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Tag ‘European Enterprise Promotion Awards’

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Improving the Business Environment

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Onto the next category! Today we are meeting the 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Award winner of the “Improving the Business Environment” category, Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes from Spain. The project was recognised for its work in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement.

Since 2015, the City of Valladolid has adopted specific measures to promote and facilitate the participation of SMEs in public sector contracts. The city adapted contracts to the capacity of SMEs, allowing them to acquire valuable experience and credibility that could be re-used when competing in other tenders from other awarding authorities. According to municipal data, the awarding of contracts to SMEs is twice the national and European average, reaching 75% of contracts awarded in 2016 and 2017, and even 81% in 2018, with 51% of the total amount of the municipal expense managed through contracts awarded to SMEs.

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

Our desire to facilitate SME participation in public procurement led us to carry out several activities with the General Subdirectory of SMEs of the Ministry of Industry of the Government of Spain. As such, they informed us about the EEPA competition and encouraged us to participate.

How did you prepare your application?

Since 2016 our work surrounding the improvement of social efficiency in municipal public sector contracts has been under evaluation, and in response to that we put into place procedures to ensure that all awarded SMEs were up to the highest standard. This particular work helped us to prepare our EEPA application and finding the level of detail required. We also drew on past experience and collaborative work with local companies which allowed us to get the support of different local business associations for our EEPA candidacy.

What was it like to win the award?

It was tremendously exciting, as we did not expect it! It was already a huge achievement for us to have passed the national phase and be nominated for the EEPA jury shortlist. We knew that our project was different from past category winners, which tended to be specifically aimed at the creation or development of new companies as opposed to our project which involves indirect support to existing companies. But luckily for us the Jury recognised the impact of our public procurement system on companies and how it allows them to develop their potential as a public supplier, be more competitive and innovative, and receive fair and fast payment for their work.

Winning an EEPA showed us that our path is the right one and implements one of the objectives of public procurement in Europe, as stated by the Commission and the European Parliament in the three Contracting Directives of 2014.  We hope that our win can also serve as an example to others with similar projects to keep going and inspire contracting authorities in particular to undertake similar SME-friendly measures.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award has put a spotlight on our work and the change that we are trying to bring about for SME involvement in public procurement. The prize not only represents recognition of the teamwork and effort that went into the project, but also that this work has a positive effect on sustainable business development and thus on employment generation.

We have received congratulations and encouragement from fellow colleagues, family and friends, and have also been mentioned in the local media which is quite exciting. It is also nice to see the City Council being recognised as an organisation and being praised for some of the valuable work it does.

It is a shame that the national media has hardly mentioned the award, which has limited its effect in bringing the issue of SME involvement in public procurement to the authorities that need to be made aware.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

Getting European-level recognition for your work is hugely satisfying, both professionally and personally. But above all it allows the organization in which you work to become more visible in the business and social sphere, with an image of commitment to innovation and sustainable development.

The SME Assembly experience is another great part of EEPA, and allows you to meets other projects and people from across the European Union. It opens your mind to new opportunities and ideas, all within a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

What are your plans for the future?

Internally, we will continue to improve the system based on experience and evaluation, as well as on the ideas and experiences of other entities. Externally, we will try to spread our work and methodology throughout the European Union. We have prepared guides to help other contracting authorities easily incorporate SME involvement in public procurement and to spread awareness about how important it is for SMEs to have opportunities to work with the public sector through contracts. This will allow SMEs to become more competitive and innovative, without incurring more public spending, which highlights our slogan for SMEs: “Don’t subsidise me, buy me”.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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Ready to meet our next European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winner? Meet IDEA Innovation Centre & Incubator – Accelerator for Start-ups from Cyprus, the winner of Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills!

IDEA is an innovation centre and incubator and acts as an accelerator for startups. In order to invest in entrepreneurial skills, IDEA undertakes a cluster of activities that focus on providing an entire spectrum of business support, positively altering perceptions of entrepreneurship, facilitating cross-sector cooperation, promoting Cyprus as an innovation hub, developing investment networks, promoting volunteering, and ensuring entrepreneurship is open to all regardless of gender, age or ability. Social inclusion is put into practice through inclusive entrepreneurship, specifically opening doors to entrepreneurs with special needs. To date, IDEA has developed 48 New Businesses and created over 70 new jobs.

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

In 2018 our Cypriot Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy informed all of our national institutions about the competition. We applied back in 2018 and went on to become two of the national winners and participate in the SME Assembly in Graz. We were so impressed by the magnitude of the organisation, the valuable knowledge gained and the very focused networking opportunities, that we decided to apply again in 2019, and really showcase how our project could bring valuable, win-win relationships for both us and our European partners.

How did you prepare your application?

The ‘preparation’ for the application was our intense activity over the past four years. We needed to organise all the information and experience that we had gathered to demonstrate the extent of our activity, our commitment and the EEPA values that it represents. At this point, we were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide their own testimony for our work.  

Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team closer and boosted our confidence. It also brought our collaborators closer to us and their support was incredible!

What was it like to win the award?

The award made the whole of Cyprus proud! It proved that it is not the size of the country that matters, but the ambition, vision and extent of collaboration that count. Through our win we inspired confidence and showed the rest of Cyprus that we can achieve great things in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. We proved that by applying the values of sharing, giving-back and creating opportunities, the benefit comes back to all of us involved. Winning this Award is a noble endorsement from our European Family.   

Being in Helsinki and experiencing the moment was amazing, and even though not all of our team could make it to Helsinki we were all there together in spirit. This illustrates another beautiful side of Europe: In the same way that it brings businesses together, it brings people together, and we are grateful for this.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning an EEPA has given us a lot of publicity in national press, across both printed and digital channels. We have also received congratulations from the government, business associations and from so many people. Most importantly, we made our partners and supporters proud, and we would like to especially mention the visionaries at the Bank of Cyprus, that believed and supported IDEA since its inception.

For us, the IDEA team, who invest a significant amount of personal time and voluntary work into the IDEA project, being the winners of a prestigious EEPA is a powerful motivation to continue our work and keep aiming higher.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

At IDEA, we believe that setting very ambitious targets is motivating, drives us to achieve more and brings out the best in us. Winning an EEPA is a very ambitious target therefore; we encourage institutions with intense, comprehensive and passionate activity to chase it! When you prepare for an EEPA it is a chance to demonstrate the true extent of your efforts and activity, as well as a valuable opportunity for international collaboration.

What are your plans for the future?

IDEA really strives to create an innovative culture and form a cluster of activities to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in our small country through partnerships and hard work. We have just opened our 5th cycle for new startups and will continue towards the creation of viable businesses with higher focus on their extroversion.

At the same time, we aim to strengthen the business innovation bond between Cyprus and our European partners, and exploit the unique position of Cyprus at the cross-roads of three continents. We are proud to belong to the European family and are determined to transform Cyprus into a regional innovation hub, and a bridge between Asia, Africa and Europe.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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It is time to start meeting our European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019 winners, starting with the winner of Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit!

The 2019 winner is the Haven project from Belgium, which supports and strengthens enterprising young people who want to develop a project. Additionally the project offers a safe testing ground to encourage creative youth entrepreneurship to grow into socially relevant companies. By offering a risk-free environment Haven encourages entrepreneurial youth to learn, experiment and fail, and thus enhance their competences for their future enterprises. As a result, these youth will be able to address our evolving societal challenges with their ideas, and have the experience to carry them out. The project has been active for three years and has 80 young affiliates that have benefited from the scheme.

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

We heard about the award in a few different ways. To begin with, one of our coaches found the award in a newsletter, and then we also received information on the EEPA from colleagues from the federal government. At first we didn’t realise just how big the award was and how extensive the EEPA network is, so we just approached it as an opportunity to do our best, show what we have done through our project and ultimately meet people from all over Europe who share the same beliefs surrounding youth and entrepreneurship.

How did you prepare your application?

We prepared the application with a small group of our members. It was interesting to write the application and define what we are doing and how we differ from others. Some of our preparation was a bit rushed and looking back we could have done more, but in the end it all worked out and the experience was worth it.

What was it like to win the award?

It was amazing and completely unexpected! We really did not expect to win, and were there because we were nominated by the Belgian delegation. We are super thankful for winning this award, and especially for giving us the chance to meet so many great people from across Europe.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award gave us an identity on European level. As a young organisation this is really important as we need to find new European level partners to work with, but has also proved valuable at local level as EEPA has created more visibility and recognition for the hard work we are doing. The biggest opportunity as a result of EEPA for us now is to work together with new partners and expand our methodology.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

The EEPA network is an incredibly diverse and encouraging network, and shows that Europe is investing in entrepreneurship and bringing together social entrepreneurs from across Europe. We would advise future participants to join EEPA 2020 because it opens so many doors and opportunities. Just give it a try!

What are your plans for the future?

We want to make entrepreneurship a viable and realistic choice next to studying and working as an employee. Young people with ideas need to easily find their way to entrepreneurship. In order to make this a reality, we want to work with our government towards a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship and make laws ‘entrepreneurship friendly’, particularly for young entrepreneurs.

At Haven we create a safe space for youth to build upon and make their dreams a reality. We want what we do at Haven to become mainstream and ‘normal’ in Belgian society. We meet youth who have ‘missed’ their chance, whether it be in education or the labour market, and through our work we want to ensure that we can create opportunities for them and give them the support they need.

EEPA gave us the opportunity to meet other people that believe just as strongly in both youth and entrepreneurship which was incredibly inspiring and a true motivation to continue our work and keep providing opportunities and support for youth entrepreneurs.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

EEPA 2019 Compendium

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During the SME Assembly 2019 the 13th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) took place. The EEPA recognise the best of the best, with six individual category awards, 1 Grand Jury Prize and Special Mentions.

Want to learn more about the 2019 winners? Now you can! The 2019 EEPA compendium is now available for you to read and explore here.

The EEPA Compendium is an annual publication that compiles all of the shortlisted projects to celebrate their achievements and provide an insight into the Awards process. This year’s Compendium features introductions to all of the shortlisted projects, as well as additional information on the Grand Jury Prize winner.

In addition you will find out more about this year’s prestigious jury, their experience being behind the scenes of EEPA, testimonials from previous winners about what it means to win an EEPA and previous Grand Jury Prize winners.  

To find out more about the EEPA, visit the EEPA website, and look through the previous compendiums from 20182017 2016201520142013, and 2012.

SME Week Newsletter 2019: Issue #8

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The SME Assembly 2019 might be over, but the conversation is still going!

This year the SME Assembly 2019 was an important contribution to the upcoming SME Strategy from the European Commission. During the Assembly delegates experienced the enterprising nature of Finland with a visit to Team Finland, and an entrepreneur expo throughout the event. In addition attendees of the Schumpeter lecture listened to a passionate Mariana Mazzucato give an inspiring lecture the importance of state finance, particularly patient finance and the importance of government support for SMEs willing to innovate. The following days of the Assembly brought delegates together to discuss, hack and innovate in support of the upcoming SME Strategy and provide valuable input for its creation.The results of the Assembly will be shared in the ‘Online SME Assembly’ LinkedIn group which is open to all delegates, speakers and stakeholders.

Be sure to watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights, and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the outcomes of the SME Assembly, upcoming EEPA winner interviews and exciting updates! Enjoy the newsletter and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

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SME Assembly 2019 – Day 2

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Day 2 of the SME Assembly opened with inspiring and thought provoking speeches from keynote speakers Professor Daniel Isenberg, Alberto Onetti and Petri Peltonen.

Professor Daniel Isenberg spoke of the need to change our beliefs surrounding entrepreneurship and the fundamental need to focus on scaling up and ban unicorns from public discourse so as to ensure that this phenomenon does not skew relevant policy. Chairman and Founder of Mind the Bridge Alberto Onetti, followed on with his talk on how to get SMEs to innovate and the need to expose them to innovation and cross-border partnerships. Petri Peltonen closed the opening speeches with his call for SME policy to be more horizontal and cross-sectoral in order for SMEs to be recognised more strongly across different sectors.

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The day continued with a participatory session on Sustainable SME Growth where delegates shared their thoughts and ideas on how to build and move towards a sustainable economy that works for people.

It was then time for the parallel sessions which included workshops, masterclasses and policy sessions spanning the upcoming SME Green Deal, the value chain in the Finnish maritime ecosystem, sustainable finance, jobs of the future, the opportunities for SMEs in the field of space data and more.

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The day closed with the highly anticipated finals of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. The Awards were opened by Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, who announced the opening of the next call for the European Entrepreneurial Region awards. The ceremony that followed celebrated the achievements and wins of projects across six different categories as well as an overall Grand Jury Prize winner.

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Find out all about the EEPA class of 2019 right here on the News Portal.

Congratulations to all the winners, and be sure to check out the updates and activities from Day 2 using #SMEAssembly2019 and by following @EEPA_EU on Twitter.

Watch the SME Assembly 2019 highlights:

EEPA Class of 2019

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2019 celebrated the best of the best in a ceremony on the 2nd day of the SME Assembly 2019. On 26 November 2019, six category winners were awarded with EEPA prizes, and an overall Grand Jury Prize winner was crowned as being the most outstanding project across the six categories for 2019.

Congratulations once again to the EEPA class of 2019!

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Haven Incubator CVBA-SO, a safe port for young experimentation, Belgium

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

IDEA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre, Cyprus

Improving the Business Environment

Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes, Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

TILOS, Greece

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Start-Up Your Future, Germany

Grand Jury Prize

Green PAC iLab, The Netherlands

SME Week Newsletter 2019: Issue #7

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We are getting closer to the event of the year…the SME Assembly! The prestigious SME Assembly 2019 is just around the corner and will be hosted by the Finnish presidency of the European Commission in Helsinki from 25 – 27 November 2019. Delegates from across the world will come together to hack policy, discuss enterprise and create the governance structure of the Small Business Act.

This year’s Assembly will feature renowned economist Mariana Mazzucato as this year’s Schumpeter Lecturer as well as a host of sessions on the most cutting edge topics for SMEs and the European enterprise ecosystem, on topics such as Sustainable Finance, the Future of jobs, Women in Finance, the Single Market and more.

One of the highlights of the Assembly will be the European finals for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. 18 shortlisted projects will be competing for the six category prizes and the overall Grand Jury Prize, awarded to the project the jury feels has excelled in their contributions to the European enterprise ecosystem.

The Assembly will be both a physical and digital event with extensive coverage online brought to you by the Promoting Enterprise team. Make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the latest updates and check that you are following us on TwitterFacebookand Instagram to see what happens in Helsinki.

Don’t forget to keep visiting the News Portal for key updates such as the introduction of this year’s Schumpeter lecturer, sneak peeks at what this year’s Assembly has to offer and more! We hope you enjoy the newsletter and do not forget to submit your news, articles and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue.

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Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Time to introduce the last of our shortlisted projects for EEPA 2019! These three projects were chosen by the EEPA 2019 Jury to compete in the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

Today we meet the projects nominated at European level in our final category, Category 6: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship.

Start-Up Your Future, Germany

“Start-Up Your Future” is a pilot project of the Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland (WJD), funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It aims to help refugees in Berlin-Brandenburg to set up their own businesses by giving them support and offering them the option of self-employment through mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten. The partnerships invite voluntary mentors to guide refugee entrepreneurs through the startup process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan. Since the project began, 185 start-up sponsorships have been implemented, 207 refugees have been helped in their business ventures and 22 startups have received support.

Insieme per il lavoro, Together for Work, Italy

Together for Work facilitates the inclusion of low-level autonomy individuals, including those in vulnerable situations living in the metropolitan area of Bologna and specifically, unemployed young people and adults in difficult financial and social situations, into the labour market. The project’s work is in line with the sustainable development goals aimed at ending poverty and providing employment for all. This is done through horizontal cooperation, via awareness actions and active involvement of local companies, professional training bodies, associations, unions and the non-profit sector. In the first two years 135 companies were involved and 260 individual placements in companies were achieved.

Reborn Programme – Programa Renace, Spain

The REBORN initiative reduces and where possible eliminates debts of businessmen and entrepreneurs whose businesses closed as a consequence of the financial crisis. Run by the Institute of Development, the initiative consists of a programme of exoneration of the liabilities accumulated through extrajudicial agreements agreed by the Public Authorities. The programme is an incentive to re-start entrepreneurial activities without entrepreneurs having to enter employment or committing fraud when restarting their business. So far, 69 companies and self-employed people in critical situations have managed to save their businesses, and a total of 7.3 million euros has been exonerated to allow entrepreneurs to start again and create employment for others.

Have a look at all of the 2019 shortlisted projects right here on the Portal!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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We are nearing the end of our shortlist introductions as today is the turn of the projects nominated at European level in Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

These three projects have been nominated for their work in green markets and for taking an environmental approach with their projects. Time to meet the next three projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen to compete in the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

TILOS, Greece

The TILOS initiative created an integrated energy solution with innovative features to help island regions transition to new models of production and management of electricity energy. The solution uses clean, renewable energy sources and the application of modern energy storage technologies to reduce dependency on cost-intensive and polluting oil. The solution was successfully implemented on Tilos and a toolbox of innovative products was created to facilitate international and community adoption of smart energy practices. Tilos has been able to penetrate up to 75% of the renewable energy sources and exports additional clean energy to the island of Kos.

Green PAC iLab, Netherlands

At GreenPAC iLab, new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry are supported to help them start their businesses and achieve sustainable and circular business models. The project functions as a community where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for a plastic product or service are coached and given access to a network of professionals that help with feasibility studies, research and product development. Through collaboration with plastics professionals and research groups, the GreenPAC iLab is fostering a new generation of plastics entrepreneurs guided by circular and sustainable values. To date, 40 start-ups have received assistance and 52 jobs have been created.

KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership), Sweden

KTP Energy, run by Dalarna University and The University of Gävle, facilitates a sustainable knowledge flow between academia and the business world to conduct strategic development projects within regional SMEs with great energy efficiency potential. The projects are implemented by European graduates together with academic and business coaches. These partnerships have led to 75% of companies creating new development positions, and many graduates remaining within the companies, meaning that young graduates are moving to rural areas with their knowledge and skills and contributing to their development. To date, 24 successful sub-projects have led to increased energy efficiency and profitability for participating companies and their customers.

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week to meet the 2019 shortlisted projects!

Have a look at all of the 2019 shortlisted projects right here on the Portal!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

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