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EEPA 2017 Testimonial: “Enterprise Village” – ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ Winner 2017

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back again for 2018, and ready to discover more outstanding European projects in the fields of enterprise and entrepreneurship. In order to help potential applicants, Promoting Enterprise has asked EEPA 2017 winners to share their success stories give advice on how to submit and present an EEPA winning project. Today’s winner  is Enterprise Village from Estonia, the 2017 winners in the category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’.

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

We first found out about the national competition from a colleague that saw it advertised on social media and in a local mailing list.

Seeing as we had just had a successful season and started to build a local track-record, we decided to give it a try. We did not have very high expectations, but we thought that even getting a little positive feedback on our mission would already be a success. Once we made it to the national finals, we started to think about how EEPA could help us with our marketing and also help motivate our team, especially our volunteers.

How did you prepare your application?

We didn’t launch anything special for EEPA, but we did make our video before we sent the application. It was something that had already been planned a long time before, but the EEPA application was definitely good motivation to finally do it!

What was it like to win the award?

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!

How did winning the award impact your work?

An important outcome from winning the award was that it gave us positive attention and resulted in us making some international contacts at the EEPA event. As a result of the international contacts we are actually working on one possible co-project with Cyprus.

The media coverage after the EEPA event was actually pretty low and we were a bit disappointed with the Estonian media. However, Euronews published a story about us before the EEPA event so we got our publicity anyway. Interestingly, we got more overall attention (including media) from abroad rather than from local sources.

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

Do not hesitate, apply! If you are doing the right thing, eventually someone will notice, and sometimes it’s the EEPA jury. 🙂

What are your plans for the future?

Our new programmes, meant for schools, are almost ready to ship to our first users. This means that in addition to visiting our learning center, teachers can also use our programmes at their own schools. In the near future we are also planning to translate our materials into English so as to introduce and expand our method to other countries. In the long term we hope to have several Enterprise Village style learning centers and schools as partners so that our programmes can be used in different European countries.

To find out more about Enterprise Village, 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.

Meet the shortlist! – Who is competing for ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ at EEPA 2017?

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The EEPA 2017 national winners have been announced, and the 2017 shortlist has now been published…but what do we know about the projects competing to win an EEPA 2017 prize? Promoting Enterprise will be introducing you to each project on the shortlist and telling you all about their work over the next few weeks so get ready to find out! Kicking off the introductions are the shortlisted projects of Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, which come from Estonia, Finland and France.

Enterprise Village, MTÜ Ettevõtlusküla – Estonia

Enterprise Village promotes education about economics, entrepreneurship and finance for children between 4 to 18 years old, and their teachers. Through role play games on both IT platforms and in person, players are placed in a simulation where they must divide into groups and run their own companies. Trained facilitators take players through different tasks that require creativity, cooperation, entrepreneurial and financial skills, and are there to encourage players to experiment within the simulation. Different adapted games exist for varying ages and difficulty levels, so as to focus on age-appropriate knowledge and skill sets.

 

Pikkuyrittäjät – Mini company program for primary school, Nuori Yrittäjyys ry (JA Finland) – Finland

The Pikkuyrittäjät programme is a free 18-hour study programme designed for primary schools to encourage children to establish their own mini companies. During the programme, the children develop a business idea, company name, logo, slogan, elevator speech, web pages and finally sell their self-developed products or services to real customers with real money. The children are encouraged to be brave, try new things and discover their own strengths through the program led by specially trained primary school teachers. The program is transferable across schools, and requires only some additional training for the leading teachers.

 

Start’Up Lycée, VISIONARI – France

Start’Up Lycée is an entrepreneurial programme focused on secondary and higher education establishments. It aims to give all students, and youth in general an equal chance at following an entrepreneurial career path. Specifically designed programmes, varying from 2 days to 3 years in length, develop necessary entrepreneurial skills such as creativity, teamwork and digital know-how. Programme participants experience design training, team-building and expert assessment, and have access to specialised coaching. To date Start’Up Lycée has organised 51 educational events, which have benefitted over 3 700 young people, and aimed to facilitate implementation of specialised and tailor-made entrepreneurial programmes in different establishments.

Come back next week to find out about the projects competing in Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills…

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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As the jury decision for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist draws closer it is time for us to meet all of the outstanding projects from across Europe that are competing on European level! Promoting Enterprise will be presenting all of the national winners that are being considered for the European shortlist as well as the categories that they are competing.

This week is the turn of Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, which recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people and women. In 2016 the prize was won by the entrepreneurship stronghold Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat from France.

This year there are 18 projects competing in this category and competition is fierce! Good luck to all the projects and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Croatia: BUDI UZOR®/BE THE ROLE MODEL™

Cyprus: The Future in our hands:  Creating European entrepreneurs

Czech Republic: Jaudelam.cz

Denmark:
Fonden for Entreprenørskab som national, ansvarlig aktør for implementering af entreprenørskab i uddannelserne.

Estonia: Enterprise Village

Finland: Pikkuyrittäjät – Mini company program for primary school

France: Start’Up Lycée

Germany: BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @Hansenberg

Greece: PATRAS Innovation Quest (Patras IQ)

Hungary: Startup Campus Program

Italy: 3D 4-Uman Technology is not uniquely human

Latvia: Information campaign “Support for entrepreneurs

Lithuania: KTU Startup Space

Romania: Doing innovative business based on advanced research and public communication

Serbia: Caravan of Youth Entrepreneurship

Slovakia: I will do it.sk

Turkey: Supporting Entrepreneurship, Skills and Future of Children and Youth Programme

United Kingdom: Made in North Tyneside

French entrepreneurship stronghold wins at EEPA 2016

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15 years of supporting entrepreneurship, the European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) for ‘Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit’, local press coverage and an appearance on Euronews, are just some of the things that the Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat project has on their list of successes. The winner of the EEPA 2016 Category 1 award has no plans to slow down and today shares with us their EEPA journey, what to expect from them in the future and their advice for being a European level award winning entry.

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

We first heard about the competition through word of mouth and through the website. We have been involved in supporting entrepreneurship for 15 years and through several European programmes we have had the opportunity to share our experiences and enrich our own knowledge with that of our European counterparts. It just seemed like a natural progression for us to present ourselves as candidates for the EEPA prize.

We also saw EEPA as an opportunity to firstly, reward the 50 organisations that engage with and are united by the Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat network (including 200 experts in entrepreneurship), and secondly, to go further with our sharing of experience with our European counterparts and perhaps even implement some actions together. Once we decided to enter we created a specific internal project team that was in charge of preparing the application.

What was it like to win the award?

We were obviously very happy to receive the prize and really considered it as an acknowledgement of 15 years of engagement and the culmination of a journey. The awarding of this prize came at a moment when we were carrying out a big overhaul of our project model in order to improve on what we have done until now. Winning this prize galvanised us and offered us great opportunities to undertake some meaningful collaborations with our European counterparts and really go beyond just sharing experience with one another.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?

It was both internal and external acknowledgement. EEPA allowed us to increase our visibility, in addition to articles in the local press, our initiative was the subject of a Euronews report which was broadcasted in several languages across different countries. It was recognition of both the motivation and engagement of our numerous partners. This prize also gave us the opportunity to begin exchanges with other national and European winners during our time in Bratislava.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

It is important to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship beyond our borders, and to share our experiences so that our entrepreneurs can grow. One piece of advice: apply and share as much as possible!

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

What are your plans for the future?

Before winning the EEPA prize, we were working on an ambitious project focused on supporting entrepreneurs, specifically for the development of an innovative numeric platform. We plan to include and work with other European initiatives, with the support of the European Union. At the SME Assembly, Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska mentioned that she wanted to see the emergence of a European ecosystem, and we believe that our project fits in completely with that vision.

EEPA – The winners of the 2016 edition

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The SME Assembly 2016 may be over, but the conversation continues! Today is an opportunity for us to present to you the European Enterprise Promotion Awards winners from the 2016 edition. You met them here on the blog when they were shortlisted, but here is an overview of the projects that came out on top…


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Category 1- Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, the winner was Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat (Lyon City of Entrepreneurship) from France. This initiative is a network of 46 organisations and 200 experts from across the region, working to promote the entrepreneurial spirit more widely, increase the number of businesses created and improve the robustness of new businesses. Each year, the network provides support to between 10,000 and 12,000 businesses and entrepreneurs, with 17 “access points” providing assistance, information and guidance. Experts provide support on the creation, takeover and handover of businesses and on aspects including how to grow or fund a business, start up and training.

In Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, the prize went to Enterprise Educators Academe from the United Kingdom. This project has created the world’s first internal, accredited, enterprise educator training programme. The training and support of over 600 staff of all disciplines to embed enterprise skills across the university curriculum has been at the heart of the programme. In the first two years alone 21 000 students were reached and over 2 000 freelance businesses created. Business and public sector projects projects benefited from student support resulting in an economic impact valued at over EUR 4.4 million (GBP £4 million).

In Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment, the category winner was Portuguese project Leader SME programme. This entry annually rewards SMEs with the best financial performance and risk levels, as viewed by IAPMEI and Turismo de Portugal. The award offers public recognition of their successful growth strategies and competitive leadership, and winners benefit from more favourable conditions for accessing finance and other specialised business management support. In just eight years, the number of companies recognised has more than doubled from around 3 000 in 2008 to approximately 7 300 in 2015!


In
Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business, it was Human Security Finland that came away the winner. This entry is a national international development and crisis management business network. It assists with the building of partnerships between Finnish companies and experts aimed at assisting developing countries and crisis-hit regions with solutions to support sustainable development. The network combines business, education and research for human security. 100 organisations are now involved in the concept known as ‘crisis business’, which is based on commercialising human security expertise.


In
Category 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency, the Lime Trees & Honey Bees for Sustainable Development of the Danube Microregion project from Serbia took the category prize. It strengthens the competitiveness of beekeeping in the Fruška Gora region and motivates young people to start beekeeping businesses. The project aims to increase the market share of Fruška Gora lime honey by investing in human resources and skills development, improved knowledge through scientific research, education and the introduction of new technologies. In addition, it ran a high-profile promotional campaign to raise public interest and created a marketing plan that changed the ad hoc approach of 8 beekeeper associations to a value-added, branded product, with export potential.  


In
Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Dutch project The Rotterdam Business Case (De Rotterdamse Zaak), a work training company where students in higher vocational education and experienced business coaches help support entrepreneurs to improve their business practices and entrepreneurial skills, was the Jury’s winning choice. The project focuses on entrepreneurs who operate below the poverty line and are not financially able to find a solution to their problems. More than 600 entrepreneurs have already been helped through the combined efforts of experienced senior coaches, who act as a sounding board for entrepreneurs, and junior coaches who offer more practical support.


Finally, the Grand Jury Prize, which commends the entry that the Jury considers to be ‘the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe’, was awarded to Entrepreneurial West Hisingen from Sweden! Originally a competitor in Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, this project supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It covers three projects: Entrepreneurship in education, Start your business, and Develop your business, which provide different styles of support to various groups ranging from schoolchildren, all the way to seasoned business people. 

EEPA – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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As promised in our last EEPA update, over the next few weeks we will present the EEPA projects shortlisted in all six project categories. The winners in Category 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit – come from different ends of Europe, with one project from Estonia, one from France and one from Serbia. One of the projects has a focus on women entrepreneurs, another aims to engage young people in business, and the third has a focus that straddles both these objectives.

garage48_02The Estonian project, Garage48 Motivating Women to Start-up Community, aims to transform the male-dominated tech sector into a more female-friendly industry. Since its formation in 2010, the project has increased female participation in its development weekends from 20% to 47%. The main goal of these events is to give participants a chance to complete the process of creating a start-up during one weekend and to match aspiring entrepreneurs with various skillsets. Several successful and well-functioning start-ups have been created as a result. Watch their video.


lyon_ville_de_lentrepreneuriat-02Also with a focus on women, in addition to students and start-ups, the second Category 1 shortlisted project – Lyon City of Entrepreneurship (Lyon Ville d’Entrepreneuriat) – is a network of 46 organisations and 200 experts from across the region, working to promote the entrepreneurial spirit more widely, increase the number of businesses created and improve the robustness of new businesses. Each year, the network provides support to between 10,000 and 12,000 businesses and entrepreneurs, with 17 “access points” providing assistance, information and guidance. Experts provide support on the creation, takeover and handover of businesses and on aspects including how to grow or fund a business, start up and training. Watch their video.


see_ict-01The third and final Category 1 winner, “We know we can”, is a national motivational movement in Serbia that aims to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs and proactively build their careers with the right tools and knowledge. It started with a campaign that showcased more than 200 local entrepreneurs who are globally successful, which reached over 20% of the Serbian population. Following this, a crowdfunding campaign raised US$ 108,000, making it the biggest non-profit campaign in the region. This has enabled the creation of tech and entrepreneurship community centres in five Serbian cities for exchanging knowledge, networking and motivation. Watch their video.

All three of these projects are making a significant contribution to the promotion of entrepreneurship among their target audiences in their respective regions and any one of the three would be a worthy winner in this category, so the EEPA Jury is faced with a difficult task. The winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia, when the Grand Jury prize-winner will also be announced.

 

Stop hesitating – the time to start your business is now!

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ListMinut is an internet platform that allows its 40,000 users to outsource small tasks and jobs to reliable service providers located nearby. In this interview, co-founder Jonathan Schockaert talks about his experience and the challenges he encounters on a daily basis, and gives advice for young entrepreneurs thinking of starting their own businesses.


Jonathan SchockaertName: 
Jonathan Schockaert
Age: 26
Country: Belgium
Business name: ListMinut
Website: https://www.listminut.be/
Year started: 2013


What should people know about you and what you do?

I was born and raised in a family of entrepreneurs. I’ve always wanted to start my own business and to build something that would have a real positive impact on people’s lives. I started really young – taking part in different entrepreneurial initiatives during my teenage years, ended up studying for a Master’s in Entrepreneurship at university and started developing ListMinut for my thesis.

ListMinut is a marketplace where we allow our users to outsource their small tasks (mowing the lawn, assembling IKEA furniture, taking care of the dogs during the holidays…) to reliable individuals in their neighbourhood.

What are the pros and cons of running your own business?

I wanted to become an entrepreneur to be my own boss and choose my schedule. But in reality, I rarely take important decisions alone. What’s more, I wake up much earlier than when I was at university and also return home later. But I truly love what I do. I’m working with awesome people every day, doing something different all the time and having a real impact on the outcome. I learn something new every single day.

Which challenges do you have to overcome on a day-to-day basis?

Being active in the sharing economy implies a lot of legal troubles. A few hours after our first TV broadcast, I received a call from a Belgian institution asking us to shut down the platform. We had to fight really hard for three years, but now a new law has just been passed in Belgium to support the sharing economy. Belgium is one of the pioneers in Europe and we’re proud to be part of it. We’ve also created an association (the Digital Platform Initiative) together with Take Eat Easy, Menu Next Door, Deliveroo, Uber and Flav’r to go further and reduce the barriers to entrepreneurship in Belgium.

What advice would you give to other young people thinking of starting their own businesses?

Stop thinking, start doing. Ideas are worthless. It’s all about execution. This means that you don’t have to be afraid of other people stealing your idea. To avoid building something that nobody wants, you should talk to people. Talk to people about your idea and make use of the feedback to grow.

What would you have done differently if you had the chance?

Nothing. I’m really happy to be where we are. We’ve made a lot of mistakes, but we’ve learned from all of them and that’s what makes us what we are today.

Perhaps a final message you feel should be broadcast, to encourage peers to take the plunge?

Fasten your seatbelts. Entrepreneurship is not a long quiet river. But it’s definitively worth it, so stop hesitating – the time to start your business is now!

Listminut (1)

To find out more about Listminut, visit www.listminut.be .

Young entrepreneurs in Wales share their top tips for success

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Part of the Business Wales service, the Big Ideas Wales campaign aims to support the next generation of young entrepreneurs in Wales. On the initiative’s website, young Welsh entrepreneurs share their experience and give their top tips for other young entrepreneurs aiming to achieve success in the business world.

Abi Carter – Forensic Resources

My business is Forensic Resources Limited, and my big idea was to set up a forensic science consultancy firm. My top tip for young entrepreneurs would be to have self-confidence and to take whatever your gut tells you as a very, very good warning sign, be it good or bad.

Dan Lewis – PHP Genie

Our big idea was to be the best in web design in the very early days. My top tip for young entrepreneurs would be to be passionate about what you do.

Phillippa Tuttiet – Female Building and Interiors

My big idea was to set up an all-female building company called Female Building and Interiors. My top tip for young entrepreneurs would be to get a job, no matter what the job is, even if it is a paper-round. Go out and get some work experience, find out what it is like to be in the real world.

Geraint Hughes – BWTRI

My big idea was, and still is, to develop a food business in my local area. What is my top tip for young people? Well, I’d say, if you can, try to trial your idea on a small scale initially. You will learn, because something unexpected always comes up.

Gareth Jones – Welsh ICE

My big idea was to bring together passionate and committed entrepreneurs. My top tip for young entrepreneurs is: don’t ask for permission, just get on with it. It is a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission in the first place.

Adam Amor – Buffoon Media

My big idea was to set up a video production company. My top tip for young entrepreneurs in Wales is to do your homework, research your area and competing businesses and make sure your idea is unique.

Sarah Reast – Timberkits

My big idea was to work in a business where I could run a team, because for me that’s where the fun is in running a business – seeing a team coming together, with all their different skills and ideas, and to bring that together in a way that creates something interesting. Top tip for young entrepreneurs is to do something in a different way; do something different in a different way.

Shaun Roberts – Creative Catalysts

My top tip is: just do it! There is never a perfect time to start a business, there is only the present.

Andrew Evans – Artist

My big idea was to become an artist. Top tip – go for it!

Nicola Hemsley – Organised Kaos

My big idea was to turn my hobby into a viable business and to involve the community. My top tip – my first one would be: ‘don’t give up!’ My second and third one would be: ‘don’t give up!’ The fourth is: trust yourself. The fifth would be to listen to your own advice, don’t let other people tell you what to do. The sixth would be to get out there, find your market. Seven – don’t give up! Eight – don’t give up! Nine – it’s going to be really hard sometimes, but still don’t give up. Number ten – reach for the stars, because you will get half-way there.

For more information: https://businesswales.gov.wales/bigideas/video/top-tips-young-entrepreneurs

“I want to wake up with energy, drive and curiosity for what life will bring next.”

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In his final column as May’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR), Nathan Farrugia of Ultimate Performance offers his advice for those considering following in his footsteps and stepping out on their own in business.

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Five frogs on a log. One decides to jump in. How many frogs left on the log…..? Five, because there’s a big difference between ‘deciding’ and ‘doing’.

So thinking leads to deciding, but you can’t stop there. You need to act with confidence and determination. How? Firstly, surround yourself with the right people at different times of the business cycle. Our mind plays tricks on us and the little voices of doubt and self criticism can kill our confidence, so we need to have both strategists and cheerleaders around us all the time. Taking calculated risks is important to get us into flow. The easy option won’t help us grow, or prepare us for the inevitable storm. Practice breaking small things before you play with the valuable things. Get experience in a contained space, but do get out of your comfort zone often and consistently. Don’t get amygdala hijack from being too stretched and afraid to act, or you’ll die from paralysis. Don’t overanalyse, yet do your homework well. Remain focussed on your journey, and don’t get sidetracked by your short term goals. Goals are good to take stock of progress. Slalom gracefully around them if they seem to take you off course.

The most important thing, and the biggest source of failure of businesses that solve global problems is this: they remained a dream. Once you have a vision, have designed a plan, and raised the resources to implement it, GO FOR IT! Even if it fails, the worst case scenario is that you’ve gained the opportunity to learn something new.

Pros and cons

Of course, there are pros and cons to starting your own business. The pros of being in control of your destiny are the main reasons to set up your own business. Even as a CEO of a large organisation that I helped create, there was always a sense that I was a cog in a big wheel.

I still felt 100% responsible and I was more than just an employee, but creating something you know will be entirely yours sparks something special in your spirit. It’s also great to not have to ask for permission to put an idea into practice, or feel that you can’t change direction if you so decide one day. Yes, you have responsibilities if you have employees, but it’s different than being a manager.

Running your own business also has its perils. You lose objectivity because it is personal. You may find yourself heading for trouble and keep going because you’re emotionally attached to the goal, or to avoid embarrassment. You don’t want to be proven wrong and, therefore, don’t accept criticism easily. It takes a particular character to be entrepreneurial, but these character traits can also be your downfall. Hard-headed, passionate, ambitious and a risk taker come to mind.

nathan5Starting a business after having led an organisation has helped me stay focussed and not put emotions before logic. I’m more mature and have had a fair amount of mishaps that I’ve learnt great lessons from. Not only is it not too late to start your business at 40, but it’s actually helpful to have experience under your belt. I’ve had a few sideline businesses over the years so I had some startup practice. It’s also important to have good people around you to keep you grounded. It’s easy to become engrossed in the project and lose your relationships with loved ones, and distance yourself from friends and family. Taking stock, or being coached is very important to get a reality check every so often.

To me it’s the mindset that’s the major difference between running a business and working for someone else. You can be equally passionate and driven working for someone else’s business with less personal risk and stress. Running your own business is not for everyone. It shouldn’t be everyone’s ambition. I too need to employ great managers, accountants, experts and associates to make up for all my weaknesses! Thankfully enough people choose to be professionals too.

My hope for Ultimate Performance is to continue to grow my impact by reaching more businesses and business leaders. I want to keep having fun and do exciting things, whilst sharpening my skills. I want to spend time with the people I care about and share experiences with them whenever possible. I want to wake up in the morning with energy, drive and, most of all, curiosity for what life will bring next.

About Nathan

NF-Bust-BWNathan Farrugia is an entrepreneur. He attributes much of his success to a mindset that challenges the impossible and takes every obstacle as an opportunity to find new solutions to old problems. He has used this mindset to break world record endurance challenges, as well as to grow successful enterprises. He now spends most of his time coaching CEOs and business leaders on how to unlock their own performance potential as part of the UP Academy. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

Where are they now? Catching up with past EEPA winners

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2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In this new feature, we catch up with former EEPA honourees who’ve gone on to do great things since winning the award.

Tomi Alakoski, Me & MyCity

This week, Tomi Alakoski from the award-winning Me & MyCity project at the Economic Information Office in Finland reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA three years on….

Name Tomi Alakoski
Organisation Me & MyCity, Economic Information Office
Country Finland
Website www.yrityskyla.fi/en
Award won Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Year 2013

Tomi AlakosiWhat was it like to win the award?

It was a great honour to receive the award. It showed us that we’re doing important work in the field of entrepreneurship. We didn’t expect to win because Me & MyCity was a very new concept; it only started in 2010. On the other hand, we’d received very good feedback from our target groups and we also assumed that our concept was quite unique in Europe. It was the first time that a Finnish learning concept had got this far. Winning the award gave us the confidence that we can succeed in Finland as well as internationally.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

The impact of winning the award was very positive and very broad. We started to get more attention and enquiries from abroad, internationally. It also increased our visibility in Europe.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?

At first, people didn’t really believe in our concept and they thought that it was the craziest idea ever! We felt that winning the award was a great reward for the people who had believed in us from the beginning. It gave us the feeling that if we just believe in ourselves, our work might just bear fruit. It gave us a massive boost and helped to make Me & MyCity what it is today. Our utopian idea began to seem possible.

What has been the long-term impact?

The trust in our work has strengthened even more. Two months after winning the EEPA, we attended the “World Innovation Summit for Education” competition in Qatar. We ended up winning the competition in 2014 for “the Best Learning Innovation in the World.” As a result, our cooperation network began expanding. Companies started to be interested in us even more. We also got to participate in official governmental events where Finnish innovations were celebrated. It also made a great difference to our growth. Currently, 70% of Finland’s 6th graders are benefitting from the Me & MyCity learning concept.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

We felt that entrepreneurial education in Finland wasn’t where it should be. We hoped that the value of entrepreneurial education might increase nationally if we entered the competition.

The King and Queen of Finland visiting Me & MyCityThe King and Queen of Sweden visiting Me & MyCity

How did you go about preparing your application and making it award winning?

We wanted to be very honest and open in the preparation phase. We wanted to share our story and tell how influential our operations are. All in all, it was the operation itself that we wanted to highlight. When we started writing the application, it was the first time that we’d analysed how influential our operations are in so many ways. We felt it would be beneficial for our concept to be recognised internationally, that it could help the whole of Europe, which was in danger of increasing youth social exclusion and unemployment. From our perspective, it’s important to develop new enterprises and an entrepreneurial spirit in Europe.

What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

Don’t apply for the competition only for the competition. Try to genuinely reflect what you’ve achieved and how it benefits your target group.

To find out more about the Me & MyCity project, visit the website  or watch the video.

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    • EEPA 2017 Testimonial: “Enterprise Village” – ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ Winner 2017 February 15, 2018
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back again for 2018, and ready to discover more outstanding European projects in the fields of enterprise and entrepreneurship. In order to help potential applicants, Promoting Enterprise has asked EEPA 2017 winners to share their success stories give advice on how to submit and present an EEPA winning […]
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      The European Commission is currently preparing for an evaluation and possible revision of some aspects of the SME definition and is inviting any interested actor to provide feedback on its evaluation and impact assessment. The SME definition is a widely used tool in EU policies such as competition (state aid), structural funds, research and innovation (Horizon 2020). […]
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    • EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017 February 8, 2018
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back for 2018, and Promoting Enterprise has the honour of presenting the first EEPA 2017 winner testimonial from Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017. The Innofest project will be sharing their EEPA story as well as their advice for other planning to submit their projects and embark […]
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    • European Enterprise Promotion Awards – 2018 edition launch February 5, 2018
      It is that time of the year again, when the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) commence and the best projects from all across Europe begin to compete for a place on the EEPA 2018 shortlist. Today 05 February, marks the opening of the EEPA 2018 and the project nominations, which will be happening on a […]
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    • Ideas from Europe – Wildcard winner 2017-18 February 1, 2018
      Today’s post comes from Ideas from Europe who have an announcement that we have all been waiting for…who is the wildcard winner? A dream has come true…Hugo Mercies from Rhythm’s DREEM has been voted as the twelfth speaker for Ideas from Europe! Thousands of votes were cast over the last two months, in order to […]
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    • The SME Assembly 2017 – eMagazine January 30, 2018
      The SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, focused on starting, scaling and spreading your wings, and provided a platform for discussion, networking and knowledge sharing. The outcomes of this European flagship event are now available for you to read, and look at in graphic representations, in the eMagazine on the newly updated SME Assembly 2018 […]
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    • EEPA 2016 and beyond – The Rotterdam Business Case January 25, 2018
      The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), provide a chance for many projects to gain recognition on a European stage across a variety of categories. During the selection process and the awards themselves, we get to meet all of these interesting projects and witness their winning moments, but what happens after the awards ceremony? What comes […]
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    • EU Sustainable Energy Awards – 2018 nominations open January 23, 2018
      The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is back for its 13th edition and giving you the chance to encourage and nominate projects to take part in this year’s Awards competition to determine the most innovative and impactful initiatives in energy transition. If you are working on, or know someone who is, developing projects that fit […]
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    • From waste to circular economy – ecoBirdy: A European Toy Story January 18, 2018
      Supported by the EU’s programme for the competitiveness of SMEs (COSME), ecoBirdy will unveil its first collection of design furniture for kids made of recycled plastic toys at the trade fair Maison & Objet in Paris from 19 January. The launch follows an in-depth two-year study period exploring how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. ecoBirdy […]
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    • Five books that helped me start a tech-company – Lieven Vervecken January 16, 2018
      Today’s article is written by Dr. Ir. Lieven Vervecken, CEO & Co-founder of Diabatix, an innovative Belgian engineering company specialising in colling systems and products involving fluid mechanics and heat transfer.  It is no secret that reading a book is one of the best ways to learn more about a particular topic. This of course, also holds when […]
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