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SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #7

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The month of November is almost here, which means the countdown to the SME Assembly 2017 has begun!

The EEPA shortlist has been published and each project is being introduced individually on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal. Be sure to have a look at which projects are competing for the European prizes this year.

If EEPA finalists were not enough we have also announced the three Youth Essay Competition finalists on the Portal who will be competing for the 2017 prize in a live final at the SME Assembly in Tallinn.

What can we expect from this year’s Assembly? The line-up has been confirmed and there will be plenty of exciting sessions, exhibitors, speakers and masterclasses to enjoy, including the return of Ideas from Europe. Check out the programme here, and discover more about this year’s venue: Kultuurikatel.

We hope you enjoy all the latest updates and get ready to follow us for live Assembly coverage next month!

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What happens at an EEPA national ceremony? – Let’s look at Germany!

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We have seen the shortlist, and started introducing all the candidates, but what happens before that? What does a national ceremony look like? Today on Promoting Enterprise German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer shares with us what happened at the 2017 German EEPA national ceremony.

The German national awards ceremony 2017 took place on 13 October 2017 in Berlin, as part of the deGUT-fair, one of the most important German entrepreneurship fairs. The ceremony was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and was presented during the fair forum. The two winners “BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” and “Import Promotion Desk” were announced to the visiting public and they received congratulations and a winner’s certificate handed out by the Ministry. Following the award presentation, each winner was invited to present their innovative and inspiring initiatives by giving a short interview on the stage. These two winners had been selected by a national expert jury who evaluated a total of 29 entries in May 2017.

“BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” project, takes a different approach to education and aims to educate secondary school students in the areas of business, natural sciences and ultimately entrepreneurship. The project is divided into different phases and includes business competitions, immersive internships abroad, science clubs and business weeks. Through these activities students are pushed to think like entrepreneurs, work in teams, and work in collaboration with local and national stakeholders. As they advance through school activities become more complex and introduce different skills, allowing the students to develop into competent candidates for the modern labour market.

The “Import Promotion Desk” supports German imports, thus opening the door for SMEs from selected developing and emerging countries to access the European market and develop trade capacities. The aim is to maintain the sustained import of particular products from partner countries, whilst maintaining high quality, social and environmental standards. The IPD brings together European importers, who can optimise procurement and increase product diversity, and exporters as trade partners. Consequently partner country export capacities are strengthened through job creation and income increase. IPD is currently active in the following counties: Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Columbia, Nepal, Peru and Tunisia.

Both projects will be present at the SME Assembly, so if you are interested in finding out more visit their websites and see if you can spot them at the event next month!

 

The EEPA 2017 shortlist continues – Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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The EEPA 2017 shortlist introductions continue! Today is the turn of Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills. This year candidates in this category come from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia, and the projects focus on supporting entrepreneurs, helping them start out and making technology and the digital world accessible to all.

The Business Generator focuses on bringing in external expert support systems for SMEs to add value to their business concepts. Few such support systems currently exist for SMEs as many consider bringing in external expertise as too time-consuming. Each Business Generator is staffed with four individuals: two men and two women, each with different profiles and skills, who have all experienced growth. Each team covers: analytical capability, financial expertise, empathy, customer benefits, development process management, creativity and innovation. Acting as coaches, Generator staff ask the challenging questions from an outsider perspective that result in new decisions and tangible change.

Tech Sisters is an Estonian non-profit run by women working in IT and/or studying IT with the mission to increase women’s digital literacy and interest in IT. This is done through organising meetups for women in tech and running entry-level coding and tech workshops for women. Workshops specifically for teenagers promoting IT activities are also organised with the participation of inspirational IT female role models. By inspiring, encouraging and educating women/girls about IT, Tech Sisters aims to bring more women into IT and create a more diverse environment in the tech field.

The University of Latvia (UL) Student Business Incubator has assisted students of the UL and other higher education establishments of Latvia to start and develop an enterprise during their studies. The business incubator provides free premises and office equipment, offers free counselling sessions, help from mentors and industry professionals in business development as well as individual and group coaching sessions in cooperation with the Coaching School of Riga. The incubator also organises entrepreneurship events to encourage youth entrepreneurship, during which participants go through an accelerated incubation process, meet active professionals and receive feedback on their ideas.

So who will win this year? All will be revealed at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November! Find out about the Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit nominees here, and stay tuned for Category 3 introductions next week!

 

EEPA 2017 Jury – Meet Thomas Wobben

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Our next Jury member also has previous EEPA jury experience and joins us as a representative from the Committee of the Regions. Since March 2012, Thomas Wobben has been Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks in the Committee of the Regions. His responsibilities include monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, relations with the OECD and Eurostat, and prospective works of the Committee of the Regions. Today he shares with us what kinds of projects got his vote.

 

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

Above all, a successful project should demonstrate how it responds to specific local needs. Rather than adopting an unimaginative “one-size-fits-all” approach, it should lead the way by tackling the specific challenges of its territory – which could include a lack of entrepreneurial activity in a rural or economically less-developed area, low numbers of SMEs that are ready to scale-up and exploit the opportunities of the Single Market or global markets, or factors such as high unemployment or a low level of education — through innovative, forward-looking and sustainable solutions.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?

In my view, the most convincing EEPA applications are those driven by a strong partnership – involving business, public authorities, research and educational institutions, etc. – that can act both as a guarantor for the project’s continued sustainability and as a vehicle for sharing good practices and lessons learnt.

It is also crucial that the project contains an innovative element that goes beyond merely replicating established methods, but rather introduces new ideas and finds new ways to adapt existing methods to the specific context of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Last but not least, a strong project should of course make a tangible contribution to economic growth and job creation in its territory.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?

Beyond merely contributing to a specific area of entrepreneurship development, a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize should attest to a strategic vision that integrates the project activities into a broader objective and creates an additional added value for society in areas other than business development in the narrow sense. Lisbon’s micro-entrepreneurship programme, which won the Grand Jury Prize two years ago, is an excellent example in this respect:

After being selected for the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label a year earlier thanks to its outstanding and forward-looking entrepreneurial strategy, the City of Lisbon went on to prove the success of this strategy by presenting some of its first results in its EEPA application. The Lisbon micro-entrepreneurship programme demonstrates how an intelligent policy implemented at local level can create synergies between entrepreneurship development, economic integration of disadvantaged groups such as migrants and unemployed people, and urban rehabilitation of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A number of Lisbon’s entrepreneurship support actions have since been scaled up at national level in Portugal.

Which is your favourite category and why?

While I do not have a favourite category as such, some of the most inspiring projects in recent years have been submitted in the category “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship”. In addition to the project from Lisbon, which I just mentioned, the Swedish project “Entrepreneurial West Hisingen“, which won last year’s Grand Jury prize, is another outstanding example. Through actions such as the Syrian Fast Track Incubator for refugees who had businesses in their home country, this project responds to the vital challenge of integrating refugees and migrants into our societies and has produced extraordinary results, including the creation of hundreds of new companies in a socially divided and economically disadvantaged area.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?

For me, the SME Assembly is a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the principal European actors in the area of SME and entrepreneurship development: policy-makers from the European, national, regional and local levels, stakeholders, academics, and of course entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the SME Assembly illustrates not only the excellent cooperation between the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), but also the complementarity of our actions in the field of entrepreneurship promotion: while the EEPA recognizes actions that have already proven successful, the CoR’s European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label encourages cities and regions to develop their entrepreneurial potential even further in the future. I am therefore particularly looking forward both to the EEPA 2017 award ceremony and to the launch of the EER 2019 edition in Tallinn.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

By being successful in the national selection round, you have already demonstrated the outstanding quality of your projects. Even if not all of you will be selected for the EEPA this year, you are doing important work on the ground that directly contributes to boosting growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl, Daniela Ölmunger, Thomas Cooney and Viljar Lubi.

Meet the shortlist! – Who is competing for ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ at EEPA 2017?

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The EEPA 2017 national winners have been announced, and the 2017 shortlist has now been published…but what do we know about the projects competing to win an EEPA 2017 prize? Promoting Enterprise will be introducing you to each project on the shortlist and telling you all about their work over the next few weeks so get ready to find out! Kicking off the introductions are the shortlisted projects of Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, which come from Estonia, Finland and France.

Enterprise Village, MTÜ Ettevõtlusküla – Estonia

Enterprise Village promotes education about economics, entrepreneurship and finance for children between 4 to 18 years old, and their teachers. Through role play games on both IT platforms and in person, players are placed in a simulation where they must divide into groups and run their own companies. Trained facilitators take players through different tasks that require creativity, cooperation, entrepreneurial and financial skills, and are there to encourage players to experiment within the simulation. Different adapted games exist for varying ages and difficulty levels, so as to focus on age-appropriate knowledge and skill sets.

 

Pikkuyrittäjät – Mini company program for primary school, Nuori Yrittäjyys ry (JA Finland) – Finland

The Pikkuyrittäjät programme is a free 18-hour study programme designed for primary schools to encourage children to establish their own mini companies. During the programme, the children develop a business idea, company name, logo, slogan, elevator speech, web pages and finally sell their self-developed products or services to real customers with real money. The children are encouraged to be brave, try new things and discover their own strengths through the program led by specially trained primary school teachers. The program is transferable across schools, and requires only some additional training for the leading teachers.

 

Start’Up Lycée, VISIONARI – France

Start’Up Lycée is an entrepreneurial programme focused on secondary and higher education establishments. It aims to give all students, and youth in general an equal chance at following an entrepreneurial career path. Specifically designed programmes, varying from 2 days to 3 years in length, develop necessary entrepreneurial skills such as creativity, teamwork and digital know-how. Programme participants experience design training, team-building and expert assessment, and have access to specialised coaching. To date Start’Up Lycée has organised 51 educational events, which have benefitted over 3 700 young people, and aimed to facilitate implementation of specialised and tailor-made entrepreneurial programmes in different establishments.

Come back next week to find out about the projects competing in Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills…

Who is our Estonian EEPA 2017 Jury member? – Meet Viljar Lubi

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Ready to find out who the Estonian representative on the EEPA 2017 Jury is? Meet Viljar Lubi, Deputy Secretary General for Economic Development for the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Today Viljar shares what he is looking for and also what it has been like to be involved with the organisation of this years’ SME Assembly 2017!

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?     

A project that has the capacity to achieve greatness and to create something innovative with limited resources will always stand out for me. It is special to see the passion and perseverance the people nominated for this award have had to show. I am often amazed at the regional and national differences that I see and how diverse the projects are.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?

First of all, it should be something unique and inspirational to be a good example for others. It is also important for the project to be transferable so that it would be possible to create something similar in other countries. Last but not least, the project should have a real and preferably measurable positive impact.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?      

A project that is worthy of the Grand Jury Prize must be truly excellent. It must offer a true positive influence and exhibit a remarkable achievement together with an innovative approach. I am glad to see that there is tough competition in this respect.

Which is your favourite category and why?

Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. In my job as the Deputy Secretary General for Economic Development a lot of my daily tasks revolve around entrepreneurship. It is the government’s job to help create the best possible conditions for enterprises to flourish. But this would be nothing without the enthusiasm and hard work of the entrepreneurs themselves. Therefore, I find it extremely important to have initiatives that help to promote this, especially among young people and women. However, it is difficult to just pick one – all categories highlight invaluable criteria.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?         

As I have been involved in the process of creating the SME Assembly in Tallinn, I am sure it will offer participants a varied programme that is exciting, offers new ideas and of course has an Estonian twist to it. We will hopefully be offering some innovative ideas and new ways of looking at things, while still keeping the traditions of the excellent forum that the SME Assembly is.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Good luck! You have already achieved a lot by getting this far and I hope that you take this experience as a positive reinforcement – vision, perseverance and, of course, a little luck, is the key.

Read about who else will be joining Viljar on this year’s Jury: Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl, Daniela Ölmunger, and Thomas Cooney.

SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #6

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The day we have all been waiting for has arrived: We know who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived. Continue reading to find out who made it!

This year the Youth Essay Competition received almost triple the number of essays in comparison to the first edition back in 2016. The EEPA Jury are busy reviewing all of the essays, so stay tuned to the Promoting Enterprise Portal to find out who the shortlisted candidates are in October.

Enjoy reading this edition of the SME Week Newsletter and be sure to follow us on social media and on the portal for all the latest updates.

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European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017, 11 years of fostering entrepreneurship

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The Portuguese national awards ceremony for the 11th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017 (EEPA) took place on 21 September 2017, in Lisbon. The two national winners were announced and all of the projects that submitted their hard work to the national competition were recognised for their efforts. The ceremony was chaired by Jorge Marques dos Santos, the President of the Board of IAPMEI the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation and SME Envoy, took place.

Since 2006, more than 3700 projects in the 31 countries have been submitted  in the national competitions, with Portugal contributing more than 14% of total participating projects. The ceremony was attended by 80 participants, with a large representation of EEPA candidates, a representative of the European Commission Representation in Portugal and other stakeholders. The Secretary of State for Industry and the Ministry of Economy Ana Lehmann, also attended the ceremony.

Congratulations to this year’s Portuguese national winners!

MADEIRA VINTNERS (Category 4 – Supporting the internationalisation of business) and MUNDAR: Change your world – young entrepreneurship contest (Category 5 – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship).

 

 

Who will make it onto the EEPA 2017 shortlist? Find out later this week right here on Promoting Enterprise! 

 

EEPA Jury – Professor Thomas Cooney returns for 2017

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Our next Jury member has sat on the EEPA Jury before and we are delighted to welcome him back. Thomas Cooney is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Visiting Professor at the University of Turku (Finland). He is also Academic Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship, a Board Member of Startup Ireland and works in a supportive capacity with a number of businesses.

Today he is sharing with us what he will be looking for in a winning project and how to make yourself stand out in the eyes of a seasoned EEPA jury member!

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

A special project is one that is doing something distinctive or unique that is not being done elsewhere. The uniqueness could be the target community with whom it is working (e.g. survivors of domestic abuse), the nature of the project (e.g. summer camp on entrepreneurship), the method of delivery or some other differentiating feature to the project.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?    

To be shortlisted, a project must demonstrate:

  1. A well-written proposal that answers all of the questions asked
  2. A track-record of achievement
  3. The ability for the project to be replicated in other locations.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?    

The biggest benefit of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards is that they make people aware of what is being done in other countries and therefore successful initiatives can be replicated in other locations. To win the Grand Jury Prize, I am looking for a project that has demonstrable success, has some level of uniqueness and can be replicated by another person in another location or country.

Which is your favourite category and why?

My favourite category is ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ as I have long believed that entrepreneurship offers people from minority and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to maximise their economic and social potential.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?         

This is the first year that the Global Entrepreneurship Network will link with the SME Assembly and I think this will bring an additional exciting element to the activities of the week.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

My strongest piece of advice is to learn from past winners by benchmarking what you do against their success stories. The ultimate ambition is not to win an award but to improve the capacity of people to successfully start and grow a business, and learning from the experiences of others is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your initiative.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl and Daniela Ölmunger, and look out for the next EEPA Jury 2017 presentation!

From EEPA 2016 winner to EEPA 2017 Jury member – Daniela Ölmunger

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Last year she was part of the project awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, this year she is part of the EEPA 2017 Jury! Today on Promoting Enterprise we have the pleasure to re-introduce Daniela Ölmunger and find out what she is looking for in a project and her advice for this year’s applicants.

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

I want to see both heart and brain, I want to feel the project but also understand it.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?     

  1. Relevant to existing areas of common societal interest
  2. With a new or updated angle – so something I have not necessarily seen in the same format or in the same way before
  3. Result oriented

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?          

I want great results, clearly described and with a twist somewhere. I want to feel something when I read the project. I will know when I know.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I don’t have a favourite category – they all appeal to me for different reasons and they are all interlinked and connected to European Union growth and sustainable development.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?             

I’m looking forward to several things such as listening to different angles of stories and experiencing the passion behind other people’s work when I speak to them. I am also looking forward to attending all of the interesting workshops and seminars, during which I hope to meet people with different ideas and perspectives that I can then take with me and put into my own work. Last but not least I’m looking forward to seeing and being in the wonderful and beautiful city of Tallinn!

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Just being a national contestant is a great achievement and means that a lot of hard and inspiring work has been put in, and that should not be forgotten. If you are a runner up, my advice is to get back in the ring for next time.

Read about the EEPA 2016 Grand Jury Prize winner here.

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