The original article can be found on the EASME website.
The European Union and its citizens are constantly facing new challenges, digitalisation, the environment and equality to name a few. New challenges require new ways of thinking and different perspectives, things that the European Union wants to encourage amongst its citizens. But how can these different perspectives and new ways of thinking be encouraged?
The European Commission has developed “EntreComp”, the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework. It aims to shape an entrepreneurial mindset by identifying its components and creating conversations across different sectors.
The EntreComp Framework includes 15 skills that encompass what is needed to be entrepreneurial. These skills are also further described and mapped, from the most simple to most advanced applications.
New actions funded under the framework
EntreComp Food aims to build a European Collaborative Communities of practice (CoCos) to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship among students and young entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector.
EntreComp Europe will focus on increasing the quality and uptake of entrepreneurship as a key competence across Europe, in particular on youth work and formal education.
The projects have received €1 million in funding and will implement their activities over the next three years. Belgium, Slovenia, France, Spain, Italy, Moldova and Turkey are taking part.
Do you want to know more about COSME actions? Then check out the COSME data hub and get insightful information, figures, participant countries, budget and much more!
Today on Promoting Enterprise we meet entrepreneur Virgílio Bento. Virgílio is from Portugal and is the founder of SWORD Health, a company working to change the future of physiotherapy. Today he shares with us a snapshot of his entrepreneurial story and his “secret of success”.
I became an entrepreneur in 2012 when I finished my PhD. It was clear to me that becoming an entrepreneur would be a more impactful use of my knowledge as opposed to staying in academia. It was then that I began my journey with SWORD Health. The company is building the future of physical therapy by combining AI with high-precision motion tracking sensors. This allows our patients to have access to high-quality physiotherapy without having to leave their homes.
The inspiration for the idea was personal and came from my family’s struggle to get high-quality physical therapy in a very difficult moment of our lives. Both my own personal experience as well as those of the SWORD Health patients and their families is what drives me to do better and achieve more. The company mission has remained the same from the beginning, to democratise the access to high quality physical therapy services with our digital therapists, regardless of the economic or social status of any patient.
Setting up my own business has taught me that talent, resilience and luck are key and you need all three to be successful. My overall ‘secret of success’ is to work smart and work hard, although I do not think it is a ‘secret recipe’; it is an attitude to life. Personally I don’t consider myself successful, and probably never will; there’s always a bigger mountain to climb. You also need to be prepared to make mistakes. I have not failed yet; but the time will come. Failure is not about when, but how one deals with it.
Being an entrepreneur is exciting and unpredictable, so if I could go back to the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I would tell myself to buckle up for one hell of a ride. I believe that the process of innovation is like going into a dark forest and coming out alive on the other side. Despite the inevitable difficulties and challenges of being an entrepreneur, I would advise all potential entrepreneurs to simply persist. It is not going to be easy, but it is well worth it.
Want to learn more about Virgílio’s work? Have a look at the SWORD Health website.
Do you want to be featured on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal? Want to share your entrepreneurial story? Get in touch with us at: email@example.com
Youth of Europe – Voices of the future
The Youth of Europe have a voice, plenty of ideas and innovative visions of the future, but how can they make their voices heard? The European Commission values the voices of the future and is proud to announce that the SME Week Youth Essay Competition is back, with a fresh question ready to be answered. Keep reading and visit the News Portal for more information on how to enter.
Have a look through this latest edition for all the EEPA updates as well as upcoming entrepreneurial events and remember that we want YOUR stories, so update us for future editions.
Promoting Enterprise is back with yet another EEPA 2017 winner testimonial for you to be inspired by. Today is the turn of Reempresa, winner of the ‘Improving the business environment’ category with their project for ‘re-entrepreneurs’, represented by director Albert Colomer.
How did you first hear about the national competition?
We have participated in the SME Assembly conference for many years and have always been interested in the EEPA awards ceremony because it is a very important event where interesting initiatives for all Europeans are showcased.
Why did you decide to enter the national competition?
Reempresa was started in 2011 and throughout the years we have worked to implement the market for business transfers in Catalonia. Now that we have finished the development phase with great results, we thought that presenting our candidature to the EEPA awards was an opportunity to share our results with all the participating countries and to raise awareness about the importance of facilitating business transfers to support SMEs and to prevent the loss of jobs.
How did you prepare your application?
Reempresa works with a wide network of collaborators. We involved them and asked them to gather all their results and stories to explain them to the rest of Europe. Once we won the Spanish award, we launched a special website and social media campaign to share the award with all our partners, the team and, of course, with all our users who were able to sell and buy their businesses thanks to Reempresa.
What was it like to win the award?
It got my heart racing! We arrived in Tallinn without knowing at all what would happen and for us it was a big surprise. It is an honour to receive this award and we want to share it with everybody who made it possible!
How did winning the award impact your work?
For Reempresa, this award marks a before and after in the organisation! To appear on the EEPA blog and social networks, and the coverage given to us by EuroNews has been very important because it has allowed us to reach all of Europe and has allowed many people and organisations to get to know us. It has definitely helped us to be very motivated and keep working hard in the future!
Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?
I would recommend working on the tangible results of your projects. Showing that the submitted project has a positive impact on their territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!
What are your plans for the future?
We are currently having talks with many countries to implement this initiative that has worked so well in Catalonia. Together, we hope to build a European business transfer market with the aim of helping European SMEs.
Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.
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 the ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ category. 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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We have seen the shortlist, and started introducing all the candidates, but what happens before that? What does a national ceremony look like? Today on Promoting Enterprise German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer shares with us what happened at the 2017 German EEPA national ceremony.
The German national awards ceremony 2017 took place on 13 October 2017 in Berlin, as part of the deGUT-fair, one of the most important German entrepreneurship fairs. The ceremony was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and was presented during the fair forum. The two winners “BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” and “Import Promotion Desk” were announced to the visiting public and they received congratulations and a winner’s certificate handed out by the Ministry. Following the award presentation, each winner was invited to present their innovative and inspiring initiatives by giving a short interview on the stage. These two winners had been selected by a national expert jury who evaluated a total of 29 entries in May 2017.
“BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” project, takes a different approach to education and aims to educate secondary school students in the areas of business, natural sciences and ultimately entrepreneurship. The project is divided into different phases and includes business competitions, immersive internships abroad, science clubs and business weeks. Through these activities students are pushed to think like entrepreneurs, work in teams, and work in collaboration with local and national stakeholders. As they advance through school activities become more complex and introduce different skills, allowing the students to develop into competent candidates for the modern labour market.
The “Import Promotion Desk” supports German imports, thus opening the door for SMEs from selected developing and emerging countries to access the European market and develop trade capacities. The aim is to maintain the sustained import of particular products from partner countries, whilst maintaining high quality, social and environmental standards. The IPD brings together European importers, who can optimise procurement and increase product diversity, and exporters as trade partners. Consequently partner country export capacities are strengthened through job creation and income increase. IPD is currently active in the following counties: Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Columbia, Nepal, Peru and Tunisia.
Both projects will be present at the SME Assembly, so if you are interested in finding out more visit their websites and see if you can spot them at the event next month!
What happens to EEPA winners after the ceremony? What do they get up to next? Today Promoting Enterprise is proud to introduce Leny van der Ham, the founder of International Business College 20-80 Learning, a 2015 EEPA finalist. Today she shares with us what her project is about and her exciting updates since being a part of EEPA back in 2015.
20-80 Learning promotes the entrepreneurial spirit of young people, helps them complete their regular education in 80% of the time leaving the other 20% of their time for creative collaboration and personal development. 20-80 Learning focuses on self-development, entre- and intrapreneurship, follow-up study, real life, metacognition and languages. In more than 30 Dutch secondary schools the students complete the standard secondary school course in 4 days a week using 80% of the class time. The remaining 20% is the 20-80 Learning day when students develop metacognition, entrepreneurship and skills for their further education and careers. The 20-80 learning philosophy is now being applied in the fields of business, science, sport and arts, and is receiving widespread positive recognition by the Dutch Ministries of Education, Culture and Science and Economic Affairs.
But what is the goal of 20-80 Learning? Why is it important to reserve 20% of young people’s time for other skills and activities? For founder Lenny van der Ham, the answer is simple and manifold:
“To me, every day is so valuable that boredom is unacceptable. An entrepreneur has to be alert to market processes: a teacher is an intrapreneur and must always be aware of his customer and his product, thus there should always be room for innovation in education!”
Through this program she aims to make education not only well-rounded and useful, but to put the fun back into education and provide a space for both students and teachers to experiment and develop. Via this approach the goal is to minimise potential negative effects such as poor performance, negative attitudes to work, negative interaction with teachers, and dropouts from further education.
After such success in the Netherlands, Leny is looking at how to expand her transferable concept on a global scale, and explore the possibilities of setting up accredited campuses across the world.
Interested in the concept? Want to help implement Leny’s global vision and bring this system to teenagers worldwide? Find out more from the website www.20-80learning.nl, and contact email@example.com for more information.
Time to meet the last entrepreneur in our ‘Meet an Estonian entrepreneur’ series! Why Estonian entrepreneurs?
This year the SME Assembly 2017, the flagship event for European SME Week, will be held in Tallinn under the Estonian presidency from 22-24 November 2017. In order to get ready for the event, Promoting Enterprise will be exploring Estonia as a digital pioneer as well as meeting the exciting entrepreneurs it has to offer! The last of our entrepreneurs is 24 year old Getrin Reesar who co-founded small family business Ecoscooter.
At the age of 24 Getrin, from Tallinn in Estonia, already holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, is currently studying graphic design and is an entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of a small family business called Ecoscooter, which has been running for one and a half years, and distributes electric self-balancing vehicles in Estonia. Ecoscooter started small but is now present in Finland, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania.
What motivates you?
Hands-on experience and gaining knowledge is inspiring, and the idea, that one day I (hopefully) do not have to work from 9 to 5 is also very motivating!
The best thing about being an entrepreneur?
Although I am not working for Ecoscooter full-time right now and it is a side-business, I can work for myself. All the effort that I put in for me, meaning I do not mind working the extra hours, dealing with complicated clients and navigating difficult situations. At the end of the day, everything I do is for myself and for my family.
What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?
Firstly, languages like Chinese, Arabic and German. Learning a foreign language is a great and necessary investment. Knowing the language of your market is a good way to break down walls and make connections, a having a good network is everything.
Secondly, the idea of starting a side-business can be challenging in many ways, so actually the best advice is having the courage to start. You can always go back to a 9 to 5 job!
We are back with the next two entrepreneurs in our ‘Meet an Estonian entrepreneur’ series! Why Estonian entrepreneurs? This year the SME Assembly 2017, the flagship event for European SME Week, will be held in Tallinn under the Estonian presidency from 22-24 November 2017. In order to get ready for the event, Promoting Enterprise will be exploring Estonia as a digital pioneer as well as meeting the exciting entrepreneurs it has to offer! Today it is time to meet Stella Soomlais, a sustainable leather accessories designer and studio owner, and Kristel Kruustük, co-founder and CEO of Testlio – an end-to-end Quality Assessment management platform.
Stella Soomlais is a leather accessories designer and studio owner, who designs and creates bags made to last. In 2004 she began making custom orders whilst at Tartu Art School, and set up her own company in 2011. In 2014 she began recruiting employees and now has over 10 people working for her. Her vision, and that of her company, is a sustainable one, and champions the idea of reusing leather after its first life cycle so as to maximise material use.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by the ability to make things better and to improve situations. It makes me happy when I see that my actions are making a difference.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur?
Freedom – I can pick the projects and people I love to work with and be the boss of my own time.
What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?
I would say that tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need to treat others as they would like to be treated. This includes everybody and everything, clients, colleagues and Mother Nature as well. Understanding different characters, the way they work and feel motivated, and the importance of sustainability is the key to success. In addition, good old patience is still necessary – it takes years of 24/7 work to implement your dreams and visions. But it’s worth it!
Find out more about Stella and her sustainable products: www.stellasoomlais.com
Kristel Kruustük is co-founder and CEO of Testlio – an end-to-end Quality Assessment management platform and community of highly vetted testers that help businesses deliver amazing customer experiences. At the age of 23 she came up with the id ea of building a platform that would appreciate the work of testers and elevate the importance of Quality Assessment within organisations. Since launching in 2012, the company has raised $8M in funding, hired over 60 employees, and established offices in Tallinn and San Francisco. Clients include Salesforce, Lyft, Microsoft, CBS Interactive, Flipboard and Strava.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by my vision for Testlio which is to change the way Quality Assessment is done and to help businesses create successful products with a great team, community and customers. Even when things get very challenging and hard, I know that there’s always a solution for every problem.
What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
Making your vision and dream come true. Testlio began because of my own frustration about how software testers were treated in the industry. Testing was often perceived as an afterthought and testers were often blamed when things didn’t go as expected.
What’s especially rewarding about being an entrepreneur is when things move in the right direction. It is so inspiring when the people around you are happy, excited and motivated to make a difference. I have written more on what I love about entrepreneurship here.
What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?
Putting people first and not treating business like a machine. Businesses are all about people (your team, your customers, your community) and in today’s world, ideas don’t matter anymore, what matters is people, making connections and building long term relationships.
Read more of Kristel’s ideas and thoughts on her entrepreneurial journey: https://medium.com/@kristelkruustuk
Who chooses the projects for the EEPA 2017 shortlist? Curious about who makes the decisions? Time to meet the EEPA Jury 2017! Today Promoting Enterprise is introducing the first two members of the EEPA 2017 Jury: Karen Boers and Lisa Steigertahl, who shared with us what they will be looking for in a project and what they are looking forward to at this year’s SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn.
Karen Boers is co-founder and Managing Director of Startups.be, which brings hundreds of startups together with incubators, accelerators, investors and public actors in a local startup ecosystem. She also runs the European Startup Network, which aims to help create a truly pan-European bottom-up startup ecosystem.
Lisa Steigertahl is co-founder and and CEO of the European Startup Network (alongside fellow jury member Karen Boers). Previously she also worked at the German Startups Association as both Head of Research and International Strategy and European Relations Manager.
What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?
Karen: I am looking out for projects that have made a real impact on entrepreneurs’ lives, either by helping to change the rules of the game in the local ecosystem or by providing entrepreneurs with better access to (national and/or international) customers, financing and talent.
Lisa: For me a project that creates a new solution for a demand that we did not know we had yet, or has found an innovative way of solving a problem will stand out. I am also interested in European applicability and projects that could be transferred to other markets.
Which is your favourite category and why?
Karen: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, as I believe investing in human capital – youngsters as well as adults – is the best way to boost entrepreneurship and counteract poverty and extremism through a more inclusive approach.
Lisa: Supporting the internationalisation of business, since I believe that moving from national borders to international markets will not only tremendously determine the success of a business in times of globalisation but further shape a strong European market
Finally, what are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?
Karen: To meet all the highly motivated people across Europe that are putting their best efforts to make a difference and create opportunities for others.
Lisa: To meet and engage with the people behind the projects.
Interested in finding out who else is on the Jury with Karen and Lisa? Come back next week to meet another juror!