Today on Promoting Enterprise we are delighted to introduce one of the key players in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), a national coordinator! National coordinators are responsible for promoting and driving applications for the national EEPA competitions. They offer assistance to applicants, ensure that they understand what is expected of them and reach out to organisations and projects that could be eligible to apply. In addition they are in charge of the national selection process, including finding the national jury, bringing them together and ultimately facilitating the final national winner choices.
Today’s interview is with German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer who gave us an insight into what it’s like to coordinate a national competition, her experiences in the role and how she has adapted EEPA to run during COVID-19.
How long have you been the EEPA national coordinator for Germany?
I started as the EEPA national coordinator for Germany in the spring of 2015, shortly after the national jury meeting. That year the selected national winner was ‘Enterability’, which went on to become the 2015 winner in the ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ category.
What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?
One thing that I love as an EEPA National Coordinator is that I get to learn from outstanding projects and initiatives at both national and European level, and I get to do this every year! Related to that – one of the most important things I’ve adopted is the motto “Do good and talk about it!” This describes EEPA and the initiatives it recognises perfectly. If you have a great initiative and you are making a difference, make sure to talk about it!
What was different about organising this year’s national competition? What changes did you have to implement?
We launched our German EEPA campaign at the end of February and searched for applicants until 9 April. Because of the coronavirus and its economic consequences (both long- and short-term) the supporting institutions that we work with to search for EEPA applicants were very busy and facing various challenges. As such, it was not easy to reach potential EEPA participants and we took special care with our communications activities and modified them where necessary. In the end, we were very lucky to receive 22 great German entries, and I thank all of them for having found the time to participate in this year’s competition.
Another thing that was different was that we held our national jury meeting in May via video conferencing rather than in person, as we usually do. That was an interesting experience, but it required more preparation, especially from the jury members. I was very grateful for our experienced national expert jury and for the fact that each jury member was very well prepared.
You have chosen your two national winners, what made them stand out from the other applications?
We chose “Start-up BW Local” and “Greentech.Ruhr” as our national winners and have put them forward to represent Germany at the European level.
“Start-up BW Local” focuses on one of the most important base elements in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem: municipalities. It rewards the most founder-friendly concepts from municipalities – assessed by founders – and supports them with implementing their concepts. I think the direct and indirect impact on the local entrepreneurial culture could be immense.
“Greentech.Ruhr” is outstanding because the project team has built up a regional green economy network consisting of 175 partners, and covers all industries of the environmental economy. Furthermore, they address an important challenge by supporting the local transformation process from mainly coal and steel industries to a diversified and ecologically-responsible economy, while also contributing to achieving the aims of the European Green Deal.
What are you most excited for in the EEPA 2020 competition?
Like every year, I am very excited to see the national winners and to see which projects will win. Of course, I am especially looking forward to seeing how the German projects will do in the competition.
However, this year I am most excited to see how we will celebrate the EEPA winners and national winner projects at the SME Assembly in November, given the current situation. I hope for the best, in all participating countries! Now and in post-crisis times, it will be even more important to show best practice in promoting enterprises across European countries, and continuing doing so even more than before.