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Where are they now? Catching up with past EEPA winners

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2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In this new feature, we catch up with former EEPA honourees who’ve gone on to do great things since winning the award.

This week, Ivaylo Grancharov from the award-winning Brandiko project in Bulgaria reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA two years on…

Ivaylo Grancharov, Brandiko project at the Ministry of Economy in Bulgaria

Name Ivaylo Grancharov
Organisation Brandiko project at the Ministry of Economy in Bulgaria
Country Bulgaria
Website www.facebook.com/Brandiko
Award won Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Year 2014

Brandiko (3)What was it like to win the award?

I accepted this award as the Oscar in our field of work. Given at the EU level, EEPA is the highest award in the field of entrepreneurship promotion. I didn’t expect it as it was the only time Bulgaria has ever been nominated for an EEPA. It was a big surprise – first ever nomination, first ever win – and the only one for us so far. This makes it even more precious for me and my country.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

The media attention was great. The Euronews programme, Business Planet, hosted by the great Serge Rombi, made a wonderful video about Brandiko. Some national magazines also showed interest. It was very flattering, and encouraging.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?

My colleagues were very happy for me. We were grateful!

What has been the long-term impact?

After getting the award, Brandiko had its best ever season – record-breaking participation from school kids who wanted to be part of the project.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

As Bulgaria had never been shortlisted at the European level before, my motivation was that this project was good enough to portray the country as a place where projects for entrepreneurial support can happen and possess European-level quality.

How did you go about preparing your application and making it award winning?

I was very careful by presenting all the important details, and providing statistics to prove the project’s impact. It was important to provide accurate and to-the-point data and illustrate it in the most appropriate way.

What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

If you believe you’ve done a great job with your project, don’t hesitate to show it to the world! Good luck, everybody! The EU is the greatest place in the world!

To find out more about Brandiko, visit the website at www.facebook.com/Brandiko or watch the video.  

Where are they now?

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The winners of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are shining examples of the promotion of entrepreneurship.

Brandiko

This month, we spoke to the 2014 winner in the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills winner, Ivaylo Grancharov, from Brandiko – Training in Building a Brand and Protecting it with a Community Trade Mark, which educates students on how to build a brand and register the brand as a Community Trade Mark.

Students establish training companies and are mentored on how to build and manage their own brand, market the brand and use it to increase sales. Pupils also learn about the importance of intellectual property protection. More than 1,700 students have completed the Brandiko programme.

1. What did you learn from your experience with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards?

First of all, EEPA is a great initiative and I hope it will continue to grow. The European Commission deserves to receive our gratitude for standing behind it and maintaining it. I would like to also thank everyone who is involved in making the Awards happen. It was a fantastic night!

The EEPA ceremony is a culmination of many months of preparation and anticipation. But it’s also the climax of many years of work. I call think of the EEPAs as the Oscars for SME policy in Europe. It is the most prestigious recognition a policy maker, or another public organisation can get in the EU. It’s amazing!

In my opinion, our advantage was that we connected Brandiko with the Community Trade Mark – a very important element in doing business in the Single Market that not many people take advantage of.

Overall, the lessons we learned included finding a universal problem to solve, finding a solution to it, working on it effectively and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand.

2. What did winning a European Enterprise Promotion Award at the 2014 SME Assembly in Naples mean to you?

After facing some challenges in 2013 and 2014, we decided to apply for the EEPAs. We were very excited to find out that Brandiko got a nomination and then when we received the category award for Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, we were suddenly media stars.

Euronews’ Business Planet also did a fantastic piece on Brandiko and we are very grateful for the support of the presenter, Serge Rombi. After all of this hard work, we saw the pay off in the form of great media coverage.

We now feel an even bigger responsibility to make Brandiko a continued success. Now, we have to deliver even more and should be followed by many other successful projects.

Accepting the award was a moment of a lifetime. And as I said at the ceremony – “Napoli, sempre nei nostri cuori!”

3. How has your organisation grown since winning the Grand Jury Prize?

Brandiko is now working with a new partner who are helping us reach a new system of entrepreneurial education at schools in Bulgaria.

We are now in our fifth season of Brandiko and this year we expect to see more than 60 training companies join Brandiko – a new record for us.

4. What advice can you give to other organisations wanting to take part in the Awards?

I would recommend that applicants remember that you can be successful with the EEPAs. Do not let challenges get in the way! It is also important to be creative and never set a limit on success. It is also important to be clear in your application and demonstrate the value of the project through statistics.

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