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Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker

Today we are continuing to introduce you to the members of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury by talking with Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. Selma represents the organisation that won last year’s Grand Jury Prize. Her recent experience as a participant in the competition means her advice for this year’s cohort is particularly valuable. Keep reading to hear it!

Selma is Programme Director of COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige [1] (CfS), an initiative started by the German non-profit Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e.V. (I.S.I. e.V.) working in Berlin. For more than 30 years, I.S.I. e.V. has been empowering and qualifying women with a migration background to pursue entrepreneurship. Before being awarded last year’s Grand Jury prize, CfS was selected as the winner in the competition’s Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category [2].

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EEPA 2022 Jury Member Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker

Through CfS, I.S.I. e.V. promotes entrepreneurship amongst immigrant women in Berlin by providing free training and access to networking events. What’s more, I.S.I. e.V., which is itself managed by immigrant women, not only supports women looking to become entrepreneurs, but also those who are already entrepreneurs and are looking to expand their businesses. Below, Selma talks about her experience in the competition, gives some excellent advice, and lets us know what will make a project stand out for her in this year’s competition.

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

It showcases entrepreneurship initiatives from the whole of Europe, sharing valuable examples and boosting entrepreneurship by increasing the recognition and value of entrepreneurs. By shining a light on local initiatives, it shows the great European potential of entrepreneurship and its role in nurturing and shaping our society.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

It is very important to include information on the impact the initiatives have had, both with figures and performance indicators and with concrete examples. The vision for the future is also very important, since these initiatives must constantly adapt to changes in the environment and respond to the real needs of society.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

The difficult political situation has brought instability and economic crisis, as well as uncertainty about the future. To build trust and hope, we need to move toward a healthy society that is attentive to social values and gender equality, thus promoting sustainable, equitable and responsible initiatives and projects. In this context, attention to the needs of the most vulnerable is crucial, as well as a focus on people’s mental and physical well-being.

What are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

An innovative and engaging approach, impact on people and on the local economy, and attention to the well-being of people.

We will introduce you to the other members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal [4] regularly and to follow us on Twitter [5], Facebook [6] and Instagram [7] and subscribe to our newsletter [8] for all the latest news.