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EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Listen Up Foundation – Special Mention 2017

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Who else received an EEPA 2017 special mention? Meet the Listen Up Foundation from Bulgaria, who were recognised for their work for the deaf and hard of hearing communities in Bulgaria. Find out how they entered and the exciting opportunity that came their way after the EEPA 2017 awards ceremony…

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We first heard about the national competition via the Reach for Change Foundation network, of which we are a member. This network often notifies us of different opportunities, and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) was one of them.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

The main motivation for entering was to bring more visibility to the challenges that the deaf and hard of hearing students face in schools and universities. We specifically wanted to highlight the challenges posed by them having no access to information and communication. For us we needed to show how important it is to make all involved parties – students, parents, teachers, lecturers and many others involved in the training process at schools and universities – aware of these students and their needs.

How did you prepare your application?

In general we are constantly in the process of developing new activities and expanding on our work, specifically creating an environment with higher awareness on the need for accessibility for all. Our preparation simply consisted of accurately documenting what we do and being sure to include all of our latest activities. For us this meant including big developments such as the establishment of the Academy for deaf and hard of hearing children and youth by the Listen Up Foundation. Through the establishment of the academy we can continue to bring more empowerment tools for the deaf community in order to be actively involved in the change-making process.

What was it like to receive a special mention and how did it affect your work?

It was a complete surprise, we didn’t expect it and we are so thankful for it! It was really wonderful to be acknowledged and we truly appreciate it. Not only was it fantastic recognition for our project, but it was an opportunity for both the Bulgarian and wider European deaf communities to be in the spotlight and receive the attention they deserve.

Receiving the special mention also created some exciting opportunities for us. We recently signed a contract with the Ministry of Education in Bulgaria to provide accessibility services to the deaf and hard of hearing students at approximately 50 mainstream schools. This will come into force around the beginning of the next academic year from 2018-2019.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018 and what advice would you give them?

We strongly recommend entering the EEPA competition to anyone that is considering it! By entering such an important contest you will gain recognition for your project and doors will open for other opportunities.

What are your plans for the future?

Our future plans consist of us continuing our work through raising awareness of the deaf and hard of hearing communities, and advocating for their needs. We believe that video-relay services for deaf signers will cover all major institutions across the country in the future. We also hope that over the next two years all deaf and hard of hearing students will have access to speech-to-text services at both schools and universities.

Interested in the work of the Listen Up Foundation? Visit their website to find out more! Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Import Promotion Desk – Special Mention 2017

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Time for another testimonial from a 2017 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) special mention!

Today’s EEPA interview takes us to Germany to meet the recipients of an EEPA 2017 Special Mention, theImport Promotion Desk (IPD). IPD share with us their tips for making your EEPA submission stand out by drawing on their own experiences, and their plans for the future of the project. 

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

We first heard about the awards scheme from a colleague and decided to enter because of the good reputation of the award and the chance for publicity for our work.

How did you prepare your application?

We did not do any specific activities in preparation for our EEPA submission. We are convinced of what we do and therefore thought that a good, concise and accurate description of our constant activities was special enough!

What was it like to receive a special mention?

We were extremely proud to receive the special mention, and we certainly did not expect it. The recognition by a neutral authority such as the EU Commission was very important for us as it confirmed our strategic approach, thus giving our project credibility and validity. In addition, our participation in the EEPA scheme attracted considerable attention and raised the awareness level of IPD once again.

The awards ceremony was an opportunity to get to know other interesting companies and to exchange ideas and experiences with many entrepreneurs from different countries. Although we exchanged with start-ups from different sectors we are not working in, the ideas they have were very inspiring. Additionally, we got really good feedback from many different angles.

How did receiving a special mention impact your work?

The media coverage was not very extensive, but this was probably due to it being quite difficult to describe what the special mention is exactly. However, the awareness within our network was extremely positive. After all, it is also a recognition of our good cooperation with our partners as well as the IPD team.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

Entering EEPA is a good chance to be compared with other projects, but it means that you really need to make sure that your submission and the overall uniqueness of your project stand out. As such, the award submission should be prepared very carefully, make sure your collected data and documents are well-structured and easy to follow. Furthermore, best-practice examples should be well-presented to highlight the work that you have been doing.

In our case we focused on highlighting the core competence of IPD, which is supporting exports with a focus on development. We provide exporting companies in developing and threshold countries with the knowledge and competences they need to increase their competitiveness on the international market. We also included our focus on sustainability, in terms of enabling exporters, developing better access to the EU market for external countries and selective support for the export of in-demand products.

In your application be sure to clearly indicate your strengths and competencies. For us this meant highlighting our good knowledge of the product demand due to our strong network of relevant sector associations (and through them many importers and wholesalers) in Germany (and Europe). We also continued to demonstrate our competencies by describing how we use our knowledge and network. We explained our focus on demand, and how this ensures that the enterprises achieve long-term sales on the export market. When selecting products to support, we carefully check using market studies and demand analyses which products are gaining importance on the German and European markets.

Overall, convince the national and European jury to view your project as a European best practice that deserves to be rewarded for all of the hard work that you have put in!

What are your plans for the future?

Our goal is to integrate developing countries more effectively into global trade, and thus make a substantial contribution towards sustainable economic development in these countries. Many exporters from developing countries are only denied access to the EU market because they lack knowledge of the legal standards and import regulations, the required certifications and above all the contacts with European traders. This is exactly where the IPD comes in. We offer exporters specifically selected information and training on export marketing and advise them on the whole quality management process and on certification of their products. In addition, the IPD establishes valuable business contacts between the exporters and potential customers through specialist trade fairs.

Our vision is to broaden our project to more developing countries and sectors so that more companies can profit from our services.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Malta Business Story Initiative – Special Mention 2017

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards recognise winners in a number of categories, as well as awardi ng a Grand Jury Prize. In addition to the winning projects, the awards also give ‘Special Mentions’ to projects that did not win a particular category but nevertheless impressed the EEPA jury. Today Promoting Enterprise presents one of the Special Mention projects from 2017 – the Maltese Business Story Initiative from Malta, run by the Malta Employers’ Association.

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We first heard about the competition through the Ministry for the Economy. One of our executives took the initiative to apply, as he believed that we had a good basis for doing so.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

The main motivation was to determine whether our initiatives are of a good standard, and also to network with other organisations to see examples of best practice. The competition also stimulates innovation, which we saw as an opportunity to help us think of new initiatives and, in turn, add value for our existing members.

What was it like to receive a special mention?

We did not fully expect it, but we certainly aspired to it. We believed our project had the qualities to be recognised in this manner, but then one never knows what else is being conducted by other organisations. The fact that we received a special mention is a great encouragement to continue to strive for excellence in everything that we do. It is a motivator for our staff and has sent positive signals both to our members and non-member organisations, who have since become more aware of the benefits of joining the Malta Employers’ Association.

How did receiving a special mention impact your work?

There was positive media coverage and we produced a television programme which promoted the EEPA among the Maltese. The programme was broadcast on national television. I believe that it has also been instrumental in generating a surge in membership over the past few months, which shows that companies respond positively to such achievements. I think that the fact that we have received a special mention twice in three years has also made an impact. It has also increased the Association’s determination to constantly think of new ideas to serve our stakeholders better.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

The best part of the EEPA is the networking and learning aspect. There is definitely a benefit in participating, irrespective of whether one wins or not, as the EEPA is a showcase of innovation and best practice. Many of the ideas and projects conducted by so many countries are easily transferable to other countries.

What are your plans for the future?

We fully intend to continue with the project, and so far the educational television programme has seen a steady increase in viewers. As the viewer base has increased, we have invested to improve its production quality and will continue to do so. Our intention is to continue educating the companies and the public – through the involvement of the social partners – about economic, labour and social issues.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

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