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EEPA 2020 Testimonial – Mobile Workshops

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last week we brought you the story of our ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ winner – Promoting Entrepreneurship from Denmark. Make sure to read their story if you haven’t yet!

This week we travel to Estonia to learn about our ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’ winner – Merkuur Mobile Workshops from Estonia. Merkuur has developed a series of mobile workshops to introduce young people to the various professions, work practices, and tools to be found in the metal and woodworking sectors. It provides an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in these professions, increasing young people’s career awareness and competitiveness in the fields of technology and engineering. In mobile classrooms equipped with modern technology, students can test their engineering skills, try various techniques and tools, and make exciting products. In three years, the Merkuur team has organised over 700 science, technology and engineering workshops for about 7000 young people.

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

This year, Estonia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications organised the 14th edition of the ‘Recognise Entrepreneurship Promoters’ competition in Estonia. Many very interesting and exciting projects have been recognised every year as part of this competition.  Our team was encouraged to apply by the success stories of other Estonian business projects and out of a desire to promote the ‘Mobile Workshops’ project in Estonia and internationally.

How did you prepare your application?

Filling in the application was an interesting process which gave us the opportunity to summarise the important activities and challenges of the ‘Mobile Workshops’ project and to define future plans with the team. It was like a journey through our three years of operations; it gave us the chance to map the current situation of our company and look towards the future.

What was it like to win the award?

It was a great honour! The whole team was thrilled. Any recognition, whatever form it takes, encourages you to put in even more of an effort and to accept even greater challenges. Thank you very much for the award and the recognition!

How did winning the award impact your work?

We are happy our project was noticed in Europe and we feel that international recognition will open more doors to our team, give us support and help us find new fans outside of Estonia. We hope the ‘Mobile Workshop’ service will become an important link in the Estonian education system, making it possible to introduce new technologies and methodological approaches to technology classes.

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

Applying is a great way of introducing the general public to the best business initiatives and projects from different European countries and to gain international attention and recognition. During the application process, we advise any applying projects to note down all of the goals, challenges, results and social problems encountered by your project, along with the social problems to which solutions will be sought when implementing the activities.

What are your plans for the future?

It has been great to offer youngsters the opportunity to study in a mobile technology class and to encourage them to be creative and enterprising. Our team’s goal is to create a concept and methodological materials for future mobile classrooms for both students and teachers, in order to expand within Estonia and into the sphere of international education. We want young people to be encouraged by the opportunities in the fields of science, technology and engineering and for them to be able to create cool products and services with which they can conquer the world in the future.

Congratulations to the Mobile Workshops project! Keep coming back to the News Portal for more EEPA winner testimonials and re-live Merkuur’s winning moment right here:

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – Class of 2020

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Today during the yearly SME Assembly, the most important event for small and medium enterprises in Europe, the European Commission announced the winners of the 2020 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The initiative rewards entities promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses at national, regional and local level.

The 2020 winners are as follows:

The Grand Jury Prize: France: Le PORTAIL DU REBOND

CATEGORY 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Denmark: Open Entrepreneurship

CATEGORY 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Estonia:  Mobile Workshops, Merkuur OY

CATEGORY 3 – Improving the Business Environment

Spain: BIND 4.0 – Basque Industry 4.0 Accelerator Program

CATEGORY 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Portugal: Portugal Bike Value

CATEGORY 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Germany: Greentech.Ruhr

CATEGORY 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Netherlands: Social Enterprise NL

Congratulations to our class of 2020! Re-live their winning moments by watching their videos and stay tuned for the winner testimonials.

EEPA 2020 Shortlist – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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We are back with the next category of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2020 shortlist. Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to each project that has been carefully evaluated and selected by our EEPA 2020 jury.

Today we are meeting the projects competing in Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills. This year our finalists come from Ireland, Belgium, Estonia and France. These shortlisted projects focus on providing specific training for local SMEs to promote innovation, raising awareness of stimulating business to work on their online activities, providing opportunities for young people to have hands-on experience in the metal and woodworking sectors, and providing a nationwide service to help entrepreneurs through difficult times.

Ireland: Engenuity Engineering Cluster Midlands

The Engenuity Engineering Cluster Midlands pilot provides local engineering businesses with sector specific professional training, tailored mentoring and action planning, and networking and collaboration opportunities. The Engenuity Programme is an integral part of a structured effort to promote market-led innovation, stakeholder collaboration, best practice transfer, and product and trade development among engineering companies in the region. In total, 20 engineering companies directly benefited from the pilot, which helped them achieve their growth objectives – with 70% of the companies creating new jobs and witnessing an increase in turnover and 15% growth in exports.

Belgium: Het internet. Ook uw zaak., Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship

“Het internet. Ook uw zaak” is working to raise awareness of online marketing and e-commerce for businesses and aims to stimulate businesses to work on their online activities. It shows them what they can achieve in the online arena and offers concrete tools and practical tips and information to help them reach their goals. It also provides a forum for peer exchange, allowing businesses to get inspiration from each other. Businesses are seeing a positive effect on turnover as a result – not only online, but in their physical premises also.

Estonia: Mobile Workshops

Merkuur has developed a series of mobile workshops to introduce young people to the various professions, work practices, and tools to be found in the metal and woodworking sectors. It provides an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in these professions, increasing young people’s career awareness and competitiveness in the fields of technology and engineering. In mobile classrooms equipped with modern technology, students can test their engineering skills, try various techniques and tools, and make exciting products. In three years, the Merkuur team has organised over 700 science, technology and engineering workshops for about 7000 young people.

France: Le PORTAIL DU REBOND

The Recovery Portal is made up of associations that together provide a nationwide service to entrepreneurs to help them through difficult times. The associations have unique specialisations across different areas, allowing them to cover the entire value chain, from entrepreneurial failure and its prevention to entrepreneurial recovery and its promotion. The portal provides a single online point of access so that entrepreneurs can choose the association that corresponds to their entrepreneurial recovery needs. The associations help the entrepreneurs navigate necessary measures and authorities, and remove obstacles to their recovery.

Be sure to read about the EEPA 2020 Special Mentions and the finalists for Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2020 finalists!

Want to watch the EEPA 2020 finals? Register for the SME Assembly 2020 and secure your place.

EEPA 2020 – Meet the European shortlist

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This year 185 National EEPA entries were submitted for consideration from 27 participating countries. The EEPA National Coordinators then selected 49 of these projects for the EEPA 2020 Jury to evaluate and compose the European shortlist.

The EEPA 2020 Jury met on Wednesday 9th September to discuss and make their final selections for this year’s European shortlist. With so many outstanding projects to choose from that demonstrated innovation, creativity and passion for supporting entrepreneurship, it was a difficult decision.

Congratulations to all of the selected finalists!

Category 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment

Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Category 5 – Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency

Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

About the EEPA selection process

The competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country selects up to two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

A shortlist of nominees is chosen by the EEPA 2020 European jury. The shortlisted nominees will then compete at the final awards ceremony, which recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

Make sure to come back to the News Portal every week to learn more about each of the shortlisted projects that will be competing in the EEPA 2020 finals.

Want to watch the EEPA 2020 finals? Register for the SME Assembly 2020 and secure your place.

EEPA 2020 National Winners – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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Time to meet some more EEPA national winners! Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”. This category recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial, managerial and employee skills.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

EEPA 2020 National Winners – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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The National Coordinators have run their national competitions and submitted the best entries to the European jury to consider for the shortlist. But which projects are competing this year? What initiatives will the jury be judging?

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we would like to introduce the projects competing in “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”. This category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) are an opportunity for outstanding projects from across the European Union and COSME countries to be recognised for their work in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The fourth category in which projects compete is Supporting the Internationalisation of Business. The projects listed below are national winners in this category and will be considered by the EEPA 2019 Jury for a place on the 2019 European shortlist.

Belgium: Crossroads 2

Estonia: E-residency

Portugal: PORTUGUESE JEWELLERY NEWBORN

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

Slovakia: Startup Sharks

Slovenia: SKIS System (Smart Key Information System)

Sweden: HealthTech Nordic

This year this category received 7 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects focused on improving business environments for startups, digitising administrative procedures and facilitating foreign involvement in the national entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Keep coming back to the News Portal each week to discover the national winners in each category for EEPA 2019!

About the EEPA selection process

The competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country selects up to two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

A shortlist of nominees will be chosen by a European jury. All nominees from the national and European competitions will be invited to attend the final awards ceremony. The ceremony recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) are an opportunity for outstanding projects from across the European Union and COSME countries to be recognised for their work in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2019 have closed and the jury will deliberate over the outstanding national winners submitted by each National Coordinator. But who is in contention for a spot on the shortlist? Time to meet the contenders in Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit!

Belgium: Port Incubator CVBA-SO, a safe port for young experimentation. Haven (Port)

Croatia: R1novatorR1

Denmark: Game Hub Scandinavia

Estonia: Huppelaud (Spring Board) Summer School

France: Start-1ère©

Hungary: Start your own businesses Józsefváros! idea competition

Ireland: Community Entrepreneurship – An Innovative Approach to Create Change Agents for the Community

Lithuania: Moksleivių  socialinio verslumo skatinimas: JuniorSO

Malta: National campaign to promote employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector and ‘MAKE IT’ Campaign

Poland: Pilska Akademia Umiejętności

Serbia: The path of the young entrepreneur

This year this category received 10 entries, with a variety of projects ranging from youth business programmes to supporting specific sectors with employment opportunities and many more.

Good luck to all of the national winners, and keep coming back to the News Portal to discover the national winners in each category for EEPA 2019!

About the EEPA selection process

The competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country selects up to two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

A shortlist of nominees will be chosen by a European jury. All nominees from the national and European competitions will be invited to attend the final awards ceremony. The ceremony recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

Business Generator becomes Navigator Scale-up

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Back in 2017, the project “Business Generator” from Sweden, won the EEPA Category “Investing in entrepreneurial skills” for their work in identifying the gap in the strategic management process for SME companies, as well as a way to reach SMEs and provide them with useful skills for their daily lives as entrepreneurs.

After initial struggles to keep the Business Generator going after the EEPA competition, this project, and specifically coordinator Anette Rhudin, are back with a brand new and improved ‘Navigator Scale-up’. The Navigator serves as a support for SMEs that need to have a board under Swedish law. Due to financial constraints it is normally a challenge for SMEs and entrepreneurs to have an external board not made up of family and friends, and thus miss the chance, to have that input, that the right matched, external competence can give. Having a competent board can help avoid bankruptcy, develop necessary company procedures and aid in the overall management of the SME.

Through the Navigator SMEs can be matched with externals that serve as a board or ‘navigators’, without taking away control from the SME. The Navigator is a particularly good option for SMEs looking to scale up, as the externals are there to coach, ask critical questions and offer guidance based on their extensive experience. Through their experience, external board members are able to make SMEs aware of ‘hazards’ and guide them so as to avoid expensive failures.

Positive changes can only happen in a safe environment, which is why a Navigator’s primary task is help the entrepreneur navigate a changeable environment and give them enough control to feel safe and be able to scale up their company. One of the crucial success factors in the Business Generator project was that the four external navigator members had all gone on their own scalable business journeys. Being able to understand the current entrepreneur’s experience enables externals to truly coach and give the best advice to the SME they are assisting.

The Navigator has already been helping several SMEs, specifically OptiPack, an SME in a typical small Swedish village which started last year. Optipack began with four young people who had no experience of owning a company and who required a bank loan to get started. In order to qualify for a loan they needed an external board with experienced members, which is where Business Navigator came in to help. After being assigned a Navigator team they began to advance, thanks to the collective experience of their external board members who between them are experienced businesspeople and own large international companies.

Thanks to help from their Navigator, Optipack were able to invest EUR 2 428 882 in their latest product and continue working and developing.

Optipak are a successful example of what a Navigator can do for an SME, and we hope to keep coming back with more success stories as the Business Navigator gets bigger and spreads its message, support and advocacy for SMEs.

Supporting the internationalisation of business – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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Who else is on the EEPA 2018 shortlist? We are up to Category 4: Supporting the internationalisation of business, which focuses on projects that encourage enterprises and SMEs to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU. This year the competing projects come from Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and Finland. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills and Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

Bulgaria: Supporting the internationalization and digitalization of SMEs in Bulgaria and Europe

This project facilitates both the internationalisation and digitisation of Bulgarian SMEs through the organisation of high profile events like a National Business Forum, a Balkan Conference and an International SME Summit, each of which typically involves over 200 SMEs from Bulgaria. The initiative also enables the participation of Bulgarian SMEs in international exhibitions and specially organised B2B matchmaking meetings, through which SMEs can meet and find clients, partners, investors and market opportunities. The project also proactively promotes the benefits of business digitisation through skills training and access to information and good practice examples.

Denmark: Lean Landing

Lean Landing have developed and implemented an innovative and lasting soft-landing network between micro SMEs, business incubators and business development organisations in six North Sea countries. The soft-landing network enables SMEs to break into international markets via direct discussions with potential customers and partners in the target country. The project focuses on micro SMEs and early internationalisation, as opposed to the traditional focus on medium sized SMEs. Traditionally SMEs rely on detailed and lengthy market studies before attempting to enter, however through Lean Landing they can learn directly the local experience and knowledge of incubators in several countries.

Estonia: Development of the Estonian timber sector as the biggest exporter of wooden houses in the European Union

The Estonian Wooden House Cluster has been working to become the largest wooden house exporter in the European Union, and aims to increase the both the international competitiveness and exports of Estonian wooden house producers. Actions have included target market mapping, coordinated activities to support entry into the market, organised activities to promote producer products and competence building seminars and conferences. Results have included stable growth in sector turnover and exports, as well as raised awareness and preservation of traditional Estonian building practices. The initiative has also sustained many jobs and increased the value of products produced by the sector.

Finland: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme

Kasvu Open offers sparring to companies interested in growth, free of charge. The goal is to promote company growth and business development, thus improving the SMEs’ chances of achieving international growth. Through sparring the companies’ growth plans are challenged, adapted and supported by experts representing several different fields. The selected companies come from all industry sectors across Finland and receive access to expert networks. The experience also includes a tailored growth path, run by several partners who facilitate free participation at events, provide funded support for the participating SME and ultimately guide the enterprise in the right direction.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz this November.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

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