In celebration of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) returning for another edition in 2018, Promoting Enterprise is bringing you a series of testimonials from the EEPA 2017 winners. Today’s winner – Internationalisation 2015-2020  from ecoplus International, shares with us their story of how they became the 2017 winners in the category ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
We first heard of the competition via the newsletter of the liaison office of Lower Austria in Brussels as well as via the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. Entering seemed like a good way to present what we do at the regional, national and EU level, and it is always interesting to compete with others! We see competition as a sort of “benchmarking” for what we are doing.
How did you prepare your application?
We did not do anything special in preparation for EEPA, after all we are not “new” in the business – we have more than 10 years’ experience in this field. However, despite our experience we always enjoy opportunities to improve, adapt and innovate. With regards to EEPA we saw that we already had some specific support programmes that corresponded to the EEPA internationalisation category criteria quite well, so we just simply presented the work we have been doing with these programmes.
What was it like to win the award?
When we take part in awards of this kind we always want to win or, at least, be a nominee. Due to the time it takes to prepare all of the necessary documentation we rarely take part in these kinds of competitions. The last time we participated in something similar was in 2012 when we participated in an EU Award after being nominated by Austria. This time around, with EEPA, it was even better as not only were we nominated but ended up winning in our category!
How did winning the award impact your work?
Winning the award resulted in some great media coverage, but as always you have to be proactive. Winning an EU Award can be a good story for local media, but you have to share it with them. We were and continue to be supported by all our partners, but especially by the government of Lower Austria (by the governor herself) – so our advice is to share your award with those who support you throughout all your years of hard work!
Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?
Firstly, it is always useful to take, from time to time, an “outside view” on what you do, based on the criteria of the EEPA. Taking part in an EU Award means competing with a lot of other projects – so there is also the chance to learn from others.
Secondly, EEPA is a chance for recognition on an EU level. When applying it is important to ask yourself if others can replicate what you do. Success is always a combination of vision, strategy, trial and error, lessons learnt and results, so be sure to include your project story and journey.
Finally, prepare well! Be aware that it requires quite a lot of work until your documents are “final” (based on the requirements of the EEPA). Advice and help from the national body (in our case the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy) might also be very useful, so make the most of it.
To find out more about Internationalisation 2015-2020 projects, read about them in the 2017 EEPA compendium , and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here .
Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU  and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise ) for the latest EEPA updates.