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COVID Stories – Hacking for health

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Here on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we have been bringing you stories from the pandemic, with a particular focus on news and information from which you, our Promoting Enterprise community, can benefit most.

Previous examples have included features on the E-health at home COVID-19 initiative in the Netherlands, which supports healthcare providers in implementing e-health applications to ensure continuity of care, or on Catherine Lorent, a Belgian seamstress who started with acts of solidarity and then innovated and received national aid to keep her business going. In this latest instalment we take a look at two initiatives – one in Greece and one in Turkey – that target the development of applications and solutions to help businesses and people weather the coronavirus storm.

The Antivirus Crowdhackathon in Greece and the Coronathon Türkiye Initiative both have in common the fact that they aim to generate ideas and solutions that will help entrepreneurs to tackle problems related to COVID-19 and to continue to thrive in spite of the restrictions put in place to halt the spread of the pandemic.

Antivirus Crowdhackathon

Antivirus Crowdhackathon is a remote innovation marathon targeting the development of applications to tackle the pandemic. The first of its kind in Greece, the hackathon promotes a new remote approach to innovation through the use of new technologies in order to contribute to solutions that address the impact of the pandemic. In this way, the initiative hopes to generate new innovative applications within health, business, education and the cultural sector, to help the Greek business and social ecosystems to adapt in an increasingly digital era.

The first cycle of the innovation marathon was held on April 2-5, 2020 and generated ideas for a home health recording platform that identifies the most serious cases and automatically informs medical staff, along with a community awareness platform dedicated to collecting, exchanging and statistically analysing information from citizens about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Meanwhile, solutions from the second cycle, on 21-24 May, included a community-driven ordering and delivery platform from grocery stores aimed at the elderly, among other solutions.

Read more about the innovation marathon here.

Coronathon Türkiye Initiative

At a time of great uncertainty, the main goal of the Coronathon Türkiye Initiative is to help entrepreneurs tackle problems related to COVID-19 and its spread. Through its online platform, the initiative attracts entrepreneurs with innovative business models and social projects and helps them access resources and develop their ideas. The initiative provides an online forum where business models and social projects can access assets such as raw materials, human resources, mentoring and investment support.

All of this is done online, so the safety of all parties involved is ensured. The initiative also raises awareness of the problems caused by COVID-19 and holds online hackathons to address these problems. Coronathon Türkiye also supports other organisations and intuitions working on COVID-19 solutions through announcements, experience and resource sharing, and providing direct support through webinars and mentoring.

Read more about the initiative here.

Be sure to come back to the News Portal, and follow us on Twitter & Facebook to stay up to date with the latest measures and new support granted under the Commission Temporary Framework or to learn about other initiatives in response to COVID-19.

EEPA 2020 Shortlist – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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The time has come to meet each project on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2020 shortlist! Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to each project that has been carefully evaluated and selected by our EEPA 2020 jury.

Today we are meeting the projects competing in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit. This year our finalists come from France, Greece and Denmark, and their projects focus on providing youth with transferable entrepreneurial skills, creating a national open entrepreneurial ecosystem with state-of-the-art infrastructure in exponential technologies, and formalising collaboration between researchers, investors and private business, to increase the role of research in startup creation.

France: Atlantic Futures

The Atlantic Futures programme, developed by the Atlantic Cities association in 2018, is a transnational programme offering young people opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills at European level. Existing initiatives are combined with personalised and targeted support to help the programme participants build upon their ambitions, make their projects a reality, and to develop and nurture their talents. The scheme benefits young job-seekers by providing them with experience and transferable skills that they can take forward into their careers.

Greece: ‘Demokritos’: Innovation Ecosystem for Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Greek public research institution Demokritos transformed itself, with financing from the European Investment Bank, into a smart and autonomous open entrepreneurial ecosystem, with state-of-the-art infrastructure in exponential technologies. This dynamic innovation ecosystem houses numerous programmes and activities that are accessible to all innovative enterprises in the country, such as the Industrial Scholarships Programme, the ‘Lefkippos’ Technological Park and the AHEDD digital innovation hub. The institution’s interdisciplinary environment attracts international investment and research talent from all over the world.

Denmark: Open Entrepreneurship

The Open Entrepreneurship project works to formalise collaboration between researchers, investors and private business, with a view to improving and increasing the role of research in startup creation. By developing a new approach to the commercialisation of research, the project aims to make better use of existing research to fuel innovation, facilitate knowledge transfer to SMEs, and increase the number and quality of startups emerging from universities. To date, the project has led to the establishment of over 35 new companies and increased the knowledge surrounding the commercialisation of research amongst hundreds of students and researchers.

Be sure to read about the EEPA 2020 Special Mentions and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2020 finalists!

Want to watch the EEPA 2020 finals? Register for the SME Assembly 2020 and secure your place.

EEPA 2020 – Meet the European shortlist

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This year 185 National EEPA entries were submitted for consideration from 27 participating countries. The EEPA National Coordinators then selected 49 of these projects for the EEPA 2020 Jury to evaluate and compose the European shortlist.

The EEPA 2020 Jury met on Wednesday 9th September to discuss and make their final selections for this year’s European shortlist. With so many outstanding projects to choose from that demonstrated innovation, creativity and passion for supporting entrepreneurship, it was a difficult decision.

Congratulations to all of the selected finalists!

Category 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment

Category 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Category 5 – Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency

Category 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

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 is chosen by the EEPA 2020 European jury. The shortlisted nominees will then compete at the final awards ceremony, which recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

Make sure to come back to the News Portal every week to learn more about each of the shortlisted projects that will be competing in the EEPA 2020 finals.

Want to watch the EEPA 2020 finals? Register for the SME Assembly 2020 and secure your place.

EEPA 2020 National Winners – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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Time to meet some more EEPA national winners! Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”. This category recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial, managerial and employee skills.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills”!

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 National Winners – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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The National Coordinators have run their national competitions and submitted the best entries to the European jury to consider for the shortlist. But which projects are competing this year? What initiatives will the jury be judging?

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we would like to introduce the projects competing in “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”. This category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women.

Congratulations to the national winners of “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”!

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.

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 2020 – How to prepare your application

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There is still a chance to participate in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! Make sure that you submit your applications before your national deadline. Remember that each national deadline is different so check yours here.

What goes into an EEPA application? What makes your application stand out from all the others? Here on Promoting Enterprise the EEPA Class of 2019 have shared their advice for preparing an EEPA application and some top tips they used to make their applications stand out. Read through their advice below and don’t forget to apply!

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.

The application was prepared with the invaluable support of the local Ministry of Economy and Development, which provided us with all the necessary information, and followed closely the progress of our application. We also benefitted from and really appreciated the support of the TILOS project consortium partners that in collaboration with the committed employees of Tilos Municipality prepared a strong proposal.

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

Just before applying for EEPA, we had been requested to apply for the RegioStar Award, so we used that application as a base and updated it with more recent information and specific aspects relevant to EEPA. Overall the application process was very smooth, and the hardest part was actually getting the recommendation letter signed by the right person at the Swedish Agency of Innovation, Vinnova.

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

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

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

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

  • 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 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

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What goes into a successful EEPA project? How do these projects make it to the shortlist and go on to win their categories? This week we are back with another EEPA 2019 testimonial from the winner of Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency. In 2019 the TILOS project from Greece impressed the EEPA jury with their green energy project.

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

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

We were first informed about the national competition from the local Ministry of Economy and Development and more precisely from the General Secretariat for Industry. Since we believed that the project of Tilos was a good fit for the Green Markets and Resource Efficiency category, we decided to enter the competition which we thought could further support our efforts in advancing our island with regards to its energy transition.

How did you prepare your application?

The application was prepared with the invaluable support of the local Ministry of Economy and Development, which provided us with all the necessary information, and followed closely the progress of our application. We also benefitted from and really appreciated the support of the TILOS project consortium partners that in collaboration with the committed employees of Tilos Municipality prepared a strong proposal.

What was it like to win the award?

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. 

How did winning the award impact your work?

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.

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

The EEPA contest provides a unique platform for the promotion of entrepreneurship and especially SMEs. It is also an excellent opportunity to showcase the results of your work and agenda at the highest level, while getting to know the work of others in the field. Networking with policy makers, entrepreneurs, and experts from across the EU is a great way to accelerate the progress of your work, maximise your impact and start work towards replicating your results in other European markets of interest.

What are your plans for the future?

We aim to continue our vision of sustainable development and clean energy autonomy. Our next steps will be to deepen renewable energy integration on the island in collaboration with local prosumers and through the gradual introduction of Green Electromobility.

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:

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

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

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

TILOS, Greece

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

Green PAC iLab, Netherlands

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

KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership), Sweden

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

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

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

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

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