Our next Jury member has sat on the EEPA Jury before and we are delighted to welcome him back. Thomas Cooney is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Visiting Professor at the University of Turku (Finland). He is also Academic Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship, a Board Member of Startup Ireland and works in a supportive capacity with a number of businesses.
Today he is sharing with us what he will be looking for in a winning project and how to make yourself stand out in the eyes of a seasoned EEPA jury member!
What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?
A special project is one that is doing something distinctive or unique that is not being done elsewhere. The uniqueness could be the target community with whom it is working (e.g. survivors of domestic abuse), the nature of the project (e.g. summer camp on entrepreneurship), the method of delivery or some other differentiating feature to the project.
What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?
To be shortlisted, a project must demonstrate:
- A well-written proposal that answers all of the questions asked
- A track-record of achievement
- The ability for the project to be replicated in other locations.
What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?
The biggest benefit of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards is that they make people aware of what is being done in other countries and therefore successful initiatives can be replicated in other locations. To win the Grand Jury Prize, I am looking for a project that has demonstrable success, has some level of uniqueness and can be replicated by another person in another location or country.
Which is your favourite category and why?
My favourite category is ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ as I have long believed that entrepreneurship offers people from minority and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to maximise their economic and social potential.
What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?
This is the first year that the Global Entrepreneurship Network will link with the SME Assembly and I think this will bring an additional exciting element to the activities of the week.
Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?
My strongest piece of advice is to learn from past winners by benchmarking what you do against their success stories. The ultimate ambition is not to win an award but to improve the capacity of people to successfully start and grow a business, and learning from the experiences of others is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your initiative.