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Secrets of Success 2018-2019: Entrepreneurs of Europe – Connecting, Sharing and Innovating

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‘Secrets of Success’, the biennial brochure that celebrates entrepreneurial successes across Europe and COSME countries, is back with another cohort of innovative entrepreneurs.

The latest edition investigates the journeys that entrepreneurs from across Europe have taken, discovering their motivation, and recording their struggles along the way. In ‘Secrets of Success’ we showcase small and medium-sized enterprises in the European Members States and countries in COSME, Europe’s programme for small and medium-sized enterprises. The entrepreneurs come from wide-ranging sectors, and bring a great variety of experiences to this year’s edition. Despite their differences, they all share the following two values: ‘Learning from Failure’ and ‘Building your Best Team’. Through both struggles and successes, these entrepreneurs are examples of persistence, and highlight the benefits of connecting, sharing and innovating.

Read this year’s edition to learn from these entrepreneurs and allow their stories to inspire you on your own entrepreneurial journey.

Secrets of Success 2016/2017 – What makes an entrepreneur successful?

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sos-blog-visual

What makes an entrepreneur successful? How do entrepreneurs define their success? What are the secrets behind their inspiring journeys? Promoting Enterprise presents the ‘Secrets of Success 2016-2017’ brochure, which answers all of these questions and more. So what is inside? This year the brochure features interviews with 33 successful business owners from across Europe, under the themes of: Concept/Idea, Drive, Leadership/Team, Success and finally Europe.

From Albania to the United Kingdom, tourism to medical innovation, the entrepreneurs and businesses featured in this brochure offer something for everyone. Each entrepreneur provides details of their personal success, as well as encouraging and inspiring words for other entrepreneurs to learn from and reflect upon. Each profile is also available in the native language of the entrepreneurs, so why not browse through and discover the some of the inspiring minds of Europe in the field of SMEs, startups and scaleups.

Read the brochure here.

Secret of Success – Uldis Leiterts (Infogr.am)

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Uldis Leiterts - Infogr.amMy co-founder, Raimonds Kaze, and I had the idea to set up Infogr.am after we made customised data visualisations for the European Commission, the weekly analytical magazine Ir, and the Latvian Institute. With a rising demand for interactive infographics, we developed data visualisation software for non-designers. It is used by millions of journalists, activists, teachers and students around the world, including The Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, and Amnesty International. Our goal is to empower people to tell stories with data. If the internet had not existed, I would have had to invent it – but I would have given it a different name.

As Minister in charge of SMEs and start ups, I would make Latvia a digital hub for start ups by reducing tax rates, cutting red tape and co-financing participation in accelerator programmes.

“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we create growth, innovation and success stories; we are driven to try again even if success is not immediate.”

Hero(es): Family, friends, history

Start up capital: Venture Capital

Mentor(s): Yes

Can you code? Yes

Employees: 25

Education / Training: Graphic design

Product / Service: Data visualisation software

Secret of Success – Gianpiero Oddone (Officene CST S.p.A.)

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Gianpiero Oddone - Officine CST S.p.A.

I started Officine because I saw an overlooked market opportunity, the lack of specialised IT platforms and skills to manage credit. Today, the company is a one-stop credit management solution that increases our clients’ liquidity by simplifying the reconciliation and recovery process. We then identify investors interested in buying the credit.

As for policies that would increase European enterprise: the keys are simplification and reduction of red tape; lower corporate tax rates and employee contributions for the first 3 to 5 years of a start up’s life; and better value borrowing through government guarantees.

“Entrepreneurs are important to society because they introduce innovation in products and processes, create wealth and employment and improve the balance of trade.”

 

Hero(es): Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Start up capital: Family and associates

Growth rate p.a: 68%

Mentor(s): No

Can you code? No

Employees: 60

Education / Training: Legal and banking

Product / Service: Financial services software

Secret of Success – Thibaut Britz (Trendiction S.A.)

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Thibaut Britz - Trendiction S.A. (new version)

I started Trendiction because I am passionate about social media and I love building things. My co-founder and I have developed a series of powerful and user-friendly tools (with some help from business angels, private equity and Luxinnovation, a local government programme), that give our customers unique insight into their internet presence; which in turn allows them to react faster, better and more accurately to consumer feedback, resulting in better products. Our most popular product, Talkwalker, was rated one of the top five best social media monitoring tools and online reputation management tools globally in 2013.

If I were in charge of enterprise policy, I would select a handful of entrepreneurs and support them for a year while they develop their ideas.

 

“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we bring new ideas, hope, vision and change.”

 

Hero(es): Mark Zuckerberg

Start up capital: Own

Mentor(s): Yes

Can you code? Yes

Employees: 42

Education / Training: Computing

Product / Service: Social media analytics

 

 

 

Secret of Success – Georg Ludviksson (Meniga)

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Georg Ludviksson - Meniga

Meniga was started to help people manage their personal finances better so that they could make the most of their money. I also hope it inspires them to think about their finances and improve their financial literacy. Digital technology (plus a local R&D grant and R&D tax credits) made it easier for us to expand onto a global stage.

As for helping other entrepreneurs like me, I would recommend tax incentives for early stage start ups; fast track immigration permits so that start ups can compete for global talent; and the creation of a really ‘great’ business environment through flexible labour markets and light touch regulation.

“Entrepreneurs are great role models because we work hard to improve the world though innovation; taking risks to have a positive impact on society.”

Hero(es): Humble and generous people

Start up capital: Savings

Growth rate p.a: 266%

Mentor(s): Advisers rather than mentors

Can you code?: Yes

Employees: 80

Product/ Service: Online financial services

Secret of Success – Shai Newman (Compedia Ltd)

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Shai Newman - Compedia Ltd

We have built Compedia up (using grants and R&D co-operation including the FP7 and Intel programmes) to be the leader in supplying products for the global market of education, serious games, e-learning and e-health, so that we give our customers advanced, cost effective and differentiated solutions. I’m especially excited by our new product developments that help children with autism and diabetes.

If you ask me what is needed to expand enterprise, I would say more resources for R&D, IP protection and international marketing; plus the creation of an environment (for example, more open markets and better access to finance) that truly supports SMEs like ours.

“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we have drive and energy to motivate, to create ideas and solutions in a way it is difficult to do in larger companies.”

Hero(es): Winston Churchill

Start up capital: Own

Growth rate p.a: 58%

Mentor(s): Advisers rather than mentors

Can you code?: Yes

Employees: 55

Education/ Training: IT

Product/ Service: E – learning

Secret of Success – Pat Phelan (Trustev Ltd)

Pat Phelan - Trustev Ltd

My last business was badly hit by fraud; when I couldn’t find any security solutions to fit my needs, my co-founder Chris Kennedy and I decided to build our own system. We now offer businesses a modern, robust solution to online fraud that saves them money and allows them to concentrate on building their own business. Digital technology allows us to solve real problems for real people, on an unprecedented scale.

I am grateful for the help we have had (and continue to have) from Enterprise Ireland both in terms of funding and access to new markets – in fact I have just moved to New York to lead our US expansion.

“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we shape it; we are disruptors, we change the world, solving real problems for real people”

Heroe(s): Liam Casey

Start up capital: Own; Wayra – Telefonica’s global startup accelerator; Enterprise Ireland

Mentor(s): Yes

Can you code?: No

Employees: 20

Product/ Service: Digital security

Read more about Trustev Ltd here.

Secret of Success – Tivadar Limbacher (Ma este Színház!)

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Tivadar Limbacher - Ma este Szinhaz!At first I was simply curious whether my idea of selling last minute affordable tickets for theatre performances would really make hundreds of thousands of people happier. It turned out that the answer was yes! Nowadays (and with the support of the European Entrepreneurship Foundation) Ma este Színház! operates in eight different Hungarian cities and we sell more than 150,000 tickets annually. Also, we recently expanded to last minute concert tickets with the launch of Ma este Koncert! For me, the key benefit of digital technology is that it allows you to start up with limited funds.

European governments, please make it easier to set up and run a company; create a one-stop-shop for aspiring entrepreneurs; and give tax breaks for entrepreneurs rather than complex government funding arrangements! This will help Europe in reaching its 2020 targets.

“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we dare to innovate, drive change, create employment and generally create new wealth.”

Hero(es): My grandmother
Start up capital: Own
Growth rate p.a: 327%
Mentor(s): Zsolt Kalocsai and Peter B. Zaboji
Can you code? No
Employees: 4
Education / Training: Sociology
Product / Service: Entertainment applications

Secret of Success – Vibor Cipan (UX Passion)

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Vibor Cipan - UX PassionDigital technology (and a grant from the Croatian Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts) has enabled us to express ourselves in a very creative and meaningful way. Our most popular product is ‘Wall of Tweets’, a simple and engaging Twitter wall solution that enables people attending events to share their tweets in real time on a big wall. We have also developed a number of smaller helper apps for Twitter list management, search engine optimisation and data analytics, as well as a framework for dashboard-like data representation. We enable people to interact with each other, to share, to enjoy, to express themselves and realise their potential. For us, it’s all about the people.

For entrepreneurs to succeed we need to lower taxes and social security contributions; reduce bureaucracy; and listen to entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs have a positive impact on everyone’s life: we have the potential to contribute, grow, develop and inspire people.”

Hero(es): My team and best friend
Start up capital: Own
Growth rate p.a: 65%
Mentor(s): No
Can you code? Yes
Employees: 12
Education / Training: Astrophysics
Product / Service:  Social media analytics

Read more about UX Passion here. 

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