estonia: Superheroes

Greece: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship

Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Austria: i2c STARTacademy

Ireland: ACORNS – Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups

Lithuania: Entrepreneurship Academy

Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment

Romania: Start up Nation Romania

Spain: Open Innovation 4.0.

United Kingdom: Anchoring economic growth in the Tees Valley

Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Bulgaria: Supporting the internationalization and digitalization of SMEs in Bulgaria and Europe

Denmark: Lean Landing

Estonia: Development of the Estonian timber sector as the biggest exporter of wooden houses in the European Union

Finland: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme

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

Netherlands: HAS Food Experience

Portugal: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market

Slovakia: Green bicycle

Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

France: Initiative remarquable

Germany: ProjectTogether

Ireland: Laois Start Your Own Business Programmes

Have a look at all of the national winners from the six different categories:

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

 

Business Generator – Where are they now?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) 2017 winner Business Generator, from Sweden, specifically project coordinator Annette Rhudin. The European Enterprise Promotion Awards reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.

The “Investing in entrepreneurial skills” category winner shares the future of Business Generator and what winning an EEPA prize and participating in the EEPA process meant to them.

In an ideal world all European issues would be looked at from a European perspective, like those of SMEs being considered by the European Commission. Through initiatives like the EEPA competition, SMEs have been identified and celebrated as the backbone of European economy and key sources of employment.

The EEPA competition also brings out certain issues that several SMEs face, and the support that projects, like Business Generator, are offering to entrepreneurs and enterprises across Europe. One thing that stood out for me, that has certainly been an issue for Business Generator, is disparity between regions and the need to adapt different strategies. Some regions are experiencing growth and have access to funds and resources, whereas others are struggling to grow and have little to no access to the same resources, like my own region of Värmland in Sweden. The EEPA competition is a fantastic opportunity to see what is going on in Europe, to meet others striving to help SMEs and ultimately gain visibility for the work you do.

The future of Business Generator remains uncertain, and despite coming “top of the class” in Europe, will not continue, for now. The Business Generator team had several meetings at both regional and national level, but the budgets have already been defined and there is no surplus to fund the continuation of Business Generator. Municipal budgets have also been defined, and due to how tight they are, unfortunately there is no room for Business Generator. This is not to say that there is no interest in Business Generator, but for the project to continue interest alone is not enough.

The project itself is new and innovative, and challenges old ways of thinking. Whilst this is the way forward for SMEs it is a daunting investment to make, and when budgets are tight means that it is less likely to receive support. This also represents the current situation in Sweden, where SMEs receive almost no government research and development funding, which is largely distributed to universities, large companies and the public sector.

In comments from the Swedish National Audit Office, SMEs and innovation were recognised “as keys to Sweden’s future growth”, yet the body also stated that only “a minor part of total state aid to the business sector is directed at R&D and innovations as well as at small and medium-sized enterprises”. Whilst this is somewhat disheartening I believe that the solution is to take care of SMEs, and show this through concrete actions.

I hope that there is a future for Business Generator and would be interested to know more about the situation in other countries regarding SME funding. Currently in Sweden, SME’s receive 3,7 % of the state aid, but deliver four out of five new jobs. My wish is that the funding statistics will change and that SMEs can continue to deliver jobs and receive the support they need both at national and European level.

Whilst the Business Generator journey may have temporarily come to an end, I would like to thank the European Commission, for helping to highlight the good work that is going on across Europe through the EEPA competition. Finally, my message to potential future applicants, apply for EEPA 2018, this is an important opportunity and you should take it!

Interested in finding out what happened to some of the companies helped by the Business Generator? Come back soon to find out right here on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal.

Watch the ‘winning moment’ for Business Generator from EEPA 2017:

What is it like to win? EEPA 2017 winners share their experiences

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Past winners have shared their tips for how to prepare for an EEPA submission, and their application journeys and lessons. But what does it feel like to be announced the winner of an EEPA category after putting in so much hard work? How did our past winners feel when they were recognised as some of the best projects in Europe? Today our 2017 winners reflect on their winning moments and what it was like to win the award.

 “Of course it was a surprise! Within an impressive group of finalists which included investor programmes, incubators and accelerators with a long track record, we felt like the underdog. We don’t have a long track record yet, although we have enough data to have an evidence-based method to help innovators. But still we were the new kids on the block, with a crazy new kind of entrepreneurial programme, involving festivals. So for us, winning was an encouragement to keep going and support other regions to make festivals part of their innovations ecosystem.”

Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017

“It was incredible! It was an amazing recognition and such a great source of motivation for us to continue our work! I later realised that winning and being identified in front of everyone was really important, because afterwards I was approached by several people who wanted to know more about the project. It was really interesting to be able to speak about our work with so many different people.”

ADIE – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship Winner 2017

“When we take part in awards of this kind we always want to win or, at least, be a nominee. Due to the time it takes to prepare all of the necessary documentation we rarely take part in these kinds of competitions. The last time we participated in something similar was in 2012 when we participated in an EU Award after being nominated by Austria. This time around, with EEPA, it was even better as not only were we nominated but ended up winning in our category!”

Internationalisation 2015 – 2020 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business Winner 2017

“It got my heart racing! We arrived in Tallinn without knowing at all what would happen and for us it was a big surprise. It is an honour to receive this award and we want to share it with everybody who made it possible!”

Reempresa – Improving the business environment Winner 2017

“We really wanted to win the European prize, but just because we thought we were the best project didn’t mean that the jury would think the same thing. When Business Generator was announced as the winner, I had a pulse of 1000! Friends who have seen the video of us winning say that I look unmoved, but really I was shocked. Just hearing Sweden mentioned with our project was incredible, I was representing our country!”

Business Generator – Investing in entrepreneurial skills Winner 2017

“When you find out that you are shortlisted of course you start to think “what if…”, but we didn’t expect to win. We were really excited when we did win because it was a complete surprise!”

Enterprise Village – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit Winner 2017

Would you like the chance to have a ‘winning moment’? Apply for EEPA 2018 before it is too late! Check your national deadlines and read more about past winners.

Watch all of the EEPA ‘winning moments’ and highlights from the SME Assembly 2017 here:

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Import Promotion Desk – Special Mention 2017

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Time for another testimonial from a 2017 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) special mention!

Today’s EEPA interview takes us to Germany to meet the recipients of an EEPA 2017 Special Mention, theImport Promotion Desk (IPD). IPD share with us their tips for making your EEPA submission stand out by drawing on their own experiences, and their plans for the future of the project. 

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

We first heard about the awards scheme from a colleague and decided to enter because of the good reputation of the award and the chance for publicity for our work.

How did you prepare your application?

We did not do any specific activities in preparation for our EEPA submission. We are convinced of what we do and therefore thought that a good, concise and accurate description of our constant activities was special enough!

What was it like to receive a special mention?

We were extremely proud to receive the special mention, and we certainly did not expect it. The recognition by a neutral authority such as the EU Commission was very important for us as it confirmed our strategic approach, thus giving our project credibility and validity. In addition, our participation in the EEPA scheme attracted considerable attention and raised the awareness level of IPD once again.

The awards ceremony was an opportunity to get to know other interesting companies and to exchange ideas and experiences with many entrepreneurs from different countries. Although we exchanged with start-ups from different sectors we are not working in, the ideas they have were very inspiring. Additionally, we got really good feedback from many different angles.

How did receiving a special mention impact your work?

The media coverage was not very extensive, but this was probably due to it being quite difficult to describe what the special mention is exactly. However, the awareness within our network was extremely positive. After all, it is also a recognition of our good cooperation with our partners as well as the IPD team.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

Entering EEPA is a good chance to be compared with other projects, but it means that you really need to make sure that your submission and the overall uniqueness of your project stand out. As such, the award submission should be prepared very carefully, make sure your collected data and documents are well-structured and easy to follow. Furthermore, best-practice examples should be well-presented to highlight the work that you have been doing.

In our case we focused on highlighting the core competence of IPD, which is supporting exports with a focus on development. We provide exporting companies in developing and threshold countries with the knowledge and competences they need to increase their competitiveness on the international market. We also included our focus on sustainability, in terms of enabling exporters, developing better access to the EU market for external countries and selective support for the export of in-demand products.

In your application be sure to clearly indicate your strengths and competencies. For us this meant highlighting our good knowledge of the product demand due to our strong network of relevant sector associations (and through them many importers and wholesalers) in Germany (and Europe). We also continued to demonstrate our competencies by describing how we use our knowledge and network. We explained our focus on demand, and how this ensures that the enterprises achieve long-term sales on the export market. When selecting products to support, we carefully check using market studies and demand analyses which products are gaining importance on the German and European markets.

Overall, convince the national and European jury to view your project as a European best practice that deserves to be rewarded for all of the hard work that you have put in!

What are your plans for the future?

Our goal is to integrate developing countries more effectively into global trade, and thus make a substantial contribution towards sustainable economic development in these countries. Many exporters from developing countries are only denied access to the EU market because they lack knowledge of the legal standards and import regulations, the required certifications and above all the contacts with European traders. This is exactly where the IPD comes in. We offer exporters specifically selected information and training on export marketing and advise them on the whole quality management process and on certification of their products. In addition, the IPD establishes valuable business contacts between the exporters and potential customers through specialist trade fairs.

Our vision is to broaden our project to more developing countries and sectors so that more companies can profit from our services.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: ADIE – ‘Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship’ Winner 2017

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonials continue! Today’s testimonial takes us to France to meet the 2017 winner of the ‘Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship’ category, ADIE (Association for Economic Rights Initiatives). ADIE is an association which helps people without access to conventional banking services start-up their business, thanks to their initiatives like Microfranchise Solidaire, the first operator of microcredit in France. Today they share with us their EEPA 2017 journey, and their advice for anyone planning to enter the 2018 edition.

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

We heard about the competition through the French Entrepreneur Agency (Agence France Entrepreneur) which talked about the national prize and also happens to be an ADIE financial partner. We also already knew about the prize having applied for it several years ago.

We decided to participate this time because we wanted to respond to our financial partner’s request, but also promote our work on a European level. The communication aspect and being on a European platform was an equally important motivating factor.

How did you prepare your application?

We first filled out the selection forms and then went on to contact project supporters. We used our contacts to develop and produce testimonials from those who had been supported by or had supported the project.

What was it like to win the award?

It was incredible! It was an amazing recognition and such a great source of motivation for us to continue our work! The speech that we gave at the SME Assembly was such an exciting and impressive moment, and I really appreciated being in front of a crowd that was so understanding as well as engaged by the work of our project.

I later realised that winning and being identified in front of everyone was really important, because afterwards I was approached by several people who wanted to know more about the project. It was really interesting to be able to speak about our work with so many different people.

How did winning the award impact your work?

ADIE’s victory in the ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ category had two main impacts. Firstly, it created a great sense of pride for all of the involved teams as the large amount of work that we all put in is not always recognised, so it felt good to receive recognition for it.

Secondly, our win had an impact in terms of communication as we shared our win all over social media. This led to a good presence on social media and helped contribute to raising awareness of what we do. However the communication on other platforms, for example those run by French media, was a little limited and we would have liked to have a bit more.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

My advice for future applicants would be to work a little more upstream, and to focus on having good national mobilisation around your project and work. Once this is established this can then be complemented by working with the public entities that transmit the EEPA message and that organise the awards.

What are your plans for the future?

Our objective is to reinforce the project so as to help create new micro franchises, and with them create 3 000 medium term jobs. Our plans also include the securitisation of an economic model which will allow new entrepreneurs to become a part of the project.

To find out more about ADIE, read about them right here in the 2017 compendium, be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here and of course, don’t forget to check out their website!

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

“Internationalisation 2015 – 2020” – ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ Winner 2017

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In celebration of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) returning for another edition in 2018, Promoting Enterprise is bringing you a series of testimonials from the EEPA 2017 winners. Today’s winner – Internationalisation 2015-2020 from ecoplus International, shares with us their story of how they became the 2017 winners in the category ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’.

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

We first heard of the competition via the newsletter of the liaison office of Lower Austria in Brussels as well as via the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. Entering seemed like a good way to present what we do at the regional, national and EU level, and it is always interesting to compete with others! We see competition as a sort of “benchmarking” for what we are doing.

How did you prepare your application?

We did not do anything special in preparation for EEPA, after all we are not “new” in the business – we have more than 10 years’ experience in this field. However, despite our experience we always enjoy opportunities to improve, adapt and innovate. With regards to EEPA we saw that we already had some specific support programmes that corresponded to the EEPA internationalisation category criteria quite well, so we just simply presented the work we have been doing with these programmes.

What was it like to win the award?

When we take part in awards of this kind we always want to win or, at least, be a nominee. Due to the time it takes to prepare all of the necessary documentation we rarely take part in these kinds of competitions. The last time we participated in something similar was in 2012 when we participated in an EU Award after being nominated by Austria. This time around, with EEPA, it was even better as not only were we nominated but ended up winning in our category!

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award resulted in some great media coverage, but as always you have to be proactive. Winning an EU Award can be a good story for local media, but you have to share it with them. We were and continue to be supported by all our partners, but especially by the government of Lower Austria (by the governor herself) – so our advice is to share your award with those who support you throughout all your years of hard work!

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

Firstly, it is always useful to take, from time to time, an “outside view” on what you do, based on the criteria of the EEPA.  Taking part in an EU Award means competing with a lot of other projects – so there is also the chance to learn from others.

Secondly, EEPA is a chance for recognition on an EU level. When applying it is important to ask yourself if others can replicate what you do. Success is always a combination of vision, strategy, trial and error, lessons learnt and results, so be sure to include your project story and journey.

Finally, prepare well! Be aware that it requires quite a lot of work until your documents are “final” (based on the requirements of the EEPA). Advice and help from the national body (in our case the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy) might also be very useful, so make the most of it.

To find out more about Internationalisation 2015-2020 projects, read about them in the 2017 EEPA compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: “Reempresa” – ‘Improving the business environment’ Winner 2017

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Promoting Enterprise is back with yet another EEPA 2017 winner testimonial for you to be inspired by. Today is the turn of Reempresa, winner of the ‘Improving the business environment’ category with their project for ‘re-entrepreneurs’, represented by director Albert Colomer.

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We have participated in the SME Assembly conference for many years and have always been interested in the EEPA awards ceremony because it is a very important event where interesting initiatives for all Europeans are showcased. 

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

Reempresa was started in 2011 and throughout the years we have worked to implement the market for business transfers in Catalonia. Now that we have finished the development phase with great results, we thought that presenting our candidature to the EEPA awards was an opportunity to share our results with all the participating countries and to raise awareness about the importance of facilitating business transfers to support SMEs and to prevent the loss of jobs.

How did you prepare your application?

Reempresa works with a wide network of collaborators. We involved them and asked them to gather all their results and stories to explain them to the rest of Europe. Once we won the Spanish award, we launched a special website and social media campaign to share the award with all our partners, the team and, of course, with all our users who were able to sell and buy their businesses thanks to Reempresa.

What was it like to win the award?

It got my heart racing! We arrived in Tallinn without knowing at all what would happen and for us it was a big surprise. It is an honour to receive this award and we want to share it with everybody who made it possible!

How did winning the award impact your work?

For Reempresa, this award marks a before and after in the organisation! To appear on the EEPA blog and social networks, and the coverage given to us by EuroNews has been very important because it has allowed us to reach all of Europe and has allowed many people and organisations to get to know us. It has definitely helped us to be very motivated and keep working hard in the future!

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

I would recommend working on the tangible results of your projects. Showing that the submitted project has a positive impact on their territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!

What are your plans for the future?

We are currently having talks with many countries to implement this initiative that has worked so well in Catalonia. Together, we hope to build a European business transfer market with the aim of helping European SMEs.

To find out more about Reempresa, read about them right here in the 2017 compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Business Generator – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills Winner 2017

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 2018 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is under way and the search for innovative European projects in the fields of enterprise and entrepreneurship has begun. Continuing the series of testimonials from EEPA 2017, Promoting Enterprise presents the 2017 winner in the category ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’ – Business Generator from Sweden, represented by Anette Rhudin.

How did you first hear about the national competition?

It was the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth that called and asked us to apply.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

Our main motivation for entering was that we wanted more people at the national level to know how we could make difference, and we wanted the national media to write about it. We decided to enter because Business Generator identified a gap in the strategic management process for SME companies, as well as a way to reach SMEs and provide them with useful skills for their daily lives as entrepreneurs. Our intention was to communicate this “gap”, not just in our region, but throughout Sweden. We thought that being National Winners could be a “shortcut” for us, meaning that the Swedish media would address the issue of SMEs and the potential they have in Sweden.

How did you prepare your application?

We spent a lot of time compiling and identifying the reasons behind our project. We wanted to make it easy to understand the complexity of what we do and, of course, to find out what exactly makes us successful.

One of our goals with this project was to actively communicate our results, so preparing the EEPA application was actually very useful and a good way to combine both our communication goal and competition preparation. We interviewed the participating companies and gathered their comments and thoughts about their experience in the project, which was of great help.

What was it like to win the award?

When we found out that we were the national winners we hosted a midsummer party, to inform everyone about the prize that we were competing for and to celebrate our national win. It´s in Swedish, but you can see how emotional everyone was, both laughing and crying. It was a great party! 

We really wanted to win the European prize, but just because we thought we were the best project didn’t mean that the jury would think the same thing. When Business Generator was announced as the winner, I had a pulse of 1000! Friends who have seen the video of us winning say that I look unmoved, but really I was shocked. Just hearing Sweden mentioned with our project was incredible, I was representing our country!

My own experience of the SME Assembly was overwhelming. There were so many people with the same interests, which gave us a lot of input and a chance to see the differences between countries. This experience gave me a lot to think about and made me realise that Sweden still has a lot of work to do. One evening we talked to representatives from Britain who told us about their own situation and how young entrepreneurs are leaving the UK. This conversation in particular really helped us to understand what the work being done by the EU can mean for all the people in Europe.

How did winning the award impact your work?

When we became National Winners there were big articles in our local newspapers, but the national papers wrote nothing. After speaking to national radio I learnt that EU issues are rarely covered in Swedish media due to their complexity. This is a shame because our region of Värmland is classified as one of the poorer growth regions in Sweden, meaning it needs some praise and attention in the Swedish media.

When we won EEPA, social media exploded. It was shared and there was so much gratitude and so many congratulatory messages that we were unable to follow all the threads! In addition, all co-financing municipalities and banks wrote about the win on their websites and social media. Wherever we were, there was always someone telling us how proud they were of our achievement. Even though the Swedish media did not pick up on it as much as we would have hoped, at least people in our sphere seem to really like it and appreciate our efforts.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

The prize itself is valuable, but so is the opportunity to see how projects in other countries deal with the same issues and questions. You can see differences in financial solutions, project launches and how each country has their own solutions and plans, all of which are the best across Europe.

Another thing to think about is communication. I was so impressed with the communication throughout the SME Assembly! It was really professional and each country was provided with perfect PR. However, there must be media in the home country that receives it, and that is where you need to plan before you go the SME Assembly. We experienced something very extraordinary and I am so grateful. All the people we met, all the information we got, all the big ideas we heard about were so interesting. But if I could do it again, I would have planned more beforehand and talked more to those people that could be useful in the future.

If you like to see how it is possible to change things in a society, then EEPA is a perfect event! I can´t see any better way to be exposed to these kinds of solutions and questions than the EEPA competition.

What are your plans for the future?

The project Business Generator ended in December 2017 and unfortunately the owner of the project, Inova, ended at the same time. Business Generator was completed as a project, but was far from ready to “fly” on its own. There is still a lot of work to be done in packing, launching and finding public funds in combination with the participating company’s own financing, in order to create a viable Business Generator. We have other programmes in our region, like mentor programmes which are based on people giving their time for free. Our project charged a very low fee for those involved in the Business Generator, meaning that we became a threat rather than an opportunity.

We were hoping that another organisation would take the concept further, but this has not happened yet. In Värmland there are around 7,540 SMEs, all of which need more support and resources, so even though the future of Business Generator is uncertain I hope there will be a way for our project to come back.

To find out more about Business Generator, read about them right here in the 2017 compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

  • Useful links

  • Tags

  • RSS Promoting Enterprise

    • Over 1750 small businesses seek funding under the EIC SME Instrument January 15, 2019
      The European Commission received 1752 proposals for the European Innovation Council pilot’s SME Instrument Phase 2 before the latest cut-off date on 9 January 2019. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 37 countries submitted proposals. Selected projects will be announced in early March 2019 at the latest. In this phase of the SME Instrument, each project will receive up […]
      promotingenterprise
    • EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship – ‘Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit’ Winner 2018 January 10, 2019
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 may be over, but Promoting Enterprise is back with a series of winner interviews! Today we begin with Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, which was won by “Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” from Greece. “Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” highlights blue entrepreneurship and economy, which cover the sustainable use of the sea […]
      promotingenterprise
    • START2ACT Energy Saving Challenge January 8, 2019
      New year, new resolutions, even for your office! By entering the START2ACT Energy Saving Challenge, you could reduce energy use in your office by up to 20% by using the simple and low cost measures recommended by START2ACT. Entering the challenge only takes a couple of minutes and could result in not only important energy savings, […]
      promotingenterprise
    • The European Gateway for Women’s Entrepreneurship – Share your opinion January 3, 2019
      The European Gateway for Women’s Entrepreneurship (WEgate) is an e-platform launched by the European Commission to support the female entrepreneur community. This e-platform allows female entrepreneurs to connect online, support each other and learn from their collective experience. Despite making up 52% of the total European population, women only account for 34.4% of self-employed citizens […]
      promotingenterprise
    • Youth of Europe – Meet YEC 2018 winner Marija Elena Borg December 27, 2018
      It is time to meet the winner of the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition…Marija Elena Borg! Marija impressed first the jury with her essay on the links between innovation and the holistic growth of organisations, and then went on to win the audience vote when she presented her essay at the SME Assembly 2018 […]
      promotingenterprise
    • SME Assembly 2018 Magazine December 20, 2018
      A digital magazine of the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria. Generating 4,16 trillion EUR of value added and employing 94,8 million people in the non-financial business economy in 2017, SMEs continue to be the most important element of the EU economy. This growth is expected to continue with figures for SMEs in the EU-28 […]
      promotingenterprise
    • Youth of Europe – Meet finalist Ngaio Olsen-Stahl December 18, 2018
      Ready to get to know another finalist of this year’s SME Youth Essay Competition? Let’s meet Ngaio! Ngaio Olsen-Stahl is a passionate Social Science student at the University of Strasbourg, who developed an interest in international relations and comparative politics due to her own mixed cultural heritage from France and New Zealand. She hopes to […]
      promotingenterprise
    • Youth of Europe – Meet finalist Joakim Davidsson December 13, 2018
      Promoting Enterprise is back with exciting interviews from the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition finalists and winner. Today we are getting to know Joakim Davidsson, who wrote a compelling essay on Cooperation and Competition: Steps towards sustainable innovation, in answer to this year’s question: “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more […]
      promotingenterprise
    • SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #8 December 4, 2018
      SME Assembly 2018 – The highlights That’s a wrap…for the SME Assembly 2018! Last week, from 19-21 November, the SME Assembly 2018 took place in Graz, Austria under the Austrian presidency of the EU. The theme for this year’s Assembly was ‘Connect.Share.Innovate’ and saw delegates, SMEs, startups and key policy makers bridging gaps, sharing skills […]
      promotingenterprise
    • EEPA 2018 Compendium November 29, 2018
      The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) celebrated 6 individual category winners, 1 Grand Jury Prize winner and 4 Special Mentions.  All of these highly deserving projects are now available for you to read about in the 2018 EEPA Compendium in English available here. The EEPA compendium Every year, the EEPA compendium is produced […]
      promotingenterprise