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EEPA 2020 National Winners – Improving the business environment

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) reward projects from across participating countries that work to promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives. The EEPA have now moved to the European level of the competition and the national winners from each participating country have been selected by their National Coordinators. So far we have introduced the national winners for Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills.

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in one of the six categories; “Improving the Business Environment”. This category recognises initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth and simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses.

Find out more about the different competition categories on the EEPA website

*Due to certain national EEPA competitions being disrupted by COVID-19, this list is still subject to additions. Please keep checking the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for the most updated national winner information.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Improving the Business Environment”!

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 – Running a national competition with German coordinator Juliane Kummer

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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.

©RKW Kompetenzzentrum

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.

Find out more about the 2020 national German winners here and stay tuned for the latest EEPA 2020 updates right here on the News Portal.

EEPA 2020 – Germany selects their national winners!

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The EEPA competitions are going ahead as usual and national coordinators and juries are compiling their strongest national projects and making the difficult decision about who should compete at European level.

This year in Germany, the expert jury selected their national EEPA winners via a video jury meeting, during which they assessed the 22 applications received by national EEPA Coordinator Juliane Kummer at RKW Kompetenzzentrum.

©RKW Kompetenzzentrum

After two selection rounds the experienced national jury selected the following projects to represent Germany at this year’s European competition:

Start-up BW local

“Start-up BW Local” is a federal competition that supports and honours the most founder-friendly concepts from municipalities. The concepts are assessed by founders and the winners receive a certificate and financial support to realise their concepts. Start-up BW local will be competing in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

Greentech.Ruhr

Greentech.Ruhr is a network consisting of 165 enterprises (mainly SMEs), research and educational facilities and other institutional partners. The network supports the regional environmental economy and the transformation process from mainly coal and steel industry to a more diversified economy with a particular focus on ecological solutions. Greentech.Ruhr will be competing in Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

Congratulations to these two outstanding projects and good luck for the European competition!

Interested in following the rest of the German EEPA 2020 campaign? Make sure to have a look at the German competition website, the national coordinator website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

More about EEPA

The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.

What is the impact of winning an EEPA?

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There is still time to submit an application for this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) and get involved in this celebration of enterprise! Check your national deadline here.

The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.

We have once again asked our EEPA Class of 2019 for their advice and experiences of being winners in the EEPA 2019 competition. Today we wanted to bring you their insights on what winning an EEPA has done for their projects and their work.

Winning the award impacted our work directly because there is outside endorsement for what we do. Awards like this help develop the GreenPAC iLab further and to sustain the work we do. We have also had a lot of questions about our programme from the international community, and the EEPA has facilitated this by giving us an international podium to share how we support sustainable startups.

Receiving an EEPA also highlights and recognises the support provided by the regional government. GreenPAC iLab has strong connections with (regional) governments, and the province of Overijssel and the municipality of Zwolle are crucial for stimulating sustainable entrepreneurship in the region. Both provide support for our program and can function as a launching customer for startups. Winning the EEPA Grand Jury Prize has given us additional proof to demonstrate that the regional funding of GreenPAC iLab should be sustained.

It is really motivating to have your work recognised at European level. The award is very important for both national and international visibility for the project and represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase its replication potential.

Winning this award served as motivation for the local Municipality, employees and the broader Tilos community to continue their hard work and remain dedicated to the vision of energy autonomy for the island of Tilos. As with the two prestigious EUSEW 2017 Awards, the EEPA 2019 award will also contribute to our efforts to communicate the success stories of our island to a wider audience, making Tilos an attractive destination for all Europeans.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch. It has also helped on a practical level with our new funding application to Interreg ÖKS, who also congratulated us on our win.

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.

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.

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.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

What is it like to win an EEPA?

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Have you submitted your application for this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) yet? There is still time to take part! Check your national deadline here.

The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.

Today on Promoting Enterprise we asked the EEPA Class of 2019 what it was like to win an EEPA and to share their experiences with you right here on the News Portal. Have a read through and re-live their winning moments!

It was a great feeling and surprise to win the award. It represents a great acknowledgment for the hard work of the GreenPAC iLab team, the universities Windesheim and NHL Stenden. It was not always easy to get funding for our plans and recognition of the work that the startups and GreenPAC iLab do. Over the last couple of years we have developed a big movement and community which have had an impact on sustainability, circular business models and growth of startups. It is truly a great feeling for all of this to be recognised and valued by the EEPA jury.

Being awarded with an EEPA prize is a great honour for us. Winning this award shows us that our efforts to successfully establish a target group-oriented offer for refugees who want to become founders have paid off. Special thanks go to our volunteer mentors, who have contributed significantly to this success story. We would also like to thank our founders, who brought this mentoring program alive with their good ideas. Unfortunately, our team could not be present at the SME Assembly so we would also like to thank our EEPA National Coordinator Ms. Kummer from the RKW who represented us and accepted our prize on our behalf. Thank you very much!

We take great pride in winning this award, which stands as another recognition for the accomplishments of our island in the clean energy and environment protection sector. Tilos and its people remain faithful to the vision of sustainable development for the island, welcoming innovation and producing inspiring results for small enterprises and for addressing the problems of the most vulnerable island regions in Europe.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Amazing! It was really nerve-wracking sitting in the audience and listen to the presentations of the three category finalists. Both we and the project from the Netherlands were convinced that the Romanian project would win, their film was so good! When we heard our project announced as the winner we couldn’t believe it!

As I was standing on the podium giving my Thank You speech I just blacked out and completely forgot the name of my project colleague standing next to me. We have worked together for almost 2 years and her name was totally gone. I almost panicked there and then, on stage, so I just admitted that I had forgotten her name! Looking back at the recording I realise that the ‘eternity’ when I blacked out was really just a second or two. After the ceremony so many people came up to me and thanked me for being me on stage, displaying happiness, surprise and passion and for giving them a reason to laugh at this otherwise very formal event. Overall it was an amazing evening and experience.

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.

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.

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.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

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It is time to meet our last EEPA 2019 category winner, German project “Start-Up Your Future” the winner of the Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship category at the EEPA finals at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.

“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 mentorships invite voluntary mentors to guide refugee entrepreneurs through the founding process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan. Since the project began, 185 mentorships have been implemented, 207 refugees have been helped in their business ventures and 22 businesses have received support.

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

We heard about the national competition from Ms. Kummer from RKW Kompetenzzentrum and saw it as a good opportunity to encourage others to get involved in the field of the social and economic integration of refugees and migrants. By entering the national competition, we got the chance to present our programme and share positive success stories with a wider audience.

What was it like to win the award?

Being awarded with an EEPA prize is a great honour for us. Winning this award shows us that our efforts to successfully establish a target group-oriented offer for refugees who want to become founders have paid off. Special thanks go to our volunteer mentors, who have contributed significantly to this success story. We would also like to thank our founders, who brought this mentoring program alive with their good ideas. Unfortunately, our team could not be present at the SME Assembly so we would also like to thank our EEPA National Coordinator Ms. Kummer from the RKW who represented us and accepted our prize on our behalf. Thank you very much!

How did winning the award impact your work?

It is really motivating to have your work recognised at European level. The award is very important for both national and international visibility for the project and represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase its replication potential.

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

We would definitely recommend participating in EEPA as it is a good opportunity to exchange experiences and views with other European organisations.

What are your plans for the future?

Start-Up Your Future has constantly learned from ongoing activities and improved its structure over the course of the last 2.5 years. We have learnt that our approach can be applied to other target groups and regions and hope to see the concept expand. The final project evaluation also underlined the strong potential to transfer the Start-Up Your Future approach elsewhere. The evaluation further highlighted that mentorships between voluntary entrepreneurs and refugees and migrants are a valid way to foster integration on a social and economic level.

The project funding will expire by March 2020, so the final phase will focus on the examination of the key learnings, which will be available and published in the first quarter of 2020.

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:

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.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

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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 sixth category in which projects compete is Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship. 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.

Finland: The Shortcut Startup Entrepreneurship Track

France: L’incubateur de commerces de centre-ville (The incubator for town centre businesses)

Germany: Start-Up Your Future

Greece: Regeneration of sugarcane cultivation, revival of traditional sugarcane molasses product

Italy: Insieme per il lavoro, (Together for Work)

Latvia: Atbildīga biznesa vēstneši (Responsible Business Ambassadors)

Netherlands: Move2Social

Slovakia: Responsibly for the community of the blind and partially sighted (support of the Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union – ÚNSS)

Spain: Reborn Programme – Programa Renace

This year this category received 9 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects helping refugees integrate into local business ecosystems, working to revive traditional farming practices to create jobs for underprivileged groups, bringing responsible businesses together to help impart lessons to other business owners and more.

This is the last EEPA category and you have met all of the national winners. But which national winners will make it onto the EEPA 2019 European shortlist? Stay tuned to the News Portal to find out!

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: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

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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 fifth category in which projects compete is Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency. 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.

Germany: StartGreen@School

Greece: TILOS

Netherlands: Green PAC iLab

Sweden: KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership)

Turkey: Regional Development Oriented Mission Differentiation and Specialization

This year this category received 5 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects focused on knowledge transfer regarding energy efficiency for SMEs, assisting entrepreneurs in the plastics industry to ensure they follow circular models and introducing sustainable entrepreneurship principles in schools.

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.

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – ‘Class of 2018’

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The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is now over, and after months of waiting we now know which projects were crowned best in Europe. Congratulations to all of the winners in the EEPA ‘Class of 2018’, your hard work has paid off! Have a look below to find out more about this year’s winners, and click on each project to see their video presentation from the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria. 

Grand Jury Prize: Lean Landing, Denmark

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, Greece 

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills: i2c STARTacademy, Austria

Improving the Business Environment: Open Innovation 4.0., Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme, Finland

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, Portugal

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship: ProjectTogether, Germany

Stay tuned for the publication of the 2018 Compendium of winners brochure (in English) to find out more about this year’s winning projects, and don’t forget to have a look at the EEPA 2018 ceremony photos here.

Keep following right here on the Portal and across social media (Twitter and Facebook) for winner interviews and updates.

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