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EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship – ‘Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit’ Winner 2018

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 may be over, but Promoting Enterprise is back with a series of winner interviews! Today we begin with Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, which was won by “Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” from Greece.

“Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship” highlights blue entrepreneurship and economy, which cover the sustainable use of the sea and its resources for economic development. The Municipality of Piraeus has implemented several blue entrepreneurship actions including the BlueGrowth innovation competition, the BLUACT network, the Blue Development Strategy, two European programs and the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Centre for Blue Development. The goal is to create new sustainable businesses and jobs in the Blue Economy and to promote a new innovative business ecosystem. So far the project has produced 20 new startups, 45 new jobs and 55 networking events.

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

The Municipality of Piraeus first heard about the EEPA national competition in February 2017 through a call launched by the Greek Ministry of Economy & Development (General Secretariat of Industry) as EEPA National Coordinator. At the time, the Piraeus Municipality chose not to compete and instead take the time to strengthen and document our candidacy in order to win the 2018 award, which is exactly what happened!

How did you prepare your application?

Every application of this kind should focus on the project’s goals, team, timing, and deliverables—and telling the story of the project correctly requires detailed planning and management. When preparing an application it is important to present the project scope and clearly define the objectives and steps, which is what we did throughout our preparation process. In addition the experienced and highly committed employees of Piraeus Municipality who planned and implemented the “blue projects” helped the candidature preparation team, which was extremely helpful and insightful.

What was it like to win the award?

It was an incredible honour to be awarded an EEPA prize. We also felt that our carefully planned efforts over the last few years to bring out Piraeus as one of the first cities promoting new and sustainable jobs through investing in the blue economy has now been widely acknowledged. This acknowledgment has made us even more confident and increased our dedication to continue our blue growth development strategy.

How did winning the award impact your work?

The most obvious part for us was the satisfaction of knowing that we are on the right path regarding our local development policy for the creation of new competitive and sustainable jobs in local level. The EEPA jury is well-known and reputable as an awarding body and thus winning an EEPA gave special credit to our efforts and recognition for the work our team have been doing. In addition, winning the award is an opportunity to take the time to look at what we have achieved, and where we want to take our blue growth policy in the future. It is a chance to take a step back and see how much we have accomplished and how we will motivate our municipality team to carry on working towards the future.

Why should others enter EEPA 2019? What advice would you give them?

Any organisation that believes its project has a beneficial impact on promoting entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional or local level should enter EEPA. It is a great opportunity to make your project known to a wider audience, to have insight into similar ones running across Europe and to be part of a pan-European business promotion environment.

EEPA 2019 candidates should extensively document their activities, carefully assess the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of their initiatives, and present concrete, measurable and usable results. The potential of transferring the project to other regions in Europe is an important asset too. Overall, do not hesitate to participate in EEPA if you have a significant entrepreneurship promotion practice to share.

What are your plans for the future?

Regarding the promotion of entrepreneurship in the blue economy there are currently two ongoing flagship projects in Piraeus Municipality’s growth planning:

The first one involves the adaptation and effective transfer (re-use) of our Blue Growth Initiative (BGI) to other economic environments and countries through URBACT Programme. BGI helps young entrepreneurs realise innovative concepts and create jobs in Blue Economy. To this end we formed the BluAct transnational Transfer Network, the added value of which is to introduce and mainstream the BGI in the policy setting context of other seven European cities. Our goal is to expand and consolidate the BluAct network in the next two years.

Blue Growth Digital Innovation HUB (BG-DIH) aims to provide information, education and training services through the use of advanced technological equipment. It also seeks to promote experimentation in the production of innovative products and services by pupils, students and young people – potential entrepreneurs in the Blue Economy sector. BG-DIH is in the preparation phase and will be fully operational in spring 2019.

EEPA 2018 Compendium

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The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) celebrated 6 individual category winners, 1 Grand Jury Prize winner and 4 Special Mentions.  All of these highly deserving projects are now available for you to read about in the 2018 EEPA Compendium in English available here.

The EEPA compendium

Every year, the EEPA compendium is produced to celebrate the achievements of the shortlisted projects on European level. The compendium provides an insight into the Awards process including: what is means to become an EEPA winner, the Jury, the judging process and how the EEPA are promoted.

As well as an insight into the process, the compendium is a chance for each of the six category winners, and respective runners up, to be showcased and put in the spotlight. It also provides additional and more extensive coverage of the Grand Jury Prize winner, in accordance with the accolade that this award represents.

In addition to all EEPA results and information, the compendium also contains a foreword from the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, in which she details her commitment to European SMEs and her opinions on the latest EEPA edition. This is followed by a section on the status of SMEs in Europe, including an introduction to the Small Business Act for Europe and the role of the national SME Envoys.

To find out more about the EEPA, visit the EEPA website, and look through the previous compendiums from 2017 2016201520142013, and 2012.

SME Assembly 2018 – Day 2

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Day 1 was great, but that was just the beginning of the Assembly. Day 2 of the SME Assembly 2018 certainly had just as much to offer and took place in this year’s venue the Helmut List Halle in Graz.

This first full day of sessions, workshops and masterclasses opened with keynote speeches from Günther H. Oettinger, Member of the European Commission for Budget and Human Resources, Margarete Schramböck, Austrian Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs and Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Steiermark Regional Minister of Economy. The speakers covered the importance of supporting SMEs, building their digital capacities and the need for larger corporations and SMEs to cooperate rather than compete for the benefit of the economy.

The speeches were then followed by ‘The Big Debate’ and a mentoring workshop to encourage start-up mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs. The Big Debate saw two expert teams discuss the role of innovation in tomorrow’s sustainable business models. The experts expressed their views on needed changes to advance, including the need for an overhaul of our culture and competences, and encouraged SMEs to be bold and focus on the positives of change. The Mentoring Workshop followed previously mentored entrepreneurs, who encouraged the audience to invest in the mentoring process in order to become stronger and better entrepreneurs.

The morning continued with, ‘Building our Land of Enterprise’ and an Invest EU policy session. Building our Land of Enterprise took on the global perspective of what it means to be an entrepreneur and featured entrepreneurs from around the globe who shared their experiences of building companies within different enterprise ecosystems. The policy session explored the Invest EU initiative and featured expert speakers who encouraged Europe and its talent to not shy away from outside investment and attention. In order for European companies to thrive they need to be noticed, and not hindered by barriers.

The afternoon hosted two sessions, Innovative Europe and a matchmaking session within the Invest EU framework. Innovative Europe gave delegates a change to interact with expert speakers and each other in order to build innovative solutions to encourage SMEs to flourish. Over in the matchmaking session a select group of entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to meet with experienced investors and form long lasting connections and matches for the future of their businesses.

Day 2 closed with one of the most exciting events, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! The EEPA 2018 recognised six different category winners, a grand jury prize winner and four special mentions. Hosted by Ina Sabitzer, the ceremony was full of excitement, emotional speeches and of course an appreciation for the hard work of all of the recognised European projects. Be sure to have a look through the EEPA 2018 photo album to experience both the ceremony and the after party, and watch the winning moments here.

Don’t forget to come back to see what happened on Day 3, and keep following us on Twitter @EEPA_EU for all the live coverage of the SME Assembly.

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – ‘Class of 2018’

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The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is now over, and after months of waiting we now know which projects were crowned best in Europe. Congratulations to all of the winners in the EEPA ‘Class of 2018’, your hard work has paid off! Have a look below to find out more about this year’s winners, and click on each project to see their video presentation from the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria. 

Grand Jury Prize: Lean Landing, Denmark

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, Greece 

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills: i2c STARTacademy, Austria

Improving the Business Environment: Open Innovation 4.0., Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme, Finland

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, Portugal

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship: ProjectTogether, Germany

Stay tuned for the publication of the 2018 Compendium of winners brochure (in English) to find out more about this year’s winning projects, and don’t forget to have a look at the EEPA 2018 ceremony photos here.

Keep following right here on the Portal and across social media (Twitter and Facebook) for winner interviews and updates.

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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We have reached the final EEPA 2018 category, Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship. This category recognises projects and initiatives that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities. For the 2018 competition, projects competing in this category come from France, Germany and Ireland.

Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, Category 3: Improving the Business Environment, Category 4: Improving the Business Environment and Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

France: Initiative remarquable

The Remarkable Initiative operates within the ‘Initiative France’ network and specialises in loans that are interest-free and without a guarantee. These are granted in addition to local loans received by the entrepreneurs from the local ‘Initiative France’ platform. The interest-free loan increases the enterprise funds, facilitates access to bank funding and is repaid over a maximum of five years. It also comes with a mentoring and sponsorship plan established jointly between the entrepreneur and the local platform. The loan favours enterprises that combine job creation, economic success, innovation and responsible commitments to their local communities and environment.

Germany: ProjectTogether

ProjectTogether is a leading digital incubator for social start-ups. As the first contact for young founders of social projects, ProjectTogether identifies functioning approaches and builds bridges between the active young generation and social institutions in order to actively shape social development. The incubator empowers young founders by supporting and training them, but also by obliging them to play a decisive role in shaping our society. Project leaders receive digital coaching through webinars and an active online community of founders and experts, as well as access to networks to connect with government bodies, companies and foundations.

Ireland: Laois Start Your Own Business Programmes

Laois Start Your Own Business Programmes cover the adaption of mainstream training and mentoring programmes into pilot programmes to meet the needs of groups traditionally excluded from enterprise opportunities. Identified groups include older people, ex-prisoners, migrants and asylum seekers. The programme includes the first of its kind delivered in an asylum seeker provision centre, as well as similar programmes delivered in several prisons. Each programme is adapted to the audience and addresses the different challenges and circumstances faced by each group. Trainers are also specifically selected and trained so as to be relatable for participants.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz at the SME Assembly 2018.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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Only two more categories of EEPA 2018 shortlisted projects to present, and today we are finding out about the green and ecological projects. Last year the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category was temporarily suspended, but it is back for 2018! This year the competing projects in this reinstated category come from The Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia.

Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, Category 3: Improving the Business Environment and Category 4: Improving the Business Environment.

The Netherlands: HAS Food Experience

The HAS Food Experience, run by the HAS University of Applied Sciences, acts as launch platform for innovative projects in the food sector. This includes promising food concepts with social impact, and the further development of socially relevant projects in the food sector. The HAS Food Experience also works to stimulate innovation in food and profile start-ups and businesses established by HAS students. During the past 10 years, over 499 food projects have been presented at the HAS University College, and more than 40 promising concepts have become start-ups or entered the market, of which 80% are still successful.

Portugal: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market

The Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab tests sustainable and innovative solutions, products and services to foster a local carbon market in an industrial coastal municipality. Local residents and businesses are encouraged to develop and propose projects, which are then implemented and made available for municipal use. The local carbon market uses CO2 emissions credits gained through the adoption of sustainable solutions such as bike sharing, sustainable lighting or artificial intelligence applied to building management. The credits can be exchanged for goods and green services and are an incentive for sustainability in the municipality, which previously had a high carbon footprint.

Slovakia: Green bicycle

The Zelený bicykel project is a bicycle sharing system focusing on smaller cities in Slovakia that are uninteresting for large bike-sharing companies. The main objective is to provide citizens with an environmentally friendly, healthy and economical transportation alternative for shorter distances across their cities. The project also aims to educate citizens on leading a healthy active lifestyle and improve their overall quality of life and environmental consciousness. The initiative has also resulted in numerous partnerships with several institutions including secondary schools and businesses, ensuring extensive involvement across different demographics of the city communities.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz at the SME Assembly 2018.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

Portuguese National EEPA ceremony – IAPMEI announces the national winners

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On 26 September 2018 in Vila Nova de Gaia, IAPMEI, the Portuguese coordination organisation for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Portugal, announced their national winners with a national ceremony.

For this session, organised under the European SME Week umbrella, IAPMEI invited project representatives from all EEPA 2018 national projects, the Jury members, entrepreneurs of the StartUP Voucher and StartUP Visa programs, incubators of the Incubators National Network, the Mentors National Network, national and local stakeholders of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and entities of the Ministry for Economy framework, among others. IAPMEI also disseminated a public invitation via an advertisement in “Jornal de Notícias”, a daily and national newspaper and through the IAPMEI website and social networks.

The event, attended by over 150 participants with a large representation of EEPA candidates, was chaired by Nuno Mangas, the President of the Board of IAPMEI the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation. Nuno Mangas, thanked all those who submitted projects and highlighted the large number of applications received, 82 in total, a European record. Other notable attendees included the Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral and the Secretary the State for Industry, Ana Lehmann.

The event also included a panel titled “To be entrepreneur”, with testimonials from StartUP Voucher and StarUP Visa entrepreneurs; Francisco Duarte, elected by public vote as the best of Ideas from Europe 2017 competition and a representative of “Douro Boys”, an EEPA awarded project, also participated in this panel.

Have a look at the event photo gallery and don’t forget to follow the shortlisted Portuguese project Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, as they compete for a European title at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz.

Supporting the internationalisation of business – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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Who else is on the EEPA 2018 shortlist? We are up to Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business, which focuses on projects that encourage enterprises and SMEs to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. This year the competing projects come from Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and Finland. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills and Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

Bulgaria: Supporting the internationalization and digitalization of SMEs in Bulgaria and Europe

This project facilitates both the internationalisation and digitisation of Bulgarian SMEs through the organisation of high profile events like a National Business Forum, a Balkan Conference and an International SME Summit, each of which typically involves over 200 SMEs from Bulgaria. The initiative also enables the participation of Bulgarian SMEs in international exhibitions and specially organised B2B matchmaking meetings, through which SMEs can meet and find clients, partners, investors and market opportunities. The project also proactively promotes the benefits of business digitisation through skills training and access to information and good practice examples.

Denmark: Lean Landing

Lean Landing have developed and implemented an innovative and lasting soft-landing network between micro SMEs, business incubators and business development organisations in six North Sea countries. The soft-landing network enables SMEs to break into international markets via direct discussions with potential customers and partners in the target country. The project focuses on micro SMEs and early internationalisation, as opposed to the traditional focus on medium sized SMEs. Traditionally SMEs rely on detailed and lengthy market studies before attempting to enter, however through Lean Landing they can learn directly the local experience and knowledge of incubators in several countries.

Estonia: Development of the Estonian timber sector as the biggest exporter of wooden houses in the European Union

The Estonian Wooden House Cluster has been working to become the largest wooden house exporter in the European Union, and aims to increase the both the international competitiveness and exports of Estonian wooden house producers. Actions have included target market mapping, coordinated activities to support entry into the market, organised activities to promote producer products and competence building seminars and conferences. Results have included stable growth in sector turnover and exports, as well as raised awareness and preservation of traditional Estonian building practices. The initiative has also sustained many jobs and increased the value of products produced by the sector.

Finland: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme

Kasvu Open offers sparring to companies interested in growth, free of charge. The goal is to promote company growth and business development, thus improving the SMEs’ chances of achieving international growth. Through sparring the companies’ growth plans are challenged, adapted and supported by experts representing several different fields. The selected companies come from all industry sectors across Finland and receive access to expert networks. The experience also includes a tailored growth path, run by several partners who facilitate free participation at events, provide funded support for the participating SME and ultimately guide the enterprise in the right direction.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz this November.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

Improving the Business Environment – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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Ready to meet the next set of shortlisted EEPA 2018 projects? Today it is time to introduce the projects in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment. This year the competing projects come from Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills.

Romania: Start up Nation Romania

This programme encourages the establishment and development of SMEs, and seeks to improve their economic performances, create new jobs and insert into the labour market disadvantaged persons, the long term unemployed and graduates. The programme has overseen increased investment in new innovative technologies, and as a result 21 000 new jobs have been created, of which more than 16 000 were for disadvantaged people. The programme has also facilitated SME access to finance, and introduced electronic automation systems for business plan registration and company founding. The project activities also stimulated new trade register registrations, which increased by 28.98% in 2017. 

Spain: Open Innovation 4.0.

This public-private cooperation programme aims to improve the business environment of Asturias by: Strengthening business leadership through technology; Acceleration and growth of start-ups; Reinforcement of business cooperation; Encouraging the open innovation concept; and Attracting investment. Selected start-ups join a 4.0 acceleration programme featuring both group and individual tutorials with sector experts. As well as obtaining initial funding to prepare joint proposals, they have access to specific funding for Open Innovation to implement collaborative projects. To date, 123 ideas and solutions have been presented with 14 going on to form companies that implement technical solutions.

United Kingdom: Anchoring economic growth in the Tees Valley

This project has achieved significant results in helping the Tees Valley region overcome the loss of key industries. Working closely with public and private partners, particularly Tees Valley Combined Authority, the project, coordinated by Teeside University, has delivered targeted support that has seeded new enterprises and helped existing businesses in the Tees Valley to tackle the barriers to economic growth. The targeted support has been supplemented by University provided expertise and talent, particularly in the areas of adopting digital technologies and innovation. Project results include 1446 university-business projects, growth of a technology business cluster and a stronger entrepreneurial culture.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz this November.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

EEPA at national level – Find out about the 2018 German national winners

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©RKW Kompetenzzentrum

The German EEPA national awards ceremony took place on 12 October 2018 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, within the ministry’s fair forum. After Germany’s national EEPA Coordinator Juliane Kummer presented the European Competition and spoke about the 2018 national EEPA campaign, the two winners “Nachfolge in Deutschland” (Business Succession in Germany) and “ProjectTogether” were announced. Both projects 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 stage.

The online platform “Nachfolge in Deutschland” deals with the topic of business succession. It provides innovative digital instruments and tools for entrepreneurs who are planning to transfer their business as well as for business successors. It uses a simple but holistic approach and offers a low participation threshold.

“ProjectTogether” received an additional special congratulation for being one of the shortlisted projects for the 2018 European level of the competition. The digital incubator for social start-ups combines progress and responsibility. It empowers young founders with ideas that can make the world being a better place through support and training from an active online expert community and provides access to networks to connect with government bodies, companies and foundations.

The two winners were selected by a national expert jury who evaluated a total of 31 national entries in June 2018. The jury has also selected a “German EEPA TOP 10” which has been published in a best practice brochure.

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!

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    • EEPA 2018 Compendium November 29, 2018
      The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) celebrated 6 individual category winners, 1 Grand Jury Prize winner and 4 Special Mentions.  All of these highly deserving projects are now available for you to read about in the 2018 EEPA Compendium in English available here. The EEPA compendium Every year, the EEPA compendium is produced […]
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