EEPA Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Join us as we continue our deep dive into the six European Promotion Enterprise Awards’ categories!

Last week, we took a look at the first category: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit. This week, we are turning our attention to the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category, which celebrates initiatives that help enhance the skills of entrepreneurs, managers and employees.

2021’s Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills prize was awarded to COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige (CfS), an initiative started by the German nonprofit, Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen (ISI). Through CfS, ISI promotes entrepreneurship amongst immigrant women in Berlin by providing free training and access to networking events. What’s more, ISI — which is itself managed by immigrant women — not only supports women looking to become entrepreneurs, but also those who are already entrepreneurs and are looking to expand their businesses.

Our aim is to be a meeting point where immigrant women can implement their ideas and realise their own professional projects in a new country’, said ISI’s Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker during the 2021 EEPA ceremony. ‘This international recognition confirms that we are on the right [track] and encourages us to keep on going. We dedicate this award [to] all these brave and amazing women…

Throughout the past decade, EEPA has celebrated numerous projects of this high caliber. We believe it is incredibly important that these initiatives receive the recognition that their work deserves.

In 2019, Cyprus’ IDEA Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre was the recipient of this category. To help develop Cyprus into a hub of innovation IDEA works to give Cypriots of all ages and genders entrepreneurial opportunities. The project places particular emphasis on making these opportunities accessible to people with special needs. Alongside this it also develops investment networks, encourages volunteer work, facilitates cooperation between businesses in different industries, and strives to shift perceptions of entrepreneurship in the country. As of 2019, forty-eight new businesses have been developed and seventy new jobs created as a direct result of IDEA’s work.

IDEA“, said manager Angela Panayiotou in 2019, “made a gigantic effort to create a culture and form a cluster of activities that boost innovation and entrepreneurship in our small country through partnerships and hard work … We [have committed] ourselves for more.”

Speaking about the preparation process for the application, the team admitted that while it was a challenging activity, it brought the team and collaborators closer and the support they received was incredible:

We needed to organise all the evidence of our activities to demonstrate the extent of them and our commitment to the EEPA values. We were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide testimonies to our work. Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team and collaborators closer and boosted our confidence.

Sweden’s Business Generator was the category II prize winner in 2017. With expertise in analytics, finance, customer relationship management, business development, and innovation, amongst other fields, Business Generator’s various teams provide external support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that would not otherwise have the resources to afford it. In addition to the extensive and wide-ranging expertise of Business Generator’s teams, their third-party perspective enables them to objectively analyze the challenges faced by SMEs and more effectively disrupt the status quo.

There is great potential for improvement when it comes to developing knowledge about creating economic growth’, said Business Generator’s Anette Rhudin in 2017. ‘Fortunately, the debate is changing — slowly [but] surely — [and the] EEPA and [a] growing awareness [of] SMEs have arrived at the right time! It’s very inspiring…

About the European Enterprise Promotion Award

The EEPA rewards those promoting entrepreneurship and the development of small businesses locally, nationally, and regionally.

Initiatives in any EU Member State; Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Kosovo; Montenegro; North Macedonia; Serbia; Turkey; Armenia; Moldova; Ukraine; Iceland; and the United Kingdom are eligible to be nominated for prizes, as are local, national, and regional public-private partnerships in any EU Member States; Iceland; Montenegro; Serbia; Turkey; and Ukraine.

More information regarding eligibility criteria can be found on the European Commission website.

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