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EEPA 2021 Testimonial – COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of the first category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ – Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre from Spain.

Today we are bringing the story of Grand Jury Prize winner COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige by Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e. V. was also awarded first prize in Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards at the SME Assembly 2021.

COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige, which is supported by the non-profit association Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen (ISI), supports migrant women with training and professional development, providing them with the skills they need to become self-employed. By providing free training, coaching and networking opportunities, both migrant women who are willing to start a business and those who are already self-employed, are enabled to put business ideas into practice and sustainably build up their own business start-ups in Berlin. The project is guided by the principle that migrant women stand up for migrant women.

Here is what they shared with us about their experience at the European Promoting Enterprise Awards 2021.

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

We decided to enter the EEPA 2021 upon invitation of the RKW Kompetenzzentrum, which conducts the German preliminary round of the competition. The program’s features caught our attention immediately, and we believed it was worth applying with our project “COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige”.

How did you prepare your application?

Two persons were involved in drawing up the application, which took 3-4 days in total. We prepared a tailor-made application, which not only included the general information about our project but also hard facts about its achievements and success during the last years. For example, we have provided information about the number of women attending our qualification offers and the variety of their individual features and needs, as well as concerning the increase of their individual skills progress, in terms of technical, methodological, social and personal competence. Moreover, we supplied a detailed description of the innovative traits of the project and our plans for further development in the next future.

What was it like to win the award?

If winning the award in the category “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills” has been a big surprise on its own, the “Grand Jury Prize” came totally unexpected. It was an unbelievable, overwhelming feeling. It was such an honour to represent our team on stage and be able to dedicate the awards to all brave and amazing migrant women founders, who are the soul of our organization. We felt very proud of all of them and of our achievements. This international recognition is not only a point of arrival for us, yet most and foremost, a new starting point to grow and reach new goals.

As a project team, we are aware of carrying a big responsibility for all migrant women. As we won the award, I immediately experienced a feeling of relief. I thought, “okay, we are not alone in this. We now carry this responsibility, even at a European level, together with all stakeholders.”

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the awards had great resonance among our participants and partner organizations. We have received many congratulations and encouraging messages. Some magazines have reported about us.

But most important is that we make the most of the awards and their prestige in order to further promote the offers of the “COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige” and reach even more migrant women, to foster them on their way to self-employment. Thanks to years of fieldwork, we know exactly what the needs and wishes of our target group are and have the right know-how and solutions to support them in realizing their business ideas. The potential is huge. And our big success at the award ceremony gave us an extra boost to get the most out of our service for women entrepreneurs.

That’s why we are looking for the necessary financial and personal resources to achieve these goals. Any kind of support from concerned associations, foundations and authorities will be very valuable to us.

What are your plans for the future?

Our goal now is to make our qualification model for migrant women entrepreneurs known throughout Germany and, in the medium term, internationally. Where necessary, we also would like to improve and further develop our approach.

At this point, we primarily want to support refugee women, especially in their mother tongue, as well as migrant women in the pre-founding phase and those in the post-start-up phase. For these three target groups, we would like to implement specific demand-based concepts. Some pilot projects have already been carried out.

Fortunately, in 2022 our project will keep on receiving funds from ESF and the State of Berlin. Nevertheless, we believe that we could also consider further funding opportunities for the various concepts and different target groups. Only in the last three years, more than 600 participants have been registered in our database. These women still expect and need our help in order to have better opportunities to gain a professional foothold in Germany.

Winning the EEPA-Award allows us to hope for growth, and we want to take this opportunity now.

Why should others enter EEPA 2022? What advice would you give them?

The EEPA is a great chance to make your project more visible and cooperate with other organizations to spread information about your successful work. It gives you the possibility to present your project as a model, both at the national and international level and, ultimately, to reach your goals for a larger community all over Europe. Applying is definitely worth a try.

Do you want to watch other key moments from SME Assembly 2021? Relive the experience below!

EEPA 2021 Testimonial – Culinary Action!

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Here on Promoting Enterprise, we are excited to bring you the first of our European Enterprise Promotion Award winner testimonials! Throughout this series we will be interviewing the EEPA Class of 2021 to find out more about these outstanding projects, what they do, what winning the awards means to them, their journey to the finals and more.

We are launching the series with the winner of our first category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’. The 2021 winner is Culinary Action! by Basque Culinary Centre from Spain.

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

It is a very well known competition and we thought that it was the perfect moment to enter “Culinary Action !” into it. CA! was created seven years ago by the Basque Culinary Center, a leading European Gastronomy Sciences University, as one of the first initiatives to foster entrepreneurship on food tech in Europe and, after its initial run helping food tech startups in Spain, we are going international, creating a network of initiatives with partners thorough the continent, so we thought that 2021 was the year go for EEPA.

How did you prepare your application?

We talked to some of our main stakeholders (entrepreneurs, corporate, public institutions) and ask them to share their views and feedback. We took some time preparing it and putting together their testimonies and feedback.

What was it like to win the award?

It came as a surprise since we knew some of the other contestants and we thought it was going to be quite competitive. An unforgettable moment.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award has put into perspective not only the work that we have done at Culinary Action ! for the last few years (before food tech became the trending topic concept that is today)  but it is also an important validation at a paramount time for startups on food and gastronomy innovation. Food is after all, along with energy generation and mobility one of the three main drivers of climate change and as such it requires to reinforce and take “to the next level” those tools that help the entrepreneurs in the field, such as Culinary Action !.

What are your plans for the future?

This recognition of the work of Culinary Action! comes at a time that food tech is quickly becoming a trend to reckon with both in Europe and globally. Culinary Action ! will foster the incoming wave of innovation on food and gastronomy by connecting European ecosystems, their startups, corporates, VCs and other stakeholders with different initiatives: “On the road “ competitions, accelerator programs, helping connect worldwide incubators … We want to be one of the leading collaborative players at the incoming wave of food innovation.

Why should others enter EEPA 2022? What advice would you give them?

It will validate their work at an international level. Just by being selected as a finalist, they will get an European wide recognition and the opportunity to interact and network with a variety of European actors.

Do you want to watch other key moments from SME Assembly 2021? Relive the experience below!

EEPA 2021 Shortlist – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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You have already read about the projects shortlisted in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to each project that has been carefully evaluated and selected by our EEPA 2021 jury. Last time you read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1. Today it is the turn of the projects competing in Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills.

The three finalists this year come from Germany, Lithuania and Italy. Their projects support the professional development of migrant women, empower young people with entrepreneurial skills and promote the development of e-commerce. Let’s find out more.

We are listing the shortlisted finalists in alphabetical order, beginning with…

COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige – Germany

COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige, which is supported by the non-profit association Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen (ISI), supports migrant women with training and professional development, providing them with the skills they need to become self-employed. By providing free training, coaching and networking opportunities, both migrant women who are willing to start a business and those who are already self-employed, are enabled to put business ideas into practice and to sustainably build up their own business start-ups in Berlin. The project is guided by the principle that migrant women stand up for migrant women.

No Quarantine on the Internet – Lithuania

After quarantine was declared in Lithuania, the entrepreneurship and export development agency “Versli Lietuva” came up with the business assistance initiative “No quarantine on the Internet”. The initiative focuses on the digitisation of business and the development of e-commerce and helps small and medium-sized businesses to enter the virtual space. Over 1,500 Lithuanian e-shops have used the initiative so far, more than 70 partners have joined in, and over 150 e-commerce experts have offered mentorship. During the big national holidays in Lithuania, residents gave each other a special gift card produced by the initiative, enabling them to shop at more than 100 Lithuanian e-shops, helping to support small businesses during the lockdown.

Startup Super School – Italy

Startup Super School is a business simulation initiative that has involved more than 2,000 young people throughout Italy in training courses dedicated to learning business dynamics, increasing digital skills and achieving a heightened awareness of work dynamics. Through innovative approaches to teaching and a process of entrepreneurial empowerment, the project helps students to bridge the digital gap and enter the world of work and of new technologies.

Be sure to read about the projects listed in previous categories, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2021 finalists!

EEPA 2021 National Winners – Supporting the Sustainable Transition

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In our last EEPA 2021 national winners post on the Promoting Enterprise news portal, we presented the national winners supporting the Internationalisation of Business. Now it is the turn of the shortlisted projects in Category 5 – Supporting the Sustainable Transition.

Projects in this category have a strong sustainability focus and propose innovative approaches to help the European economy transition to a more sustainable path. This could happen by adopting a circular economy approach in terms of producing, consuming and distributing SME products and services. The category also recognises initiatives with specific environmental features such as encouraging the use of recycled materials and renewable energy.

 The shortlisted projects in Category 5 – Supporting the Sustainable Transition are:

These national projects were shortlisted by national EEPA coordinators to advance to the next phase of the awards. They will now be reviewed by the European jury, which will decide on the final shortlist. All of the shortlisted projects are deserving winners. We wish them the best of luck in the next stage of the competition.

Make sure to visit the News Portal each week to find out which projects have won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2021 jury.

EEPA 2021 National Winners – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, we would like to introduce the national winners competing in the category Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit at the European level of the EEPA 2021.

Every year the top national projects are selected by national coordinators, and the most innovative continue to the next phase of the awards, during which the European jury reviews the entries and decides on the final shortlist. 

The Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people and women. Below you can find out more about which initiatives the jury will be considering this year.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2021 jury.

EEPA 2021 Top National Projects Selected

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2021 enter the next phase after the deadline on 16 July, when the national level was completed. 47 entries from 28 countries made it to the European stage as the National Coordinators submitted the nominations to the EEPA Secretariat.

The top projects that won at the national level are competing across the six categories, including two adapted ones. This year the category of improving the business environment includes supporting the digital transition. The fifth EEPA category is completely revamped into supporting the sustainable transition by focusing on sustainability in all its facets. Have a look at this year’s categories below:

During the European phase of the awards, the EEPA 2021 jury will review each of the national winners and create a shortlist of nominees. These shortlisted nominees will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the SME Assembly in November, having the chance to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

Don’t forget to check the News Portal to find out which projects shortlisted in each category will be presented.

Stay Updated #EEPA2021

For information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website, and for the latest updates, follow Promoting Enterprise News, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

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