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EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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Ready to meet our next European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winner? Meet IDEA Innovation Centre & Incubator – Accelerator for Start-ups from Cyprus, the winner of Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills!

IDEA is an innovation centre and incubator and acts as an accelerator for startups. In order to invest in entrepreneurial skills, IDEA undertakes a cluster of activities that focus on providing an entire spectrum of business support, positively altering perceptions of entrepreneurship, facilitating cross-sector cooperation, promoting Cyprus as an innovation hub, developing investment networks, promoting volunteering, and ensuring entrepreneurship is open to all regardless of gender, age or ability. Social inclusion is put into practice through inclusive entrepreneurship, specifically opening doors to entrepreneurs with special needs. To date, IDEA has developed 48 New Businesses and created over 70 new jobs.

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

In 2018 our Cypriot Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy informed all of our national institutions about the competition. We applied back in 2018 and went on to become two of the national winners and participate in the SME Assembly in Graz. We were so impressed by the magnitude of the organisation, the valuable knowledge gained and the very focused networking opportunities, that we decided to apply again in 2019, and really showcase how our project could bring valuable, win-win relationships for both us and our European partners.

How did you prepare your application?

The ‘preparation’ for the application was our intense activity over the past four years. We needed to organise all the information and experience that we had gathered to demonstrate the extent of our activity, our commitment and the EEPA values that it represents. At this point, we were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide their own testimony for our work.  

Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team closer and boosted our confidence. It also brought our collaborators closer to us and their support was incredible!

What was it like to win the award?

The award made the whole of Cyprus proud! It proved that it is not the size of the country that matters, but the ambition, vision and extent of collaboration that count. Through our win we inspired confidence and showed the rest of Cyprus that we can achieve great things in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. We proved that by applying the values of sharing, giving-back and creating opportunities, the benefit comes back to all of us involved. Winning this Award is a noble endorsement from our European Family.   

Being in Helsinki and experiencing the moment was amazing, and even though not all of our team could make it to Helsinki we were all there together in spirit. This illustrates another beautiful side of Europe: In the same way that it brings businesses together, it brings people together, and we are grateful for this.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning an EEPA has given us a lot of publicity in national press, across both printed and digital channels. We have also received congratulations from the government, business associations and from so many people. Most importantly, we made our partners and supporters proud, and we would like to especially mention the visionaries at the Bank of Cyprus, that believed and supported IDEA since its inception.

For us, the IDEA team, who invest a significant amount of personal time and voluntary work into the IDEA project, being the winners of a prestigious EEPA is a powerful motivation to continue our work and keep aiming higher.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

At IDEA, we believe that setting very ambitious targets is motivating, drives us to achieve more and brings out the best in us. Winning an EEPA is a very ambitious target therefore; we encourage institutions with intense, comprehensive and passionate activity to chase it! When you prepare for an EEPA it is a chance to demonstrate the true extent of your efforts and activity, as well as a valuable opportunity for international collaboration.

What are your plans for the future?

IDEA really strives to create an innovative culture and form a cluster of activities to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in our small country through partnerships and hard work. We have just opened our 5th cycle for new startups and will continue towards the creation of viable businesses with higher focus on their extroversion.

At the same time, we aim to strengthen the business innovation bond between Cyprus and our European partners, and exploit the unique position of Cyprus at the cross-roads of three continents. We are proud to belong to the European family and are determined to transform Cyprus into a regional innovation hub, and a bridge between Asia, Africa and Europe.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

The 2019 Round Up – See you in 2020!

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It is the last day of 2019 and what a year it has been for Promoting Enterprise! Here on the News Portal we have been very lucky to meet some inspiring individuals in the world of entrepreneurship, who have taken the time to share their valuable insights and experiences with us. As this year draws to an end we have taken some time to look back on some of the highlights from 2019.

The year started off with a bang with the launch of the highly anticipated European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), which went into their 13th edition. This year saw some fierce competition with the announcement of a stellar EEPA shortlist, that went on to compete to become the EEPA Class of 2019 at the SME Assembly in Finland. You can find out more about all the projects in the EEPA 2019 Compendium.  

The Youth Essay Competition ran again for the fourth consecutive year and shook things up with two challenging questions for participants to answer, and asking for their speech as the next Commissioner. The standard of entries was very high, and the jury struggled to narrow the entries down to the top four finalists Radu Dumitrescu, Enzo Ercole Ribagnac, Estelle Beuve and Aureliano Ulndreaj. Our top four took on their final challenge, presenting and speaking at the SME Assembly 2019, where our delegates chose Radu Dumitrescu as this year’s winner. Congratulations Radu!

2019 also saw the launch of the next edition of the Secrets of Success brochure, “Entrepreneurs of Europe – Connecting, Sharing and Innovating”, featuring previous Ideas from Europe winners with cutting edge innovative ideas and businesses.

The SME Assembly 2019 was the flagship event of the year and took place in Helsinki, Finland under the Finnish Presidency of the European Commission. This year’s Assembly featured many inspiring and well-known speakers, including famed economist Mariana Mazzucato, the 2019 Schumpeter Lecturer, Professor Daniel Isenberg, the 2019 keynote speaker, Alberto Onetti, Chairman and Founder of Mind the Bridge and Petri Peltonen, Finland’s Under-secretary of state. If you missed out on our live coverage of the Assembly you can still read the Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 summary posts right here on the News Portal. You can also continue the conversation in the Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group and get involved in the ongoing SME Strategy Exchange.

We hope that you have enjoyed following us in 2019 and see you in 2020!

SME Week Newsletter 2019: Issue #8

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The SME Assembly 2019 might be over, but the conversation is still going!

This year the SME Assembly 2019 was an important contribution to the upcoming SME Strategy from the European Commission. During the Assembly delegates experienced the enterprising nature of Finland with a visit to Team Finland, and an entrepreneur expo throughout the event. In addition attendees of the Schumpeter lecture listened to a passionate Mariana Mazzucato give an inspiring lecture the importance of state finance, particularly patient finance and the importance of government support for SMEs willing to innovate. The following days of the Assembly brought delegates together to discuss, hack and innovate in support of the upcoming SME Strategy and provide valuable input for its creation.The results of the Assembly will be shared in the ‘Online SME Assembly’ LinkedIn group which is open to all delegates, speakers and stakeholders.

Be sure to watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights, and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the outcomes of the SME Assembly, upcoming EEPA winner interviews and exciting updates! Enjoy the newsletter and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

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SME Assembly 2019 – Day 2

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Day 2 of the SME Assembly opened with inspiring and thought provoking speeches from keynote speakers Professor Daniel Isenberg, Alberto Onetti and Petri Peltonen.

Professor Daniel Isenberg spoke of the need to change our beliefs surrounding entrepreneurship and the fundamental need to focus on scaling up and ban unicorns from public discourse so as to ensure that this phenomenon does not skew relevant policy. Chairman and Founder of Mind the Bridge Alberto Onetti, followed on with his talk on how to get SMEs to innovate and the need to expose them to innovation and cross-border partnerships. Petri Peltonen closed the opening speeches with his call for SME policy to be more horizontal and cross-sectoral in order for SMEs to be recognised more strongly across different sectors.

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The day continued with a participatory session on Sustainable SME Growth where delegates shared their thoughts and ideas on how to build and move towards a sustainable economy that works for people.

It was then time for the parallel sessions which included workshops, masterclasses and policy sessions spanning the upcoming SME Green Deal, the value chain in the Finnish maritime ecosystem, sustainable finance, jobs of the future, the opportunities for SMEs in the field of space data and more.

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The day closed with the highly anticipated finals of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. The Awards were opened by Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, who announced the opening of the next call for the European Entrepreneurial Region awards. The ceremony that followed celebrated the achievements and wins of projects across six different categories as well as an overall Grand Jury Prize winner.

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Find out all about the EEPA class of 2019 right here on the News Portal.

Congratulations to all the winners, and be sure to check out the updates and activities from Day 2 using #SMEAssembly2019 and by following @EEPA_EU on Twitter.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

EEPA Class of 2019

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2019 celebrated the best of the best in a ceremony on the 2nd day of the SME Assembly 2019. On 26 November 2019, six category winners were awarded with EEPA prizes, and an overall Grand Jury Prize winner was crowned as being the most outstanding project across the six categories for 2019.

Congratulations once again to the EEPA class of 2019!

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Haven Incubator CVBA-SO, a safe port for young experimentation, Belgium

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

IDEA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre, Cyprus

Improving the Business Environment

Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes, Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

TILOS, Greece

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Start-Up Your Future, Germany

Grand Jury Prize

Green PAC iLab, The Netherlands

SME Week Newsletter 2019: Issue #7

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We are getting closer to the event of the year…the SME Assembly! The prestigious SME Assembly 2019 is just around the corner and will be hosted by the Finnish presidency of the European Commission in Helsinki from 25 – 27 November 2019. Delegates from across the world will come together to hack policy, discuss enterprise and create the governance structure of the Small Business Act.

This year’s Assembly will feature renowned economist Mariana Mazzucato as this year’s Schumpeter Lecturer as well as a host of sessions on the most cutting edge topics for SMEs and the European enterprise ecosystem, on topics such as Sustainable Finance, the Future of jobs, Women in Finance, the Single Market and more.

One of the highlights of the Assembly will be the European finals for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. 18 shortlisted projects will be competing for the six category prizes and the overall Grand Jury Prize, awarded to the project the jury feels has excelled in their contributions to the European enterprise ecosystem.

The Assembly will be both a physical and digital event with extensive coverage online brought to you by the Promoting Enterprise team. Make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the latest updates and check that you are following us on TwitterFacebookand Instagram to see what happens in Helsinki.

Don’t forget to keep visiting the News Portal for key updates such as the introduction of this year’s Schumpeter lecturer, sneak peeks at what this year’s Assembly has to offer and more! We hope you enjoy the newsletter and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

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Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Time to introduce the last of our shortlisted projects for EEPA 2019! These three projects were chosen by the EEPA 2019 Jury to compete in the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

Today we meet the projects nominated at European level in our final category, Category 6: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship.

Start-Up Your Future, Germany

“Start-Up Your Future” is a pilot project of the Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland (WJD), funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It aims to help refugees in Berlin-Brandenburg to set up their own businesses by giving them support and offering them the option of self-employment through mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten. The partnerships invite voluntary mentors to guide refugee entrepreneurs through the startup process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan. Since the project began, 185 start-up sponsorships have been implemented, 207 refugees have been helped in their business ventures and 22 startups have received support.

Insieme per il lavoro, Together for Work, Italy

Together for Work facilitates the inclusion of low-level autonomy individuals, including those in vulnerable situations living in the metropolitan area of Bologna and specifically, unemployed young people and adults in difficult financial and social situations, into the labour market. The project’s work is in line with the sustainable development goals aimed at ending poverty and providing employment for all. This is done through horizontal cooperation, via awareness actions and active involvement of local companies, professional training bodies, associations, unions and the non-profit sector. In the first two years 135 companies were involved and 260 individual placements in companies were achieved.

Reborn Programme – Programa Renace, Spain

The REBORN initiative reduces and where possible eliminates debts of businessmen and entrepreneurs whose businesses closed as a consequence of the financial crisis. Run by the Institute of Development, the initiative consists of a programme of exoneration of the liabilities accumulated through extrajudicial agreements agreed by the Public Authorities. The programme is an incentive to re-start entrepreneurial activities without entrepreneurs having to enter employment or committing fraud when restarting their business. So far, 69 companies and self-employed people in critical situations have managed to save their businesses, and a total of 7.3 million euros has been exonerated to allow entrepreneurs to start again and create employment for others.

Have a look at all of the 2019 shortlisted projects right here on the Portal!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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We are nearing the end of our shortlist introductions as today is the turn of the projects nominated at European level in Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

These three projects have been nominated for their work in green markets and for taking an environmental approach with their projects. Time to meet the next three projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen to compete in the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

TILOS, Greece

The TILOS initiative created an integrated energy solution with innovative features to help island regions transition to new models of production and management of electricity energy. The solution uses clean, renewable energy sources and the application of modern energy storage technologies to reduce dependency on cost-intensive and polluting oil. The solution was successfully implemented on Tilos and a toolbox of innovative products was created to facilitate international and community adoption of smart energy practices. Tilos has been able to penetrate up to 75% of the renewable energy sources and exports additional clean energy to the island of Kos.

Green PAC iLab, Netherlands

At GreenPAC iLab, new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry are supported to help them start their businesses and achieve sustainable and circular business models. The project functions as a community where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for a plastic product or service are coached and given access to a network of professionals that help with feasibility studies, research and product development. Through collaboration with plastics professionals and research groups, the GreenPAC iLab is fostering a new generation of plastics entrepreneurs guided by circular and sustainable values. To date, 40 start-ups have received assistance and 52 jobs have been created.

KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership), Sweden

KTP Energy, run by Dalarna University and The University of Gävle, facilitates a sustainable knowledge flow between academia and the business world to conduct strategic development projects within regional SMEs with great energy efficiency potential. The projects are implemented by European graduates together with academic and business coaches. These partnerships have led to 75% of companies creating new development positions, and many graduates remaining within the companies, meaning that young graduates are moving to rural areas with their knowledge and skills and contributing to their development. To date, 24 successful sub-projects have led to increased energy efficiency and profitability for participating companies and their customers.

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week to meet the 2019 shortlisted projects!

Have a look at all of the 2019 shortlisted projects right here on the Portal!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

The path to success – Lean Landing project blueprint

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What does it mean to be an EEPA winner? What goes into a successful project? Last year’s Grand Jury Prize Winner, Lean Landing from Denmark has released a blueprint of their path to success and they want to share it with you!

In their blueprint they detail all the different steps they went through, lessons learnt, key aspects of their project and more. Have a read through their blueprint here and don’t hesitate to get in touch with them or the Promoting Enterprise team for more information.

Who are Lean Landing?

The Lean Landing network consists of a total of 19 partners, accelerators and incubators. The network has members from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom. Members of the Lean Landing network open up their facilities to the 190 participating SMEs, giving them bases in their target countries, as well as a local business support system. These local bases allow SMEs to gather first impressions of the foreign market, establish contacts, and learn important local business etiquette and practices. So far, of the 190 SMEs involved, 80 have successfully been abroad with the Lean Landing project.

The project is run by Væksthus Sjælland, a non-profit organisation established in 2007 that provides services for entrepreneurs and micro SMEs with scalability and growth potential. The organisation is also responsible for providing business support to the Zealand Region of Denmark and is one of five national units.

Read their EEPA 2018 winner testimonial here.  

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Time to meet the fourth category of projects that have been nominated for this year’s shortlist! Let’s meet the three projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen to compete in Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business at the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

Crossroads 2, Belgium

CrossRoads2 is a project within the European Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme aiming to stimulate sustainable cross-border cooperation between SMEs in Flanders and the Southern Netherlands (Zeeland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg). The project focuses on companies with good, innovative and technically feasible project ideas, and helps expand their regional development plans to incorporate cross-border opportunities. Concrete actions include building an efficient network to establish contacts and disseminate information, and the creation of financial incentives within a sound legal framework. Since 2016, over 750 companies have been involved in cross-border exchanges resulting in financial support for 56 innovation projects and 35 feasibility studies.

The Romanian high tech innovation, competitive all over the world, Romania

This project aims to push Romanian high-tech industries at an international level, to export Romanian high-tech capacities, and regain Romanian competitiveness in the global arena. The initiative makes use of partnerships at both national and international level between support organisations, universities and national institutions. The project works to build trust between all involved partners, and where possible encourage synchronisation of processes to avoid system blockages. In addition, important work has been carried out on re-building innovation models and analysing what Romanian companies need to advance. To date the initiative has supported over 2 500 individual participants and over 800 companies.

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 230 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week to meet the 2019 shortlisted projects!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

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    • EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills January 16, 2020
      Ready to meet our next European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winner? Meet IDEA Innovation Centre & Incubator – Accelerator for Start-ups from Cyprus, the winner of Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills! IDEA is an innovation centre and incubator and acts as an accelerator for startups. In order to invest in entrepreneurial skills, IDEA undertakes a […]
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    • Young voices, innovative ideas – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Aureliano January 14, 2020
      Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we are speaking to one of the 2019 finalists of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. Aureliano Ulndreaj from Albania, first impressed the jury in Round 1 with his speech as the new EU Commissioner for SMEs and Entrepreneurship. His speech highlighted his vision for the EU institutions […]
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    • SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #1 January 13, 2020
      Welcome back to the SME Week Newsletter! As we begin 2020, Promoting Enterprise is here to bring you the latest in entrepreneurship, ongoing project calls, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards and so much more. In this edition we will be looking back on the highlights of 2019, including the exciting EEPA ceremony and winning moments, […]
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    • EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit January 9, 2020
      It is time to start meeting our European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winners, starting with the winner of Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit! The 2019 winner is the Haven project from Belgium, which supports and strengthens enterprising young people who want to develop a project. Additionally the project offers a safe testing ground to encourage […]
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    • The 2019 Round Up – See you in 2020! December 31, 2019
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    • Keep the conversation going – Join “Online SME Assembly” December 19, 2019
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    • EEPA 2019 Compendium December 12, 2019
      During the SME Assembly 2019 the 13th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) took place. The EEPA recognise the best of the best, with six individual category awards, 1 Grand Jury Prize and Special Mentions. Want to learn more about the 2019 winners? Now you can! The 2019 EEPA compendium is now available […]
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    • SME Week Newsletter 2019: Issue #8 December 10, 2019
      The SME Assembly 2019 might be over, but the conversation is still going! This year the SME Assembly 2019 was an important contribution to the upcoming SME Strategy from the European Commission. During the Assembly delegates experienced the enterprising nature of Finland with a visit to Team Finland, and an entrepreneur expo throughout the event. […]
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