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Single Market Scoreboard released

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Today the European Commission published the 2019 edition of the Single Market Scoreboard.

The scoreboard provides a detailed overview of how EU single market rules were applied in the European Economic Area (EEA) in 2018; how open and integrated certain markets are; and how much EU countries contributed to a number of EU tools to make the single market function better.

Depending on their performance in 2018, EU countries were given 153 green137 yellow and 59 red cards indicating excellent (green), average (yellow) or below average (red) performance.

The overview shows that, despite further expansion of trade in goods and services, the situation has worsened in certain policy areas since 2017. EU countries improved the functioning of some single market tools, such as the Your Europe portal and the Internal Market Information System (IMI). However, countries received more red cards on a number of policy areas than last year. For instance, on the fairness of public procurement systems and the recognition of professional qualifications. The same happened with regard to the cooperation in EU pilots.

In general, the best performing countries were Portugal, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and Lithuania, while the most red and yellow cards were given to Spain, Italy, Greece and Luxembourg.

Read the full article on the DG GROW website.

European cluster conference: Connecting Ecosystems

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The 6th edition of the European cluster conference took place during 14-16 May 2019 in the palace of Parliament in Bucharest, hosted by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The event theme was ‘Connecting ecosystems: bridge. inspire. change.’

The conference was organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs in cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Economy. It gathered 450 national and regional cluster policy-makers and practitioners from industry, research and academia.

Director Slawomir Tokarski at the Directorate-General for Industry opened the conference by highlighting that “clusters can provide solutions to the challenges we face: changing economies, changing climate and changing attitudes” which corresponded to the 3 breakout session topics: Digitalisation and skills gap, Circular Europe and Shared value and social impact.

The Secretary of State at the Romanian Ministry of Economy, Călin Bodea, gave a welcome speech. After which, a high-level policy roundtable with ministry representatives from 6 EU countries (Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain) stressed the link of clusters with strategic value chains, supporting the scaling-up SMEs and investing in skills, while highlighting the need for trust-building to make connections work.

The conference featured 2 keynote speeches

  • Bianca Dragomir, European cluster manager of the year 2016 presented 7 stepping stones for ‘clusters of change’ so they can catalyse change at speed and scale
  • Markku Markkula, First Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions, emphasised the need to look at regional vale chains and innovation ecosystems and to focus on the sustainable development goals

During the 3-day event, participants also had a chance to

  • listen to a panel discussion on how to stimulate strategic interregional collaboration
  • take part in interactive group discussions, addressing their key needs, emerging hot topics, as well as how to master digital transformation and sustainability and to create shared value
  • get an overview of the different cluster-related EU initiatives and their linkages from a session with the participation of 7 Commission directorate-generals and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
  • connect with each other during a pre-conference EU cluster matchmaking event that attracted 149 clusters and generated 369 face-to-face meetings

Following a pitching session, participants also elected Bianca Muntean from the Transilvania IT cluster as the new European Cluster manager of the year 2019. The awards for the European cluster partnerships of the year went to impact connected car (INNOSUP-1) represented by David Seoane from Fundingbox, adpack² (ESCP-4i) represented by Lubos Komarek from Nanoprogress and the European automotive cluster network (ESCP-S3) represented by Clotilde Nade from Vehicle du Futur.

European cluster conference 2019 award winners

Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit at the Directorate-General for Industry closed the event. She stressed that cluster policy is about synergies and not an isolated policy and that the conference title was fitting for the event. A brief conference videobrought the event to a close.

The last day featured a series of side events including:

  • events organised by clustero (Romanian cluster association), resulting in the Bucharest declaration
  • 3 partnering meetings of European cluster partnerships, organised in collaboration with EASME)
  • a meeting of the Enterprise Europe Network thematic group on clusters
  • a meeting of the working group on social economy and clusters of the GECES expert group

The next European cluster conference will take place in November 2020 in Berlin under the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, which will be another chance for connecting ecosystems.

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Industry 4.0 – “Improving the Business Environment” Winner 2018

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Another project, another story! Today EEPA 2018 winner Open Innovation 4.0., shares what brought them to the winner’s stage at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 and their advice for 2019 competitors. TheOpen Innovation 4.0. project from Spain won the Improving the Business Environment category in 2018 for their 4.0 acceleration programme that gave selected start-ups the opportunity to join a 4.0 acceleration programme featuring both group and individual tutorials with sector experts. As well as obtaining initial funding to prepare joint proposals, selected start-ups also have access to specific funding for Open Innovation to implement collaborative projects.

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

The national EEPA competition has always been on our radar, and we have been aware of EEPA for a while due to close links with both our national authority and the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. As such, we knew that in order for our application to be strong we need to include and clearly state our focus, approach, innovation, transferability, sustainability and impact. We believed that Open Innovation 4.0 had these elements so we prepared our application.

How did you prepare your application?

Once we had taken the decision to apply, the process was easy. All of the rules, instructions and the general process were very clear and we received answers to all our questions. We also really benefited from receiving a lot of information on past EEPA editions.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award represented recognition of our firm commitment to promote modernisation through digitalisation, as well as recognition of the work of both the IDEPA staff and the European Business and Innovation Centre (CEEI Asturias), both of which invested a lot of effort and enthusiasm in developing the Open Innovation 4.0 programme.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Receiving the award has given us great visibility. The regional press picked up our story and has positioned the Open Innovation 4.0 programme in the media, which has contributed to disseminating and raising awareness of the programme in the Asturian business ecosystem.

In addition to increased regional awareness, the award has also contributed to our position on the international stage. This is largely down to the respect that the institution that awarded us, the European Commission, receives. As a result, the organisations that drive the Open Innovation programme, IDEPA and CEEI Asturias, are now positioned at the European and even international level as points of reference among the key players in regional economic promotion.

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

Receiving an EEPA is a recognition of the effort put in, and of the innovation that your project brings to Europe. It is also an opportunity for winning projects to receive great visibility for both their work and good practice.

What are your plans for the future?

The future will clearly involve a continued commitment to promoting Industry 4.0 through the Open Innovation 4.0 programme, due to this programme being central to the strategy implemented by the Government of the Principality of Asturias.

The programme is lively and dynamic, and is now in its third year. The programme is currently dealing with six tractor companies that have posed their technological challenges in Industry 4.0 to more than sixty startups in order to receive their innovative solutions. These actions form part of the Asturias Digital Innovation Hub, the platform that we use for coordinating our resources in order to speed up the digitalisation process of Asturian industry, and which is made up of the main centers of scientific-technological competence in Asturias.

Find out more about the Open Innovation 4.0 programme in the EEPA 2018 compendium and keep coming back to the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for more information on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.

Secrets of Success 2018-2019: Entrepreneurs of Europe – Connecting, Sharing and Innovating

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‘Secrets of Success’, the biennial brochure that celebrates entrepreneurial successes across Europe and COSME countries, is back with another cohort of innovative entrepreneurs.

The latest edition investigates the journeys that entrepreneurs from across Europe have taken, discovering their motivation, and recording their struggles along the way. In ‘Secrets of Success’ we showcase small and medium-sized enterprises in the European Members States and countries in COSME, Europe’s programme for small and medium-sized enterprises. The entrepreneurs come from wide-ranging sectors, and bring a great variety of experiences to this year’s edition. Despite their differences, they all share the following two values: ‘Learning from Failure’ and ‘Building your Best Team’. Through both struggles and successes, these entrepreneurs are examples of persistence, and highlight the benefits of connecting, sharing and innovating.

Read this year’s edition to learn from these entrepreneurs and allow their stories to inspire you on your own entrepreneurial journey.

Inspiring to Transform: Showcasing the WATIFY Journey in Sofia, Bulgaria

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The WATIFY project is proud to announce the event ‘WATIFY: Inspire to Transform,’ which will be taking place on 2 May in Sofia, Bulgaria. This event will bring together innovation leaders from across Europe to discuss the latest insights in technology, transformation and innovation. There will also be opportunities to pitch your projects and ideas, as well as exchange experience with innovative European SMEs that will be showcasing their technological transformations, and sharing their success stories through live 3D printing visualisations, virtual reality demonstrations and other interactive activities.

High-level keynote speakers, including Slawek Tokarski, Director of Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing from the Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU will present their vision on the WATIFY initiative. The event will also feature a WATIFY matchmaking event with a keynote from Sasha Bezuhanova – founder and chairperson of MOVE.BG – and show & tell brainstorming sessions in different technology domains. The closing for the event will be just as exciting, when the most prominent SME success story from the WATIFY campaign will be honoured and presented during the WATIFY Awards ceremony.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the technological transformation conversation, and register today! Don’t wait too long – registrations close on 16 April and there are a limited number of places available.

‘WATIFY: Inspire to Transform’ is organised with the support of MOVE.BG and Enterprise Europe Network Bulgaria and will also be partnering with the high-level event Smart Specialisation and Technology Transfer as Innovation Drivers for Regional Growth, organised by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre under the auspices of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council. This event will follow the WATIFY conference, and take place from 3-4 May also in Sofia, Bulgaria. If you are also interested in attending this event and especially the WATIFY story-telling session on 3 May, have a look at the event website for more information.

How can you win the Youth Essay Competition 2017? – Find out what the jury is looking for!

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The deadline for the European Youth Essay Competition is approaching, but there is still time left for submissions! Today on Promoting Enterprise the 2017 essay competition jury are, offering their advice, top tips and what they will be looking for in an entry. Interested in what they have to say? Have a read through and be sure to submit an entry before the deadline on 08 September 2017.

This year the Youth Essay Competition will be judged by a competent and diverse jury, from different fields and with different expertise:

  • Kristin Schreiber (DG Grow)
  • Cristina Fernández (Global Entrepreneurship Network)
  • Przemysław Grzywa (The European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs)
  • Andri Pandoura (2016 Youth Essay Competition winner)

What will the jurors be looking for in an entry?

An entry should primarily answer the essay question, but what specific things should you include to catch a juror’s eye? Longer essays are not necessarily better, but this year the jury wants “fresh ideas… and a better understanding of young people and their vision of entrepreneurship”, as well as “a sincere passion and interest in the topic of the competition”. The jurors want entries to identify the issues that youth face, but also propose innovative and creative solutions that could be implemented by and inform policymakers. In other words: ” Is there a better and easily implemented way to ‘train’ and so ‘equip’ our future entrepreneurial leaders?”

What will make an entry stand out?

As the jury is so diverse what stands out for one juror may not for another, yet all of them have said that they will be looking for both innovation and truthfulness. Przemysław Grzywa, is looking for an essay that “comes right from the heart instead of Google search engine”, a sentiment echoed by Cristina Fernández, who sees the competition as “a chance to let the audience know where exactly the young are facing a roadblock to their path as entrepreneurs”.

Speaking from personal experience, Andri Pandoura (the 2016 competition winner), will be looking for a personal essay, as for her “it is important to be able to see the person writing the essay and their story in the essay itself”. Kristin Schreiber is “really looking for some out-of-the box thinking”. She will also pay attention to the way it is written: “Don’t worry if your English is not perfect, but do keep in mind that when you want to convince someone of your ideas, clear writing and keeping it sharp and simple always helps!”

What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?

“Often, when we hear about a given policy being made, we think – I would have done it much better. Here we offer you a chance to express and test your ideas in real life. To see if and how they can inspire policy makers who work on developing entrepreneurship across Europe. (…) Entering in the competition is a win-win for all!”

– Kristin Schreiber

“Decisions are shaped by those who weigh and get involved. The SME Assembly and this competition are a great opportunity to have the voice of young entrepreneurs heard. Only if entrepreneurs articulate their concerns and ideas, can we hope for entrepreneur-centric policies and programs.”

– Cristina Fernández

“If you have your opinion – try it. If you believe one can change the world – try it. If you think you won’t succeed – try it even harder.”

– Przemysław Grzywa

“Just do it and don’t overthink! I had the same doubts last year but you never know how things turn out.”

– Andri Pandoura

For more information about the competition have a look right here on Promoting Enterprise and we look forward to receiving your entries!

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