EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship – ‘Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit’ Winner 2018

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 may be over, but Promoting Enterprise is back with a series of winner interviews! Today we begin with Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, which was won by “Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” from Greece.

“Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” 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.

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

The Municipality of Piraeus first heard about the EEPA national competition in February 2017 through a call launched by the Greek Ministry of Economy & Development (General Secretariat of Industry) as EEPA National Coordinator. At the time, the Piraeus Municipality chose not to compete and instead take the time to strengthen and document our candidacy in order to win the 2018 award, which is exactly what happened!

How did you prepare your application?

Every application of this kind should focus on the project’s goals, team, timing, and deliverables—and telling the story of the project correctly requires detailed planning and management. When preparing an application it is important to present the project scope and clearly define the objectives and steps, which is what we did throughout our preparation process. In addition the experienced and highly committed employees of Piraeus Municipality who planned and implemented the “blue projects” helped the candidature preparation team, which was extremely helpful and insightful.

What was it like to win the award?

It was an incredible honour to be awarded an EEPA prize. We also felt that our carefully planned efforts over the last few years to bring out Piraeus as one of the first cities promoting new and sustainable jobs through investing in the blue economy has now been widely acknowledged. This acknowledgment has made us even more confident and increased our dedication to continue our blue growth development strategy.

How did winning the award impact your work?

The most obvious part for us was the satisfaction of knowing that we are on the right path regarding our local development policy for the creation of new competitive and sustainable jobs in local level. The EEPA jury is well-known and reputable as an awarding body and thus winning an EEPA gave special credit to our efforts and recognition for the work our team have been doing. In addition, winning the award is an opportunity to take the time to look at what we have achieved, and where we want to take our blue growth policy in the future. It is a chance to take a step back and see how much we have accomplished and how we will motivate our municipality team to carry on working towards the future.

Why should others enter EEPA 2019? What advice would you give them?

Any organisation that believes its project has a beneficial impact on promoting entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional or local level should enter EEPA. It is a great opportunity to make your project known to a wider audience, to have insight into similar ones running across Europe and to be part of a pan-European business promotion environment.

EEPA 2019 candidates should extensively document their activities, carefully assess the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of their initiatives, and present concrete, measurable and usable results. The potential of transferring the project to other regions in Europe is an important asset too. Overall, do not hesitate to participate in EEPA if you have a significant entrepreneurship promotion practice to share.

What are your plans for the future?

Regarding the promotion of entrepreneurship in the blue economy there are currently two ongoing flagship projects in Piraeus Municipality’s growth planning:

The first one involves the adaptation and effective transfer (re-use) of our Blue Growth Initiative (BGI) to other economic environments and countries through URBACT Programme. BGI helps young entrepreneurs realise innovative concepts and create jobs in Blue Economy. To this end we formed the BluAct transnational Transfer Network, the added value of which is to introduce and mainstream the BGI in the policy setting context of other seven European cities. Our goal is to expand and consolidate the BluAct network in the next two years.

Blue Growth Digital Innovation HUB (BG-DIH) aims to provide information, education and training services through the use of advanced technological equipment. It also seeks to promote experimentation in the production of innovative products and services by pupils, students and young people – potential entrepreneurs in the Blue Economy sector. BG-DIH is in the preparation phase and will be fully operational in spring 2019.