EEPA: The Grand Jury Prize

In addition to the winners in each of the six European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) categories – we have introduced you to all six categories in previous blogs on the portal – every year the EEPA Jury selects a project to receive the Grand Jury Prize. The winning project can be from any category and the prize is awarded to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

Let’s look at some Grand Jury Prize winners from previous years for inspiration.

In 2021, the Grand Jury Prize went to COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V., which was also the winner of first prize in the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category. The initiative supports migrant women with training and professional development, providing them with the skills they need to become self-employed. By providing free training, coaching and networking opportunities, both migrant women who are willing to start a business and those who are already self-employed, are enabled to put business ideas into practice and build up their own business start-ups in Berlin. The project is guided by the principle that migrant women stand up for migrant women.

The COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige team noted that winning the awards had great resonance with their participants and partner organizations. “We have received many congratulations and encouraging messages. Some magazines have reported about us. But most important is that we make the most of the awards and their prestige in order to further promote the offers of the COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige and reach even more migrant women, to foster them on their way to self-employment,” the team said.

The team heartily encourages others to participate in the competition. “The EEPA is a great chance to make your project more visible and cooperate with other organisations to spread information about your successful work. It gives you the possibility to present your project as a model, both at the national and international level and, ultimately, to reach your goals for a larger community all over Europe. Applying is definitely worth a try,” they said.

The 2020 Grand Jury Prize winner Le Portail du Rebond des Entrepreneurs comes from France. Le Portail du Rebond or ‘The Recovery Portal’ consists of associations that together provide a nationwide service to entrepreneurs to help them through difficult times. The associations have unique specialisations across different areas, allowing them to cover the entire value chain, from entrepreneurial failure and its prevention to entrepreneurial recovery and its promotion. The associations help entrepreneurs to navigate the measures needed for recovery and any encounters with the authorities, while removing obstacles to their recovery.

The Le Portail du Rebond team said that wining the Grand Jury prize had been an amazing experience. “Firstly it was a wonderful recognition of our 10 years of work supporting entrepreneurs in difficulty. We also feel that winning this award and having our services recognised and spoken about during this period of health and economic crisis will also help us reach additional entrepreneurs that may be in difficult situations.”

Potential participants shouldn’t think twice, the team says. “Firstly, there is absolutely nothing to lose, but so much to win. Secondly, this competition allows for the work and initiatives we work so hard on to be shared with the public as well as other actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Participating in this competition was an incredible collective adventure for the Portail du Rebond community, which helped further solidify the strong bonds that we have between the participating associations.”

In 2019 the Grand Jury Prize was awarded to GreenPAC iLab, a project from the Netherlands, competing in the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category (currently Supporting the sustainable transition). GreenPAC iLab supports new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry in starting their businesses and achieving sustainable and circular business models. The project functions as a community where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas receive coaching and access to a network of professionals that help with feasibility studies, research and product development.

We spoke to GreenPAC iLab Manager and Business Developer Bastian Coes to discover the story behind the winning project. “Winning the award impacted our work directly because there is outside endorsement for what we do. Awards like this help develop the GreenPAC iLab further and to sustain the work we do. We have also had a lot of questions about our programme from the international community, and the EEPA has facilitated this by giving us an international podium to share how we support sustainable start-ups. Winning the EEPA Grand Jury Prize has given us additional proof to demonstrate that the regional funding of GreenPAC iLab should be sustained,” Bastian said.

Entering EEPA is a great way to reflect on what you have done over the last couple of years and also about the way you want to move forward. EEPA gives a lot of exposure for your initiative but also makes your team and everyone involved proud to be part of a shortlisted initiative,” he said.

This year it could be your turn to join the ranks of EEPA alumni! If you are interested in participating, check out your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here.

If you have missed the introductions into each of the six EEPA categories, you can check them out here:

EEPA Category I – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

EEPA Category II – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

EEPA category III – Improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition

EEPA Category IV – Supporting the internationalisation of business

EEPA Category V – Supporting the sustainable transition

EEPA Category VI – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

For more information, visit the the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.