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EEPA 2016 and beyond – The Rotterdam Business Case

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), provide a chance for many projects to gain recognition on a European stage across a variety of categories. During the selection process and the awards themselves, we get to meet all of these interesting projects and witness their winning moments, but what happens after the awards ceremony? What comes next for EEPA winners? Today on Promoting Enterprise we bring you the story of EEPA 2016 winner ‘The Rotterdam Business Case’, winner of theResponsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurshipcategory. Two years on and the Rotterdam Business Case is scaling up and looking to become a European Business Case, but how have they been working to scale up a successful project to support struggling entrepreneurs? Read on to find out…

Every country needs entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are ambitious, they take risks a  nd create most of the wealth, jobs, and prosperity in a nation. Who helps them however, when they are in difficulty? Who gives them a second chance or the advice they need to be successful? Who makes sure they have options like the customers they serve?

Economic Sustainability

The Rotterdam Business Case, founded in The Netherlands, provides help to struggling entrepreneurs. The project began with the initiation of a pilot in Rotterdam in 2012 to support entrepreneurs operating below the poverty line. The goal was simple; help entrepreneurs to help the economy! Or, in other words: “To increase income and economic sustainability by improving entrepreneurial skills and vision.” The pilot soon became a project – The Rotterdam Business Case – which since then has supported more than 800 entrepreneurs in the Rotterdam region  to get their enterprises back on track. In November 2016 The Rotterdam Business Case was awarded a European Enterprise Promotion Award in the category ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’. Since being awarded the project has been scaling up, in both the Netherlands and in Finland, where pilots are starting.

‘Young and Old is Gold’

The concept is based on a tripartite cooperation between the University of Applied Sciences, the City of Rotterdam and a foundation made up of successful retired entrepreneurs (OKB). The retired entrepreneurs act as senior coaches for the struggling entrepreneurs by providing  advice and mentoring to overcome obstacles and challenges. Their role is to encourage the struggling entrepreneur to regain control, (re-)captain their entrepreneurial ship and help draw up a re-start plan. The students from the University of Applied Sciences act as junior coaches, and provide practical assistance for the re-start (streamlining/sorting out the administration, drawing up a cost-calculation), drafting of reports to plan out the various aspects of the re-start (business plan or acquisition plan). This successful cooperative approach is described with the slogan ‘Young and Old is Gold’.

Triple Helix for win-win-win

The triple helix cooperation with education, entrepreneurship and government results in a win-win-win-situation on all sides. The university offers internships to students who can practically apply their theoretical knowledge (Win 1), the city/region support entrepreneurs to strengthen the regional/city economy (Win 2) and finally former entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to use and re-use their knowledge and experience to help entrepreneurs in need (Win 3). But the biggest Win of all is of course for the struggling entrepreneur who gets a fair chance to overcome problems and become successful again.

Scaling up in the Netherlands & beyond

Due to the project attracting interest of other cities and regions the founders of The Rotterdam Business Case decided to set up a new foundation: The Dutch Business Case for Entrepreneurs, with funding from a Dutch National Foundation (GAK). The newly formed foundation works with a ‘reversed franchise concept’. New Business Cases in other cities/regions receive methods, systems, support and a 25% subsidy on the condition that they work within the concept of The Rotterdam Business Case. So far six new projects and pilots have started in the cities of Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Eindhoven and the provinces of Friesland, Friesland and Drenthe, with discussions underway for additional cities and regions to start in 2018.

 

First European Step

In 2016 the concept received the EEPA prize, which provided a European ‘stamp of approval’ for the foundation. Since receiving the award, professionals, decision makers and politicians who are enthusiastic about the concept make reference to the EEPA recognition of the Rotterdam Case. This has also helped other cities and regions come forward with their own proposals for applying the concept in their individual contexts.

One of the first results from scaling up is the start of a Finnish project in the City of Tampere. The City, the University of Applied Sciences and a Foundation of Former Entrepreneurs started a partnership to assist first time entrepreneurs using the Rotterdam Concept. The experiences of tweaking a successful Dutch project into a successful Finnish project will be shared later this year so that other cities and regions in other countries can also profit from the concept of ‘Young and Old is Gold’.

For more information on the Rotterdam Business Case and project scale up activities, please contact r.gringhuis@rotterdam.nl

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Supporting the internationalisation of business

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We have already met the national EEPA winners from Categories 1, 2 and 3…time for Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business! This category recognises initiatives that encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. In 2016 the prize was won by Human Security Finland for their project that tackles a key issue high on the global agenda, human suffering.

10 projects will be considered for a European title in this category. Well done to all the national winners and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Austria: Program Internationalization 2015 – 2020

Croatia: Pun ceker – kupujmo lokalno

Germany: Import Promotion Desk (IPD)

Greece: Greek Breakfast

Hungary: InnoTrade Program

Poland: Biznes Lubelskie

Portugal: MADEIRA VINTNERS

Serbia: Private sector Development Project- PSD

Slovenia: SKIS – Smart Key Information Support

Spain: ICEX Next

UK: Business West International Trade Centre

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Improving the business environment

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Who else will be competing for a place on the European shortlist for EEPA 2017? Time to find out about the European projects competing in Category 3: Improving the business environment! Don’t forget to have a look at the national winners in Category 1 and Category 2.

Category 3 recognises initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth, simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses. In 2016 the prize was won by the Leader SME programme from Portugal for their activities to support national SMEs.

This year there are 8 projects competing for a European title in this category. Congratulations to all the national winners and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Austria: Innovation to Company

Czech Republic: Třebíč is lively

Ireland: Mayo Ideas Lab

Italy: Progetto Manifattura – Polo Meccatronica

Netherlands: Innofest

Slovenia: Podjetno v prihodnost

Spain: Reempresa

Turkey: Business Friendly Uskudar Municipality

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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Time to meet the next category of European projects competing to be on the EEPA 2017 shortlist! Look here if you missed Category 1, but today it is the turn of Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills.

This category recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills. In 2016 the prize was won by Enterprise Educators Academe from the United Kingdom, for their project working to embed entrepreneurship into education curriculums.

This year there are 9 outstanding European projects competing in this category. Best of luck to all the projects and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Belgium: VentureLab – Student Entrepreneurship for Change

Bulgaria: Implement a Strategy for local development in the municipality of Ardino and implementation process of the Strategy for Community-led local development in the municipalities of Ardino and Djebel

Cyprus: Sound Labor Relations, Contemporary Enterprises  

Estonia: Tech Sisters & Digigirls

Ireland: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating an Entrepreneurial Mindset Amongst Engineers: The DkIT BSc (Hons) in Engineering Entrepreneurship

Latvia: University of Latvia Student Business Incubator

Lithuania: Youth Entrepreneurship Education Program – ATVERK

Malta: The Maltese Business Story Initiative

Sweden: Business Generator

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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As the jury decision for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist draws closer it is time for us to meet all of the outstanding projects from across Europe that are competing on European level! Promoting Enterprise will be presenting all of the national winners that are being considered for the European shortlist as well as the categories that they are competing.

This week is the turn of Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, which recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people and women. In 2016 the prize was won by the entrepreneurship stronghold Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat from France.

This year there are 18 projects competing in this category and competition is fierce! Good luck to all the projects and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Croatia: BUDI UZOR®/BE THE ROLE MODEL™

Cyprus: The Future in our hands:  Creating European entrepreneurs

Czech Republic: Jaudelam.cz

Denmark:
Fonden for Entreprenørskab som national, ansvarlig aktør for implementering af entreprenørskab i uddannelserne.

Estonia: Enterprise Village

Finland: Pikkuyrittäjät – Mini company program for primary school

France: Start’Up Lycée

Germany: BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @Hansenberg

Greece: PATRAS Innovation Quest (Patras IQ)

Hungary: Startup Campus Program

Italy: 3D 4-Uman Technology is not uniquely human

Latvia: Information campaign “Support for entrepreneurs

Lithuania: KTU Startup Space

Romania: Doing innovative business based on advanced research and public communication

Serbia: Caravan of Youth Entrepreneurship

Slovakia: I will do it.sk

Turkey: Supporting Entrepreneurship, Skills and Future of Children and Youth Programme

United Kingdom: Made in North Tyneside

Human Security Finland – Humanitarian issues take EEPA 2016 stage

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Human Security Finland, Category 4 winner of EEPA (European Enterprise Promotion Awards) 2016 entered with a project that tackles a key issue high on the global agenda, human suffering. Through international partnerships and high profile events such as The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, this EEPA winner is making an impact, and using its expertise to identify needs and trends in developing countries.

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

We first heard about the competition on the the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment website. Entering the competition was a chance to make our work known, something we really wanted to do because we believe that our work and project are interesting for Europe.

How did you go about preparing your application?

Part of the preparation of our application involved participating in The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul in May 2016. We attended as one of the 9,000 participants from around the world to tackle the ever growing issue of human suffering and to support the new shared Agenda for Humanity.

What was it like to win the award and how did winning immediately impact your work?

Of course we hoped to win but it was still a surprise! The award helped us to gain media visibility and also led to us gaining new partners. In the long term winning has increased the acceptance of our work as now people can easily identify us, and has also made it significantly easier to expand our existing network.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

Participating in EEPA makes it easier to share your work with new audiences. The diverse audience of EEPA makes it the perfect opportunity for exposure and really gives you an opportunity to connect with people through your work and that of the other European projects competing.

What are your plans for the future?

EEPA has given us some perspective and we now have an idea about when we want to expand our network in .

Read more about Human Security Finland and follow them on Facebook for their latest updates!

What does a national coordinator do? – Inside the Spanish national EEPA 2017 campaign

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The 2017 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is in full swing, and a lot of national deadlines are approaching…so get those applications in!

Today we meet Spanish EEPA National Coordinator Antonio Fernandez Ecker, who gives us a glimpse into the Spanish campaign and his advice for promoting EEPA 2017.

How have you been promoting EEPA 2017 so far?

The promotion for EEPA 2017 has been focused on providing relevant information and getting it to the right people. Part of this is including the relevant information about EEPA 2017 on the web page of the Ministry for Industry and SMEs and disseminating it via social media and email.

For our email dissemination we have directed our communications to specific entities such as:

  • Members of the State Council for SMEs: an advisory board for SME affairs which is made up of representatives of the general state administration as well as representatives from the autonomous communities and local entities
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Business schools
  • Universities
  • Points of care for entrepreneurs (a network of unique one stop shops which exist in Spain, for information and electronic administration services for entrepreneurs and companies)
  • 2016 prize winners

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

  • Motivate them to participate by showing them that they are running an initiative with good results
  • Prepare a good application that reflects why the project is good
  • Give them relevant information about previous editions

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2017 campaign?

To increase the dissemination of information amongst interested actors in the SME environment, with the goal of getting them to present success stories which take place in local environments which normally would not have as much publicity. We have also been taking a direct contact approach, providing information via email or telephone, so as to resolve any doubts that projects may have before presenting themselves as candidates.

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

In my brief experience as a National Coordinator, I have only been in this role from September 2016, I have learnt that knowing, sharing and disseminating examples of successful initiatives in different EU countries is very important. It allows us to learn from each other, avoid previously made mistakes and put into practice initiatives that would otherwise have been difficult to implement. Overall, I believe that EEPA is extremely useful for promoting entrepreneurship in our countries.

Thinking of applying? Contact your national coordinator before your national deadline!

How to win EEPA? Past winners reveal their recipe for a winning formula

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What is the recipe for success? What is the secret? How can you make sure your project is one of the next European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) winners? EEPA is an opportunity for public bodies and public-private partnerships from across the EU Member States, (as well as Iceland, Serbia and Turkey) to put forward their most imaginative and successful initiatives that support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Each country selects their top national winners to compete at European level across five different categories.

Today Promoting Enterprise brings you advice from the best of the best, past EEPA winners. Ready to discover the answers? Read on…

Why should you enter EEPA?

Many of the past winners have mentioned that one of the key benefits of entering EEPA is that it provides “a valuable opportunity to step back and reflect”, as “you can’t always focus on what you did well yesterday…the analysis is important and it gives you a chance to make your learning journey visible so that others can learn from it.”

Not only does it allow for reflection but it provides an opportunity to meet with other pioneering initiatives from across Europe, as “participating in a competition is a real opportunity to meet and share with initiatives and people…learning from their experiences is very enriching”. Some winners also mentioned the increased internal learning and contact saying that “entering EEPA gives a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and contacts with colleagues, experts and other stakeholders, drawing focus to the relevant questions and impact SME development”.

All the winners agreed that winning, in the words of one winner “the most rigorous and professionally run enterprise award in the world”, was quite an experience. Ultimately this award “provides recognition from a higher recognised entity like the European Commission”, which for many has led to exciting national and international developments for their projects.

Finally very importantly “you should enter because it is fun! The whole process requires a lot of work and you need to invest the necessary time, but once that part is done you can really enjoy the experience of being in the competition.”

What should you bear in mind when you apply?

So how did this variety of winners come out on top in each of their respective categories? Each winner has their own story to tell which you can read here, but read some of the tips they wanted to share with the potential winners of the future:

  • “Apply and share as much as possible!”
  • “It is important to evaluate whether a project has the following: quality, results, strong partnership, and replicability. Our advice would be that if your project has all of the above, then you should definitely compete!”
  • “Focus your attention on strategy and results achieved.”
  • “A good idea, a quality product, enthusiasm, detailed planning, active stakeholder involvement and teamwork were the key to our success. Our recommendation to future competitors would be to make sure to find their own distinctive formula.”
  • “Develop a pitch and make it interesting and inspirational for others. Inspiration is a very important part of EEPA work, it is what makes a project stand out.”
  • “You should not be scared to point out things that you learnt from and definitely take help from others, don’t do it all on your own.”

Interested in finding out more about EEPA? Are you going to apply and compete for a European title? Be sure to contact your national coordinator for more information and check when your national deadline is. Hurry up because the deadlines are approaching!

Read about the SME Assembly 2017 during which the EEPA finals and awards ceremony will be held.

French entrepreneurship stronghold wins at EEPA 2016

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15 years of supporting entrepreneurship, the European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) for ‘Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit’, local press coverage and an appearance on Euronews, are just some of the things that the Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat project has on their list of successes. The winner of the EEPA 2016 Category 1 award has no plans to slow down and today shares with us their EEPA journey, what to expect from them in the future and their advice for being a European level award winning entry.

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

We first heard about the competition through word of mouth and through the website. We have been involved in supporting entrepreneurship for 15 years and through several European programmes we have had the opportunity to share our experiences and enrich our own knowledge with that of our European counterparts. It just seemed like a natural progression for us to present ourselves as candidates for the EEPA prize.

We also saw EEPA as an opportunity to firstly, reward the 50 organisations that engage with and are united by the Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat network (including 200 experts in entrepreneurship), and secondly, to go further with our sharing of experience with our European counterparts and perhaps even implement some actions together. Once we decided to enter we created a specific internal project team that was in charge of preparing the application.

What was it like to win the award?

We were obviously very happy to receive the prize and really considered it as an acknowledgement of 15 years of engagement and the culmination of a journey. The awarding of this prize came at a moment when we were carrying out a big overhaul of our project model in order to improve on what we have done until now. Winning this prize galvanised us and offered us great opportunities to undertake some meaningful collaborations with our European counterparts and really go beyond just sharing experience with one another.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?

It was both internal and external acknowledgement. EEPA allowed us to increase our visibility, in addition to articles in the local press, our initiative was the subject of a Euronews report which was broadcasted in several languages across different countries. It was recognition of both the motivation and engagement of our numerous partners. This prize also gave us the opportunity to begin exchanges with other national and European winners during our time in Bratislava.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

It is important to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship beyond our borders, and to share our experiences so that our entrepreneurs can grow. One piece of advice: apply and share as much as possible!

Participating in a competition is a real opportunity to meet and share with initiatives and people, learning from their experiences is very enriching. Of course, if winning the prize is at the end of your competition journey; then it just makes it even better.

What are your plans for the future?

Before winning the EEPA prize, we were working on an ambitious project focused on supporting entrepreneurs, specifically for the development of an innovative numeric platform. We plan to include and work with other European initiatives, with the support of the European Union. At the SME Assembly, Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska mentioned that she wanted to see the emergence of a European ecosystem, and we believe that our project fits in completely with that vision.

Positive discrimination for national SMEs – Portuguese EEPA winner supports national enterprise

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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can be sources of employment and innovation in a national economy, yet conditions are not always favourable when these enterprises compete against larger competitors. The winner of Category 3 (Improving the Business Environment) at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016, strives to create these conditions and an SME supportive environment. The Leader SME programme is a mechanism to qualify enterprises that aims to highlight the merits of the most successful  national SMEs by creating conditions to strengthen their market reputation and fast-track access  to funding. The goal is to promote growth strategies and consolidate their competitiveness.

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

We first heard about the competition through several public and private entities that promote and encourage participation in the competition throughout Portugal, and applied using our public/private partnership. We felt that our project was a good and strong example of what EEPA represents. Our results from previous years were also very successful, so we thought that our project had good replication potential and could serve as a European example.

How did you go about preparing your application?

The preparation of an EEPA application is quite “heavy” in terms of the work involved. We did not prepare something special for EEPA, but instead created a working group for the preparation of the application as soon as the period of application was announced.

What was it like to win the award?

It was a surprise, considering the quality of other applications. However, we felt that we had a very good chance in this competition, since we were strongly convinced of the quality of our application. Just being included in the shortlist gave as a sense of achievement! Winning the competition was very important to us, and it was an extraordinary feeling: a reward for the work done, and concrete proof that we are on the right track.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?

Winning the award helped us not only externally, the increased visibility helped with publicity and will also help us in the future, but also internally. Internally the win helped to solidify our relationships with partners and make us a stronger network. It also resulted in overall better general knowledge of the objectives and better understanding of the technicalities of the project. The response was great and made us feel like we have an increased sense of responsibility, now we just have to maintain and increase the impact of the project. Whilst it was fantastic to represent our project, it was also very satisfying to be able to represent Portugal.

Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?

Yes. Considering the results of the initiative, and the relevance of the award, we think that the partners will be able to approach companies more easily in order to tighten the network links and increase the impact of the SME Leader initiative.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

It is important to evaluate whether a project has the following: quality, results, strong partnership, and replicability. Our advice would be that if your project has all of the above, then you should definitely compete! The preparation for EEPA stimulates evaluation, strengthens partnership, and gives visibility, all of which can only help strengthen your project.

What are your plans for the future?

Our project has the potential to increase the level and scope of impact on the companies, through a tightening of the network. We hope to raise awareness and increase knowledge about the companies considered to be SME Leaders, and disseminate their best practices to help others achieve the same leader status. Our whole project is about helping SMEs get access to finance, whether it be through creating the right conditions or helping them comply with requisites, in terms of the future we want to keep doing just that and increase the number of enterprises that we help and who can benefit.

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