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EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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Another category another European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) 2019 winner! This week we are discovering the story behind HealthTech Nordic, the winner of ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business.

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 270 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

We spoke to Margareta Wallentén from the project team to discover the story behind this winning project.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
I received a general email from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Tillväxtverket, (the Swedish EEPA coordinator) informing us about the EEPA and requesting us to apply. We had never heard about EEPA before and were not even aware that the SME Assembly or EEPA existed.

How did you prepare your application?
Just before applying for EEPA, we had been requested to apply for the RegioStar Award, so we used that application as a base and updated it with more recent information and specific aspects relevant to EEPA. Overall the application process was very smooth, and the hardest part was actually getting the recommendation letter signed by the right person at the Swedish Agency of Innovation, Vinnova.

What was it like to win the award?
Amazing! It was really nerve-wracking sitting in the audience and listen to the presentations of the three category finalists. Both we and the project from the Netherlands were convinced that the Romanian project would win, their film was so good! When we heard our project announced as the winner we couldn’t believe it!

As I was standing on the podium giving my Thank You speech I just blacked out and completely forgot the name of my project colleague standing next to me. We have worked together for almost 2 years and her name was totally gone. I almost panicked there and then, on stage, so I just admitted that I had forgotten her name! Looking back at the recording I realise that the ‘eternity’ when I blacked out was really just a second or two.

After the ceremony so many people came up to me and thanked me for being me on stage, displaying happiness, surprise and passion and for giving them a reason to laugh at this otherwise very formal event.

Overall it was an amazing evening and experience.

How did winning the award impact your work?
I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch.

It has also helped on a practical level with our new funding application to Interreg ÖKS, who also congratulated us on our win.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?
Our advice is to just apply! Applying gives good visibility to your project, from clients, financiers, politicians and other stakeholders. It also made our six project partners come together and focus on this goal, the application, and realising how much we have achieved so far. What the EEPA prize will bring in the long run we don’t know yet, we will have to wait and see.

What are your plans for the future?
HealthTech Nordic applied for continued financing from the Interreg ÖKS budget in the category Job Creation, and we recently found out that we have been successful and received the financing to continue our work with our growing community. With the funding we are able to continue as planned, supporting our members so they can grow and thereby create new jobs – all while also facilitating better health worldwide.

We have a community of more than 270 startups in the healthtech sector and will continue to support them as much as we can as the disruptive change of the digitalisation of healthcare has just begun.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Time to meet the fourth category of projects that have been nominated for this year’s shortlist! Let’s meet the three projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen to compete in Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business at the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

Crossroads 2, Belgium

CrossRoads2 is a project within the European Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme aiming to stimulate sustainable cross-border cooperation between SMEs in Flanders and the Southern Netherlands (Zeeland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg). The project focuses on companies with good, innovative and technically feasible project ideas, and helps expand their regional development plans to incorporate cross-border opportunities. Concrete actions include building an efficient network to establish contacts and disseminate information, and the creation of financial incentives within a sound legal framework. Since 2016, over 750 companies have been involved in cross-border exchanges resulting in financial support for 56 innovation projects and 35 feasibility studies.

The Romanian high tech innovation, competitive all over the world, Romania

This project aims to push Romanian high-tech industries at an international level, to export Romanian high-tech capacities, and regain Romanian competitiveness in the global arena. The initiative makes use of partnerships at both national and international level between support organisations, universities and national institutions. The project works to build trust between all involved partners, and where possible encourage synchronisation of processes to avoid system blockages. In addition, important work has been carried out on re-building innovation models and analysing what Romanian companies need to advance. To date the initiative has supported over 2 500 individual participants and over 800 companies.

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 230 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week to meet the 2019 shortlisted projects!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) are an opportunity for outstanding projects from across the European Union and COSME countries to be recognised for their work in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The fourth category in which projects compete is Supporting the Internationalisation of Business. The projects listed below are national winners in this category and will be considered by the EEPA 2019 Jury for a place on the 2019 European shortlist.

Belgium: Crossroads 2

Estonia: E-residency

Portugal: PORTUGUESE JEWELLERY NEWBORN

Romania: The Romanian high tech innovation, competitive all over the world

Slovakia: Startup Sharks

Slovenia: SKIS System (Smart Key Information System)

Sweden: HealthTech Nordic

This year this category received 7 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects focused on improving business environments for startups, digitising administrative procedures and facilitating foreign involvement in the national entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Keep coming back to the News Portal each week to discover the national winners in each category for EEPA 2019!

About the EEPA selection process

The competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country selects up to two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

A shortlist of nominees will be chosen by a European jury. All nominees from the national and European competitions will be invited to attend the final awards ceremony. The ceremony recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme – ‘Supporting the internationalisation of business’ Winner 2018

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019, are looking for the next winners that will demonstrate the diversity of European projects working to promote enterprise, support entrepreneurs and contribute to the European ecosystem. Here on Promoting Enterprise we have been contacting past winners to share their experiences, winning projects and advice for future applicants.

Today is the turn of Kasvu Open from Finland, the winners of Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business, in the EEPA 2018 cycle. Kasvu Open offers sparring to companies interested in growth, free of charge. The goal is to promote company growth and business development, thus improving the SMEs’ chances of achieving international growth. Through sparring the companies’ growth plans are challenged, adapted and supported by experts representing several different fields. The selected companies come from all industry sectors across Finland and receive access to expert networks. The experience also includes a tailored growth path, run by several partners who facilitate free participation at events, provide funded support for the participating SME and ultimately guide the enterprise in the right direction.

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

We were already familiar with EEPA seeing as our parent company, the Central Finland Chamber of Commerce, won an EEPA prize back in 2006. We decided to enter because people within our network encouraged us to try and promote our work on a European stage.

How did you prepare your application?

The Kasvu Open method has been in use since 2011 and annual number of companies applying the coaching programme has grown from 35 to 800 during these years. Kasvu Open has sparked the flame of growth in more than 3500 companies, 1652 of which have received free sparring from experts. Based on this we already knew our project results; Kasvu Open is efficient, valuable and successful. For the application it was just a question of clearly writing down the work that we have done, documenting our activities over the years, and presenting the numbers, which speak for themselves.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award was a great honour on behalf of the whole growth company ecosystem in Finland. The award is dedicated to all growth companies, experts (“growth millers”), partners and everyone who has been a part of the Kasvu Open journey during the years.

Being recognised with an EEPA award confirmed that we are on the right path towards becoming the best growth company nation in the world.

How did winning the award impact your work?

This win has motivated us to keep working even harder! Now we can say that we have been recognised in Europe, meaning that our next target must be higher. It has also made us humble. We can celebrate our win, but we need to keep developing our processes to maintain our status as a frontrunner in our field.

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

It is definitely worth trying. Submit your project and see what happens! In terms of advice, be yourself, present your project proudly, and you will be noticed. This is the approach we took.

When you are shortlisted for an EEPA prize you get to attend the SME Assembly, which is an opportunity to meet other nominees and hear their stories. This is really valuable because you can get new ideas from hearing these stories. EEPA is a great competition which allows nominees to present their work and build upon what they are doing on a European scale. The event itself is a very well organised and good place for networking, so it is a great experience for everybody.

What are your plans for the future?

We are continuing to develop Kasvu Open by exploring the possibilities of technology and Artificial Intelligence. One of our main focuses is on adapting the digital platform and marketing automation solutions for Kasvu Open processes.

Watch Kasvu Open’s winning moment below and stay tuned for their future updates! Have a look here for more information on EEPA 2019 and get applying!

 

Supporting the internationalisation of business – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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Who else is on the EEPA 2018 shortlist? We are up to Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business, which focuses on projects that encourage enterprises and SMEs to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. This year the competing projects come from Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and Finland. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills and Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

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

This project facilitates both the internationalisation and digitisation of Bulgarian SMEs through the organisation of high profile events like a National Business Forum, a Balkan Conference and an International SME Summit, each of which typically involves over 200 SMEs from Bulgaria. The initiative also enables the participation of Bulgarian SMEs in international exhibitions and specially organised B2B matchmaking meetings, through which SMEs can meet and find clients, partners, investors and market opportunities. The project also proactively promotes the benefits of business digitisation through skills training and access to information and good practice examples.

Denmark: Lean Landing

Lean Landing have developed and implemented an innovative and lasting soft-landing network between micro SMEs, business incubators and business development organisations in six North Sea countries. The soft-landing network enables SMEs to break into international markets via direct discussions with potential customers and partners in the target country. The project focuses on micro SMEs and early internationalisation, as opposed to the traditional focus on medium sized SMEs. Traditionally SMEs rely on detailed and lengthy market studies before attempting to enter, however through Lean Landing they can learn directly the local experience and knowledge of incubators in several countries.

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

The Estonian Wooden House Cluster has been working to become the largest wooden house exporter in the European Union, and aims to increase the both the international competitiveness and exports of Estonian wooden house producers. Actions have included target market mapping, coordinated activities to support entry into the market, organised activities to promote producer products and competence building seminars and conferences. Results have included stable growth in sector turnover and exports, as well as raised awareness and preservation of traditional Estonian building practices. The initiative has also sustained many jobs and increased the value of products produced by the sector.

Finland: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme

Kasvu Open offers sparring to companies interested in growth, free of charge. The goal is to promote company growth and business development, thus improving the SMEs’ chances of achieving international growth. Through sparring the companies’ growth plans are challenged, adapted and supported by experts representing several different fields. The selected companies come from all industry sectors across Finland and receive access to expert networks. The experience also includes a tailored growth path, run by several partners who facilitate free participation at events, provide funded support for the participating SME and ultimately guide the enterprise in the right direction.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz this November.

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

EEPA National Winners 2018 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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

The fourth category of the EEPA “Supporting the Internationalisation of Business” 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. This year the category has nine different projects competing to win, so who will make it onto the European shortlist? Find out at the end of September after the EEPA 2018 Jury meeting!

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

Denmark: Lean Landing

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

Finland: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme

Hungary: Startup Budapest Programme

Malta: Enabling the digital transformation of Maltese SMEs

Slovenia: Innovative business model 2COUNTRY

Spain: Misión Inversa del Vino y la Alimentación

Turkey: Cyberpark Accelerator Program (CAP): An Internationalization Pathway Business

Come back to Promoting Enterprise every week to discover the national winners across the other five EEPA categories: Promoting the entrepreneurial spiritInvesting in Entrepreneurial Skills, Improving the business environmentSupporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency and Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

Want to know who will be judging the 2018 projects? Meet the EEPA 2018 Jury here on the Portal!

“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!

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