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Learning from the best – Advice from EEPA 2017 winners

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What makes a successful European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) entry? What is the secret to winning at European level? Today on Promoting Enterprise, the 2017 edition winners tell us why others should enter EEPA 2018, and share their advice for making an application stand out.

The 2017 winners shared a lot of advice in their testimonials but there were certain things that each of them mentioned as key to their EEPA success, and reasons why an EEPA prize is so valuable. Firstly, all of the winners recognised the power of the EEPA scheme for bringing recognition to project work at European level, as well as the opportunity to see and interact with other projects that have been recognised as best European practices.

“The prize itself is valuable, but so is the opportunity to see how projects in other countries deal with the same issues and questions. You can see differences in financial solutions, project launches and how each country has their own solutions and plans, all of which are the best across Europe.”

  • Business Generator – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills Winner 2017

In addition to European recognition, being a part of EEPA helped winners gain experience in pitching their projects. This is particularly useful when building awareness and a network around your work, and something that the EEPA application process values highly.

“It was very helpful to get pitching experience and advice on our Innofest-proposition. 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

Finally, all winners agreed that EEPA is a big contributor to increasing awareness around project work. Through EEPA, the winners had the opportunity to attend the prestigious SME Assembly, where they mingled with a variety of stakeholders and players in the entrepreneurial, SME and startup ecosystems.

So what advice do the 2017 winners want to share with this year’s applicants?

“My advice for future applicants would be to work a little more upstream, and to focus on having good national mobilisation around your project and work. Once this is established, it can then be complemented by working with the public entities that transmit the EEPA message and that organise the awards.”

  • ADIE, Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship Winner 2017

“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.”

  • Internationalisation 2015 – 2020 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business Winner 2017

“I would recommend working on the tangible results of your projects. Show that the submitted project has a positive impact on its territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!”

  • Reempresa – Improving the Business Environment Winner 2017

“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.”

  • Business Generator – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills Winner 2017

“Do not hesitate, apply! If you are doing the right thing, eventually someone will notice, and sometimes it’s the EEPA jury.“

  • Enterprise Village – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit Winner 2017

“Our advice for future applicants is to make sure that you highlight why your initiative is both effective and unique.”

  • Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017

For more information on the 2017 winners, read the EEPA 2017 winner testimonials here. Some of the EEPA 2018 national competitions are still open, so check the national deadlines here and apply before it’s too late!

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back for 2018, and Promoting Enterprise has the honour of presenting the first EEPA 2017 winner testimonial from Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017. The Innofest project will be sharing their EEPA story as well as their advice for other planning to submit their projects and embark on the EEPA journey.

How did you first hear about the national competition?

The Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs contacted us to ask us if we were interested in joining the competition. We didn’t hesitate and joined straight away.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

That’s twofold. First we were having some plans to expand within the rest of the Netherlands, but also to other regions in Europe. The EEPA provided us with the opportunity to get to know other regions, but also to get in touch with policymakers and entrepreneurs throughout Europe. Secondly, we felt that after two years of learning and pioneering it was time to share the first successes with The Netherlands. We felt that EEPA and the publicity around EEPA were a great way to do that.

How did you prepare your application?

Part of our preparation involved speeding up some of the research we were doing, to make sure that we could provide the jury with accurate numbers on Innofest. We also made sure that we were ready to talk to other European regions, entrepreneurs and festivals and prepared our international strategy. Getting ready for this was very helpful, because quite a few regions contacted us in order to work with us after the EEPA. We were happy that we were well prepared and knew what we could offer them.  

What was it like to win the award?

Of course it was a surprise! Within an impressive group of finalists which included investors programs, incubators and accelerators with a long track record, we felt like the underdog. We don’t have a long track record yet, although we have enough data to have an evidence-based method to help innovators. But still we were the new kids on the block, with a crazy new kind of entrepreneurial program, involving festivals. So for us, winning was an encouragement to keep going and support other regions to make festivals part of their innovations ecosystem.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning had a big impact on Innofest. The media coverage was great, both locally and internationally. But the impact on our network was more important. Our funders were recognised for supporting Innofest, and many new partners wanted to connect to Innofest. At our latest festival, Eurosonic Noorderslag in January, a delegation from Finland came to learn from Innofest and is aiming to set up their own Innofest model. We have also been contacted by other festivals and regions to join the Innofest program. The number of applicants has also increased in comparison to previous years, so it is possible that the award may have helped with that as well.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?

EEPA has helped us to gain more brand awareness and it contributed a lot to our position in the Dutch and European start-up ecosystem. But even if we had not won, it was very helpful to get pitching experience and advice on our Innofest-proposition. 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. Based on this, our advice for future applicants is to make sure that you highlight why your initiative isboth effective and unique.

What are your plans for the future?

This year we are researching how we can connect festivals on a national level to Innofest and we hope to scale up in 2019. We are also working on an international proposition to help other regions and festivals in the world set up their own Innofest model. In the future we hope to have white-label Innofests throughout the world!

To find out more about Innofest, read about them right here in the 2017 compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.

EEPA 2017 Jury – Meet Thomas Wobben

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Our next Jury member also has previous EEPA jury experience and joins us as a representative from the Committee of the Regions. Since March 2012, Thomas Wobben has been Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks in the Committee of the Regions. His responsibilities include monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, relations with the OECD and Eurostat, and prospective works of the Committee of the Regions. Today he shares with us what kinds of projects got his vote.

 

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

Above all, a successful project should demonstrate how it responds to specific local needs. Rather than adopting an unimaginative “one-size-fits-all” approach, it should lead the way by tackling the specific challenges of its territory – which could include a lack of entrepreneurial activity in a rural or economically less-developed area, low numbers of SMEs that are ready to scale-up and exploit the opportunities of the Single Market or global markets, or factors such as high unemployment or a low level of education — through innovative, forward-looking and sustainable solutions.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?

In my view, the most convincing EEPA applications are those driven by a strong partnership – involving business, public authorities, research and educational institutions, etc. – that can act both as a guarantor for the project’s continued sustainability and as a vehicle for sharing good practices and lessons learnt.

It is also crucial that the project contains an innovative element that goes beyond merely replicating established methods, but rather introduces new ideas and finds new ways to adapt existing methods to the specific context of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Last but not least, a strong project should of course make a tangible contribution to economic growth and job creation in its territory.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?

Beyond merely contributing to a specific area of entrepreneurship development, a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize should attest to a strategic vision that integrates the project activities into a broader objective and creates an additional added value for society in areas other than business development in the narrow sense. Lisbon’s micro-entrepreneurship programme, which won the Grand Jury Prize two years ago, is an excellent example in this respect:

After being selected for the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label a year earlier thanks to its outstanding and forward-looking entrepreneurial strategy, the City of Lisbon went on to prove the success of this strategy by presenting some of its first results in its EEPA application. The Lisbon micro-entrepreneurship programme demonstrates how an intelligent policy implemented at local level can create synergies between entrepreneurship development, economic integration of disadvantaged groups such as migrants and unemployed people, and urban rehabilitation of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A number of Lisbon’s entrepreneurship support actions have since been scaled up at national level in Portugal.

Which is your favourite category and why?

While I do not have a favourite category as such, some of the most inspiring projects in recent years have been submitted in the category “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship”. In addition to the project from Lisbon, which I just mentioned, the Swedish project “Entrepreneurial West Hisingen“, which won last year’s Grand Jury prize, is another outstanding example. Through actions such as the Syrian Fast Track Incubator for refugees who had businesses in their home country, this project responds to the vital challenge of integrating refugees and migrants into our societies and has produced extraordinary results, including the creation of hundreds of new companies in a socially divided and economically disadvantaged area.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?

For me, the SME Assembly is a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the principal European actors in the area of SME and entrepreneurship development: policy-makers from the European, national, regional and local levels, stakeholders, academics, and of course entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the SME Assembly illustrates not only the excellent cooperation between the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), but also the complementarity of our actions in the field of entrepreneurship promotion: while the EEPA recognizes actions that have already proven successful, the CoR’s European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label encourages cities and regions to develop their entrepreneurial potential even further in the future. I am therefore particularly looking forward both to the EEPA 2017 award ceremony and to the launch of the EER 2019 edition in Tallinn.

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

By being successful in the national selection round, you have already demonstrated the outstanding quality of your projects. Even if not all of you will be selected for the EEPA this year, you are doing important work on the ground that directly contributes to boosting growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl, Daniela Ölmunger, Thomas Cooney and Viljar Lubi.

EEPA Jury – Professor Thomas Cooney returns for 2017

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Our next Jury member has sat on the EEPA Jury before and we are delighted to welcome him back. Thomas Cooney is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Visiting Professor at the University of Turku (Finland). He is also Academic Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship, a Board Member of Startup Ireland and works in a supportive capacity with a number of businesses.

Today he is sharing with us what he will be looking for in a winning project and how to make yourself stand out in the eyes of a seasoned EEPA jury member!

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

A special project is one that is doing something distinctive or unique that is not being done elsewhere. The uniqueness could be the target community with whom it is working (e.g. survivors of domestic abuse), the nature of the project (e.g. summer camp on entrepreneurship), the method of delivery or some other differentiating feature to the project.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?    

To be shortlisted, a project must demonstrate:

  1. A well-written proposal that answers all of the questions asked
  2. A track-record of achievement
  3. The ability for the project to be replicated in other locations.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?    

The biggest benefit of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards is that they make people aware of what is being done in other countries and therefore successful initiatives can be replicated in other locations. To win the Grand Jury Prize, I am looking for a project that has demonstrable success, has some level of uniqueness and can be replicated by another person in another location or country.

Which is your favourite category and why?

My favourite category is ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ as I have long believed that entrepreneurship offers people from minority and disadvantaged communities the opportunity to maximise their economic and social potential.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?         

This is the first year that the Global Entrepreneurship Network will link with the SME Assembly and I think this will bring an additional exciting element to the activities of the week.

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

My strongest piece of advice is to learn from past winners by benchmarking what you do against their success stories. The ultimate ambition is not to win an award but to improve the capacity of people to successfully start and grow a business, and learning from the experiences of others is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your initiative.

Read about other Jury members Karen Boers, Lisa Steigertahl and Daniela Ölmunger, and look out for the next EEPA Jury 2017 presentation!

From EEPA 2016 winner to EEPA 2017 Jury member – Daniela Ölmunger

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Last year she was part of the project awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, this year she is part of the EEPA 2017 Jury! Today on Promoting Enterprise we have the pleasure to re-introduce Daniela Ölmunger and find out what she is looking for in a project and her advice for this year’s applicants.

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

I want to see both heart and brain, I want to feel the project but also understand it.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?     

  1. Relevant to existing areas of common societal interest
  2. With a new or updated angle – so something I have not necessarily seen in the same format or in the same way before
  3. Result oriented

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?          

I want great results, clearly described and with a twist somewhere. I want to feel something when I read the project. I will know when I know.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I don’t have a favourite category – they all appeal to me for different reasons and they are all interlinked and connected to European Union growth and sustainable development.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?             

I’m looking forward to several things such as listening to different angles of stories and experiencing the passion behind other people’s work when I speak to them. I am also looking forward to attending all of the interesting workshops and seminars, during which I hope to meet people with different ideas and perspectives that I can then take with me and put into my own work. Last but not least I’m looking forward to seeing and being in the wonderful and beautiful city of Tallinn!

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

Just being a national contestant is a great achievement and means that a lot of hard and inspiring work has been put in, and that should not be forgotten. If you are a runner up, my advice is to get back in the ring for next time.

Read about the EEPA 2016 Grand Jury Prize winner here.

How to win EEPA? Past winners reveal their recipe for a winning formula

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What is the recipe for success? What is the secret? How can you make sure your project is one of the next European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) winners? EEPA is an opportunity for public bodies and public-private partnerships from across the EU Member States, (as well as Iceland, Serbia and Turkey) to put forward their most imaginative and successful initiatives that support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Each country selects their top national winners to compete at European level across five different categories.

Today Promoting Enterprise brings you advice from the best of the best, past EEPA winners. Ready to discover the answers? Read on…

Why should you enter EEPA?

Many of the past winners have mentioned that one of the key benefits of entering EEPA is that it provides “a valuable opportunity to step back and reflect”, as “you can’t always focus on what you did well yesterday…the analysis is important and it gives you a chance to make your learning journey visible so that others can learn from it.”

Not only does it allow for reflection but it provides an opportunity to meet with other pioneering initiatives from across Europe, as “participating in a competition is a real opportunity to meet and share with initiatives and people…learning from their experiences is very enriching”. Some winners also mentioned the increased internal learning and contact saying that “entering EEPA gives a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and contacts with colleagues, experts and other stakeholders, drawing focus to the relevant questions and impact SME development”.

All the winners agreed that winning, in the words of one winner “the most rigorous and professionally run enterprise award in the world”, was quite an experience. Ultimately this award “provides recognition from a higher recognised entity like the European Commission”, which for many has led to exciting national and international developments for their projects.

Finally very importantly “you should enter because it is fun! The whole process requires a lot of work and you need to invest the necessary time, but once that part is done you can really enjoy the experience of being in the competition.”

What should you bear in mind when you apply?

So how did this variety of winners come out on top in each of their respective categories? Each winner has their own story to tell which you can read here, but read some of the tips they wanted to share with the potential winners of the future:

  • “Apply and share as much as possible!”
  • “It is important to evaluate whether a project has the following: quality, results, strong partnership, and replicability. Our advice would be that if your project has all of the above, then you should definitely compete!”
  • “Focus your attention on strategy and results achieved.”
  • “A good idea, a quality product, enthusiasm, detailed planning, active stakeholder involvement and teamwork were the key to our success. Our recommendation to future competitors would be to make sure to find their own distinctive formula.”
  • “Develop a pitch and make it interesting and inspirational for others. Inspiration is a very important part of EEPA work, it is what makes a project stand out.”
  • “You should not be scared to point out things that you learnt from and definitely take help from others, don’t do it all on your own.”

Interested in finding out more about EEPA? Are you going to apply and compete for a European title? Be sure to contact your national coordinator for more information and check when your national deadline is. Hurry up because the deadlines are approaching!

Read about the SME Assembly 2017 during which the EEPA finals and awards ceremony will be held.

‘Winning has given us room to manoeuvre’ – EEPA2016 increases project credibility

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daniela_olmunger_photo_by_anders_feldtThe European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016 category winner interviews are here! Find out about the story behind these successful projects, and even pick up some of their useful tips and tricks for future applicants. Today is the turn of the Grand Jury Prize, which commends the entry that the Jury considers to be ‘the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe’. The winning project for 2016 was Entrepreneurial West Hisingen from Sweden, originally a competitor in Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship and represented by Daniela Ölmunger in this interview, supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It covers three projects: Entrepreneurship in education, Start your business, and Develop your business, which provide different styles of support to various groups ranging from schoolchildren, all the way to seasoned business people.

Today’s interview gives insight into how this project became an EEPA 2016 winner, what happened next and where we can expect to see them in the future. This is just the first of several interviews so stick around to find out more about the EEPA 2016 winners in the coming weeks!

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We first heard about the national competition from the Swedish Agency for Economical and Regional Growth, Tillväxtverket. They called us and advised us to compete seeing as we were already competing for the ‘regional stars’, due to the results and lessons in the project Entrepreneurial West Hisingen.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

First of all I love to compete and write, I am also a project developer so I am used to working with deadlines and conducting analyses and I thought why not. It was also an honour to be asked to compete at European level, where you don’t always know what other people are doing, only that they are great projects.

How did you go about preparing your application?

Well we didn’t actually know that we were nominated until quite late, but once we did we conducted a workshop to discuss the application questions, look at different aspects of the project and consult our stakeholders to gather their opinions. Competing also gives you a chance to reflect, and we knew we had really good results but this reflective period was still very useful.

one_stop_future_shop_ali_tabrizi_jasmine_soufi_photo_by_anders_feldtstart-up-fasttrack-1-photo-by-jennie-olsson

What was it like to win the award?

It was so crazy! We actually thought that we had been forgotten at first because our movie was not presented when our category was announced and then we thought that perhaps there had been an administrative mistake and that we were not actually national winners. When the Grand Jury Prize was announced I had not even thought about that category as we had all been so focused on the original category we entered, as our achievements were being read out we started to think that someone might have stolen our ideas! Once we were announced as the winners everything was a bit chaotic, I had nothing prepared for when we went up on stage, but overall it was very surprising and exciting to win.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

The main difference we saw was definitely in terms of political impact. Upon our return, we began receiving several visits from different parties and politicians, including the minister of finance and her team, who came for some insight and points from our project after we were first nominated. This increased political interest has led to us being more respected, and being invited to various city council groups which in turn has increased our local impact and overall our role in national political development.

Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?

Winning this prize has helped us build our credibility and earned the respect of those around us in various circles. We are slightly unconventional in Swedish terms, but people now take notice of us and trust our opinions and views. Being winners has given us room to manoeuvre and the lasting impact will be that we can now stand up for and defend that room. This is important as we already have launched a new entrepreneurial project in Gothenburg – the EU-project One Stop Future Shop.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

I think that entering EEPA gives you a chance to reflect on what you have done with your project, which is work worth doing and not something we get much of an opportunity to do. You can’t always focus on what you did well yesterday, but the analysis is important and it gives you a chance to make your learning journey visible so that others can learn from it. You should not be scared to point out things that you learnt from and definitely take help from others, don’t do it all on your own. In our case we asked for the opinions of our stakeholders and learnt a lot from them during this fun and honouring process.

one-stop-future-shop-project-managers_mohamed_ben_abdelhamid_daniela_olmunger_majid_fard_photo_by_jennie_olsson

What are your plans for the future?

Currently we are working on One Stop Future Shop, which is based on the learnings and results from Entrepreneurial West Hisingen. In this project we are already seeing substantial results. This has a lot to do with the experiences from the previous project where we have been able to sort out what the needs are and how to contribute to making a more entrepreneurial region. In the future we hope to contribute to local growth and the creation of local companies, as well as motivate people to see that they can do anything they want to in life. Future plans depend on a lot of things, I have a lot of ideas, but maybe some of them are too innovative!

Watch the EEPA 2016 Grand Jury Prize Winner video here.

EEPA – The winners of the 2016 edition

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The SME Assembly 2016 may be over, but the conversation continues! Today is an opportunity for us to present to you the European Enterprise Promotion Awards winners from the 2016 edition. You met them here on the blog when they were shortlisted, but here is an overview of the projects that came out on top…


The
Category 1- Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, the winner was Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat (Lyon City of Entrepreneurship) from France. This initiative is a network of 46 organisations and 200 experts from across the region, working to promote the entrepreneurial spirit more widely, increase the number of businesses created and improve the robustness of new businesses. Each year, the network provides support to between 10,000 and 12,000 businesses and entrepreneurs, with 17 “access points” providing assistance, information and guidance. Experts provide support on the creation, takeover and handover of businesses and on aspects including how to grow or fund a business, start up and training.

In Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, the prize went to Enterprise Educators Academe from the United Kingdom. This project has created the world’s first internal, accredited, enterprise educator training programme. The training and support of over 600 staff of all disciplines to embed enterprise skills across the university curriculum has been at the heart of the programme. In the first two years alone 21 000 students were reached and over 2 000 freelance businesses created. Business and public sector projects projects benefited from student support resulting in an economic impact valued at over EUR 4.4 million (GBP £4 million).

In Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment, the category winner was Portuguese project Leader SME programme. This entry annually rewards SMEs with the best financial performance and risk levels, as viewed by IAPMEI and Turismo de Portugal. The award offers public recognition of their successful growth strategies and competitive leadership, and winners benefit from more favourable conditions for accessing finance and other specialised business management support. In just eight years, the number of companies recognised has more than doubled from around 3 000 in 2008 to approximately 7 300 in 2015!


In
Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business, it was Human Security Finland that came away the winner. This entry is a national international development and crisis management business network. It assists with the building of partnerships between Finnish companies and experts aimed at assisting developing countries and crisis-hit regions with solutions to support sustainable development. The network combines business, education and research for human security. 100 organisations are now involved in the concept known as ‘crisis business’, which is based on commercialising human security expertise.


In
Category 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency, the Lime Trees & Honey Bees for Sustainable Development of the Danube Microregion project from Serbia took the category prize. It strengthens the competitiveness of beekeeping in the Fruška Gora region and motivates young people to start beekeeping businesses. The project aims to increase the market share of Fruška Gora lime honey by investing in human resources and skills development, improved knowledge through scientific research, education and the introduction of new technologies. In addition, it ran a high-profile promotional campaign to raise public interest and created a marketing plan that changed the ad hoc approach of 8 beekeeper associations to a value-added, branded product, with export potential.  


In
Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Dutch project The Rotterdam Business Case (De Rotterdamse Zaak), a work training company where students in higher vocational education and experienced business coaches help support entrepreneurs to improve their business practices and entrepreneurial skills, was the Jury’s winning choice. The project focuses on entrepreneurs who operate below the poverty line and are not financially able to find a solution to their problems. More than 600 entrepreneurs have already been helped through the combined efforts of experienced senior coaches, who act as a sounding board for entrepreneurs, and junior coaches who offer more practical support.


Finally, the Grand Jury Prize, which commends the entry that the Jury considers to be ‘the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe’, was awarded to Entrepreneurial West Hisingen from Sweden! Originally a competitor in Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, this project supports the city district’s reputation as a hub of opportunities and entrepreneurship. It covers three projects: Entrepreneurship in education, Start your business, and Develop your business, which provide different styles of support to various groups ranging from schoolchildren, all the way to seasoned business people. 

Where are they now? Catching up with past EEPA winners

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2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In this new feature, we catch up with former EEPA honourees who’ve gone on to do great things since winning the award.

This week, Agnes Vida from the award-winning Gazdagmami Kft in Hungary reflects on the impact of winning the Grand Jury Prize two years on…

Agnes Vida, Gazdagmami Kft

Name Agnes Vida
Organisation Gazdagmami Kft
Country Hungary
Website www.gazdagmami.hu
Award won Grand Jury Prize
Year 2014

agnes VidaWhat was it like to win the award?

It was a fantastic feeling. When I started this project, not many people believed that a one-person small business in Hungary could achieve the kind of change that my company has achieved.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

We received a lots of press coverage in Hungary and in other European countries. The major Hungarian magazines and television shows started to cover our activities, so more and more people are looking to us.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers?

We’ve had many congratulations and acknowledgments. But what I’m most proud of is that a lot of our old customers who have started their own businesses with our help also thanked us.

What has been the long-term impact?

The number of participants in our free monthly presentations has doubled and all of our courses are running to full houses. Previously, people were sceptical about starting their own business, but now they’re more open to the topic, and trust us more. We have more connections in Hungary and throughout Europe, and are working on more new projects with other organisations.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

I wanted to showcase our project and results at a national level.

How did you go about preparing your application and making it award winning?

I collated all our activities and achievements from the past few years.

What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

It’s a great experience to participate in such a contest that is measured at both the national and European level. I loved the atmosphere of the event in Naples and the presentations were very helpful. But I also wish to point out that another great aspect of the competition is that the ideas of all entrants are shared in a common database, where they can help the work of organisations in other countries through the sharing of good practice. If you complete the application form and share your ideas and the results of work, you help others to promote enterprise.

To find out more about Gazdagmami, visit the website or see the video.

Where are they now?

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The winners of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are shining examples of the promotion of entrepreneurship.

Brandiko

This month, we spoke to the 2014 winner in the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills winner, Ivaylo Grancharov, from Brandiko – Training in Building a Brand and Protecting it with a Community Trade Mark, which educates students on how to build a brand and register the brand as a Community Trade Mark.

Students establish training companies and are mentored on how to build and manage their own brand, market the brand and use it to increase sales. Pupils also learn about the importance of intellectual property protection. More than 1,700 students have completed the Brandiko programme.

1. What did you learn from your experience with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards?

First of all, EEPA is a great initiative and I hope it will continue to grow. The European Commission deserves to receive our gratitude for standing behind it and maintaining it. I would like to also thank everyone who is involved in making the Awards happen. It was a fantastic night!

The EEPA ceremony is a culmination of many months of preparation and anticipation. But it’s also the climax of many years of work. I call think of the EEPAs as the Oscars for SME policy in Europe. It is the most prestigious recognition a policy maker, or another public organisation can get in the EU. It’s amazing!

In my opinion, our advantage was that we connected Brandiko with the Community Trade Mark – a very important element in doing business in the Single Market that not many people take advantage of.

Overall, the lessons we learned included finding a universal problem to solve, finding a solution to it, working on it effectively and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand.

2. What did winning a European Enterprise Promotion Award at the 2014 SME Assembly in Naples mean to you?

After facing some challenges in 2013 and 2014, we decided to apply for the EEPAs. We were very excited to find out that Brandiko got a nomination and then when we received the category award for Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, we were suddenly media stars.

Euronews’ Business Planet also did a fantastic piece on Brandiko and we are very grateful for the support of the presenter, Serge Rombi. After all of this hard work, we saw the pay off in the form of great media coverage.

We now feel an even bigger responsibility to make Brandiko a continued success. Now, we have to deliver even more and should be followed by many other successful projects.

Accepting the award was a moment of a lifetime. And as I said at the ceremony – “Napoli, sempre nei nostri cuori!”

3. How has your organisation grown since winning the Grand Jury Prize?

Brandiko is now working with a new partner who are helping us reach a new system of entrepreneurial education at schools in Bulgaria.

We are now in our fifth season of Brandiko and this year we expect to see more than 60 training companies join Brandiko – a new record for us.

4. What advice can you give to other organisations wanting to take part in the Awards?

I would recommend that applicants remember that you can be successful with the EEPAs. Do not let challenges get in the way! It is also important to be creative and never set a limit on success. It is also important to be clear in your application and demonstrate the value of the project through statistics.

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