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EEPA 2022 National Winners – Categories 4 & 5

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We have already introduced you to the national winners in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) that have made it to the next stage of the competition in EEPA Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3. Today, we are happy to announce the national winners in Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business and Category 5 – Supporting the Sustainable Transition. From 186 projects that entered the national competitions, 47 projects will now advance to the European stage of the competition, including 11 projects in Categories 4 and 5.

Having easy access to international markets can be a critical factor in the success of any start-up. With this in mind, EEPA Category 4 aims to reward projects that make it easier for enterprises, and particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to break into global markets, both inside the EU and further afield, to benefit from the internationalisation of their business. Meanwhile, Category 5 recognizes initiatives that promote a circular economy approach or that have specific environmental features such as encouraging the use of recycled materials or renewable energy.

Every year the EEPA national coordinators select the top national projects, from which the most innovative are chosen to continue to the next phase of the awards, during which the EEPA 2022 European jury will review the entries and decide on a final shortlist. The projects selected by the Portuguese national coordinators will be announced at a later stage, in the meantime, let’s take a look at the projects in Categories 4 and 5 that have been selected to advance to the next stage of the competition:

  • Denmark: Aarhus’ Green Investment Fund, from the City of Aarhus, aims to provide funding and support collaboration between businesses and public organizations, to create and test new green technologies and solutions.
  • Estonia: sTARTUp Day, from NGO STARTUPDAY, is the biggest and most startup-minded business festival in the Baltics. It provides an opportunity to learn from world-class performers, network, participate in quick business meetings, and find new partners, clients, investors or career opportunities.
  • Germany: ScaleUp4Sustainability (S4S), from the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, develops and tests cooperation programmes between students and companies for the development of sustainable green products and business models.
  • Greece: Energy Cooperative WEnCoop, from the Halkidiki Chamber, Greek Association of Women Entrepreneurs – SEGE, is the first energy community for women entrepreneurs and their businesses in Greece and Europe.
  • Italy: EU Eco-Tandem Programme, from X23 Srl, is supporting European tourism SMEs towards green transformation and sustainable transition through innovation.
  • Malta: A fair Green Deal for Maltese Businesses, from the Malta Chamber of SMEs, aims to deliver accessibility to the Green Deal to every business in Malta.
  • Netherlands: The WaterCampus Innovation Ecosystem, from WaterCampus Leeuwarden, accelerates business and innovation in water technology and creates social and economic impact.
  • Portugal: Cartilha da Sustentabilidade dos Açores, from Açores DMO is an initiative of the Government of the Azores, promoted by the Regional Secretariat of Tourism, Mobility and Infrastructure, through the Azores DMO and aims to promote sustainable development throughout the territory. The booklet empowers all its signatory entities through workshops and consulting sessions specialized in sustainability.
  • Slovakia: Zelené strechy pre odolnejšie Slovensko, from Asociácia pre zelené strechy a zelenú infraštruktúru, supports adaptation to climate change by promoting awareness, good practices and implementing green roofs.
  • Sweden: HealthTech Nordic 2.0, from Innovation Skåne, is a world leading community for healthtech startup companies, improving health and quality of life for patients, relatives, and professionals. HealthTech Nordic changes the way of providing and receiving healthcare.
  • Sweden: The Total Concept, from CIT Energy Management, helps building owners to understand the financial benefits and opportunities of energy retro-fitting, making it possible to advance much further with energy improvements.

All EEPA national winners will receive invitations to the Awards Ceremony at the annual SME Assembly in November, where the winners in each category will be announced. This year the event will be co-hosted by the Czech Presidency of the Council and the European Commission. At the SME Assembly, the jury will also announce the winner of the Jury’s Grand Prize. The winner can be from any category and the prize goes to the entry considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

If you would like to find out more about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website. For the latest updates, visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal – we  will let you know soon who the winners in the other five categories are so make sure to check in regularly, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Caroline Mischler

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Following our interviews with 2022 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker, Outi Slotboom, Marian Piecha, Christel Delberghe and Thomas Wobben, we come to our final member: Caroline Mischler. Caroline is Director of the European and International Department of the Directorate General for Enterprise, at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. She offers more useful tips on how to develop a winning project.

Caroline Mischler is an economist who worked at the French national regulatory authority responsible for the electronic communications and postal sectors. After joining the Directorate General for Enterprise in 2005, she held several positions involving the design of public policies to support competitiveness, innovation and industry, before being appointed to her current post in 2019. Caroline is the French SME Envoy within the SME Envoys Network and the High-Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth.

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

What makes EEPA unique in Europe is that it not only rewards excellent project developers, but its objective is also to increase awareness amongst European businesses of the importance of taking good care of entrepreneurship practices. The idea behind this competition is to promote good practices beyond national borders; it thereby contributes to the strengthening of the Single Market.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

I would advise participants to focus their application not only on data but also on concrete examples of how the project is implemented and on achieved results. We will be looking very carefully at the actual impact of the project on European society.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

The jury members will look for projects that provide concrete ways to deal with the challenges that we face today within the Single Market. I am thinking about the green and the digital transition of the European economy, as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine for European companies and citizens.

Which are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

A winning project must be socially and/or environmentally impactful, innovative, and duplicable in other ecosystems.

For more EEPA updates follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Thomas Wobben

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Here on the Promoting Enterprise Portal, we have already featured interviews with several of the 2022 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members: Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker, Outi Slotboom, Marian Piecha and Christel Delberghe. Now it’s the turn of Thomas Wobben, who is representing the Committee of the Regions. He gives us his views on the uniqueness of the EEPA and offers some useful advice for entrants.

After studying economics and politics, Thomas worked in the voluntary sector, before joining the European policy services of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt in 1993. In 1995, he moved to the Saxony-Anhalt Liaison Office in Brussels, taking over as Director in 2000. Thomas has been with the Committee of the Regions since March 2012, firstly as Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks, then as Director for Legislative Work.

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

The EEPA is a great opportunity for initiatives at local, regional or national level to show their concepts and achievements in promoting entrepreneurship, for example by helping SMEs to enter new markets or fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in education and training. Coming from the Committee of the Regions, it is also very positive to see that many of the EEPA entries and winners focus their work on the local and regional level.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

The EEPA is about honouring innovative ideas, strong commitment and convincing results that could be replicated in other parts of the EU. The better these elements are described in the application, the higher the chances are.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

The jury members will be looking for initiatives and strategies on how to address the current challenges for entrepreneurs and SMEs with regard to the digital and green transition, an inclusive society and responding to the current crisis.

Which are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

For me, the top three qualities for the winners are convincing results, an innovative nature and transferability of the approach.

You still have one EEPA jury member to meet, so make sure to visit the Promoting enterprise news portal regularly. We will introduce you soon! For more EEPA updates follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Christel Delberghe

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On the Promoting Enterprise portal, you have already met number of European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2022 jury members (Outi Slotboom, Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker and Marian Piecha). Today, let’s hear from Christel Delberghe, who will be the voice of business associations on this year’s jury. Christel tells us what this year’s jury will be looking for and gives advice on how to make your project stand out.

Christel has been Director General of EuroCommerce since November 2021, where she acts as the chief advocate for the retail and wholesale sector with the EU institutions, stakeholders and the media. Previously, she was EuroCommerce’s Executive Director for Competitiveness and Communications, leading action on commercial relations and competition issues, as well as the interests of wholesalers and SMEs.

EEPA Jury Member Christel Delberghe

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

The EEP Awards specifically recognise projects that have an impact on the local economy but are also transferable to other regions in Europe. They promote Europe as a whole and help strengthen the Single Market, which in the end benefits all consumers in Europe.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

For us jury members, it is important to see the impact the project has on the local economy, its innovative dimension and how it could be transferred and possibly implemented in other regions in Europe. Show us not only numbers, but also stories behind the project, and list what would be needed to replicate your project to other regions.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

Covid has focused the attention of businesses on the importance of the digital transition, which is why it is important to showcase how your initiative supports the digital transition of enterprises and small businesses. The sustainability transformation is an equally important priority: we would like to see practices that encourage and foster new ideas to support SMEs in their transition.

Which are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

The successful project will be innovative, impactful and transferable within Europe. It will recognise the most successful promoters of enterprise and entrepreneurship and inspire future entrepreneurs.

Interested in meeting the other EEPA jury members? We will introduce you soon! So make sure to visit the Promoting enterprise news portal regularly for updates, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

There is only a short time left to register for EEPA! Check out the national competitions that are still open!

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The EEPA national competitions are underway and are currently looking for the best projects to compete at national level. If you are from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey, we have great news for you. The national competitions are still open in your country and you still have a chance to apply to the most prestigious European competition that rewards those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.

If you want to participate, you can find your national EEPA factsheet with all the information you need here. For any further questions, be sure to contact your National Coordinator or the EEPA Secretariat.

For some amazing inspiration before applying, we recommend you take a look at the EEPA Compendium that showcases all projects that were shortlisted in the competition last year. It is the best way to get some insight into the awards process right from the source.

One last tip: make sure you read our exclusive interview with jury members. Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker, Outi Slotboom and Marian Piecha have been the first four to give us valuable insights on the three top qualities they will look for in a winning project.

France and Luxembourg will soon communicate their own national deadlines, so make sure you visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly to be up to speed. For all remaining participating countries – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, and Romania – applications are now closed.

For more information about the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the European Commission website and for the latest updates make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Marian Piecha

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We have already published interviews with three of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members (Thomas Cooney, Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker and Outi Slotboom). Today it is the turn of Marian Piecha, who represents the Czech EU presidency on this year’s jury. Marian shares his advice for this year’s participants along with some other valuable insights, so read on!

Before being appointed Deputy Minister of the EU Funds and Digital Economy Section on February 1, 2018, Marian was in turn Director of the Department of Business and Investment at the Czech Ministry of Industry and Tradem the CEO of the business and investment support agency CzechInvest, and Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s SME Support Department.

EEPA Jury Member Marian Piecha

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

I consider the EEPA to be very beneficial in terms of rewarding activities to promote entrepreneurial spirit and the growth of private enterprise and which should enable SMEs in particular to make better use of opportunities in the European Union and the world.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

I believe that a large number of interesting projects from all over the EU will enter the competition and the decision-making will be difficult for the whole jury. I will definitely appreciate an interesting presentation of the project, which will include not only its development, but also visible results, including the outlook for the future.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

This competition has a long tradition of promoting interesting ideas for the development of European SMEs. In view of the current situation, I believe that the jury will look forward to projects that help to overcome the current crisis and difficulties that SMEs are currently facing.

Which are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

I will definitely appreciate projects that are original, bring unique solutions and will be transferable worldwide, not only within the EU.

We will introduce you to the other members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Outi Slotboom

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We have already heard from two of this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury members – Thomas Cooney and Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. This time we have the pleasure to introduce you to one more jury member – Outi Slotboom, a newcomer to the EEPA jury, representing the European Commission.

EEPA Jury Member Outi Slotboom

Outi is Director for Strategy and Economic Analysis at the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission. Her Directorate is in charge of the strategy for EU industrial policy and the Single Market, small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship, the international aspects of industrial policy, as well as economic analysis underpinning these policies. Outi has some good advice for the participants in this year’s competition, see below!

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

EEPA highlights and celebrates local and regional initiatives that support entrepreneurs and SMEs where they may need it most: supporting them to become more sustainable, more digital or supporting them to become more inclusive.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

An application stands out when the actions and impacts of the initiative are tangible and innovative but also easy to grasp.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

Just having overcome the most adverse effects of the COVID-crisis, European SMEs are again confronted with a particular set of challenges: high inflation with particularly high energy prices and disrupted supply chains, also due to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Thus, projects that support SMEs/entrepreneurs to become more energy-efficient, less dependent on fossil fuels, or increase the resilience of supply chains would be particularly welcome. If initiatives include elements that improve the (entrepreneurial) skills of migrants or refugees, this would be most welcome in the current context of Ukrainian refugees. Projects that mitigate the consequences of the climate crisis would also certainly catch my attention.

What are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

The three qualities that I will be looking for are: (1) the impact of the initiative; (2) its innovative elements (what is new/done differently as opposed to similar initiatives); and (3) its ability to be replicated in other countries/settings.

We will introduce you to the other members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

SME Week Newsletter 2022: Issue #15

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Welcome to the latest edition of the SME Week Newsletter 

In this edition of the SME Week newsletter, we are delighted to remind you that the 2021 EEPA Compendium is now available for download. Every year the Compendium showcases all of the shortlisted projects from the previous year and celebrates their achievements, as well as providing some insight into the Awards process – so make sure you check it out!

Other news in this edition includes the ‘Get Digital – Go Green, and Be Resilient’ call for expressions of interest, which will result in a catalogue of innovative digital solutions from the European Union, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and increase economic resilience.

We also announce the members of this year’s EEPA Jury, tease the launch of the seventh edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition, and introduce you to some initiatives being implemented across the EU to support Ukrainian refugees fleeing Ukraine, following Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against its neighbour.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you too – so please share with us stories that you believe will be of interest to the wider SME community, along with your news and updates to be featured in an upcoming newsletter, or on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal.

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SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER AND DON’T MISS ANY UPDATES

Make sure that you are also following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop!

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker

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Today we are continuing to introduce you to the members of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury by talking with Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker. Selma represents the organisation that won last year’s Grand Jury Prize. Her recent experience as a participant in the competition means her advice for this year’s cohort is particularly valuable. Keep reading to hear it!

Selma is Programme Director of COMPETENZentrum für Selbständige (CfS), an initiative started by the German non-profit Initiative Selbständiger Immigrantinnen e.V. (I.S.I. e.V.) working in Berlin. For more than 30 years, I.S.I. e.V. has been empowering and qualifying women with a migration background to pursue entrepreneurship. Before being awarded last year’s Grand Jury prize, CfS was selected as the winner in the competition’s Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category.

EEPA 2022 Jury Member Selma Yilmaz-Schwenker

Through CfS, I.S.I. e.V. promotes entrepreneurship amongst immigrant women in Berlin by providing free training and access to networking events. What’s more, I.S.I. e.V., which is itself managed by immigrant women, not only supports women looking to become entrepreneurs, but also those who are already entrepreneurs and are looking to expand their businesses. Below, Selma talks about her experience in the competition, gives some excellent advice, and lets us know what will make a project stand out for her in this year’s competition.

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

It showcases entrepreneurship initiatives from the whole of Europe, sharing valuable examples and boosting entrepreneurship by increasing the recognition and value of entrepreneurs. By shining a light on local initiatives, it shows the great European potential of entrepreneurship and its role in nurturing and shaping our society.

Do you have any advice for the participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

It is very important to include information on the impact the initiatives have had, both with figures and performance indicators and with concrete examples. The vision for the future is also very important, since these initiatives must constantly adapt to changes in the environment and respond to the real needs of society.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

The difficult political situation has brought instability and economic crisis, as well as uncertainty about the future. To build trust and hope, we need to move toward a healthy society that is attentive to social values and gender equality, thus promoting sustainable, equitable and responsible initiatives and projects. In this context, attention to the needs of the most vulnerable is crucial, as well as a focus on people’s mental and physical well-being.

What are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

An innovative and engaging approach, impact on people and on the local economy, and attention to the well-being of people.

We will introduce you to the other members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

Meeting the 2022 EEPA Jury – Thomas Cooney

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Every year, during the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), we introduce you to the members of our jury, who play are responsible for choosing the most innovative and exciting competition entries and selecting the winner of the Grand Jury Prize. We kick off our introductions this year with an EEPA stalwart Professor Thomas Cooney.

Thomas is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin, and Academic Director of the TU Dublin Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship. He is also a director of four businesses, works in a supportive capacity with a variety of organisations and has published widely on the topic of entrepreneurship. Thomas has been an EEPA jury member for several years now, so we asked him for his advice for participants and what the jury will be looking for in 2022. Read on for his enlightening insights!

EEPA Jury Member Professor Thomas Cooney

What do you think makes this competition unique in Europe?

What is wonderful about EEPA is that it recognizes unsung heroes and celebrates the amazing work being done by people to encourage greater levels of entrepreneurial activity at local and regional levels. These people also support the inclusion of marginalized communities whose needs are not being met by formal government interventions, and this competition enables their incredible work to be acclaimed.

Do you have any advice for EEPA participants on how to make their application stand out from the rest and include the information that you need to evaluate the project?

Successful applications have one common feature – they provide statistics and evidence of the success of their initiative. Hard data showing the number of people who have successfully completed the programme and the measurement of the impact of the programme is much more powerful than any testimonial.

What do you think the jury members will be specifically looking for in the EEPA 2022 competition?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are critically important in terms of addressing the current challenges facing governments and people across Europe. Therefore, I believe that showing how an initiative tackles a specific UN SDG would be helpful, but applicants need to identify which specific target they are addressing (e.g. SDG Target 10.1) rather than being quite broad with their relationship to the UN SDGs.

Which are the top three qualities you will look for in a winning project?

The three qualities that I would like to see are: (1) level of innovation (what is the project doing that nobody else is doing?); (2) the ability for the initiative to be replicated in another country, by other people; and (3) the long-term sustainability of the initiative. Excel in these three qualities and you will be in contention for a prize!

We will introduce you to the other five members of the 2022 EEPA jury soon – so make sure to visit the Promoting Enterprise News Portal regularly and to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news.

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