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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.

Get ready for EEPA 2017…the launch is almost here!

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Today was the first meeting with all national coordinators for the upcoming launch of EEPA 2017. This first gathering gave us a sneak peek into all the exciting campaigns we can expect across Europe and on all sorts of different platforms.

Three inspirational presentations were given by the national coordinators who have implemented successful promotional activities in 2016:

The Netherlands:  gained a lot of national press coverage and awareness through having their projects perform the bell ceremony at the Amsterdam stock exchange.

UK: created a media campaign to find the “most enterprising place in Britain”, giving them a great platform to recruit entries for their national competition and then create substantial media interest once the winners were announced.

Germany: for the last three editions of EEPA Germany has performed very well in the Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship category and Germany’s coordinator Juliane Kummer highlighted the effectiveness of personal communication, have a read of her interview from 2016.

Have a look at a selection of other EEPA campaigns:

SwedenHungaryPolandPortugal with the 10 years of EEPA celebration, and last but not least the upcoming SME Assembly 2017 host Estonia


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Based on the ideas and discussion heard today we should all start getting ready and excited for all the EEPA 2017 activities coming up, so stay tuned and look out for all the announcements and information coming from
your national coordinators!

To all the national coordinators, we wish you the best of luck with the upcoming campaigns and look out for our tips, tricks and other materials available right here.

Just before we go…don’t forget about the EEPA 2016 winners testimonials

Social Entrepreneurship in the spotlight at Germany’s SME Week Conference 2016

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Germany’s main SME conference ahead of this year’s European SME Week focused on the lively social enterprise scene that has developed in the country. According to the keynote speaker Kristin Schreiber, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, one in four new companies set up across the EU is a social enterprise.

160628_KMU-Konferenz_SprecherThe German national event, which took place on 28 June, brought together almost 130 experts from networks, funding bodies, science and academia as well as entrepreneurs. In line with the motto of this year’s conference – ‘Addressing social challenges. Undertaking dedicated action. Embracing responsible entrepreneurship’, the discussion focused on what social enterprises need in order to flourish.

The main idea behind this conference was to make social enterprises more widely known and to promote their interests and needs among established players, such as chambers of commerce, consultancy firms and funding bodies. A particular highlight of the conference was the four presentations given by social entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas:

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Ralf Sange< Andrea-Victoria Noelle is co-founder of Beliya GmbH, a designer label for bags and accessories that works for a good cause: for every bag sold, a child in Africa is sponsored for one school year.

Ralf Sange > from Gründer 50plus UG supports people over the age of 50 who are considering setting up their own business.

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< Anne Kjær Riechert founded the ReDI School of Digital Integration gGmbH where refugees – mostly from Syria – become students, learning computer programming and coding so that they can find a job in Germany.

Martin RSOMartin Reh > co-founded the RSO Shift GmbH, a company that constructs a medical device for developing regions that cleans, disinfects and sterilises operating equipment using nothing but solar power.

The discussion also focused on the results of a study on social entrepreneurship published by the German Economic Affairs Ministry.

A video of the conference highlights, with subtitles in English, is available here below.

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