As the European deadline for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) gets closer, Promoting Enterprise wants to highlight one part of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Today we have Finnish National Coordinator Kati Shibutani telling us about her work in organising EEPA as well as her advice on how to run a successful national EEPA campaign.
How did you prepare for EEPA 2019?
As a national coordinator for EEPA, I’m glad that I have many colleagues here in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment who deal with SME promotion and with whom I can discuss and share ideas for EEPA. There is also a team of 3-4 persons especially for EEPA preparations and together we plan and decide on EEPA related issues.
What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?
I have found it very useful to inform as many people and entities as possible about the EEPA competition. It could be that someone knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone – in this way you may learn about new and potential candidates for EEPA – and if a candidate is not eligible to apply this year, they may be eligible next year.
In addition to the excellent support and assistance the national EEPA coordinators get from the Commission it is good to have some advertising in the national language – and that is why our communications team did a video for EEPA with Finnish subtitles. The video and the message were spread across Twitter which has been our main advertising channel for the campaign. We have also sent some direct emails to relevant people and organisations in the business promotion field who could assist us in spreading the word of the EEPA competition. By designing short, clear and fresh messages we hope to interest and attract as many potential EEPA candidates as possible.
What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2019 campaign?
This year – as well as last year – we aim to courage potential candidates to apply by saying that “this is your chance to meet other candidates and ideas from Europe, to share best practices and learn from them”, and if you aim to win, the first step is to apply!
What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?
Many countries may have initiatives for SME promotion that may look similar at first glance but may have a small detail – a different aspect, approach etc. – that makes them better, more effective etc. These details are worth studying and if applicable adopted or tested in your country. Therefore, cooperation – sharing best practices and learning from them – is the most important thing, and also applies to the field of EEPA.
In order to get in touch with Kati or any of the other 2019 EEPA National Coordinators, have a look here  and make sure to reach out to them for help with your EEPA 2019 applications.