We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ winner Portugal Bike Value from Portugal. Check it out, if you haven’t read it yet.
This week we travel to Germany to meet with Greentech.Ruhr, winner in the ‘Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency’ category. Greentech.Ruhr is an environmental management network in the Ruhr region that aims to strengthen the region’s environmental economy, thereby supporting its transition from a mining region to a diversified economy with a high degree of specialisation in tackling ecological challenges. Increased cooperation between all players in the Ruhr environmental economy is needed to deal with growing environmental protection challenges. Greentech.Ruhr facilitates this by bringing together local companies, educational and research institutions, and public bodies to promote the Ruhr’s innovative potential in the field of environmental economics.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
We were contacted directly by RKW (Rationalisierungs- und Innovationszentrum der Deutschen Wirtschaft – Rationalisation and Innovation Centre of the German Economy), the coordinator of the national competition in Germany. They explained that our project would fit perfectly into the category ‘Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency’. Public awareness is essential for our Project, so we were glad to get this opportunity.
How did you prepare your application?
The application process was less effort than we thought. Presenting our project to new partners and reporting on our work to our current partners is part of our day-to-day business. Therefore, it was easy to put this down in the application. Greentech.Ruhr has been operational for four years already, so we already had enough results and testimonials to show what we do and explain about our work. We remained in close contact with RKW and were able to clarify all questions very quickly.
What was it like to win the award?
It was very exciting going through the whole process. First the recognition of being the national winner, then the good news of being shortlisted and then finally the big moment when Bastian Coes opened the envelope and announced the winner. It is a great honour for us, and very motivating for everybody involved in the project. Sure, we were a bit disappointed that, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the SME Assembly 2020 had to be a virtual event and our award-celebration was a home-office party but it was still an incredible honour to be named an EEPA 2020 winner.
How did winning the award impact your work?
The award gave our project a lot of positive public attention. We received many congratulations from our community. As a network for the environmental economy, it is very important for us to be known. Not only in our region but also all over the world. The EEPA will help us to enlarge our European network significantly. By winning the EEPA, we have provided further proof that the idea of a greentech network is worth sustaining and this will help us to acquire financial support later on.
Why should others enter EEPA? What advice would you give them?
Taking part in the competition and writing the application helps you to reflect on your project and your work. So, even if you don’t win, the time invested is not wasted. The positive effect when winning the award may differ from project to project, but it certainly brings a lot of attention and contacts. We definitely recommend taking part in EEPA 2021.
What are your plans for the future?
We are definitely striving to expand the network. We will further expand Greentech.Ruhr and will constantly improve our offers for our partners. With this in mind, we will intensify our collaboration in the environmental economy in our region to be independent from funding, with the support of our strong partners.
Congratulations to Greentech.Ruhr on your win! Don’t forget to watch and share their winning moment and keep up with their work and their greentech network on their website.
Don’t forget you can also catch up with SME Assembly 2020 highlights:
Today during the yearly SME Assembly, the most important event for small and medium enterprises in Europe, the European Commission announced the winners of the 2020 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The initiative rewards entities promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses at national, regional and local level.
The 2020 winners are as follows:
The Grand Jury Prize: France: Le PORTAIL DU REBOND
CATEGORY 1 – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Denmark: Open Entrepreneurship
CATEGORY 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills
Estonia: Mobile Workshops, Merkuur OY
CATEGORY 3 – Improving the Business Environment
CATEGORY 4 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Portugal: Portugal Bike Value
CATEGORY 5 – Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency
CATEGORY 6 – Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Netherlands: Social Enterprise NL
Congratulations to our class of 2020! Re-live their winning moments by watching their videos and stay tuned for the winner testimonials.
We are almost at the end of our shortlist introductions and getting closer to this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) finals! Make sure to tune into the finals ceremony during the SME Assembly 2020 and follow #SMEAssembly2020 to find out who will be the 2020 winners of the EEPA competition.
Today we are meeting the shortlisted projects competing in Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency. Our 2020 finalists come from Germany, Malta and Portugal. These projects all have strong sustainability aspects that stood out to this year’s EEPA Jury including actions to strengthen regional environmental economies, boosting energy efficiency amongst businesses on a national level and improving the social responsibility and environmental sustainability of the national hotel industry.
Greentech.Ruhr is an environmental management network in the Ruhr region that aims to strengthen the region’s environmental economy, thereby supporting its transition from a mining region to a diversified economy with a high degree of specialisation in tackling ecological challenges. Increased cooperation between all players in the Ruhr environmental economy is needed to deal with growing environmental protection challenges. Greentech.Ruhr facilitates this by bringing together local companies, educational and research institutions and public bodies to further promote the Ruhr’s innovative potential in the field of environmental economics.
Malta: MBB Energy Ecosystem
MBB Energy Ecosystem is the first comprehensive network of energy stakeholders and businesses of its type in Malta. The Ecosystem aims to boost energy efficiency among Maltese businesses through technical support, training, networking, and addressing financing gaps. It also allows for the dissemination of best practices, policy learning, and concrete action towards boosting energy efficiency in industry. The initiative has reached around 150 Maltese companies and will continue to expand its network and to offer continuous support.
Portugal: HOSPES by AHP – Digital Plataform
The HOSPES Programme is a corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability programme developed by the Portuguese Hospitality Association in cooperation with participating hotels. The programme supports hotels in achieving their social and environmental goals. It facilitates the donation of hotel goods to social and environmental support institutions. Over a period of just one month, more than 100 000 items were donated by over 100 hotels to field hospitals and support centres working with vulnerable members of the community. The programme also helps mitigate the environmental impact of hotel activity by reducing waste and supporting the circular economy.
Be sure to read about the EEPA 2020 Special Mentions and the finalists for Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, Improving the business environment and Supporting the internationalisation of business, 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.
Today on Promoting Enterprise we are delighted to introduce one of the key players in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), a national coordinator! National coordinators are responsible for promoting and driving applications for the national EEPA competitions. They offer assistance to applicants, ensure that they understand what is expected of them and reach out to organisations and projects that could be eligible to apply. In addition they are in charge of the national selection process, including finding the national jury, bringing them together and ultimately facilitating the final national winner choices.
Today’s interview is with German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer who gave us an insight into what it’s like to coordinate a national competition, her experiences in the role and how she has adapted EEPA to run during COVID-19.
How long have you been the EEPA national coordinator for Germany?
I started as the EEPA national coordinator for Germany in the spring of 2015, shortly after the national jury meeting. That year the selected national winner was ‘Enterability’, which went on to become the 2015 winner in the ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ category.
What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?
One thing that I love as an EEPA National Coordinator is that I get to learn from outstanding projects and initiatives at both national and European level, and I get to do this every year! Related to that – one of the most important things I’ve adopted is the motto “Do good and talk about it!” This describes EEPA and the initiatives it recognises perfectly. If you have a great initiative and you are making a difference, make sure to talk about it!
What was different about organising this year’s national competition? What changes did you have to implement?
We launched our German EEPA campaign at the end of February and searched for applicants until 9 April. Because of the coronavirus and its economic consequences (both long- and short-term) the supporting institutions that we work with to search for EEPA applicants were very busy and facing various challenges. As such, it was not easy to reach potential EEPA participants and we took special care with our communications activities and modified them where necessary. In the end, we were very lucky to receive 22 great German entries, and I thank all of them for having found the time to participate in this year’s competition.
Another thing that was different was that we held our national jury meeting in May via video conferencing rather than in person, as we usually do. That was an interesting experience, but it required more preparation, especially from the jury members. I was very grateful for our experienced national expert jury and for the fact that each jury member was very well prepared.
You have chosen your two national winners, what made them stand out from the other applications?
We chose “Start-up BW Local” and “Greentech.Ruhr” as our national winners and have put them forward to represent Germany at the European level.
“Start-up BW Local” focuses on one of the most important base elements in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem: municipalities. It rewards the most founder-friendly concepts from municipalities – assessed by founders – and supports them with implementing their concepts. I think the direct and indirect impact on the local entrepreneurial culture could be immense.
“Greentech.Ruhr” is outstanding because the project team has built up a regional green economy network consisting of 175 partners, and covers all industries of the environmental economy. Furthermore, they address an important challenge by supporting the local transformation process from mainly coal and steel industries to a diversified and ecologically-responsible economy, while also contributing to achieving the aims of the European Green Deal.
What are you most excited for in the EEPA 2020 competition?
Like every year, I am very excited to see the national winners and to see which projects will win. Of course, I am especially looking forward to seeing how the German projects will do in the competition.
However, this year I am most excited to see how we will celebrate the EEPA winners and national winner projects at the SME Assembly in November, given the current situation. I hope for the best, in all participating countries! Now and in post-crisis times, it will be even more important to show best practice in promoting enterprises across European countries, and continuing doing so even more than before.
The EEPA competitions are going ahead as usual and national coordinators and juries are compiling their strongest national projects and making the difficult decision about who should compete at European level.
This year in Germany, the expert jury selected their national EEPA winners via a video jury meeting, during which they assessed the 22 applications received by national EEPA Coordinator Juliane Kummer at RKW Kompetenzzentrum.
After two selection rounds the experienced national jury selected the following projects to represent Germany at this year’s European competition:
“Start-up BW Local” is a federal competition that supports and honours the most founder-friendly concepts from municipalities. The concepts are assessed by founders and the winners receive a certificate and financial support to realise their concepts. Start-up BW local will be competing in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.
Greentech.Ruhr is a network consisting of 165 enterprises (mainly SMEs), research and educational facilities and other institutional partners. The network supports the regional environmental economy and the transformation process from mainly coal and steel industry to a more diversified economy with a particular focus on ecological solutions. Greentech.Ruhr will be competing in Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.
Congratulations to these two outstanding projects and good luck for the European competition!
More about EEPA
The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.