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European Enterprise Promotion Awards – 2018 edition launch

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It is that time of the year again, when the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) commence and the best projects from all across Europe begin to compete for a place on the EEPA 2018 shortlist.

Today 05 February, marks the opening of the EEPA 2018 and the project nominations, which will be happening on a national level. National deadlines will differ across countries and will be communicated by the National Coordinators. Once the national competitions have taken place, European level submissions will be accepted until the deadline on 03 July. Once the European nominations have been received, the EEPA 2018 Jury meeting will take place in mid-September which will be followed by the announcement of the shortlist by the end of September. The final step will be the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place in Graz, Austria on Tuesday 20 November as part of the annual SME Assembly.

Public bodies and public-private partnerships from across the EU Member States, will be competing for the coveted awards, which go to the most imaginative and successful initiatives that support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). All the information about the awards and application process can be found on the DG Growth website, and is available in all EU languages.

The 2018 EEPA categories are as follows:

For the 2018 edition the previously suspended ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ is back and accepting submissions.

Interested in learning more about EEPA? Want to know what the awards ceremony is like? If you are thinking about applying for an award speak to your national coordinator and be sure to read past EEPA winner testimonials which will soon include interviews with all of the latest EEPA winners. For more information about EEPA 2017 take a look at the shortlist and watch the winners videos below!

2017 EEPA: Grand Jury Prize winner – Innofest (NL)

2017 EEPA: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit winner – Enterprise Village (EE)

2017 EEPA: Investing in entrepreneurial skills winner – Business Generator (SE)

2017 EEPA: Improving the business environment winner – Reempresa (ES)

2017 EEPA: Supporting the internationalisation of business winner – Ecoplus International (AT)

2017 EEPA: Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship winner – Adie (FR)

The EEPA secretariat team look forward to supporting you throughout the 2018 EEPA campaign. For support with social media, blogs and promoting EEPA in your country please contact Megan Gardner promotingenterprise@gopacom.eu and for all other technical  and administrative questions, please contact Andrew Dec, Secretariat Manager andrew.dec@LOWeurope.eu.

Stay updated with all EEPA news by following us on Twitter (@EEPA_EU and #EEPA2018) and Facebook (@PromotingEnterprise).

EEPA 2016 and beyond – The Rotterdam Business Case

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), provide a chance for many projects to gain recognition on a European stage across a variety of categories. During the selection process and the awards themselves, we get to meet all of these interesting projects and witness their winning moments, but what happens after the awards ceremony? What comes next for EEPA winners? Today on Promoting Enterprise we bring you the story of EEPA 2016 winner ‘The Rotterdam Business Case’, winner of theResponsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurshipcategory. Two years on and the Rotterdam Business Case is scaling up and looking to become a European Business Case, but how have they been working to scale up a successful project to support struggling entrepreneurs? Read on to find out…

Every country needs entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are ambitious, they take risks a  nd create most of the wealth, jobs, and prosperity in a nation. Who helps them however, when they are in difficulty? Who gives them a second chance or the advice they need to be successful? Who makes sure they have options like the customers they serve?

Economic Sustainability

The Rotterdam Business Case, founded in The Netherlands, provides help to struggling entrepreneurs. The project began with the initiation of a pilot in Rotterdam in 2012 to support entrepreneurs operating below the poverty line. The goal was simple; help entrepreneurs to help the economy! Or, in other words: “To increase income and economic sustainability by improving entrepreneurial skills and vision.” The pilot soon became a project – The Rotterdam Business Case – which since then has supported more than 800 entrepreneurs in the Rotterdam region  to get their enterprises back on track. In November 2016 The Rotterdam Business Case was awarded a European Enterprise Promotion Award in the category ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’. Since being awarded the project has been scaling up, in both the Netherlands and in Finland, where pilots are starting.

‘Young and Old is Gold’

The concept is based on a tripartite cooperation between the University of Applied Sciences, the City of Rotterdam and a foundation made up of successful retired entrepreneurs (OKB). The retired entrepreneurs act as senior coaches for the struggling entrepreneurs by providing  advice and mentoring to overcome obstacles and challenges. Their role is to encourage the struggling entrepreneur to regain control, (re-)captain their entrepreneurial ship and help draw up a re-start plan. The students from the University of Applied Sciences act as junior coaches, and provide practical assistance for the re-start (streamlining/sorting out the administration, drawing up a cost-calculation), drafting of reports to plan out the various aspects of the re-start (business plan or acquisition plan). This successful cooperative approach is described with the slogan ‘Young and Old is Gold’.

Triple Helix for win-win-win

The triple helix cooperation with education, entrepreneurship and government results in a win-win-win-situation on all sides. The university offers internships to students who can practically apply their theoretical knowledge (Win 1), the city/region support entrepreneurs to strengthen the regional/city economy (Win 2) and finally former entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to use and re-use their knowledge and experience to help entrepreneurs in need (Win 3). But the biggest Win of all is of course for the struggling entrepreneur who gets a fair chance to overcome problems and become successful again.

Scaling up in the Netherlands & beyond

Due to the project attracting interest of other cities and regions the founders of The Rotterdam Business Case decided to set up a new foundation: The Dutch Business Case for Entrepreneurs, with funding from a Dutch National Foundation (GAK). The newly formed foundation works with a ‘reversed franchise concept’. New Business Cases in other cities/regions receive methods, systems, support and a 25% subsidy on the condition that they work within the concept of The Rotterdam Business Case. So far six new projects and pilots have started in the cities of Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Eindhoven and the provinces of Friesland, Friesland and Drenthe, with discussions underway for additional cities and regions to start in 2018.

 

First European Step

In 2016 the concept received the EEPA prize, which provided a European ‘stamp of approval’ for the foundation. Since receiving the award, professionals, decision makers and politicians who are enthusiastic about the concept make reference to the EEPA recognition of the Rotterdam Case. This has also helped other cities and regions come forward with their own proposals for applying the concept in their individual contexts.

One of the first results from scaling up is the start of a Finnish project in the City of Tampere. The City, the University of Applied Sciences and a Foundation of Former Entrepreneurs started a partnership to assist first time entrepreneurs using the Rotterdam Concept. The experiences of tweaking a successful Dutch project into a successful Finnish project will be shared later this year so that other cities and regions in other countries can also profit from the concept of ‘Young and Old is Gold’.

For more information on the Rotterdam Business Case and project scale up activities, please contact r.gringhuis@rotterdam.nl

EU Sustainable Energy Awards – 2018 nominations open

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The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is back for its 13th edition and giving you the chance to encourage and nominate projects to take part in this year’s Awards competition to determine the most innovative and impactful initiatives in energy transition.

If you are working on, or know someone who is, developing projects that fit the description, it is your time to shine: you can either apply for an award or nominate your favourite activities, projects and actions.

Interested? We look forward to receiving your application for one of this year’s categories: ‘Consumers’, for actions that lead to the behavioural change of individual energy users;‘Public Sector’, for exemplary initiatives led by public and non-profit organisations; ‘Businesses’, for forward-thinking businesses; and this year for the first time there will be a ‘Young Energy Leaders’ category, which aims to recognise extraordinary young individuals, or groups of individuals (under 30 years old), who are leading by example and impacting the sustainable energy field.

Additionally, there is the ‘Citizens’ Award’ which will be granted via an online vote allowing the general public to reward their favourite project among the finalists of the aforementioned categories.

You can find further information about the awards, as well as eligibility, assessment rules and the application process, on the EUSEW2018 website.

The deadline for applications is 23 February 2018.

Organised by the European Commission (Directorate-General for Energy and EASME), EUSEW takes place every year in June. The 2018 focus is on energy transition and will cover a series of activities with an EU-wide scope. In addition to the EU Sustainable Energy Awards, event activities will feature a policy conference (5–7 June 2018), networking opportunities and local sustainable energy events, all dedicated to building a secure energy future for Europe.

Read the original article here on the EASME website.

Interested in green projects and initiatives? Read through the European Enterprise Promotion Awards submissions for the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category and discover the leading European projects in the sector.

From waste to circular economy – ecoBirdy: A European Toy Story

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Supported by the EU’s programme for the competitiveness of SMEs (COSME), ecoBirdy will unveil its first collection of design furniture for kids made of recycled plastic toys at the trade fair Maison & Objet in Paris from 19 January.

The launch follows an in-depth two-year study period exploring how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. ecoBirdy has created pieces that are 100% made of recycled plastic waste and can easily be recycled again.

The Antwerp-based designers, Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan, have not only created design pieces, but a whole system from the collection and recycling of old, unused plastic toys to the design and production of the furniture.

It was essential to the founders that each step be based on social and environmental responsibility. An accompanying storybook and school programme has been designed to introduce youngsters to the circular economy and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future. The design, recycling and production of ecoBirdy furniture is all done in Europe.

“We found that plastic toys use plastic more intensively than other consumer goods: 80% of plastic toys end up in landfills, incinerators or in the ocean. By giving old plastic a new life, our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact. As we use innovative technologies, made for the reuse of plastic, there is no need to add any pigments or resin.”

For the first collection, the designers have aimed to create pieces that enable kids to experience creativity and at the same time raise awareness of sustainability. All items are made entirely out of recycled plastic from European waste. Due to accurate sorting, cleaning and grinding during the recycling process, the plastic of all products is absolutely free from harmful chemicals. It is clean, pure and 100% safe. The whole collection is produced in Italy and includes a chair, a table, a storage container and a lamp.

The furniture will be available on the market from the end of January and can be ordered from the ecoBirdy online shop. ecoBirdy is one of the 10 projects funded under the EU programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs (COSME) 2016 Design-based consumer goods call.

Read the original article here on the EASME website. To find out more about other European sustainability and green projects, read about past EEPA entries in the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category.

The EEPA 2017 Compendium

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017 edition was exciting to witness and be a part of, and congratulations to all of the category winners. Before Promoting Enterprise begins to share the upcoming EEPA 2017 winner testimonials, refresh your EEPA memories by reading through the 2017 compendium, 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 five 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 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

From Slovakia to Estonia – The 2017 review

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The end of 2017 draws nearer, so what better time to look back on the exciting year we are soon to leave behind us! The Promoting Enterprise News Portal has been lucky enough to host several guest contributors, high profile interviews from the worlds of innovation and entrepreneurship, and of course be the ‘one stop shop’ for all European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) related content, amongst other topics.

We began the year by getting ready for the launch of EEPA 2017, looking back on the EEPA 2016 winners and finding out what the attendees of the SME Assembly 2016 thought about their time in Slovakia. The year continued on with the exciting launch of the 2017 edition of EEPA, during which we presented the shortlisted projects who went on to compete for European prizes. The standard of projects was extremely high and we would like to thank all of the National Coordinators for their hard work and dedication to their national campaigns.

The Youth Essay Competition also came back to Promoting Enterprise for a second edition, which attracted over triple the number of entries than last year. With many high quality entries coming from across Europe, and even beyond, the 2017 essay competition jury had a tough time choosing just three finalists for the shortlist. The finalists, Evlampia Karavangeli from Greece, Pavle Kostić from Serbia and Oksana Vedmidska from Ukraine, all impressed the jury with their answers to ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, which they went on to present at the biggest event of the year…the SME Assembly 2017. After a live audience vote, Oksana Vedmidska was chosen as this year’s winner.

This year’s SME Assembly was held in Tallinn, Estonia from 22-24 November 2017 and focused on encouraging us all to start, scale and spread our wings. If you missed it, read our daily posts (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3), have a look at our Instagram and watch the highlights video for coverage of this European flagship event for entrepreneurs, facilitators and innovative thinkers. There is also an SME Assembly conclusions post discussing the main results from Tallinn.

2017 has been a busy year with exciting developments, news, competitions and events. The Assembly continues to grow, European SME Week continues to excel and innovators continue to share their thoughts with us here on Promoting Enterprise. As we close a busy year, the whole Promoting Enterprise team would like to thank you for your support throughout 2017, we hope you enjoyed our posts and will continue to bring you more next year in 2018.

 

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – ‘Class of 2017’

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017 have come to an end, but what a journey it has been! From the opening of national competitions in early 2017, the announcement of all national winners, the long awaited publication of the shortlist and now finally the winner’s ceremony we have witnessed all of the hard work and dedication that goes into the outstanding projects submitted each year.

It is with great pride that Promoting Enterprise can now present to you the EEPA ‘class of 2017’, the projects that were crowned European winners at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia (click on the picture to see their video presentation).

What was their first reaction?

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Enterprise Village, Estonia

Mehis Parn: “Now we know we do the right thing!”

Investing in entrepreneurial skills:
The Business Generator, Sweden

Anette Rhudin: “Hard working entrepreneurs need nutrition and that is what we do for them. Thank you!

Improving the business environment: Reempresa, Spain

Albert Colomer: “We are just happy! Thank you for this fantastic award!

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business:
“Internationalisation 2015 – 2020”, Austria

Johanna Mikl-Letiner (Governor of Lower Austria): “We now see that our strategy to internationalize is successful!

Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship:
Adie (Association for Economic Rights Initiatives), France

Marine Viala: “It´s our birthday this year! Aide has a big potential and this prize “salut!” to our work!

Grand Jury Prize: Innofest, The Netherlands

Anna van Nunen: “We thought you forgot us. But this, of course,  is now a great surprise!

Please find here the 2017 Compendium of winners: EEPA 2017 Compendium Brochure (in English).

Congratulations to this year’s winners and we hoped you enjoyed the ceremony (photos)! Be sure to keep following us here on the portal for winner interviews and updates to find out more about this year’s projects.

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 2

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Day 1 was exciting, and Day 2 certainly did not disappoint! The first full day of sessions and masterclasses was opened with keynote speeches from Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Urve Palo, Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, followed by insightful questions from the session chair Mari Vavulski, head of Startup Estonia.

The opening was finalised with the highly anticipated results of the Ideas from Europe semi-finals were announced. So many good ideas meant the Jury had a tough decision to make, but the following finalists were selected: Julien Penders of Bloomlife (Belgium), Klaus B. Pederson of Too Good to Go (Denmark), Steffen Preuss of Ichò (Germany), Fiona Edwards Murphy of ApisProtect (Ireland), Aida Nazarikhorram of LuxAI (Luxembourg), Mark Offerhaus of Micreos (The Netherlands), Artur Racicki of SEEDia (Poland), Francisco Duarte of PavNext (Portugal), Mervi Pänkäläinen of Mightifier (Finland). Another project received a special mention from the Jury, Refugee{code} and as such will also be going to the finals in the Hague.

One place has yet to be filled, and is now down to a public vote which opened online during the announcement. Voting will be open until early 2018 and will decide which of the remaining 19 semi-finalists will take the final spot at The Knights Hall in The Hague in the Netherlands!

With an exicting kick-off the day continued with several policy sessions and masterclasses, ranging from a focus on invest and finance, to teaching practical skills like basic coding and the basics of cybersecurity for SMEs. There was also the annual SME Performance Review, presented by Costas Andropoulos from the European Commission. Have a look at the Live Tweet feed for the highlights of each session.

The night kicked off with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony, where all national winners received a certificate from SME Envoy Viljar Lubi up on stage. The host, Andres Torm, then went on to present the shortlist and invite several distinguished presenters to award each prize. For more details on the EEPA winners have a look at the EEPA winners post, and be sure to read the 2017 compendium to learn more in depth about each of the awarded projects.The night was far from over at the end of the ceremony and continued on as Kultuurikatel transformed for the EEParty where winners, delegates and attendees had a chance to continue networking and enjoy what the DJ had to offer.

Hopefully you are not too tired from yesterday’s sessions, and see you around for Day 3…

Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship – Final EEPA 2017 introductions

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Time to introduce our final category of EEPA 2017 candidates! The category of ‘Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship’ recognises 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. This year there are two nominated projects for the European prize from France and Portugal.

Adie (Association for Economic Rights Initiatives) is an association which helps people without access to conventional banking services start-up their business, thanks to their initiatives like Microfranchise Solidaire, the first operator of microcredit in France. By 2016, it had supported 19,431 people and enabled the creation and development of 14,366 businesses. Additionally more than 200 entrepreneurs have already joined a microfranchise network and benefitted from the support of a partner in order to set up and develop their activities.

 

The Mundar Change your World – Young Entrepreneurship Contest is a platform that offers children and young people the chance to create, present and experiment with their ideas. Created in 2013, it gives young innovators between the ages of 16 and 30 a chance to have their ideas funded and implemented. To date 77 youth ideas with personal, community and social benefits have been implemented, allowing youth to have a real impact without one of the biggest hurdles, financial support, getting in the way.

Who will come away with an EEPA 2017 prize? Which projects will be our 2017 European winners? We can’t wait to find out at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November! Read more about about Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, Category 3: Improving the Business Environment and Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business on the Portal, and keep coming back for the latest SME Assembly, SME Week and EEPA 2017 updates.

What a difference an investment platform makes – What to expect of the EIPP session during the SME Assembly 2017

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Nowadays, apps and digital platforms are everywhere and have become a part of everyone’s lives: from ordering one’s takeaway dinner, to monitoring one’s fitness progress and well-being, to make romantic relationships and the entire process of going out and meeting new people much easier. Digital tools are also increasingly being used for business and work situations, and that is no exception when talking about SMEs and venture capital investments. Enter EIPP.

Sometimes referred to as “the Tinder for investments”, as European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen once put it, the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is an online matchmaking platform hosted by the European Commission (EC) – namely, DG ECFIN. As part of the Investment Plan for Europe initiative – which seeks to mobilise investment, promote economic growth and create jobs across the EU – EIPP is a database of viable projects with investment opportunities across the EU in virtually all industry areas. As with most platforms under EC tutelage, EIPP has a free-of-charge registration and bridges the gap between users: entrepreneurs can find potential investment partners with just a few “clicks”.

In 2017, EIPP will be one of the key initiatives during the SME Assembly in Tallinn (22-24 November 2017) and of Invest Week, a series of stimulating events that will examine the impact of investment on sustainable growth.

More specifically, a policy and matchmaking session dedicated to EIPP and its added-value in fostering venture capital investments for small and medium companies will take place on 24 November at the Kultuurikatel. After a panel discussion with experts on how to make a perfect venture capital pitch, participating SMEs will have the opportunity to put their pitching skills to the test by presenting their business ideas to a selected group of high-level investors in a small matchmaking session.

Each investor will be able to meet up to eight projects: three “preferred” ones – to be picked from a list of proposals – and five random others who will be given the benefit of their advice.  In order to maximise the opportunities for the attending SMEs, each participant will have the opportunity to meet at least three investors.

Participation in this EIPP policy and matchmaking session has been restricted to SMEs with projects which, after a careful screening process, have proven to be interesting to potential investors for their potential to tackle global challenges. This selected list of participants includes EIPP-listed projects; SME Assembly attendees; finalists from the Start-up Nations summit and the Ideas from Europe competition; and finalists from other EC awards schemes such as the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) and the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE).

For the complete EIPP sessions agenda at the SME Assembly 2017, please click here. For more information, please contact Guendalina Cominotti, Guendalina.Cominotti@LOWeurope.eu

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