EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

It is time to start meeting our European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winners, starting with the winner of Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit!

The 2019 winner is the Haven project from Belgium, which supports and strengthens enterprising young people who want to develop a project. Additionally the project offers a safe testing ground to encourage creative youth entrepreneurship to grow into socially relevant companies. By offering a risk-free environment Haven encourages entrepreneurial youth to learn, experiment and fail, and thus enhance their competences for their future enterprises. As a result, these youth will be able to address our evolving societal challenges with their ideas, and have the experience to carry them out. The project has been active for three years and has 80 young affiliates that have benefited from the scheme.

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

We heard about the award in a few different ways. To begin with, one of our coaches found the award in a newsletter, and then we also received information on the EEPA from colleagues from the federal government. At first we didn’t realise just how big the award was and how extensive the EEPA network is, so we just approached it as an opportunity to do our best, show what we have done through our project and ultimately meet people from all over Europe who share the same beliefs surrounding youth and entrepreneurship.

How did you prepare your application?

We prepared the application with a small group of our members. It was interesting to write the application and define what we are doing and how we differ from others. Some of our preparation was a bit rushed and looking back we could have done more, but in the end it all worked out and the experience was worth it.

What was it like to win the award?

It was amazing and completely unexpected! We really did not expect to win, and were there because we were nominated by the Belgian delegation. We are super thankful for winning this award, and especially for giving us the chance to meet so many great people from across Europe.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award gave us an identity on European level. As a young organisation this is really important as we need to find new European level partners to work with, but has also proved valuable at local level as EEPA has created more visibility and recognition for the hard work we are doing. The biggest opportunity as a result of EEPA for us now is to work together with new partners and expand our methodology.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

The EEPA network is an incredibly diverse and encouraging network, and shows that Europe is investing in entrepreneurship and bringing together social entrepreneurs from across Europe. We would advise future participants to join EEPA 2020 because it opens so many doors and opportunities. Just give it a try!

What are your plans for the future?

We want to make entrepreneurship a viable and realistic choice next to studying and working as an employee. Young people with ideas need to easily find their way to entrepreneurship. In order to make this a reality, we want to work with our government towards a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship and make laws ‘entrepreneurship friendly’, particularly for young entrepreneurs.

At Haven we create a safe space for youth to build upon and make their dreams a reality. We want what we do at Haven to become mainstream and ‘normal’ in Belgian society. We meet youth who have ‘missed’ their chance, whether it be in education or the labour market, and through our work we want to ensure that we can create opportunities for them and give them the support they need.

EEPA gave us the opportunity to meet other people that believe just as strongly in both youth and entrepreneurship which was incredibly inspiring and a true motivation to continue our work and keep providing opportunities and support for youth entrepreneurs.

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:

Tags: , , , ,