In under a month’s time, the nine most inspiring ideas from entrepreneurs with the potential to change the world will be chosen from across Europe’s 28 Member States at the Ideas from Europe Finals at the SME Assembly in Luxembourg on 20 November.
The initiative, which started in spring, aims to show that Europe’s future is in the hands of today’s entrepreneurs as they are the creators of businesses and jobs. By sharing their ideas they will inspire and encourage people to use their entrepreneurial spirit and, in turn, become the lifeblood of Europe’s economy.
Following the selection at the SME Assembly in Luxembourg and the online vote, the top ten ideas will then go through to a final judging session at The Hall of Knights on 31 March 2016 in The Hague.
The selection process is still ongoing, but below are some of the candidates involved so far…
Fleye is the brainchild of Dimitri Arendt and Laurent Eschenauer, two experienced engineers passionate about drones. It all started as a prototype hacked over numerous week-ends in Laurent’s attic, and is now a funded venture company, founded in December 2014 and supported by The Faktory, a private Tech Startup Accelerator and Seed Investment Fund from Belgium.
Rennie is the founder of Embrioo.com – an Open Innovation platform recognized by the International Jury at Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen (Special Prize Winner, 2013); Winner at Innovation challenge by IF Sheffield University (2012), TEDx speaker, featured in Forbes.
Cyrpus: Arestis Vrontis, Helikas Robotics
Arestis Vrontis , founder and Technical Director of Helikas Robotics (2010). After a number of years spent studying Marine Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Arestis went on to be production manager to “EPISKEVI” Machine Shop. Arestis has a lifelong fascination with robots and has tinkered with them for years designing and building multicopters and fixed wing aircrafts. He is also a member of Technical Chamber of Cyprus. Recently he has developed a vertical wind turbine for urban areas.
Finland: Pirkka Palomäki, Enevo
Pirkka Palomäki is the COO & CTO at Enevo, a privately held company providing smart logistics optimization solutions for the waste management and recycling industry. Prior to joining Enevo he has worked at F-Secure Corporation in several executive management positions including the head of strategy, CTO and Interim CEO. Earlier in his career, he has been with Telecom Finland (currently TeliaSonera) in business development and product marketing roles. Palomäki was recognized as the CTO of the year in 2011 by the Technology Academy of Finland.
Germany: Gerhard Dust, PolyCare.
Dr. Gerhard Dust started his career in the construction business. After service in the Luftwaffe and graduation from university he followed his family tradition of working in the book industry. Being COO of Libri 1991-2008, he earned an international reputation for the analysis, design and implementation of high level automated storage and distribution systems. In 2010, in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, he founded PolyCare.
Ireland: Nora Khaldi, Nuritas
Dr. Nora Khaldi is a mathmetician with a PhD in Molecular Evolution and the founder of Nuritas, a company that has revolutionised the discovery of health-benefitting molecules using artificial intelligence and machine-learning. Throughout her career, Nora’s ambition has been to disrupt the status quo and introduce new ways of thinking to address many of the health and sustainability issues facing the world today.
Liana develops and supplies digital marketing and communication software. Our customers are digital marketing and PR professionals and our cloud-based software helps them perform better. Thanks to local and EU business support we have expanded into four other countries and our goal is to become #1 marketing cloud provider in Europe. We have also been able to employ 100 people let go by Nokia.
I would like to see a government sponsored account manager for each start up; bottom up business support programmes; and direct support for sales and marketing activities.
“Entrepreneurs are useful to society because we are the ones that turn innovation into reality; we are the people who get things done.”
Hero(es): My team
Start up capital: Own
Growth rate p.a.: 30%
Mentor(s): My business partners
Can you code? Yes
Education / Training: Computing and marketing
Product / Service: Marketing and communications software
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards have run since 2006. There have been 42 winning entries including one Grand Jury Prize winner in each competition. The most recent recipient of the Grand Jury Prize being Think Small First – Introduction to Micro Companies in Latvia.
Winners from previous years are listed below. We hope they inspire you to enter your national competition in 2015!
Outset, YTKO Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Outset is designed to show the unemployed that self- employment and enterprise is a realistic alternative to unemployment. Since the start of the programme, Outset has engaged with over 10,000 people. Of those, 1,916 have started a business, together creating 2,188 jobs.
Barcelona Activa SAU SPM, Barcelona City Council, Spain
With its mission to transform entrepreneurship and business growth in Barcelona, the centre acts as a reference point and hub for entrepreneurs and uses an innovative model of online and on-site services to train individuals, thereby fostering the establishment of more than 6,000 new companies.
Entrepreneurs’ Residencies, Auvergne Agence Regionale de Developpement des Territoires d’Auvergne (ARDTA), France
Entrepreneurs’ Residencies provides short and long-term support measures for business creators or buyers from outside the area willing to settle in the region. They are designed to support, facilitate and accelerate the setting up of new businesses by guiding potential entrepreneurs and refunding their living expenses.
The Scarborough Renaissance Partnership, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
The development project transformed the north-east England seaside town of Scarborough by pioneering renaissance and boosting entrepreneurship, thus turning a seasonal economy with winter unemployment 50% higher than summer into a year-round economy with only a 10% difference between summer and winter employment.
Development of premises for business use, Lan Ekintza-Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
Innovative urban redevelopment initiative that aims to prevent city decay by attracting startups and established businesses to relocate to the old heart of the city by providing financial support as well as combating marginalisation and social exclusion.
Y4 Committee, Finland
A complete methodology that introduces the business perspective in regional decision-making, encourages innovation and entrepreneurship espousing ethically sustainable values. The project triggered a cultural change in Central Finland, raising the proportion of entrepreneurs in a region that previously had a well- established culture of paid employment.