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

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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.

Meet the EEPA 2017 candidates for the ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ prize

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What other inspiring projects are competing for an EEPA 2017 title? Today we introduce you to the shortlisted candidates in the ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ category, which recognises initiatives that give enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, opportunities and encouragement with regards to both EU and external markets. This year’s candidates are from Austria, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

With the programme “Internationalisation 2015 – 2020”, ecoplus International supports Lower Austrian SMEs in entering foreign markets, from the initial providing of information to realising first export deals or establishing branches, with free and customised services. The aim is to support SMEs in their international business activities and to increase their success in foreign markets. In addition the “High Potential Programme” supports selected enterprises with high internationalisation potential in their development to become “Exportchampions”. This is a new approach for supporting enterprises and start-ups, in their growth strategies and their international expansion, all in keeping with the concept of “start-up to scale-up”.

The all-female team at MADEIRA VINTNERS have spent the last 5 years working to establish their Madeira wine brand, after the last firm which was founded over 80 years ago. The all-female team is not only nationally innovative, but unusual across the sector. The first harvest in 2012 helped with Madeiran grape distribution, producing added value for Madeiran grape producers and vineyards. As an isolated EU territory, the success of this venture, which saw more than 100% increase in sales in 2016-2017, is important for the island’s agribusiness sector, which is a key source of revenue after tourism.

The International Trade Centre at Business West has transformed international trade services, combining regional, national and international expertise, funding and resources. It aligns its Chamber of Commerce objectives with UK and Pan European policy, combining private sector expertise from third party providers and the Banking Sector to benefit businesses and boost export sales in the South West of England. The centre now employs over 100 trade advisers and provides a range of digital solutions and support. To date it has engaged with 5,800 exporters, assisted 2010 companies with overseas sales to the value of £430 million and created 3,800 jobs.

Which project will win the 2017 title? Find out at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November! Find out about the Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills and Category 3: Improving the Business Environment nominees on the Portal, and come back next week to read about Category 6: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship…

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Supporting the internationalisation of business

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We have already met the national EEPA winners from Categories 1, 2 and 3…time for Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business! This category recognises initiatives that encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. In 2016 the prize was won by Human Security Finland for their project that tackles a key issue high on the global agenda, human suffering.

10 projects will be considered for a European title in this category. Well done to all the national winners and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Austria: Program Internationalization 2015 – 2020

Croatia: Pun ceker – kupujmo lokalno

Germany: Import Promotion Desk (IPD)

Greece: Greek Breakfast

Hungary: InnoTrade Program

Poland: Biznes Lubelskie

Portugal: MADEIRA VINTNERS

Serbia: Private sector Development Project- PSD

Slovenia: SKIS – Smart Key Information Support

Spain: ICEX Next

UK: Business West International Trade Centre

Human Security Finland – Humanitarian issues take EEPA 2016 stage

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Human Security Finland, Category 4 winner of EEPA (European Enterprise Promotion Awards) 2016 entered with a project that tackles a key issue high on the global agenda, human suffering. Through international partnerships and high profile events such as The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, this EEPA winner is making an impact, and using its expertise to identify needs and trends in developing countries.

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

We first heard about the competition on the the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment website. Entering the competition was a chance to make our work known, something we really wanted to do because we believe that our work and project are interesting for Europe.

How did you go about preparing your application?

Part of the preparation of our application involved participating in The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul in May 2016. We attended as one of the 9,000 participants from around the world to tackle the ever growing issue of human suffering and to support the new shared Agenda for Humanity.

What was it like to win the award and how did winning immediately impact your work?

Of course we hoped to win but it was still a surprise! The award helped us to gain media visibility and also led to us gaining new partners. In the long term winning has increased the acceptance of our work as now people can easily identify us, and has also made it significantly easier to expand our existing network.

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

Participating in EEPA makes it easier to share your work with new audiences. The diverse audience of EEPA makes it the perfect opportunity for exposure and really gives you an opportunity to connect with people through your work and that of the other European projects competing.

What are your plans for the future?

EEPA has given us some perspective and we now have an idea about when we want to expand our network in .

Read more about Human Security Finland and follow them on Facebook for their latest updates!

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 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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banner-eepa-blogThe European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist showcase continues! This week we are introducing you to the national winners competing in Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business. These projects have been shortlisted because of their initiatives that encourage enterprises, particularly SMEs, at national, regional and local level to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets both inside and outside the European Union. The projects come from across Europe, representing Finland, Lithuania and Spain, and cover the themes of: facilitation of business partnerships, improving national competitiveness and practical training and advice for SMEs to thrive in foreign markets.

human_security_finland-zambiaHuman Security Finland (Business opportunities from the Human Security expertise) 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.

wings_chocolate_naiveYoung export leaders program – WINGS is the first scheme in Lithuania to unite the public and private sectors towards the achievement of one common goal: to promote the country’s  competitiveness through the development of skilled export managers by applying a hands-on approach to meet current market demands. Sixteen graduates were trained in business and export development and management, marketing, business   promotion   and   other   relevant   modern techniques, and gained practical experience through working with SMEs. 23 social initiatives were launched during the programme which generated a value of €650 000. Watch their video here!

balebila-06Balebila Project – International & Digital Communications for SMEs (Spain) is a practical training and advice programme for innovative SMEs to help them take their businesses to foreign markets. The project provides businesses with tools and advice on communication and public relations strategies through hands-on training. Current successes include; companies that have successfully presented their product to Sir Richard Branson, to those that are now the leading Basque developers for Sony Playstation UK, USA and Asia. Watch these videos to learn about some of the SMEs, like Muka Design Lab & Enigmedia, that the Balebila project has helped. 

The final winner of the category, chosen by  the EEPA Jury, will be revealed in less than four weeks 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. Let the countdown begin!

An overview of the previous three categories presented:

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.

This week, Kadri Ugand from the award-winning GameFounders reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA one year on….

Kadri Ugand, GameFounders

Name Kadri Ugand
Organisation GameFounders
Country Estonia
Website gamefounders.com
Award won Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Year 2015

Kadri-150x150What was it like to win the award?

We were familiar with some of the projects that were nominated and know the hard working teams behind them. It was an honour just to be on the list, but to win makes us very proud to be noticed.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

When we won the award, we were in the middle of our applications process and the media coverage gave us a nice boost resulting in some interest from around Europe.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?

GameFounders is really a group effort. We have mentors and partners from all over the world who power the program, and the international games media and events industry were really rooting for our team. The game industry doesn’t win a lot of these awards, so everyone was extremely happy that our joint efforts were recognised.

What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

Being recognised at the European level can really boost your operations and result in new partnerships. I would highly recommend taking this opportunity to enter!

GameFounders Asia

GameFounders Asia launch, June 2015

To find out more about GameFounders, visit the website at gamefounders.com.  

In conversation with: 2015 Grand Jury Prize Winner

The Grand Jury Prize was awarded during the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony, during the SME Week 2015. It is an award that can be given to an initiative from any category, and was given to the entry considered to be the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

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We asked Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship, the winners of the 2015 Grand Jury Prize, a few questions about winning this prestigious award. The programme works to support responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship – from helping to develop business plans to advising on how best to obtain funding.

  1. What did you learn from your experience with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards?

It was a great experience with lots of visibility in the entrepreneur environment.

Taking part in the Ceremony was a fantastic experience, we met some very interesting projects and contacts.  We also shared experience, challenges and solutions for the creation and growth of SMEs.

  1. What did winning the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 SME Assembly in Luxembourg mean to you?

Recognition (and more motivation) for the project, and also being recognised in Lisbon for the promotion of entrepreneurship and the economic development of the city.

Lisbon Micro Entrepreneurship is a programme developed by the municipality to help entrepreneurs to start small business in Lisbon.

The idea is to use the institutional power of the municipality to celebrate partnerships with public and private entities in order to promote business in Lisbon, facilitate access to finance and boost entrepreneurship.

Since 2013, we have made more than 1000 contacts, worked with more than 200 entrepreneurs with potential businesses and helped to establish more than 70 businesses, creating 160 jobs.

The main clients of Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship are unemployed people with skills (mostly people with college degrees and work experience), aged between 30 and 50 years old.

Our work is divided in 3 main sectors:

Mentoring – We help people to work on their business concept; business plans; and coaching through the whole process of the project development. Sometimes, this also includes further mentoring after the business is established.

Access to finance – We use partnerships with public institutions, private institutions and banks that permit access to credit products with very special rates.

Access to spaces – We help businesses to get access to either public (public offers in parish councils) or private spaces with special conditions (this includes collaborative work space and, business incubators, for example).

This award is very important to the project, because it gives it credibility and will help when negotiating new partnerships, particularly with the financial institutions that have better conditions for entrepreneurs. It also allows us to support more entrepreneurs.

  1. What advice can you give to other SMEs wanting to take part in the Awards?

We would advise other cities and/or regions to have a proactive strategy to support entrepreneurship; create networking among the various players; and partner up to meet the needs of SMEs.

It is important to participate in the EEPAs because it gives you the opportunity to meet new projects, potential partners, share and learn from each other about how to support the creation and growth of SMEs.

To find out more about Libson Micro-Entrepreneurship, watch this short video.

Portuguese programme for responsible entrepreneurship wins top prize at EEPA 2015

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The seven winners of the 2015 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) have been announced, with the Grand Jury Prize being awarded to a Portuguese project.

The project, Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship, is a programme that works to support responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship – from helping to develop business plans to advising on how best to obtain funding.

Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship was set up in 2013 with the aim of invigorating the city’s economy and promoting job creation. It forms part of Lisbon Municipal Council’s global strategy to support entrepreneurship and brings together public, private, local and national bodies to enable anyone to get support for projects. The programme helps entrepreneurs develop ideas and business plans, assists in obtaining funding and provides support on project implementation. The organisation has already successfully set up 50 companies, created over 100 jobs and held over 550 meetings with entrepreneurs.

See Lisboa Empreende on Business Planet: Why Lisbon is luring entrepreneurs (video)

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Six other projects from the Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Estonia, Spain and Germany were recognised for their work on fostering entrepreneurial spirit, improving and simplifying business creation and investing in skills. Projects from Denmark, Malta, Slovenia, and Greece also received Special Mentions from the EEPA jury. The Awards ceremony took place in Luxembourg on 19 November 2015 as part of the SME Assembly, the main event of the European SME Week.

Background

Since 2006, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards have rewarded public bodies and public-private partnerships who have shown excellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses. Over 3100 projects have entered during this time, and have supported the creation of thousands of new companies. The awards’ objectives are to create a greater awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in European society and encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs. This is achieved by identifying and recognising successful activities and initiatives to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship, and then showcasing and sharing examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices.

More information

EEPA website

EEPA on Twitter

EEPA on Facebook

SME Week

SME Assembly

Winners of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2015

Grand Jury Prize Winner
Portugal – Lisboa Empreende/Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship is a successful, inspiring and innovative programme stimulating micro-entrepreneurship in Lisbon through a comprehensive range of measures focusing on disadvantaged groups, while staying open to all future entrepreneurs.

Responsible organisation: Lisboa Municipal Council

Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit
Netherlands – ZomerOndernemer changes mind-sets and improve entrepreneurial skills of young people during their summer holidays. The project is based on ‘learning by doing’, and has impressive results with almost ¼ of participants deciding they want to be entrepreneurs.

Responsible organisation: The New Entrepreneur Foundation

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Ireland – Going for Growth encourages female entrepreneurs to be ambitious and supports them in achieving their growth aspirations with a mix of measure encompassing role models promotion, networking and peer-learning.

Responsible organisation: Fitzsimons Consulting in association with the Gender Equality Division, Department of Justice and Equality

Improving the Business Environment
United Kingdom – Creative Quarter aims to support creative SMEs in generating prosperity and creating jobs by developing a highly-skilled local workforce ready to compete in the knowledge economy.

Responsible organisation: Creative Quarter Nottingham Limited

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Estonia – GameFounders is a global game industry accelerator that aims to support technical teams in developing a product business model. The project has already supported 28 teams from 16 countries, all of whom are still operating.

Responsible organisation: GameFounders OÜ

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency
Spain – Green Business Network is the first networking platform in Spain to specialise in green business. It follows a comprehensive approach, including support for start-ups, for business consolidation, for new green business lines of existing companies, and for environmental innovation.

Responsible organisation: Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Germany – Enterability is a project benefitting people with disabilities. It combines measures relevant for this group with a sound start-up expertise, employing a diversity of tools: seminars, mentoring, or peer-counselling.

Responsible organisation: Social Impact GmbH

5. Nora Khaldi will represent Ireland at the Ideas from Europe Final in Luxembourg

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Ireland has proudly announced that Doctor Nora Khaldi will represent Ireland at the SME Assembly in Luxembourg in November. Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, is very pleased with the nomination, he said:

I very much welcome the nomination and participation of Dr Nora Khaldi in this initiative. I believe this event offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the pioneering ideas emanating from Ireland and being driven by innovative entrepreneurs like Dr Khaldi.”

Dr Khaldi is a mathematician with a PhD in molecular evolution and bioinformatics from Trinity College Dublin and founder of Nuritas, a biotechnology company, she said:

“I have always believed that disruptive innovation, which is what Nuritas is all about, is the key to solving many of the 21st century health issues. It is truly inspiring to see that the EU is highlighting and supporting so many revolutionary concepts and life-changing ideas.”

She was inspired to commence work on identifying highly impactful molecules for human health having seen a presentation on the impact of food on the neuronal, muscle and gut development of wallabies. To better understand the impact of food on health, Dr Khaldi established a brand new field of science, that of food bioinformatics at the molecular level. Dr. Khaldi will be one of the 28 entrepreneurs who will present her idea in the ‘Ideas From Europe Finals’ in Luxembourg, where the ten best ideas will be selected and will present on the Ideas from Europe stage in The Hague on 31 March 2016.

More information is available here.

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