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EEPA 2020 National Winners – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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Time to meet some more EEPA national winners! Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”. This category recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial, managerial and employee skills.

*Due to certain national EEPA competitions being disrupted by COVID-19 this list is still subject to additions. Please keep checking back for the most updated national winner information.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

Acts of solidarity – How a Belgian seamstress supported the medical sector and general public

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We are back with part two of the first of our ‘COVID Stories’ which look at how companies and people have been affected by the current pandemic and how they have adapted to their new business environments.

In this interview Catherine Lorent, a Belgian micro SME owner who has used her sewing business to aid the medical sector and general public tells us what happened next and where she is now. If you haven’t already, catch up with part one of her story here. In her last interview Catherine explained how she started making masks and hospital blouses for the medical sector, and her experience in learning how to make masks and being able to source the correct fabric.

Today Catherine is telling us more about the business, the need to diversify, direct impacts due to COVID, expanding her new products to the general public and where she sees her business in future.

How have you diversified your business in response to COVID-19?

I started with the call for masks and blouses for the hospital staff, but once the demand from hospitals began to decrease (due to the arrival of medical grade masks), I found myself becoming less busy and not having as much work again, which was worrying. I looked into making other Personal Protective Equipment, specifically the plastic visors for the hospital staff as I knew there was a shortage, but unfortunately I was unable to source the correct materials.

It was at this point that the government guidelines for citizen mask-wearing began to become clearer, and I started receiving orders from the general public, the spokesperson for the Belgian Prime Minister and the office of the Secretary General of the European Commission. These orders led to my business slowly picking up again, and saw a slow transition from providing fabric masks only for the hospitals to taking private clients. I have been lucky as I have not had to inject personal funds into my business and have been supported by the government bridge scheme for entrepreneurs.  

Diversification also happened with the way I get my products to my clients, which was a big problem during COVID specifically. There were times when it took up to 3 weeks for some of my clients to receive their masks in the post, which was simply not quick enough. To solve this, my son and I reached out to some cyclists to set up a delivery work, which now works to get the products to clients in a more reasonable timeframe. I cover the costs of the cyclists but some of them are volunteers that wanted to help me however they could.

What other effects has COVID-19 had on you and your business?

There is definitely a change in perception of my skills and industry. Prior to the beginning of this pandemic I did not feel as valued, and I think that in general my sector and my profession were not valued as much as they were a few decades ago. In general I think that manual labour is sometimes seen as ‘easy’, and that anyone can do it. The need for fabric masks highlighted our specific skillsets, and as a result people’s mentality has changed and I feel like my work is more appreciated.

With this appreciation I hope that there is another mentality shift towards valuing quality clothes, and investing in good pieces and repairing them over time to make them last. If a higher quality of clothes becomes the standard, then the value of repairing and tailoring them should also increase.

How do you see the future of your business?

I hope that I will not have to make so many masks! To date, I have made around 1600 in total. It is a product that I will continue to offer as there is a demand and a need, but I’m hoping that I will not have to make as many as I was producing at the beginning of the lockdown period. I’ve experimented with a few different models of masks now that it is a steady product that I offer, and I’m thinking about coming out with a summer collection!

I also hope that the outpouring of support for small businesses will continue and that people will value the SMEs in their community and take their business to them. It is important to champion entrepreneurs, and I think that one of the results of this pandemic is that people have discovered small businesses and want to support them however they can. In my case I was very moved by all the people wanting to offer their help to make me a website, help out with my social media, volunteer to help my business, and just showing their support for me and my work. Hopefully this kind of attitude continues in future.

It will also be great to see my clients again, and hopefully gain some new ones! The bigger contracts should also come back so that is something to look forward to as well. Overall I will continue to diversify my products, and perhaps transition my business back into a hobby in the future, we will just have to wait and see.

Don’t forget to go and follow L’Or en 4 on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about Catherine and her story.

Have you got a COVID Story like Catherine’s to tell? Do you know an SME owner that has adapted to COVID-19 and wants to share their story? We would love to hear about it and feature it right here on the News Portal. Contact us at: promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu

Acts of solidarity – How a Belgian seamstress started making masks

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are bringing you the first of our ‘COVID Stories’ which will look at how companies and people have been affected by the current pandemic and how they are adapting to their new business environments.

Our first story focuses on Catherine Lorent, a Belgian micro SME owner who has used her sewing business to aid the medical sector and general public by learning how to make masks and fabricating them, as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gowns and shirts for nurses at children’s hospitals who found themselves facing shortages as the urgent demand for PPE continued to rise.

In this interview she tells about what motivated her to start her business and how she brought her plans to fruition, as well as the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on her business.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your business?

My name is Catherine Lorent and I own a sewing business called ‘L’Or en 4’. I started my current business in 2017 after I had become unemployed. Up until that point I had been working for a company for many years, until it closed around 2016. I was 54 at the time and I realised that my re-employment opportunities were limited due to my age and that it would be potentially difficult to reintegrate into the workforce.

It was at this point that I decided to re-pursue my passion for sewing, and try and make a business out of it to be able to keep working. I’ve always enjoyed sewing and I did have a small business at one point so I decided to start it up again as I wanted to become independent and work for myself.

My sewing business covers just about everything, I’m a seamstress so I can fix clothes, furnishings (like curtains and upholstery), and I also do restoration work. In addition, I’m a creative seamstress so I help people bring their designs to life and co-create bespoke pieces for them from scratch.  

What were the initial effects of COVID-19 on you and your business?

At the beginning of the pandemic it was really stressful because my clients stopped coming to my premises to have their garments tailored due to the lockdown measures which really affected my source of income. What’s more, some of my contracts started to be put on hold or dry up, like my work with the scouts to produce their scarves, seeing as all activities were suspended. The cancellation of several events also had quite a big knock on effect. My business is also tied to a lot of shops, as I work with several of them as their main seamstress for alterations, and when they had to close due to the health measures that also halted another line of work for me.

Overall it was an incredibly stressful period, and at one point I called one of my sons who helps me with the business and told him that I thought that I was going to have to close my business and stop working. I just couldn’t see how to replace my normal work and keep my business afloat. It was a difficult moment for both of us but it made me realise just how passionate I am about what I do and that I wanted to keep going however I could.

When and how did you start making masks for the hospitals?

I started making the masks as an act of solidarity as I realised that supplies were low and there was a genuine need. There was also this general expectation that people with skills like mine should pitch in and help out the hospitals and travelling nurses where they could, so I started experimenting with patterns and construction and making my first fabric masks. There was a lot of trial and error at the beginning as there were no official guidelines, requirements or certifications in Belgium for non-medical grade masks at the time.

Even sourcing the correct fabric was difficult during lockdown and I began by using my own stocks of hard polyester. When I ran out I turned to my own network to source more in order to keep up with demand. The fabric shop owner that I work with really helped out and at one point was throwing my fabric order down to me from a window! This was the only way that we could keep our supply chain going and helping the hospitals whilst keeping ourselves safe and socially distancing. It really emphasised that sense of community and just highlighted how everyone wanted to play their part and work together.

At this stage I was being paid by the national government via a dedicated scheme (Droit passerelle pour indépendants / Overbruggingsrecht voor zelfstandigen) for the self-employed that needed temporary financial support due to COVID-19. Through the scheme I was paid for my time and contribution so I was able to keep the business afloat, but I was still quite worried about how to keep my business going in the future.

What about the hospital gowns and shirts, when did you start making those?

Once I had already started making masks I saw an appeal on Facebook that was launched to find seamstresses willing to help children’s hospitals. The nurses that were working in these hospitals were running out of protective clothing as the main hospitals treating COVID-19 patients used up most of the supplies. The appeal asked for help in producing this protective clothing but also for the seamstresses to try and source ‘fun’ fabrics, as these nurses were treating young patients. I responded to the appeal and managed to make shirts for the nurses out of recycled fabric that I already had.

That is something else that I really stand for, the idea of recycling fabric or using what you have. Where possible I want to respond to the need for new products but not contribute to waste or harm the environment. If I can, I re-use or recycle fabrics or upcycle existing products into something completely new.

What was it like diversifying your activities to include masks and protective clothing? Was it difficult to keep up with demand?

At first it was a slower uptake but then it got to a point where I was not able to do it all on my own. I was very lucky to have neighbours giving me their time and helping out, as well as my sons. I taught them to sew when they were young so they helped me on the weekends to keep up with the orders and make sure we got everything out on time.

How did Catherine continue to diversify her business? How is she doing now and where does she see the future of her industry? Find out all of this and more in our next interview right here on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal. You can follow L’Or en 4 on Instagram and Facebook.

Have you got a COVID Story like Catherine’s to tell? Do you know an SME owner that has adapted to COVID-19 and wants to share their story? We would love to hear about it and feature it right here on the News Portal. Contact us at: promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu

What is the impact of winning an EEPA?

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There is still time to submit an application for this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) and get involved in this celebration of enterprise! Check your national deadline here.

The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.

We have once again asked our EEPA Class of 2019 for their advice and experiences of being winners in the EEPA 2019 competition. Today we wanted to bring you their insights on what winning an EEPA has done for their projects and their work.

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 startups.

Receiving an EEPA also highlights and recognises the support provided by the regional government. GreenPAC iLab has strong connections with (regional) governments, and the province of Overijssel and the municipality of Zwolle are crucial for stimulating sustainable entrepreneurship in the region. Both provide support for our program and can function as a launching customer for startups. Winning the EEPA Grand Jury Prize has given us additional proof to demonstrate that the regional funding of GreenPAC iLab should be sustained.

It is really motivating to have your work recognised at European level. The award is very important for both national and international visibility for the project and represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase its replication potential.

Winning this award served as motivation for the local Municipality, employees and the broader Tilos community to continue their hard work and remain dedicated to the vision of energy autonomy for the island of Tilos. As with the two prestigious EUSEW 2017 Awards, the EEPA 2019 award will also contribute to our efforts to communicate the success stories of our island to a wider audience, making Tilos an attractive destination for all Europeans.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch. It has also helped on a practical level with our new funding application to Interreg ÖKS, who also congratulated us on our win.

Winning the award has put a spotlight on our work and the change that we are trying to bring about for SME involvement in public procurement. The prize not only represents recognition of the teamwork and effort that went into the project, but also that this work has a positive effect on sustainable business development and thus on employment generation.

We have received congratulations and encouragement from fellow colleagues, family and friends, and have also been mentioned in the local media which is quite exciting. It is also nice to see the City Council being recognised as an organisation and being praised for some of the valuable work it does. It is a shame that the national media has hardly mentioned the award, which has limited its effect in bringing the issue of SME involvement in public procurement to the authorities that need to be made aware.

Winning an EEPA has given us a lot of publicity in national press, across both printed and digital channels. We have also received congratulations from the government, business associations and from so many people. Most importantly, we made our partners and supporters proud, and we would like to especially mention the visionaries at the Bank of Cyprus, that believed and supported IDEA since its inception. For us, the IDEA team, who invest a significant amount of personal time and voluntary work into the IDEA project, being the winners of a prestigious EEPA is a powerful motivation to continue our work and keep aiming higher.

Winning the award gave us an identity on European level. As a young organisation this is really important as we need to find new European level partners to work with, but has also proved valuable at local level as EEPA has created more visibility and recognition for the hard work we are doing. The biggest opportunity as a result of EEPA for us now is to work together with new partners and expand our methodology.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

What is it like to win an EEPA?

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Have you submitted your application for this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) yet? There is still time to take part! Check your national deadline here.

The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.

Today on Promoting Enterprise we asked the EEPA Class of 2019 what it was like to win an EEPA and to share their experiences with you right here on the News Portal. Have a read through and re-live their winning moments!

It was a great feeling and surprise to win the award. It represents a great acknowledgment for the hard work of the GreenPAC iLab team, the universities Windesheim and NHL Stenden. It was not always easy to get funding for our plans and recognition of the work that the startups and GreenPAC iLab do. Over the last couple of years we have developed a big movement and community which have had an impact on sustainability, circular business models and growth of startups. It is truly a great feeling for all of this to be recognised and valued by the EEPA jury.

Being awarded with an EEPA prize is a great honour for us. Winning this award shows us that our efforts to successfully establish a target group-oriented offer for refugees who want to become founders have paid off. Special thanks go to our volunteer mentors, who have contributed significantly to this success story. We would also like to thank our founders, who brought this mentoring program alive with their good ideas. Unfortunately, our team could not be present at the SME Assembly so we would also like to thank our EEPA National Coordinator Ms. Kummer from the RKW who represented us and accepted our prize on our behalf. Thank you very much!

We take great pride in winning this award, which stands as another recognition for the accomplishments of our island in the clean energy and environment protection sector. Tilos and its people remain faithful to the vision of sustainable development for the island, welcoming innovation and producing inspiring results for small enterprises and for addressing the problems of the most vulnerable island regions in Europe.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Amazing! It was really nerve-wracking sitting in the audience and listen to the presentations of the three category finalists. Both we and the project from the Netherlands were convinced that the Romanian project would win, their film was so good! When we heard our project announced as the winner we couldn’t believe it!

As I was standing on the podium giving my Thank You speech I just blacked out and completely forgot the name of my project colleague standing next to me. We have worked together for almost 2 years and her name was totally gone. I almost panicked there and then, on stage, so I just admitted that I had forgotten her name! Looking back at the recording I realise that the ‘eternity’ when I blacked out was really just a second or two. After the ceremony so many people came up to me and thanked me for being me on stage, displaying happiness, surprise and passion and for giving them a reason to laugh at this otherwise very formal event. Overall it was an amazing evening and experience.

It was tremendously exciting, as we did not expect it! It was already a huge achievement for us to have passed the national phase and be nominated for the EEPA jury shortlist. We knew that our project was different from past category winners, which tended to be specifically aimed at the creation or development of new companies as opposed to our project which involves indirect support to existing companies. But luckily for us the Jury recognised the impact of our public procurement system on companies and how it allows them to develop their potential as a public supplier, be more competitive and innovative, and receive fair and fast payment for their work.

Winning an EEPA showed us that our path is the right one and implements one of the objectives of public procurement in Europe, as stated by the Commission and the European Parliament in the three Contracting Directives of 2014.  We hope that our win can also serve as an example to others with similar projects to keep going and inspire contracting authorities in particular to undertake similar SME-friendly measures.

The award made the whole of Cyprus proud! It proved that it is not the size of the country that matters, but the ambition, vision and extent of collaboration that count. Through our win we inspired confidence and showed the rest of Cyprus that we can achieve great things in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. We proved that by applying the values of sharing, giving-back and creating opportunities, the benefit comes back to all of us involved. Winning this Award is a noble endorsement from our European Family.  

Being in Helsinki and experiencing the moment was amazing, and even though not all of our team could make it to Helsinki we were all there together in spirit. This illustrates another beautiful side of Europe: In the same way that it brings businesses together, it brings people together, and we are grateful for this.

It was amazing and completely unexpected! We really did not expect to win, and were there because we were nominated by the Belgian delegation. We are super thankful for winning this award, and especially for giving us the chance to meet so many great people from across Europe.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

EEPA 2020 – How to prepare your application

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There is still a chance to participate in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! Make sure that you submit your applications before your national deadline. Remember that each national deadline is different so check yours here.

What goes into an EEPA application? What makes your application stand out from all the others? Here on Promoting Enterprise the EEPA Class of 2019 have shared their advice for preparing an EEPA application and some top tips they used to make their applications stand out. Read through their advice below and don’t forget to apply!

We wrote our application for the national competition and really emphasised the link between the results of the startup businesses and the methods we use. It was important to stress that in addition to results such as revenue and employment of the startups, at GreenPAC iLab the emphasis is on the connection between research carried out by applied universities and the knowledge gap of a startup. We then add to that knowledge, for example by facilitating necessary feasibility studies.

Both the startups and the universities benefit: the startups have access to knowledge and equipment which are not available in the market and the universities have access to new economic and technological developments which they otherwise have no access to.

The application was prepared with the invaluable support of the local Ministry of Economy and Development, which provided us with all the necessary information, and followed closely the progress of our application. We also benefitted from and really appreciated the support of the TILOS project consortium partners that in collaboration with the committed employees of Tilos Municipality prepared a strong proposal.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Just before applying for EEPA, we had been requested to apply for the RegioStar Award, so we used that application as a base and updated it with more recent information and specific aspects relevant to EEPA. Overall the application process was very smooth, and the hardest part was actually getting the recommendation letter signed by the right person at the Swedish Agency of Innovation, Vinnova.

Since 2016 our work surrounding the improvement of social efficiency in municipal public sector contracts has been under evaluation, and in response to that we put into place procedures to ensure that all awarded SMEs were up to the highest standard. This particular work helped us to prepare our EEPA application and finding the level of detail required. We also drew on past experience and collaborative work with local companies which allowed us to get the support of different local business associations for our EEPA candidacy.

The ‘preparation’ for the application was our intense activity over the past four years. We needed to organise all the information and experience that we had gathered to demonstrate the extent of our activity, our commitment and the EEPA values that it represents. At this point, we were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide their own testimony for our work. 

Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team closer and boosted our confidence. It also brought our collaborators closer to us and their support was incredible!

We prepared the application with a small group of our members. It was interesting to write the application and define what we are doing and how we differ from others. Some of our preparation was a bit rushed and looking back we could have done more, but in the end it all worked out and the experience was worth it.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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It is time to start meeting our European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winners, starting with the winner of Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit!

The 2019 winner is the Haven project from Belgium, which supports and strengthens enterprising young people who want to develop a project. Additionally the project offers a safe testing ground to encourage creative youth entrepreneurship to grow into socially relevant companies. By offering a risk-free environment Haven encourages entrepreneurial youth to learn, experiment and fail, and thus enhance their competences for their future enterprises. As a result, these youth will be able to address our evolving societal challenges with their ideas, and have the experience to carry them out. The project has been active for three years and has 80 young affiliates that have benefited from the scheme.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?

We heard about the award in a few different ways. To begin with, one of our coaches found the award in a newsletter, and then we also received information on the EEPA from colleagues from the federal government. At first we didn’t realise just how big the award was and how extensive the EEPA network is, so we just approached it as an opportunity to do our best, show what we have done through our project and ultimately meet people from all over Europe who share the same beliefs surrounding youth and entrepreneurship.

How did you prepare your application?

We prepared the application with a small group of our members. It was interesting to write the application and define what we are doing and how we differ from others. Some of our preparation was a bit rushed and looking back we could have done more, but in the end it all worked out and the experience was worth it.

What was it like to win the award?

It was amazing and completely unexpected! We really did not expect to win, and were there because we were nominated by the Belgian delegation. We are super thankful for winning this award, and especially for giving us the chance to meet so many great people from across Europe.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award gave us an identity on European level. As a young organisation this is really important as we need to find new European level partners to work with, but has also proved valuable at local level as EEPA has created more visibility and recognition for the hard work we are doing. The biggest opportunity as a result of EEPA for us now is to work together with new partners and expand our methodology.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

The EEPA network is an incredibly diverse and encouraging network, and shows that Europe is investing in entrepreneurship and bringing together social entrepreneurs from across Europe. We would advise future participants to join EEPA 2020 because it opens so many doors and opportunities. Just give it a try!

What are your plans for the future?

We want to make entrepreneurship a viable and realistic choice next to studying and working as an employee. Young people with ideas need to easily find their way to entrepreneurship. In order to make this a reality, we want to work with our government towards a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship and make laws ‘entrepreneurship friendly’, particularly for young entrepreneurs.

At Haven we create a safe space for youth to build upon and make their dreams a reality. We want what we do at Haven to become mainstream and ‘normal’ in Belgian society. We meet youth who have ‘missed’ their chance, whether it be in education or the labour market, and through our work we want to ensure that we can create opportunities for them and give them the support they need.

EEPA gave us the opportunity to meet other people that believe just as strongly in both youth and entrepreneurship which was incredibly inspiring and a true motivation to continue our work and keep providing opportunities and support for youth entrepreneurs.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Time to meet the fourth category of projects that have been nominated for this year’s shortlist! Let’s meet the three projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen to compete in Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business at the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

Crossroads 2, Belgium

CrossRoads2 is a project within the European Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme aiming to stimulate sustainable cross-border cooperation between SMEs in Flanders and the Southern Netherlands (Zeeland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg). The project focuses on companies with good, innovative and technically feasible project ideas, and helps expand their regional development plans to incorporate cross-border opportunities. Concrete actions include building an efficient network to establish contacts and disseminate information, and the creation of financial incentives within a sound legal framework. Since 2016, over 750 companies have been involved in cross-border exchanges resulting in financial support for 56 innovation projects and 35 feasibility studies.

The Romanian high tech innovation, competitive all over the world, Romania

This project aims to push Romanian high-tech industries at an international level, to export Romanian high-tech capacities, and regain Romanian competitiveness in the global arena. The initiative makes use of partnerships at both national and international level between support organisations, universities and national institutions. The project works to build trust between all involved partners, and where possible encourage synchronisation of processes to avoid system blockages. In addition, important work has been carried out on re-building innovation models and analysing what Romanian companies need to advance. To date the initiative has supported over 2 500 individual participants and over 800 companies.

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 230 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week to meet the 2019 shortlisted projects!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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It is time to meet this year’s shortlisted projects! Over the next few weeks each of the projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen will be presented in the category in which they will be competing in the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

To start the introductions, we are meeting the three shortlisted projects competing for the prize in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit.

Port Incubator CVBA-SO, a safe port for young experimentation. Haven (Port), Belgium

Haven [Port] supports and strengthens enterprising young people who want to develop a project, and offers a safe testing ground to encourage creative youth entrepreneurship to grow into socially relevant companies. By offering a risk-free environment Haven encourages entrepreneurial youth to learn, experiment and fail, and thus enhance their competences for their future enterprises. As a result, these youth will be able to address our evolving societal challenges with their ideas, and have the experience to carry them out. The project has been active for two years and has 49 young affiliates that have benefited from the scheme.

Game Hub Scandinavia, Denmark

Game Hub Scandinavia allows current gaming market students at Viden Djurs business school, to continue their education in game development at established company Dania Games. Students can establish companies in the Game Incubator, spread across four locations in Denmark and Sweden. The Incubator works with young talent to develop their businesses and teach them the specifics of the highly competitive game industry, to ensure survival of young companies. The Incubator also conducts research that can be used to guide business models for the companies of the incubator. To date, the project partners have created approximately 100 companies and 157 workplaces.

The path of the young entrepreneur, Serbia

“The path of the young entrepreneur” focuses on promoting the entrepreneurial spirit of young people, and educating them about opportunities for starting businesses and developing innovative ideas, in response to the growing problem of youth unemployment. The project has established connections between youth (over 2000), entrepreneurial initiatives (100), corporations and startups (over 50), to facilitate the construction of a stable entrepreneurial community, and provide resources and information for the youth to launch entrepreneurial careers. Project activities include youth entrepreneurship fairs, business training, entrepreneurship competitions, a startup business forum, university visits and public panel discussions and lectures.

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week to meet the 2019 shortlisted projects!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) are an opportunity for outstanding projects from across the European Union and COSME countries to be recognised for their work in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The fourth category in which projects compete is Supporting the Internationalisation of Business. The projects listed below are national winners in this category and will be considered by the EEPA 2019 Jury for a place on the 2019 European shortlist.

Belgium: Crossroads 2

Estonia: E-residency

Portugal: PORTUGUESE JEWELLERY NEWBORN

Romania: The Romanian high tech innovation, competitive all over the world

Slovakia: Startup Sharks

Slovenia: SKIS System (Smart Key Information System)

Sweden: HealthTech Nordic

This year this category received 7 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects focused on improving business environments for startups, digitising administrative procedures and facilitating foreign involvement in the national entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Keep coming back to the News Portal each week to discover the national winners in each category for EEPA 2019!

About the EEPA selection process

The competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country selects up to two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

A shortlist of nominees will be chosen by a European jury. All nominees from the national and European competitions will be invited to attend the final awards ceremony. The ceremony recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

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