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EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Greentech.Ruhr

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ winner Portugal Bike Value from Portugal. Check it out, if you haven’t read it yet.

This week we travel to Germany to meet with Greentech.Ruhr, winner in the ‘Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency’ category. Greentech.Ruhr is an environmental management network in the Ruhr region that aims to strengthen the region’s environmental economy, thereby supporting its transition from a mining region to a diversified economy with a high degree of specialisation in tackling ecological challenges. Increased cooperation between all players in the Ruhr environmental economy is needed to deal with growing environmental protection challenges. Greentech.Ruhr facilitates this by bringing together local companies, educational and research institutions, and public bodies to promote the Ruhr’s innovative potential in the field of environmental economics.

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

We were contacted directly by RKW (Rationalisierungs- und Innovationszentrum der Deutschen Wirtschaft – Rationalisation and Innovation Centre of the German Economy), the coordinator of the national competition in Germany. They explained that our project would fit perfectly into the category ‘Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency’. Public awareness is essential for our Project, so we were glad to get this opportunity.

How did you prepare your application?

The application process was less effort than we thought. Presenting our project to new partners and reporting on our work to our current partners is part of our day-to-day business. Therefore, it was easy to put this down in the application. Greentech.Ruhr has been operational for four years already, so we already had enough results and testimonials to show what we do and explain about our work. We remained in close contact with RKW and were able to clarify all questions very quickly.

What was it like to win the award?

It was very exciting going through the whole process. First the recognition of being the national winner, then the good news of being shortlisted and then finally the big moment when Bastian Coes opened the envelope and announced the winner. It is a great honour for us, and very motivating for everybody involved in the project. Sure, we were a bit disappointed that, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the SME Assembly 2020 had to be a virtual event and our award-celebration was a home-office party but it was still an incredible honour to be named an EEPA 2020 winner.

How did winning the award impact your work?

The award gave our project a lot of positive public attention. We received many congratulations from our community. As a network for the environmental economy, it is very important for us to be known. Not only in our region but also all over the world. The EEPA will help us to enlarge our European network significantly. By winning the EEPA, we have provided further proof that the idea of a greentech network is worth sustaining and this will help us to acquire financial support later on.

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

Taking part in the competition and writing the application helps you to reflect on your project and your work. So, even if you don’t win, the time invested is not wasted. The positive effect when winning the award may differ from project to project, but it certainly brings a lot of attention and contacts. We definitely recommend taking part in EEPA 2021.

What are your plans for the future?

We are definitely striving to expand the network. We will further expand Greentech.Ruhr and will constantly improve our offers for our partners. With this in mind, we will intensify our collaboration in the environmental economy in our region to be independent from funding, with the support of our strong partners.

Congratulations to Greentech.Ruhr on your win! Don’t forget to watch and share their winning moment and keep up with their work and their greentech network on their website.

Don’t forget you can also catch up with SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Portugal Bike Value

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Improving the Business Environment’ winner BIND 4.0 from the Basque Country. Check it out, if you haven’t read it yet.

This time we take a bike ride to Portugal to meet with Portugal Bike Value, winner in the ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ category. Portugal Bike Value is working to support and promote the potential of the Portuguese bicycle industry, establishing it as a player in the European supply chain. It is also promoting Portugal as a destination for foreign investment in the area of soft mobility. The initiative’s efforts saw exports to more than 50 destinations increase from EUR 226 million in 2011 to EUR 402 million in 2019. By investing in cleaner technologies that have a reduced environmental footprint, Portugal Bike Value is also helping to support the European Green Deal.

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

The first information we received was from AICEP, the Portuguese agency for investment and foreign trade. Then we looked for more details on the internet, where we received a lot of helpful information. The Commission website and News Portal were very informative and from the data we collected, we understood that Portugal Bike Value had a good chance of doing well.

How did you prepare your participation?

Preparations for participation were conducted almost completely internally, within the National Association of Two Wheel Industries (ABIMOTA), using two external consultants who have been involved in the Portugal Bike Value project from the very beginning. This means that it was quite easy to prepare for our EEPA participation.

What was it like to win the award?

First, it was a big surprise. Our job is to work on behalf of our associates, promoting the hardware and furniture sectors and, of course, two wheels and smooth mobility. Until that moment, we had no experience of participating in a contest like this. Later it made us think about the real value of Portugal Bike Value. After winning a prize like this, we could better understand the real value of our project.

How did winning the award impact your work?

First of all, as I said, it gave us a real perspective on the value of the project. Then, this victory gave us a major boost in terms of communication, both in Portugal and abroad. The EEPA awards are highly visible and boost the image of the participants.

Why should others join the EEPA? What advice would you give them?

In our experience, the best advice is – participate. As long as you have a solid, well-developed project, you can only win. The gains that you will receive in terms of experience and contacts with other projects are overwhelming. If you can reach the final, you will gain additional visibility and in the event of victory, then the return is massive.

What are your plans for the future?

The Portugal Bike Value project is concluding its cycle and, therefore, we are developing a new project, where we seek to deepen and build on the experience we have gained and, if possible, do even better.

Congratulations to Portugal Bike Value! Re-live their winning moment and make sure to keep up with their work and activities.

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – BIND 4.0 – Basque Industry 4.0 Accelerator Program

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’ winner – Merkuur Mobile Workshops from Estonia. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you do!

This week we are in the Basque Country to meet our ‘Improving the Business Environment’ winner BIND 4.0, a public-private acceleration programme specialising in promoting Industry 4.0 projects. BIND 4.0 is targeted at technological start-ups with 4.0 solutions in the fields of advanced manufacturing, energy, health and food. The programme has been set up as an open innovation platform, where start-ups from all over the world and large industrial companies established in the Basque Country interact in an agile way to develop innovative high-impact projects. The start-ups receive intensive support and benefit from activities aimed at accelerating their development and immersion in the Basque industrial ecosystem.

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

The EEPA are well known throughout Europe for recognising initiatives that improve business at the local, regional or national levels. BIND 4.0 offers something valuable to all parties involved in our programme and our main goals are to increase talent, innovation and competition in our region. We decided to apply and see how we compare to the other incredible initiatives focused on start-ups and business development, and we are quite pleased with the results.

How did you prepare your application?

Our main goal is to contribute to improving the society in which we live through innovation and technology, so we felt our objectives were in line with those of the EEPA. We filled out the application by detailing the impact that BIND 4.0 has had on the industrial and entrepreneurial ecosystem. We explained how our programme is symbiotic; there are benefits for technology start-ups, for the local economy and for established companies looking to collaborate on pilot projects.

What was it like to win the award?

It is a great honour for BIND 4.0 to receive this award from among 13 other stellar candidates throughout Europe. The EEPA is an official recognition of our on-going commitment to business development through the acceleration of start-ups, and of the collaboration between public institutions and private companies. We are thrilled to be acknowledged, at the European level, for our efforts over the last five years.

How did winning the award impact your work?

This award is a source of pride, for consistently accomplishing our goal to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Since our inception, we’ve accelerated over 100 start-ups and facilitated the development of more than 170 Industry 4.0 projects. This award provides additional validity to our international initiative so we can continue to attract talent to the Basque region and promote collaboration between young start-ups and large corporations.

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

If you would like to see how your programme and efforts measure up against the other programmes being implemented throughout Europe, we recommend applying. The EEPA is a great way to stay informed about impactful programmes, ground-breaking initiatives and the benchmark models in the marketplace.

What are your plans for the future?

The BIND 4.0 Team is currently preparing for the fifth edition of the programme that begins in January 2021. We are also organising a new edition for the post-COVID climate, so we have redesigned the programme to continue supporting start-ups in an online format. The Basque Country is one of the strongest industrial ecosystems in Europe and this award helps enforce the impact BIND 4.0 continues to make toward innovation in entrepreneurship.

We have a positive outlook for the year ahead, as we offer a bridge between flexible, innovative start-ups and proficient, forward-thinking corporates. The COVID pandemic brought numerous significant changes, from establishing remote working conditions to creating new safety measures; we saw innovation in so many new areas. The health and technology innovations this year have been inspiring and are an indication of the direction on which all businesses will need to focus in the year ahead. We feel BIND 4.0 is in the best position to help connect start-ups and corporations and turn innovation into action. 

Congratulations to BIND 4.0! Re-live their winning moment and make sure to keep up with their work and future innovations on their website.

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

Looking back at 2020

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It is the end of 2020 and what a year we have had here on Promoting Enterprise. This year has been challenging and forced us all to find creative solutions and work through uncertainties.

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact, and before anything we would like to thank all of our community for continuing to inspire us and support the EEPA, SME Week and the SME Assembly.

Throughout the year we have had the pleasure of bringing you many success stories that have inspired us all despite the circumstances. From the EEPA competition, which still brought us many outstanding projects from across Europe, to our COVID Stories campaign, which highlighted how businesses and individuals responded to crisis with innovation.

We also heard from younger members of our community through the fifth edition of the annual SME Week Youth Essay competition. Our three talented finalists, Pablo, Georgina and Sabine took to the SME Assembly stage, sharing their ideas and asking for the votes of hundreds of SME Assembly delegates.

2020 was the year that the SME Assembly went virtual for the very first time, seeing Promoting Enterprise community members join us from all over the world, across sectors and industries, and truly show just how important the European enterprise ecosystem is to us all.

With that we bring 2020 to a close. We look forward to continuing to bring you content throughout 2021, and we wish you a safe, happy and healthy new year.

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Mobile Workshops

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last week we brought you the story of our ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ winner – Promoting Entrepreneurship from Denmark. Make sure to read their story if you haven’t yet!

This week we travel to Estonia to learn about our ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’ winner – Merkuur Mobile Workshops from Estonia. Merkuur has developed a series of mobile workshops to introduce young people to the various professions, work practices, and tools to be found in the metal and woodworking sectors. It provides an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in these professions, increasing young people’s career awareness and competitiveness in the fields of technology and engineering. In mobile classrooms equipped with modern technology, students can test their engineering skills, try various techniques and tools, and make exciting products. In three years, the Merkuur team has organised over 700 science, technology and engineering workshops for about 7000 young people.

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

This year, Estonia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications organised the 14th edition of the ‘Recognise Entrepreneurship Promoters’ competition in Estonia. Many very interesting and exciting projects have been recognised every year as part of this competition.  Our team was encouraged to apply by the success stories of other Estonian business projects and out of a desire to promote the ‘Mobile Workshops’ project in Estonia and internationally.

How did you prepare your application?

Filling in the application was an interesting process which gave us the opportunity to summarise the important activities and challenges of the ‘Mobile Workshops’ project and to define future plans with the team. It was like a journey through our three years of operations; it gave us the chance to map the current situation of our company and look towards the future.

What was it like to win the award?

It was a great honour! The whole team was thrilled. Any recognition, whatever form it takes, encourages you to put in even more of an effort and to accept even greater challenges. Thank you very much for the award and the recognition!

How did winning the award impact your work?

We are happy our project was noticed in Europe and we feel that international recognition will open more doors to our team, give us support and help us find new fans outside of Estonia. We hope the ‘Mobile Workshop’ service will become an important link in the Estonian education system, making it possible to introduce new technologies and methodological approaches to technology classes.

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

Applying is a great way of introducing the general public to the best business initiatives and projects from different European countries and to gain international attention and recognition. During the application process, we advise any applying projects to note down all of the goals, challenges, results and social problems encountered by your project, along with the social problems to which solutions will be sought when implementing the activities.

What are your plans for the future?

It has been great to offer youngsters the opportunity to study in a mobile technology class and to encourage them to be creative and enterprising. Our team’s goal is to create a concept and methodological materials for future mobile classrooms for both students and teachers, in order to expand within Estonia and into the sphere of international education. We want young people to be encouraged by the opportunities in the fields of science, technology and engineering and for them to be able to create cool products and services with which they can conquer the world in the future.

Congratulations to the Mobile Workshops project! Keep coming back to the News Portal for more EEPA winner testimonials and re-live Merkuur’s winning moment right here:

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Open Entrepreneurship

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Here on Promoting Enterprise we are thrilled to bring you the first of our European Enterprise Promotion Award winner testimonials! Throughout this series we will be interviewing the EEPA Class of 2020 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.

Let us kick things off with the winner of our first category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’. The 2020 winner is “Open Entrepreneurship” from Denmark, who won with their project that connects researchers, investors and entrepreneurs to develop collaborations between them and improve the role of research in startup creation.

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

We were introduced to the EEPA 2020 award via the Danish Chamber of Commerce and decided to enter. They then went on to nominate us for the award at European level.

How did you prepare your application?

The process of preparing the application was an important and sound exercise. We used the application to reflect on our activities, as well as refresh our minds on what the impact and purpose of our project is. These are the elements that we made sure to communicate in our original application.

What was it like to win the award?

It was a great honour to receive this award. We are very proud on behalf of the whole team that includes seven university partners in Denmark.

In the Open Entrepreneurship programme, we work together to help successful entrepreneurs from Denmark and across the globe to come and have a conversation with our researchers – and together we see that this conversation leads to the co-creation and development of some amazing spinouts. We see that this is a great combination as it allows the researchers to focus on what they are good at, namely their research – and at the same time they get resources and the experience from the external entrepreneurs and their network – we see that they inspire each other in both domains.

We are very grateful for the support from our sponsor the Danish Industry Foundation who helped us launch this programme. We also want to thank the Danish Chamber of Commerce for nominating us for this prestigious award.

How did winning the award impact your work and what are your plans for the future?

Open Entrepreneurship winning the award has already gained political attention in Denmark, and we are confident that this alone will support our collaboration across universities and our long-term financial anchoring of the project. Being recognised by EEPA and the European Commission has also strengthened our presence in the Danish innovation ecosystem.

It is of great importance to us, that a project that celebrates the collaboration between seven Danish universities, wins a European level award.

Congratulations to Open Entrepreneurship! Re-live their winning moment below and find out more about their work in the EEPA 2020 Compendium.

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

EEPA 2020 Compendium

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One of the highlights of this year’s SME Assembly 2020 was the finals of the 14th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) which took place on Monday 16 November.

The EEPA recognise the best of the best, with six individual category awards, 1 Grand Jury Prize and Special Mentions. We got see all of the winning moments on screen but it is now time to learn a little more about these winning projects and why the EEPA jury selected them!

The 2020 EEPA compendium is now available for you to read and explore here.

The EEPA Compendium is an annual publication that compiles all of the shortlisted projects to celebrate their achievements and provide an insight into the Awards process. This year’s Compendium features introductions to all of the shortlisted projects, as well as additional information on the Grand Jury Prize winner.

Learn more about each of our EEPA jury members as well as the EEPA judging process that goes on behind the scenes. This year’s compendium also contains

In addition you will find out more about this year’s prestigious jury, their experience being behind the scenes of EEPA, testimonials from previous winners and a focus on how SMEs are leading the recovery.  

To find out more about the EEPA, visit the EEPA website, and look through the previous compendiums from 201920182017 2016201520142013, and 2012.

European Small and Mid-Cap Awards – 2020 winners

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This year at the SME Assembly 2020 the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) joined forces with the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards to bring you a bigger awards ceremony with more outstanding projects and initiatives to highlight.

The European Small and Mid-Cap Awards aim to promote best practices and to highlight the best European Small and Mid-Sized Companies that have gained access to capital markets via an Initial Public Offering (IPO). They showcase the diversity of European markets and aim to promote stock listings, in particular targeting SMEs and growth companies.

2020 marked the eighth edition of the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards which took place alongside the EEPA online at the first virtual SME Assembly on Monday 16 November.

The winners of the 2020 edition are as follows:

International Star: Diaceutics

Rising Star: Fodelia

Star of Innovation: Frequentis 

Star of 2020: Izertis

Special Mention: Lighthouse

Congratulations to the 2020 winners!

Watch the full ceremony and re-live all the winning moments right here:

For more information on the 2020 winners, please visit the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards website.

You can also follow the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards on Twitter.

SME Assembly 2020 – Day 1

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The first day of the SME Assembly 2020 opened with an address from Minister Peter Altmaier, who reflected on the problems SMEs have faced during the COVID pandemic and emphasised that liquidity assistance has been provided efficiently so far but needs to continue. He also discussed the recovery plan for Europe and discussed the German government’s position, which supports investment related to climate neutrality and digitalisation.

The Assembly then gave the floor to Commissioner Thierry Breton who stressed the importance of SMEs in driving a sustainable and digital European recovery. He spoke about the SME Strategy and its significance as a tool in helping the EU achieve autonomy in strategic sectors. Commissioner Breton also spoke about the importance of fighting against late payments and the need to work on helping our SMEs become more resilient. In addition he touched on the importance of our Single Market, calling it one of our biggest assets and the need to keep our borderless markets open.

As part of the opening plenary our SME Assembly host Shona Murray interviewed Fiona Candon, Deputy President of Chambers Ireland and Matilda Mielind, Board Member of SMEunited.

Throughout the morning sessions, delegates learnt about the SME Envoy Network, about what it does and the crucial role it plays in making sure that the voices of small businesses are heard at national and EU level. The session on digital sovereignty highlighted the importance of developing collaborative attitudes and leaving behind the silo mentality. Over in the session on keeping businesses afloat during times of crisis, speakers stressed the need to focus on SME resilience and to focus the creation of recovery instruments on existing practice.

Opening the afternoon was the highly anticipated awards ceremony featuring the winners of the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards, and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The highly coveted EEPA Grand Jury Prize was awarded to French Project Le Portail du Rebond, which has created a unique online platform for entrepreneurs to access all the different national services and bodies to help them get back on their feet and bounce back. Watch the EEPA winning moments of all of the deserving winners right here and consult the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards press release for more information.

After the excitement of the awards Nobel prize laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz, gave this year’s Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise Lecture. Professor Stiglitz spoke about the problems caused by the emphasis on markets without sufficient government regulation markets; the economic effects of the COVID pandemic and the effect of cutbacks in science budgets; the rise of the tech giants; the role of innovation in transforming our economic system from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables; and his hopes for the new US administration. More information about the 2020 Schumpeter lecture can be found here.

If you missed Professor Stiglitz at the Assembly you can now watch his lecture online:

Optimism characterised afternoon sessions on disruptive technology, circular economy and leadership. Innovators are often driven to create by the worst situations, technology and eco-friendly innovation are the way to environmental harmony, and leaders should not be afraid to be human to connect with their workforces.

Closing sessions offered insights into female entrepreneurship during the crisis, access to finance for SMEs and plans for support and what is in store for the future of the workplace. Themes of collaboration and ‘seeing a silver lining’ came through. Encouragement to see the pandemic as an opportunity to explore new working models, increasing access to resources for female entrepreneurs to help entrepreneurs overall and bringing EU tools to SMEs to help them prioritise digital transformation.

Day 1 of the Assembly was full, but it’s not over yet! Make sure to join us for Day 2 and follow the live coverage over on Twitter @EEPA_EU and don’t forget to use #SMEAssembly2020 for a chance to be featured on the event feed.

Haven’t registered yet? Last minute registrations are still possible but be quick! You can register here.

SME Assembly 2020 – The programme

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Only a few more days until the SME Assembly 2020!

Don’t forget to register for the event in advance and get ready to enjoy the online event on Monday 16 November and Tuesday 17 November.

The SME Assembly always brings a variety of workshops, masterclasses, expert panels and roundtables as well as focused sessions with industry experts. In addition there will be an exciting awards ceremony where we will find out who the winners across the six categories of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards are, as well as the winners across the four categories in the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards.

In addition to what is on the programme delegates have the opportunity to register for ‘Virtual Worlds’ sessions featuring virtual reality used to create an immersive and inovative networking experience. These sessions have limited places and are filling up fast so make sure to register your interest with the SME Assembly Secretariat as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to follow along live via our Twitter chanel @EEPA_EU and use #SMEAssembly2020 to be featured as part of our live coverage!

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