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Archive for ‘Promoting Enterprise News’

MEAINDEX – An online toolbox for business entrepreneurs

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The MEAINDEX platform, an online toolbox for business entrepreneurs, was initiated in September 2015, and was then launched during the Maltese edition of the European SME Week. This platform then evolved into an online directory which acts as an SME hub and facilitates SME understanding of the local business ecosystem. The online portal officially went live in June 2018, and is both endorsed and supported by the Commissioner for Simplification within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, and the Malta Communications Authority together with a number of collaborative entities.

The platform is run by the Malta’s Employer’s Association and supported by various Maltese institutions and authorities, including Malta Enterprise, the Family Businesses Office and the Malta Office of the European Commission.

What does the tool do?

The online toolbox provides accessible information for potential entrepreneurs as well as existing business actors in Malta. It explains the bureaucracy they will encounter, guides entrepreneurs through the necessary steps to set up their business, and helps individuals and companies identify relevant entities and individuals to help them on their business journeys.

The tool also offers additional practical information on trade licenses, updated legislation and the development of policies. It is also a resource for SMEs to consults relevant statistics, both at European and local level. Finally, the tool also acts as an address book, and currently has over 173 individual entities registered within its database.

This online platform offers SMEs solutions and allows them to navigate the bureaucracy of starting an enterprise with all of the necessary support and connections.

Visit the toolbox here.

The future of physiotherapy – Virgílio Bento

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we meet entrepreneur Virgílio Bento. Virgílio is from Portugal and is the founder of  SWORD Health, a company working to change the future of physiotherapy. Today he shares with us a snapshot of his entrepreneurial story and his “secret of success”.

I became an entrepreneur in 2012 when I finished my PhD. It was clear to me that becoming an entrepreneur would be a more impactful use of my knowledge as opposed to staying in academia. It was then that I began my journey with SWORD Health. The company is building the future of physical therapy by combining AI with high-precision motion tracking sensors. This allows our patients to have access to high-quality physiotherapy without having to leave their homes.

The inspiration for the idea was personal and came from my family’s struggle to get high-quality physical therapy in a very difficult moment of our lives. Both my own personal experience as well as those of the SWORD Health patients and their families is what drives me to do better and achieve more. The company mission has remained the same from the beginning, to democratise the access to high quality physical therapy services with our digital therapists, regardless of the economic or social status of any patient.

Setting up my own business has taught me that talent, resilience and luck are key and you need all three to be successful. My overall ‘secret of success’ is to work smart and work hard, although I do not think it is a ‘secret recipe’; it is an attitude to life. Personally I don’t consider myself successful, and probably never will; there’s always a bigger mountain to climb. You also need to be prepared to make mistakes. I have not failed yet; but the time will come. Failure is not about when, but how one deals with it.

Being an entrepreneur is exciting and unpredictable, so if I could go back to the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I would tell myself to buckle up for one hell of a ride. I believe that the process of innovation is like going into a dark forest and coming out alive on the other side. Despite the inevitable difficulties and challenges of being an entrepreneur, I would advise all potential entrepreneurs to simply persist. It is not going to be easy, but it is well worth it.

Want to learn more about Virgílio’s work? Have a look at the SWORD Health website.

Do you want to be featured on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal? Want to share your entrepreneurial story? Get in touch with us at: promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu 

COSME helps modular building business go big

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CUBESPACE, an SME from the Czech Republic, has been building schools, family houses, sport halls and hotels using the modular building system. In 2017, the company decided to expand and produce rental fleet containers. As CUBESPACE Managing Director Martin Kokta makes clear: “We wanted to start cooperating with foreign investors who want to rent property in the EU. CUBESPACE builds and remains the owner of these buildings (usually offices), and rents them to investors.”

To invest in more properties and attract more investors, CUBESPACE needed a loan.

Equa Bank offers a range of retail and corporate banking services. The bank agreed to lend CUBESPACE Kč35 million (ca. €1.4 million), 50% of which was guaranteed by COSME, the EU programme established to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Thanks to this, CUBESPACE increased its production by half, doubled its number of employees, started 2-shift production and gained access to a wider client pool.

The loan was possible based on a 2016 agreement signed between Equa Bank and the European Investment Fund (EIF). This agreement will allow Equa bank to provide Kč1.8 billion (ca. €66.5 million) in loans to Czech SMEs over 2 years.

Take it from Cubespace, the agreement brings results. As Equa Bank’s Head of Business Banking Department Vojtěch Záškodný explains: “We have provided loans to about 75 SMEs, backed by the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility so far. Many of the clients would not have reached the requirements had it not been for the guarantees provided by the EIF.”

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: access to finance website.

Read the original article on the COSME website

MSME Day 2018 – The Youth Dimension

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This year the annual MSME (Micro, Small-Medium Enterprises) Day was celebrated on 27 June and was dedicated to youth. This year the main event focused on youth entrepreneurship and youth employment, and aimed to advocate for the importance of MSMEs in youth employment, raise awareness around the skills needed by youth to acquire decent jobs and finally raise awareness around youth entrepreneurship.

The MSME Day may have passed but the campaign is still going and the need to advocate for youth employment and youth entrepreneurship continues. But why the particular focus on youth for 2018? This year the MSME Day campaign communicated about the difficulties that youth face in securing steady jobs and the hurdles faced when entering the workforce. This in itself is a large contributor to the rate of youth unemployment, which currently stands at 15.6% in the EU according to Statista.

In addition to the challenges, MSME DAY 2018 highlights the reasons why a focus on youth would be ultimately beneficial for industry including the fact that young entrepreneurs are more active in high-growth sectors and are more likely to hire other young employees and pay higher wages than ‘older’ firms. Youth-led enterprises can also trigger youth-led job creation, with start-ups accounting for up to 50% of new jobs, and finally young people show higher levels of entrepreneurial initiative than adults do.

Visit the MSME Day 2018 website to find out more and support this campaign to support youth in industry.

The European Commission is also interested in supporting youth and particularly in hearing their voices, which is why the SME Week European Youth Essay Competition was created back in 2016. Two years and two winners later, the competition is back for a third edition and with another question:

“What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

Find out more about the competition and how to enter here on the News Portal.

Corporates and investors to look out for at #EICSummit18

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The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot is inviting the small companies it funds to Berlin on 10-11 September to meet investors and big corporate players. Further investors and corporates will be announced but here are the 10 first names not to be missed in Berlin!

The EIC Innovators Summit will bring together small companies, start-ups, innovators and researchers to meet and find potential partners. The two-day conference will be filled with pitches, workshops, networking and matchmaking opportunities.

From the corporate side the following names will be present:

MicrosoftIberdrolaSolvayFaureciaDOWAirbus

The following investors will also join the event:

Balderton,​ EQT VenturesOmnes CapitalGIMV

Registration and Invitees

The event is on invitation only so check out your mailbox; the event registration code is in your email invitation. The event is primarily designed for selected participants of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot programmes (SME InstrumentFast Track to Innovation and FET-OpenEIC Horizon Prizes), which will receive their invitations as a priority. Other invitees will be considered should there be additional spaces avilable. 

Interested in being considered for the guest list? Participate in one of our pitching contests in front of a Jury of investors and try and catch their attention with your idea! When registering you can apply to one of the pitching sessions: life science, medical devices, software, Industry 4.0, new materials, mobility, green energy, Food/Agritech. Places are limited so be sure to sell your case well!

For more information on the event, visit the event website, and follow #EICSummit18 on Twitter.

Read the full article on the EASME website.

European Innovation Council Fast Track to Innovation: 216 proposals seek funding

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The European Commission received 216 proposals for Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) before the latest cut-off date on 31 May 2018.

Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) is a fully-bottom-up measure that promotes close-to-the-market innovation activities that is open to all types of participants.
As there are no set topics, proposals are classified according to the keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were engineering, health and energy.

The proposals include participants from 31 countries, the biggest number of application were submitted by project proposals coordinated in Spanish, Italian and German applicants. Most of the proposals have four participants.

The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) is now central part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, targeting radically new, breakthrough products, services, processes or business models that open up new markets. FTI promotes close-to-the market innovation activities open to all types of participants. The programme offers € 3 million to consortia composed of 3 to 5 partners including mainly industrial participants.

The next cut-off date for FTI is 23 October 2018.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

Ready to grow with Enterprise Europe Network

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The Enterprise Europe Network is a support network that helps small and medium-sized business (SMEs) grow and innovate internationally. Active in over 60 countries worldwide, the network draws on the skills and services of 3 000 experts from over 600 member organisations to offer business support to SMEs.

Members of the network are varied and include: technology poles, innovation support organisations, universities and research institutes, regional development organisations and chambers of commerce and industry.

Today Promoting Enterprise will be showcasing one specific aspect of the Enterprise Europe Network, their extensive collection of SME Success Stories, which are all available on their website. These Success Stories come from across European Union Member States and COSME countries, and highlight the diversity of innovative businesses in need of financial and business support.

Have look through the Success Stories catalogue and look out for the individual companies across our social media!

Not following us yet? Head on over to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to stay up to date on all Promoting Enterprise activities.

Have your say – EYE2018 begins tomorrow

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The European Youth Event (EYE) 2018 is almost here! Tomorrow on 1 June 2018, over 8 000 young Europeans will come together in Strasbourg to discuss the future of Europe with European decision makers.

The EYE 2018 will feature over 300 activities over the course of two days and will be covered by the EYE Reporters, a team of young journalists chosen especially for the event. This year the event will focus around five main themes:

  • Young and old: Keeping up with the digital revolution
  • Rich and poor: Calling for a fair share
  • Apart and together: Working out for a stronger Europe
  • Safe and dangerous: Staying alive in turbulent times
  • Local and global: Protecting our planet

Have a look at the programme to find out more about the sessions.

How can you be a part of the event?

Not able to attend EYE 2018 but still want to make your voice heard? This year you can! This event is a chance for all young Europeans, those attending and those unable to attend, to voice their opinions. In order to ensure that everyone has that opportunity the EYE will be interacting with online participants as well as the attendees.

The top activities will be live streamed via Facebook live, as well as the European Parliament Multimedia website. Questions will be taken from both participants in the room, and those joining via the live stream. You can also participate via the hashtag #EYE2018 across all social media to have your say on the discussed topics.

There will also be an announcement about the SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2018 during the event, so stay tuned to find out what it is!

This year also sees the launch of the new EYE2018 app, which is free to download from both the App Store and Google Play. The app will allow you to be a part of various aspects of the event and features an ‘ideas wall’ for participants to post their thoughts and opinions.

For more information on EYE 2018 visit the official website and don’t forget to get involved and have your say!

SME Instrument companies take home the gold

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What can the SME Instrument do for you? The Instrument, promoted by the European Innovation Council is able to provide support through funding and access to expertise for SMEs looking to grow and innovate. Not only can the support lead to direct success, but can also contribute later down the line as was the case for companies Radisurf and Applied Nano Surfaces. Radisurf took home the prize for the most innovative company and Applied Nanosurfaces won best pitch at an exclusive brokerage event promoted by the European Innovation Council pilot in the world leading industry trade show in Germany. After a very demanding selection process, 70 SME Instrument funded companies were selected to pitch their ideas and vision for the future of industry, under the motto ‘Industry 4.0 and Smart Factory solutions’.

The event was organised by the EIC SME Instrument Business Acceleration Services, the Enterprise Europe Network and NBank, as part of a service promoting deals and business ventures between upcoming SMEs funded by the European Innovation Council pilot and corporate leaders.

Learn more about the winning companies:

Radisurf is developing and producing a specialised nanocoating for direct, strong, and tight adhesion between hard materials and polymer materials called Radibond. Radibond is a patented methodology and formulation for producing a nanometer thin, strongly bonded coating on metals, glass, ceramic, or carbon. With the Radibond coating on your materials, you can apply the polymer material through direct overmolding or a variety of standard welding techniques and obtain strong metal-polymer assemblies.

Applied Nano Surfaces has developed unique technologies to treat the surfaces of mechanical parts to lower friction losses, increase durability and minimise the wear in industrial machines and equipment. ANS products consist of: ANS Triboconditioning®, a mechano-chemical surface finishing process that improves the tribological properties of components made of steel and cast iron, ANS TriboNite®, an advanced thermal processing and coating technology that combines the advantages of nitriding processes with the superior properties of solid lubricant coatings and ANS Tricolit®, a series of thermocured surface coatings serving to reduce friction and wear, and suitable for use on a variety of materials.

For more information and the full article, visit the EASME website

European Innovation Council pilot to support 257 SMEs with 13 million EUR

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The EU will support 257 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 31 countries who aim to get their innovations faster to the market. The companies have been selected in the latest round of the SME Instrument, which is part of the recently launched European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. The funding of €12.65 million in total comes from Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.

Examples of the projects selected to receive EU funding include solar street lights, software that uses augmented reality to help industrial plants monitor their production chain, a diagnosis tool for sleep apnoea, an innovative mobile payment technology, a custom-made paint vending machine and a wrapping machine for sustainable packaging.

In this phase of the SME Instrument (the so-called Phase 1), each project will receive €50 000 to draft a business plan. There are 253 projects in total as several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also get three days of free coaching and business acceleration services.

Most companies selected for funding work in the field of health, engineering and information and communication technology (ICT). Most companies are based in Spain (45), Italy (28) and Israel (23).

The European Commission received 2009 proposals for this first Phase 1 cut-off of the SME Instrument this year. The next application deadline for SME Instrument Phase 1 is in May 2018.

Applications for phase 1 or phase 2 can be submitted at any time, as the SME Instrument is managed as a permanently open call with several cut off dates per year. Applications are evaluated as soon as there are submitted.

For more information, read the full article here and consult the Horizon 2020 online participant manual.

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    • MEAINDEX – An online toolbox for business entrepreneurs October 9, 2018
        The MEAINDEX platform, an online toolbox for business entrepreneurs, was initiated in September 2015, and was then launched during the Maltese edition of the European SME Week. This platform then evolved into an online directory which acts as an SME hub and facilitates SME understanding of the local business ecosystem. The online portal officially […]
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    • The future of physiotherapy – Virgílio Bento September 18, 2018
      Today on Promoting Enterprise we meet entrepreneur Virgílio Bento. Virgílio is from Portugal and is the founder of  SWORD Health, a company working to change the future of physiotherapy. Today he shares with us a snapshot of his entrepreneurial story and his “secret of success”. I became an entrepreneur in 2012 when I finished my PhD. It […]
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