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Inside a National EEPA campaign with Belgian coordinator Françis Otte

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are joined by Belgian European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) National Coordinator Françis Otte. Françis is an experienced National Coordinator and today he is sharing that experience and advice on how to run a successful national campaign, reaching out to potential applicants and what he has learnt throughout his time as coordinator.

How did you prepare for EEPA 2019?

After 13 EEPA editions, the preparation of each edition has become a form of routine. We think it’s important to put together a qualitative jury that will appoint the two Belgian nominees and will take enough time to do so.

Updating the website still takes a lot of time and energy from our various services, especially because for the last two or three editions participants in Belgium can download all the necessary documents from the website in their respective languages, and are able to submit their entry form in Dutch, French, German or English.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?  

  • Always keep track of the information of interested participants and former participants
  • Get help from someone who knows a target group with potential participants better than yourself
  • Try to orient participants towards an award category with less competition.

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2019 campaign?

We usually don’t really work around a “main aspect”. In fact, we always fall back on what we have been successfully using for years. Specifically: clear communication by means of a clear website, social media and service to potential participants. For the communication we work together with the regions and other organisations. Something else that we believe is an important aspect is that we try to add something new to each edition.

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

Be patient. 13 editions have taught us that participants always wait until the last moment to send us their entry forms.

Don’t forget to reach out to your 2019 EEPA National Coordinator before your national EEPA deadline! They can help with applications, getting ready for the competition and any other questions you may have about the exciting EEPA process.

The Belgian search for the next EEPA winners has begun!

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 have opened across Europe and national competitions are well underway. Today on Promoting Enterprise we are having a look at one specific country, Belgium.

Belgium has been an active EEPA participant since 2006, submitting many projects at both national and European level. In its first EEPA year, Belgium won the Investing in entrepreneurial skills category with Fondation pour la Recherche et l’Enseignement de l’Esprit d’Entreprendre (FREE) and went on to win the same category the following year (2007) with Cap’Ten, sois capitaine de ton projet. The next win for Belgium came in 2013 when Starterscontracten voor Ondernemers won the Improving the business environment category. In addition to three European level wins, Belgium has also been nominated by the EEPA Jury on four occasions for the European shortlist.

This year Belgian EEPA candidates will have until Thursday 9 May 2019 to submit their projects to be considered for the 2019 national competition.

For more information on the Belgian EEPA 2019 competition, read the flyer in FR and NL, or visit the FR and NL websites. For specific questions, please contact the Belgian EEPA National Coordinator.  

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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It’s time to meet the shortlist! Last week we announced the official EEPA 2018 European shortlist, and starting from this week we will be introducing each of the nominated projects, here on Promoting Enterprise. Today we begin with Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit. This year we have projects from Belgium, Estonia and Greece competing for the prize. Find out more about who is competing for the European title in Graz this year.

Belgium: De Makersrepubliek: Handmade in Brugge, The Box en Turbo

The Makersrepubliek brings together three initiatives, Handmade in Brugge, TURBO and The Box Brugge. With a shared physical space, the initiatives reinforce each other and encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas to achieve the overall objective of stimulating entrepreneurship in Brugge. The project specifically targets young people and women and has become a pioneering springboard for the city’s economy. Brugge is known for pioneering craftsmanship and through this initiative wants to bring traditional and innovative practices together to encourage businesses to consider the city as an attractive location, with innovative facilities like the ‘plug&play’ business premises offered in the inner city.

Estonia: Superheroes

Superheroes is an entrepreneurship and leadership accelerator dedicated to unlocking the potential of 13-17 year old girls. Over the course of four months and 10 workshops, participating girls test their strengths, boost their life skills and develop bonds with each other. Most importantly, they turn their dreams into reality by running projects they are passionate about in teams of five, supported by mentors. A unique methodology combined with a daring and engaging set of activities empowers girls to become more independent and entrepreneurial, and to be inspired by diverse role models across the globe.

Greece: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship

This project highlights blue entrepreneurship and economy, which cover the sustainable use of the sea and its resources for economic development. The Municipality of Piraeus has implemented several blue entrepreneurship actions including the BlueGrowth innovation competition, the BLUACT network, the Blue Development Strategy, two European programs and the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Centre for Blue Development. The goal is to create new sustainable businesses and jobs in the Blue Economy and to promote a new innovative business ecosystem. So far the project has produced 20 new startups, 45 new jobs and 55 networking events.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

EEPA 2018 – Meet the European shortlist

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The 2018 EEPA shortlist has been finalised. After a successful EEPA 2018 jury meeting on 26 September, the jury made their selection from all of the national candidates to choose the top projects in each category. Congratulations to all of the selected projects and see you at the EEPA finals this November in Graz, Austria!

Category 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Belgium: De Makersrepubliek: Handmade in Brugge, The Box en Turbo

Estonia: Superheroes

Greece: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship

Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Austria: i2c STARTacademy

Ireland: ACORNS – Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups

Lithuania: Entrepreneurship Academy

Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment

Romania: Start up Nation Romania

Spain: Open Innovation 4.0.

United Kingdom: Anchoring economic growth in the Tees Valley

Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Bulgaria: Supporting the internationalization and digitalization of SMEs in Bulgaria and Europe

Denmark: Lean Landing

Estonia: Development of the Estonian timber sector as the biggest exporter of wooden houses in the European Union

Finland: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme

Category 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Netherlands: HAS Food Experience

Portugal: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market

Slovakia: Green bicycle

Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

France: Initiative remarquable

Germany: ProjectTogether

Ireland: Laois Start Your Own Business Programmes

Have a look at all of the national winners from the six different categories:

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

 

EEPA National Winners 2018 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

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EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

Today marks the introduction of the final EEPA category, “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship”. This category recognises initiatives that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities.

Belgium: Z²O, zelfsturend en zelfstandig ondernemen

France: Initiative remarquable

Germany: ProjectTogether

Greece: Loutraki PLUS

Ireland: Laois Start Your Own Business Programmes

Italy: Premio ER.RSI Innovatori responsabili. Le imprese dell’Emilia-Romagna per l’Agenda 2030

Montenegro: Smart Start Montenegro – Hub for social entrepreneurship of civil society organizations (CSOs)

Portugal:The Re-food Movement

Serbia: Social Impact Award Serbia

Come back to Promoting Enterprise every week to discover the national winners across the other five EEPA categories: Promoting the entrepreneurial spiritInvesting in Entrepreneurial Skills, Improving the business environmentSupporting the internationalisation of business  and Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

Want to know who will be judging the 2018 projects? Meet the EEPA 2018 Jury here on the Portal!

EEPA National Winners 2018 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

The “Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit” category has once again proved to be the most popular category, receiving 14 entries for the 2018 edition. This category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women. Have a look at the winning national projects below and stay tuned to find out which of them will make it on to this year’s EEPA shortlist after the jury meeting in late September 2018.

Belgium: De Makersrepubliek: Handmade in Brugge, The Box en Turbo

Bulgaria: Gabrovo Innovation Camp

Croatia: Sisak-Moslavina County – Center of The Gaming Industry

Cyprus: IDEA

Estonia: Superheroes

France: Youth services cooperatives

Greece: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship

Latvia: Support for self-employment and business start-ups

Lithuania: Futurepreneurs

Netherlands: Day for Change Actie

Poland: The “Małopolska” program – technology is becoming a business here

Romania: Rubik Hub

Sweden: JA Sweden – an entrepreneurial youth

United Kingdom: Supporting Fife’s Enterprise Journey

Come back to Promoting Enterprise every week to find out about the national winners across the other five EEPA categories: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, Improving the business environment, Supporting the internationalisation of business, Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency and Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

Want to know who will be judging the 2018 projects? Meet the EEPA 2018 Jury here on the Portal!

Belgium, it is time to apply for EEPA 2018!

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are under way across Europe, but what does a competition look like on national level? Today our EEPA journey takes us to Belgium, where the national competition is coordinated by National Coordinator Francis Otte.

Since 2006, Belgium has been participating in the EEPA awards scheme, and submitted a great variety of projects to compete at both national and European level. Of the all projects submitted, 3 have placed on the annual European shortlist and 3 have won prizes at European level, in both the ‘Investing in entrepreneurial skills’ and ‘Improving the business environment’ categories.

Find out more about previous Belgian winners:

This year the Belgian competition is open until 7 May 2018, so Belgian projects you know what to do! Get your applications in before your national deadline of 7 May 2018 in order to have the chance to represent Belgium on the European EEPA stage at the SME Assembly 2018.

For more information on the Belgian EEPA competition read the flyer in French and Dutch.

Visit the Belgian EEPA website for more information in French and Dutch.

From waste to circular economy – ecoBirdy: A European Toy Story

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Supported by the EU’s programme for the competitiveness of SMEs (COSME), ecoBirdy will unveil its first collection of design furniture for kids made of recycled plastic toys at the trade fair Maison & Objet in Paris from 19 January.

The launch follows an in-depth two-year study period exploring how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. ecoBirdy has created pieces that are 100% made of recycled plastic waste and can easily be recycled again.

The Antwerp-based designers, Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan, have not only created design pieces, but a whole system from the collection and recycling of old, unused plastic toys to the design and production of the furniture.

It was essential to the founders that each step be based on social and environmental responsibility. An accompanying storybook and school programme has been designed to introduce youngsters to the circular economy and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future. The design, recycling and production of ecoBirdy furniture is all done in Europe.

“We found that plastic toys use plastic more intensively than other consumer goods: 80% of plastic toys end up in landfills, incinerators or in the ocean. By giving old plastic a new life, our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact. As we use innovative technologies, made for the reuse of plastic, there is no need to add any pigments or resin.”

For the first collection, the designers have aimed to create pieces that enable kids to experience creativity and at the same time raise awareness of sustainability. All items are made entirely out of recycled plastic from European waste. Due to accurate sorting, cleaning and grinding during the recycling process, the plastic of all products is absolutely free from harmful chemicals. It is clean, pure and 100% safe. The whole collection is produced in Italy and includes a chair, a table, a storage container and a lamp.

The furniture will be available on the market from the end of January and can be ordered from the ecoBirdy online shop. ecoBirdy is one of the 10 projects funded under the EU programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs (COSME) 2016 Design-based consumer goods call.

Read the original article here on the EASME website. To find out more about other European sustainability and green projects, read about past EEPA entries in the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category.

Five books that helped me start a tech-company – Lieven Vervecken

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Today’s article is written by Dr. Ir. Lieven Vervecken, CEO & Co-founder of Diabatix, an innovative Belgian engineering company specialising in colling systems and products involving fluid mechanics and heat transfer. 

It is no secret that reading a book is one of the best ways to learn more about a particular topic. This of course, also holds when you are interested in starting a tech-company and you want to strengthen your knowledge on entrepreneurship. There are numerous books written related to this topic and making a selection is not always easy. Therefore, below are five books, covering a wide range of topics, that helped me start my tech-company.

 

  1. The Art of the Start, by Guy Kawasaki

When you start a tech-company, you will likely want to raise money, to hire the right people, to manage a board, to create a brand, etc. The Art of the Start touches each of these topics, among many more, and describes how to go from an idea to a mature business. Each chapter zooms in on particular jobs that have to be done, while the FAQ sections address the questions the readers are most likely to have. I particularly recommend the chapters on pitching and raising funds.

  1. Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 steps to a Successful Startup, by Bill Aulet

“Can a sustainable business be built around my idea?” is the most fundamental but probably also the most difficult question you will have to answer. Disciplined Entrepreneurship guides you through this question by breaking it down into 24 easy-to-understand steps. Among others, these steps discuss market segmentation, mapping the process to acquire a customer, charting your competitive position, etc.

  1. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

Time is an extremely valuable good. So the last thing you want as an entrepreneur, is to waste it. One very common pitfall for starting tech companies is to spend time on developing the product they are passionate about before realizing there is no market for it. The Lean Startup methodology introduces a build-measure-learn loop to help you avoid falling into this pitfall. This way, the focus shifts from “Can this product be built?” to the far more valuable “Should this product be built?”.

  1. Business Model Generation, by Alexander Osterwalder

One question you will be asked a lot when starting a company is “How do you plan to make money?”. Although this seems like a straightforward question, what they are really asking is “What is your business model?”. Business Model Generation provides practical tools to understand, design, analyze and implement a business model (FYI, step 15 of Disciplined Entrepreneurship). Along the way, you are forced to think again about your customers, distribution channels, partners, revenue streams, costs, and your core value proposition.

  1. The Challenger Sale, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Not a single startup team is good at everything and that is perfectly fine. One skill any team must learn to master, however, is sales. Without sales your company simply will not survive. Of course, a strong product will help, but how you sell is at least as important as what you sell. The Challenger Sale introduces an (from own experience) effective sales approach in which you challenge your customer’s way of working, rather than you applying the traditional relationship-building approach. In brief, the focus is on being highly credible and the ability to teach, tailor and take control.

Read the original article here on LinkedIn and join the discussion with your suggestions for great books that can help entrepreneurs start a tech-company.

Ideas from Europe 2017 – Finalists

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Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden are going to the finals of Ideas from Europe on April 24, 2018 in the Knight’s Hall in The Hague, the Netherlands. The jury found these ideas the most innovative and believe these will have the most impact on our society.

2017 SME Assembly: Ideas from Europe semi-finalists

The winners

This is what the jury, Kaupo Reede, Kristin Schreiber, Ulrike Rabmer Kollen and Cees Vermaas had to say about the ideas:

  1. Julien Penders of Bloomlife (Belgium): “If you are a mother the solution of Bloomlife will give you peace of mind.”
  2. Klaus B. Pederson of Too Good to Go (Denmark): “A practical solution to the second hand market of food.”
  3. Steffen Preuss of Ichò (Germany): “This solution is acknowledging the tremendous problem of dementia and provides a practical device that brings relief.”
  4. Fiona Edwards Murphy of ApisProtect (Ireland): “We need bees to make sure our food supply will last. This solution will help the bee population.”
  5. Aida Nazarikhorram of LuxAI (Luxembourg): “There is a big potential in technology that lets children interact more easily with robots.”
  6. Mark Offerhaus of Micreos (The Netherlands): “This solution is potentially a ground breaking alternative for antibiotics.”
  7. Artur Racicki of SEEDia (Poland): “The combination of something practical and modern that will help both us and the environment.”
  8. Francisco Duarte of PavNext (Portugal): “The combination of safety and energy has great potential.”
  9. Mervi Pänkäläinen of Mightifier (Finland): “This will really stimulate behaviour change and help children fight bullying.”

(Click on the links above to see the individual pitches)

The Jury have decided that due to them sharing a common objective and similar goals, but with slightly different target audiences, that the Speak Up solution from Sweden will share the stage with Mightifier from Finland at the finals in The Hague.

2017 SME Assembly: Ideas from Europe semi-finalists

The Jury also wanted to highlight another project and give it a special mention. Stefan Steinberger the semi-finalist presenting Refugee{code}, will also be joining the finalists at the Hague due to his solution being so relevant to the current refugee crisis.

Wildcard

From November 23 onwards, the wildcard vote for the last finalist will be open to the public. They will be able to vote online via http://ideasfrom.eu/vote for one of the other nineteen solutions that were not chosen by the jury.

The innovator with the most votes will then go on to join the other finalists in the Knight’s Hall in The Hague, The Netherlands on April 24, 2018.

To see photos from the Ideas from Europe semi-finale, please visit our Flickr. To see the whole competition, you can watch the video.

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