The German national EEPA winners for 2016 have been announced! Egon , an enterprise guiding project, and Network with Courage , which works with refugee entrepreneurs, were the triumphant projects in the tightly contested competition. Promoting Enterprise spoke to Juliane Kummer, German National EEPA  Coordinator about running a successful national campaign and enduring the difficult task of picking a winner from a crowded, competitive field.
How many entries to your national competition did you receive this year?
We had 30 applications this year.
How did you promote your national competition?
We did a number of things:
- The federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy issued a press release, as did RKW Kompetenzzentrum , a national SME support and development organisation.
- Immediately after the national competition was announced, we sent letters about the competition to more than 1200 institutions (Ministries, chambers of commerce, trade associations, foundations, Chairs of Entrepreneurship at universities, startup and technology centres etc. We asked them to spread the news about the competition and/or to apply if they had appropriate initiatives.
- Additionally, we sent ready-made text for newsletters and a factsheet to about 50 public relations contacts and asked them to publish the information on their websites, via newsletters, in journals, and through other communication channels.
- Moreover, we contacted about 150 interesting initiatives and invited them to enter the competition.
- There were ongoing social media activities on our Facebook and Twitter channels.
- We also distributed materials at fairs for entrepreneurs.
What were you looking for in winning entries?
We were looking for interesting projects in each of the six competition categories that were innovative, inspiring, and with an economic impact.
Who was the jury made up of and why these particular members?
The jury was made up of representatives from Ministries, chambers of commerce, associations, corporations, and public institutions. They are our national experts, with expertise in supporting entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystems, SMEs in general, and other aspects, like internationalisation, that are covered by the EEPA. This is why they’re qualified to select our national winners.
Juliane Kummer, front left, with the German national EEPA jury (Image source: RKW Kompetenzzentrum)
Why did you choose the winning entries?
EGON  is a guiding project based on voluntary/honorary guiding activities. The Mayor of the commune, together with other guides, helps entrepreneurs to build up a company and works to ensure their success in the region. The project was chosen because of its great transferability, even for structurally weak regions, and because of its success: In a region with 320 companies, 30 were founded with the help of EGON in the last four years. Other European countries can adapt the initiative easily with minimum cost and can make their region more attractive in the international competition for business locations.
Network with Courage  is an initiative from an enterprise network in Berlin. Our national jury was very convinced by the network’s comprehensive and sustainable activities to combat xenophobia/racism and discrimination, and to support refugees’ integration by providing internships and participating (on a voluntary basis) in projects against discrimination and racism. From managers to apprentices, everybody helps to support tolerance and diversity. The initiative’s inspiring model and its transferability, as well as its economic and societal success and impact, makes it a national winner.
What was their reaction to being winning the national competition?
Their reaction was somewhere between happy and incredulous! They are full of passion for their initiatives and want to make them more known. And for sure they want to win the international competition.
What do you think your chances are of winning at the European level?
Our national jury made a great decision by selecting these winners. I think our chances of winning at the European level are high because of the fantastic transferability of both projects, their success, and their economic and political meaning and impact.
To find out if EGON and Network with Courage win big at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards this November, keep visiting the Promoting Enterprise blog and follow us on Twitter .