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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.

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.

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