EEPA 2021 Shortlist – Improving the Business Environment & Supporting the Digital Transition

Recently we have been giving you a closer look at the projects shortlisted in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) by our EEPA 2021 jury. Last time you read about the shortlisted projects in Category 2. Today it is the turn of the projects competing in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment & Supporting the Digital Transition.

The three finalists this year come from Portugal, Germany and Austria. Their projects promote the digitisation of business, support start-ups at the intersection of art, culture, business, technology and science and take an innovative approach to regional development. Sounds interesting? Let’s take a closer look.

We will take a look at the shortlisted finalists in alphabetical order, beginning with…

Digital Commerce – Portugal

Having a digital presence is a key first step for companies wishing to create more business and value and to reach new markets. Digital Commerce, a programme being implemented by ACEPI – Digital Economy Association – supports the digital transformation of SMEs, in particular micro-enterprises, in the commerce and services sector. In three years, the programme has trained 67 digital consultants and provided expertise to 50 business and commercial associations. What’s more, 1,345 entrepreneurs have graduated from its Digital Academy and the programme has conducted 51 sessions and workshops as part of a National Roadshow, in which around 3,000 entrepreneurs and traders took part. It has also organised a series of 34 free webinars, with over 1,500 participants. The programme has set itself an ambitious target – by 2022 it aims to digitally train more than 50,000 companies.

Next Mannheim – Germany

NEXT MANNHEIM has developed a unique, dynamic and steadily growing start-up ecosystem, which is establishing Mannheim as a start-up hotspot. A key goal of the project is to enable entrepreneurs in the tech, creative, cultural and urban innovation sectors to network and exchange experience with each other and with other economic stakeholders in the Rhine-Neckar-Region. The start-up ecosystem currently includes eight different start-up centres. It provides an optimal mix of funding, consulting, incubators and accelerators, supporting budding entrepreneurs and start-ups with direct access to investors, international networks, small and medium-sized businesses and industry. The project’s cultural innovation and creative economy unit focuses on cross-cutting projects that develop at the intersection of art, culture, business, technology and science.

Region 4.0 – Austria

The overarching goal of the Region 4.0 project is to make the regions of Kufstein, Untere Schranne and Kaiserwinkl even more liveable. Thanks to the start-up business development competition STADT UP KUFSTEIN, the number of vacant premises in the centre of Kufstein has fallen by 20%. These premises now house innovative retail, gastronomy and services start-ups. By providing these businesses with support – varying from graphic design to legal and tax advice, communications and much more – the project is helping to keep jobs, know-how and purchasing power in the region. The project also provides digital coaching and, to date, 121 entrepreneurs have participated in ten workshops, where they improved their knowledge of social media and websites, allowing them to increase their reach and digital presence.

Be sure to read about the projects listed in previous categories, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2021 finalists!

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