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Tag ‘Grand Jury Prize Winner’

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Grand Jury Prize

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It is our last EEPA 2019 winner testimonial! Today on the News Portal we are learning more about the project that took home the top EEPA prize at the 2019 SME Assembly. The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the project that the jury designates to be truly outstanding regardless of its category. For 2019 the jury decided to award this honour to GreenPAC iLab, a project from the Netherlands competing in the Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category.

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, 66 start-ups have received assistance and 84 jobs have been created.

We spoke to Bastian Coes, Manager & Business Developer for GreenPAC iLab to discover the story behind this winning project.

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

We heard about the national competition via a promotion by RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) that runs the EEPA national competition about three years ago. At the time we decided not to enter because we had just started with a new strategy and method of supporting startup businesses. Before applying we wanted to make sure that we had a lot of examples of successful startup businesses that we had supported because, successful companies are the biggest proof that our concept and strategy works. So not “fake it till you make it”, but rather “make it and then talk about it”.

How did you prepare your application?

We wrote our application for the national competition and really emphasised the link between the results of the startup businesses and the methods we use. It was important to stress that in addition to results such as revenue and employment of the startups, at GreenPAC iLab the emphasis is on the connection between research carried out by applied universities and the knowledge gap of a startup. We then add to that knowledge, for example by facilitating necessary feasibility studies.

Both the startups and the universities benefit: the startups have access to knowledge and equipment which are not available in the market and the universities have access to new economic and technological developments which they otherwise have no access to. 

What was it like to win the award?

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.

How did winning the award impact your 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.

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

Entering EEPA 2020 is a great way to reflect on what you have done over the last couple of years and also about the way you want to move forward. EEPA gives a lot of exposure for your initiative but also makes your team and everyone involved proud to be part of a shortlisted initiative. We were already proud of being on the shortlist, so just imagine what it is like if you win the Grand Jury Prize! 

What are your plans for the future?

We want to continue our work of helping startup businesses achieve their sustainable and circular business models. We want to increase and strengthen the community of sustainable and technology based startups, and build a startup entrepreneurship hub in The Netherlands. By doing this we want to support a new generation of entrepreneurs and contribute to a sustainable SME economy.

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:

The path to success – Lean Landing project blueprint

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What does it mean to be an EEPA winner? What goes into a successful project? Last year’s Grand Jury Prize Winner, Lean Landing from Denmark has released a blueprint of their path to success and they want to share it with you!

In their blueprint they detail all the different steps they went through, lessons learnt, key aspects of their project and more. Have a read through their blueprint here and don’t hesitate to get in touch with them or the Promoting Enterprise team for more information.

Who are Lean Landing?

The Lean Landing network consists of a total of 19 partners, accelerators and incubators. The network has members from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom. Members of the Lean Landing network open up their facilities to the 190 participating SMEs, giving them bases in their target countries, as well as a local business support system. These local bases allow SMEs to gather first impressions of the foreign market, establish contacts, and learn important local business etiquette and practices. So far, of the 190 SMEs involved, 80 have successfully been abroad with the Lean Landing project.

The project is run by Væksthus Sjælland, a non-profit organisation established in 2007 that provides services for entrepreneurs and micro SMEs with scalability and growth potential. The organisation is also responsible for providing business support to the Zealand Region of Denmark and is one of five national units.

Read their EEPA 2018 winner testimonial here.  

EEPA 2019 FAQ: How to prepare an EEPA application

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are looking for the next set of inspiring projects that support entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem across Europe. Every year there are hundreds of applications from across the participating countries, so how can you make your application stand out? What will catch your National Coordinator’s eye? What will draw the attention of the prestigious EEPA jury?

Promoting Enterprise has collated advice from both past winners on what they did to prepare their applications, and from past and present EEPA Jury members on what made projects stand out for them.

Making your application stand out

Ensuring that your application is unique and stands out amongst all the other strong projects it will be competing against is key to getting noticed by both your National Coordinator and later the EEPA jury. Being unique is important and can even lead to a Grand Jury Prize win.

“One of the main reasons behind our win was that we presented a new proposition (i.e. festivals as testing grounds for innovators) to add to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

  • Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017

EEPA jurors in particular want to see unusual and innovative projects that creative contribute to the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“In my opinion, the most important characteristic for a project to be special is that it is innovative. It has to bring something new and show creativity.”

“An outstanding project combines innovation and cooperation and supports enterprises throughout their life cycle. It has visible and presentable results and helps to improve the role of entrepreneurs in society or to start up a business.”

Your application is also a chance to tell your project story and give a full picture of your work, how far you have come and the journey that both you and your project have been on. Including tangible results, lessons learnt and successes will ensure your application is complete and robust.

“When applying it is important to ask yourself if others can replicate what you do. Success is always a combination of vision, strategy, trial and error, lessons learnt and results, so be sure to include your project story and journey.”

Dedicate the necessary time to your application

Previous winners mention the need to take the necessary time when preparing an EEPA application, to not rush and ensure that all necessary supporting documentation is collected with enough time and included in the final application.

“Prepare well! Be aware that it requires quite a lot of work until your documents are “final”, so advice and help from the national body might be very useful, so make the most of it.”

“We spent quite some time on the application to make sure that we got all the right and important information filled in.”

 

For more support with your EEPA 2019 applications be sure to have a look through previous EEPA winner testimonials for their advice and success stories and contact your National Coordinators for specific country information on your national EEPA competition.

EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Lean Landing – ‘Grand Jury Prize’ Winner 2018

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Ready for our next EEPA winner interview? Today we are proud to welcome our 2018 Grand Jury Prize Winner, Lean Landing from Denmark!

The Lean Landing network consists of a total of 19 partners, accelerators and incubators. The network has members from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom. Members of the Lean Landing network open up their facilities to the 190 participating SMEs, giving them bases in their target countries, as well as a local business support system. These local bases allow SMEs to gather first impressions of the foreign market, establish contacts, and learn important local business etiquette and practices. So far, of the 190 SMEs involved, 80 have successfully been abroad with the Lean Landing project.

The project is run by Væksthus Sjælland, a non-profit organisation established in 2007 that provides services for entrepreneurs and micro SMEs with scalability and growth potential. The organisation is also responsible for providing business support to the Zealand Region of Denmark and is one of five national units.

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

Our organisation has known about the national EEPA competition for a few years, and in the past been national winners three times as well as receiving a ‘special mention’ award. We decided to enter again because EEPA is THE place and event to be at, if you are running EU projects, and winning the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ this year is the biggest prize any EU project can receive.

How did you prepare your application?

We didn’t really prepare, but we spent quite some time on the application to make sure that we got all the right and important information filled in.

What was it like to win the award?

We were honestly just very overwhelmed and very surprised. We had hoped to win in our category ‘Supporting internationalisation for business’ but we did not expect to win the ‘Grand Jury Prize’. It has probably been the biggest recognition our organisation has ever received for any EU project.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award hasn’t really had that much of an impact on my daily work, but there has been a lot of positive attention from many people from other organisations both nationally and internationally. Furthermore our 19 partners in the project have also been very happy about the result and it has sparked a new sort of energy internally, that we have actually done something really special with our project.

The exposure from EEPA and Euronews, who worked with the EU commission since we won, has also been great. The video from when we received the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ was available the day after and the film that was shot by Euronews for ‘Euronews Business Planet’ is going to be part of our ongoing marketing material for the project.

Why should others enter EEPA 2019? What advice would you give them?

Other organisations and projects should enter EEPA because it is a great way to get recognised for the work that each of us put in daily and it is truly a great experience to participate in the ceremony. Furthermore, it is great way to meet like-minded people and expand your network.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans for the future are to continue to develop new and value-creating projects like Lean Landing, with the purpose of helping SMEs to grow locally, nationally and internationally.

Meet the EEPA Jury 2018 – Anna Van Nunen

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Ready to meet another EEPA 2018 Jury member? Today is the turn of Anna van Nunen, Director of Innofest from the Netherlands, which won the EEPA Grand Jury Prize in 2017. Today Anna will be sharing what she will be looking for when judging the EEPA applications this year, and some advice based on her experience as one of last year’s winners. 

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

An EEPA project stands out when it has a clear vision on how entrepreneurs are being supported and has an effective way of taking that vision and translating it into actions. I will specifically look at the way the projects answer the needs of local entrepreneurs.

What top three qualities should a project have to make it onto the 2018 shortlist?  

  • A proven methodology of helping entrepreneurs
  • Scalability of the initiative throughout Europe
  • A good dose of social entrepreneurship

I am a firm believer in innovation and entrepreneurship as conditions for a social and sustainable world.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?   

To win the Grand Jury Prize a project must be both innovative and effective. I will look for projects that are a little out-of-the-box and make use of regional infrastructure in an effective way.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I believe that innovation and entrepreneurship need to be stimulated at an early stage, so that we can create and foster an innovative generation. Therefore, I am really looking forward to reading all proposals in the category “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2018?

I am really looking forward to reading all applications. I know from last year that it will be an inspiring collection of initiatives and I look forward to learning from them all. I also can’t wait to meet and congratulate the winners afterwards!

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Keep it cool. For us (Innofest), just winning the national competition brought us so much and was a fantastic achievement. I would also advise all applicants to start preparing an international strategy before attending the SME Assembly. Once you are at the Assembly there is a great network of ecosystem partners from all over Europe that will attend the Assembly in Graz this year, so be prepared and make the most of it.

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. Read about the 2018 national winners and be sure to keep coming back to the News Portal to find out who makes it onto the EEPA 2018 shortlist.

EEPA 2018 – Meet the Jury!

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The European EEPA deadline is approaching, but who will be judging all of the national entries this year? Who is responsible for creating the EEPA 2018 European shortlist? Meet your 2018 EEPA jury!

On this year’s jury we have some familiar retuning faces and some new members. This year seven jurors from different disciplines and backgrounds will collaboratively review all of the national submissions before meeting in Brussels to decide the 2018 European shortlist. In addition to coming from different backgrounds our jury members also come from across Europe so as to bring their own national contexts and expertise to the judging panel.

This year we are pleased to welcome back Prof. Thomas M. Cooney (Professor in Entrepreneurship, Dublin Institute of Technology), Thomas Wobben (Committee of the Regions), Lisa Steigertahl (Entrepreneurship Consultant) and Kristin Schreiber (DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) to once again sit on the EEPA jury.

We would also like to welcome our new jury members Jesús Casado Navarro-Rubio (Secretary General of European Family Business), Dr. Matthias Tschirf (Austrian SME Envoy), Anna van Nunen (Director of Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017 Innofest) and Alexander Manolev (Bulgarian SME Envoy).

Stay tuned to Promoting Enterprise to meet all of the new jury members over the next few weeks and be sure to read up on our veteran jury members Prof. Thomas M. Cooney, Thomas WobbenLisa Steigertahl and Kristin Schreiber right here on the News Portal!

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