We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Improving the Business Environment’ winner BIND 4.0 from the Basque Country. Check it out, if you haven’t read it yet.
This time we take a bike ride to Portugal to meet with Portugal Bike Value, winner in the ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ category. Portugal Bike Value is working to support and promote the potential of the Portuguese bicycle industry, establishing it as a player in the European supply chain. It is also promoting Portugal as a destination for foreign investment in the area of soft mobility. The initiative’s efforts saw exports to more than 50 destinations increase from EUR 226 million in 2011 to EUR 402 million in 2019. By investing in cleaner technologies that have a reduced environmental footprint, Portugal Bike Value is also helping to support the European Green Deal.
How did you hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
The first information we received was from AICEP, the Portuguese agency for investment and foreign trade. Then we looked for more details on the internet, where we received a lot of helpful information. The Commission website and News Portal were very informative and from the data we collected, we understood that Portugal Bike Value had a good chance of doing well.
How did you prepare your participation?
Preparations for participation were conducted almost completely internally, within the National Association of Two Wheel Industries (ABIMOTA), using two external consultants who have been involved in the Portugal Bike Value project from the very beginning. This means that it was quite easy to prepare for our EEPA participation.
What was it like to win the award?
First, it was a big surprise. Our job is to work on behalf of our associates, promoting the hardware and furniture sectors and, of course, two wheels and smooth mobility. Until that moment, we had no experience of participating in a contest like this. Later it made us think about the real value of Portugal Bike Value. After winning a prize like this, we could better understand the real value of our project.
How did winning the award impact your work?
First of all, as I said, it gave us a real perspective on the value of the project. Then, this victory gave us a major boost in terms of communication, both in Portugal and abroad. The EEPA awards are highly visible and boost the image of the participants.
Why should others join the EEPA? What advice would you give them?
In our experience, the best advice is – participate. As long as you have a solid, well-developed project, you can only win. The gains that you will receive in terms of experience and contacts with other projects are overwhelming. If you can reach the final, you will gain additional visibility and in the event of victory, then the return is massive.
What are your plans for the future?
The Portugal Bike Value project is concluding its cycle and, therefore, we are developing a new project, where we seek to deepen and build on the experience we have gained and, if possible, do even better.
Congratulations to Portugal Bike Value! Re-live their winning moment and make sure to keep up with their work and activities.
You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:
EEPA 2018 Testimonial: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab – ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ Winner 2018
It is time to discover another story and the secrets behind a prizewinning project from the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2018. The EEPA aim to find, promote and boost projects from across Europe that are working to strengthen and improve the European enterprise ecosystem across a number of categories. Today we travel to Portugal to meet the 2018 winner of the “Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency” category. The “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” project was the first to win in this category after it was temporarily suspended in 2017.
The “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” tests sustainable and innovative solutions, products and services to foster a local carbon market in an industrial coastal municipality. Local residents and businesses are encouraged to develop and propose projects, which are then implemented and made available for municipal use. The local carbon market uses CO2 emissions credits gained through the adoption of sustainable solutions such as bike sharing, sustainable lighting or artificial intelligence applied to building management. The credits can be exchanged for goods and green services and are an incentive for sustainability in the municipality, which previously had a high carbon footprint.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
The Municipality of Matosinhos was contacted by CEiiA – Centre for Engineering and Product Development, and jointly we decided to apply to the EEPA 2018 with the project “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” due to the creative and innovative characteristics of the initiative. The information about the national competition was provided by IAPMEI by e-mail and through their website and social networks.
How did you prepare your application?
The application was prepared in collaboration between the Municipality of Matosinhos and CEiiA, with contributions from other project partners. IAPMEI gave us a lot of strong support throughout the process.
What was it like to win the award?
It was a great honour to win this award. It is perfectly aligned with our strategy to transform Matosinhos into an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive city. Winning is also a recognition of the work the Municipality of Matosinhos is doing to benefit its companies, organisations and citizens.
How did winning the award impact your work?
The European award was very important for both national and international visibility to the project. This recognition is a relevant tool to promote the attractiveness of the city of Matosinhos for talents, tourists and investments. Moreover, the “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” focused on the development and testing of low-carbon solutions in a specific area of the city, with the final objective being the replication of these solutions in other parts of the territory, and even exporting them to other cities and regions in Portugal and abroad. The award represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase this replication potential.
Why should others enter EEPA 2019? What advice would you give them?
Participation in EEPA is a good opportunity to share experience and good practices with other European organisations, and to become aware of innovative and creative initiatives that are being implemented in Europe.
What are your plans for the future?
The “Carbon-zero Living Lab Matosinhos” is part of an integrated strategy to promote the decarbonisation of the municipality. We will continue the development of this project, enlarging its scope in terms of partners, solutions to be tested and users.
Read about Matosinhos in the EEPA 2018 compendium and keep coming back to the News Portal for further EEPA updates!
On 26 September 2018 in Vila Nova de Gaia, IAPMEI, the Portuguese coordination organisation for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Portugal, announced their national winners with a national ceremony.
For this session, organised under the European SME Week umbrella, IAPMEI invited project representatives from all EEPA 2018 national projects, the Jury members, entrepreneurs of the StartUP Voucher and StartUP Visa programs, incubators of the Incubators National Network, the Mentors National Network, national and local stakeholders of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and entities of the Ministry for Economy framework, among others. IAPMEI also disseminated a public invitation via an advertisement in “Jornal de Notícias”, a daily and national newspaper and through the IAPMEI website and social networks.
The event, attended by over 150 participants with a large representation of EEPA candidates, was chaired by Nuno Mangas, the President of the Board of IAPMEI the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation. Nuno Mangas, thanked all those who submitted projects and highlighted the large number of applications received, 82 in total, a European record. Other notable attendees included the Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral and the Secretary the State for Industry, Ana Lehmann.
The event also included a panel titled “To be entrepreneur”, with testimonials from StartUP Voucher and StarUP Visa entrepreneurs; Francisco Duarte, elected by public vote as the best of Ideas from Europe 2017 competition and a representative of “Douro Boys”, an EEPA awarded project, also participated in this panel.
Have a look at the event photo gallery and don’t forget to follow the shortlisted Portuguese project Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, as they compete for a European title at the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz.
EEPA continues and so does the work of all of the National Coordinators. Today on Promoting Enterprise we are joined by Portuguese coordinator Helena Moura, who has been involved with EEPA since the inception of the scheme in 2005. Continue reading to learn from her experiences and to find out what goes into the Portuguese EEPA campaign.
How have you been preparing EEPA 2018 so far?
IAPMEI, the Portuguese body responsible for EEPA coordination, did a preliminary benchmark comparing the actions carried out during the previous EEPA editions versus related results. This allowed us to define an integrated action plan based on:
- a core message combining “motivation” with the benefits of participation in EEPA, an EU initiative carried out in more than 30 countries
- sharing information on awarded projects
- personalised mailing, by post, from the President of IAPMEI addressed to a wide range of entities (over 800), including ministries, and a personalised email to over 1 300 other entities
- strengthening the collaboration with national and regional stakeholders
- highlighting EEPA on the IAPMEI website and on the portal of the Portuguese Enterprise Europe Network consortium
- reinforcing the dissemination of EEPA material via IAPMEI social networks and newsletters
- researching online and through media for eligible initiatives
This was combined with a regular assessment so as to allow for a reformulation of the action plan where needed.
What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?
Based on experience, my top 3 pieces of advice would be to do your research, establish close cooperation with stakeholders and create those direct contacts and finally, put in the hard work! Several of the Portuguese projects awarded in previous editions, including on EU level, come from research carried out by IAPMEI. Once you have identified the potential candidate, it is also very important to identify the right person to be your contact. This will allow to better introduce the EEPA scheme, motivate them to participate and to give all the necessary support and follow-up.
IAPMEI developed a committed task force which is dedicated to motivating participants and supporting the preparation of entries, something which has definitely been s key for reaching out to potential applicants.
What will be the main aspects of your EEPA 2018 campaign?
For the current campaign IAPMEI has widened the scope of the target audience, and enlarged the dedicated task force for direct contacting of potential applicants. There has also been additional training for the task force members, so as to have more assertive and effective communication with potential applicants.
What advice would you give to projects applying in the newly re-instated category ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’?
It is a challenging category, but not impossible to apply for! Portugal was awarded in this category in the first year, and the winner was found through careful IAPMEI research. My advice would be to take the time to identify and contact the entities with the potential to apply for this category, and most importantly don’t give up!
What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?
Having worked in EEPA from the very beginning (2005), I would say that it is a challenge to promote enterprises and entrepreneurship and, mostly, to encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs. However, despite the difficulties the visibility and impact that the projects and related promoters achieve with EEPA participation is important and should definitely be highlighted when recruiting potential projects. When you are promoting the EEPA think about what opportunities could come as a result of participation, and share that with your potential applicants.
Since 2006, Portugal has achieved more than 14% of the total of the EEPA national entries, which demonstrates the commitment of the Portuguese promoters participating in the initiative. These results are in line with the high entrepreneurship performance in Portugal and demonstrate the dynamism and effort that the country has been carrying out to promote the business activity in the Europe.
Any other National Coordinator experiences that you would like to share?
I have witnessed the enormous commitment from all the involved parties, from the huge dissemination carried out by the European Commission and, at national level by IAPMEI, the great commitment of the President of IAPMEI and of course that of the National Jury. Without their commitment and dedication, the EEPA would not be what they are in Portugal today. We are also lucky enough to be able to organise a national ceremony with the participation of a member of government, and featuring the testimonials of previously awarded Portuguese projects.
Interested in what goes on behind the scenes of EEPA? Read the latest national coordinator interview here with Estonian coordinator Kaupo Sempelson and keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for all the latest EEPA news.
The Portuguese national awards ceremony for the 11th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017 (EEPA) took place on 21 September 2017, in Lisbon. The two national winners were announced and all of the projects that submitted their hard work to the national competition were recognised for their efforts. The ceremony was chaired by Jorge Marques dos Santos, the President of the Board of IAPMEI the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation and SME Envoy, took place.
Since 2006, more than 3700 projects in the 31 countries have been submitted in the national competitions, with Portugal contributing more than 14% of total participating projects. The ceremony was attended by 80 participants, with a large representation of EEPA candidates, a representative of the European Commission Representation in Portugal and other stakeholders. The Secretary of State for Industry and the Ministry of Economy Ana Lehmann, also attended the ceremony.
Congratulations to this year’s Portuguese national winners!
MADEIRA VINTNERS (Category 4 – Supporting the internationalisation of business) and MUNDAR: Change your world – young entrepreneurship contest (Category 5 – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship).
Who will make it onto the EEPA 2017 shortlist? Find out later this week right here on Promoting Enterprise!
Who else will be competing for a place on the European shortlist for EEPA 2017? Time to find out about the European projects competing in Category 3: Improving the business environment! Don’t forget to have a look at the national winners in Category 1 and Category 2.
Category 3 recognises initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth, simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses. In 2016 the prize was won by the Leader SME programme from Portugal for their activities to support national SMEs.
This year there are 8 projects competing for a European title in this category. Congratulations to all the national winners and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!
Austria: Innovation to Company
Czech Republic: Třebíč is lively
Ireland: Mayo Ideas Lab
Slovenia: Podjetno v prihodnost
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!”
- Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat, Category 1 Winner 2016
- “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!”
- PME Leader, Category 3 Winner 2016
- “Focus your attention on strategy and results achieved.”
- City of Torino, Category 3 Winner 2012
- “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.”
- Lime Trees and Honey Bees, Category 5 Winner 2016
- “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.”
- Rotterdam Business Case, Category 6 Winner 2016
- “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.”
- Entrepreneurial West Hisingen, Grand Jury Prize Winner 2016
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!
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can be sources of employment and innovation in a national economy, yet conditions are not always favourable when these enterprises compete against larger competitors. The winner of Category 3 (Improving the Business Environment) at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016, strives to create these conditions and an SME supportive environment. The Leader SME programme is a mechanism to qualify enterprises that aims to highlight the merits of the most successful national SMEs by creating conditions to strengthen their market reputation and fast-track access to funding. The goal is to promote growth strategies and consolidate their competitiveness.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
We first heard about the competition through several public and private entities that promote and encourage participation in the competition throughout Portugal, and applied using our public/private partnership. We felt that our project was a good and strong example of what EEPA represents. Our results from previous years were also very successful, so we thought that our project had good replication potential and could serve as a European example.
How did you go about preparing your application?
The preparation of an EEPA application is quite “heavy” in terms of the work involved. We did not prepare something special for EEPA, but instead created a working group for the preparation of the application as soon as the period of application was announced.
What was it like to win the award?
It was a surprise, considering the quality of other applications. However, we felt that we had a very good chance in this competition, since we were strongly convinced of the quality of our application. Just being included in the shortlist gave as a sense of achievement! Winning the competition was very important to us, and it was an extraordinary feeling: a reward for the work done, and concrete proof that we are on the right track.
How did winning the award immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?
Winning the award helped us not only externally, the increased visibility helped with publicity and will also help us in the future, but also internally. Internally the win helped to solidify our relationships with partners and make us a stronger network. It also resulted in overall better general knowledge of the objectives and better understanding of the technicalities of the project. The response was great and made us feel like we have an increased sense of responsibility, now we just have to maintain and increase the impact of the project. Whilst it was fantastic to represent our project, it was also very satisfying to be able to represent Portugal.
Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?
Yes. Considering the results of the initiative, and the relevance of the award, we think that the partners will be able to approach companies more easily in order to tighten the network links and increase the impact of the SME Leader initiative.
Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?
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! The preparation for EEPA stimulates evaluation, strengthens partnership, and gives visibility, all of which can only help strengthen your project.
What are your plans for the future?
Our project has the potential to increase the level and scope of impact on the companies, through a tightening of the network. We hope to raise awareness and increase knowledge about the companies considered to be SME Leaders, and disseminate their best practices to help others achieve the same leader status. Our whole project is about helping SMEs get access to finance, whether it be through creating the right conditions or helping them comply with requisites, in terms of the future we want to keep doing just that and increase the number of enterprises that we help and who can benefit.
The Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI) held a public event in Lisbon on September 8 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The Portuguese national EEPA winners for 2016, selected from 50 top-quality national applications, were also announced at the event.
From left to right side, Jury member, Deputy of the President of Republic, Awarded and the Minister for Economy
The event, which was chaired by IAPMEI President Miguel Cruz, was attended by 150 participants, including representatives from the EEPA candidates, a deputy of the president of the Portuguese Republic, a member of the European Commission Representation in Portugal and other stakeholders. Portuguese Economy Minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral and Secretary the State for Industry João Vasconcelos also attended this session, highlighting the importance for Portugal of the international recognition provided by EEPA and its role in promoting entrepreneurship in Portugal.
Speaking at the event, Miguel Cruz noted that by joining this European Commission initiative, IAPMEI aimed at sharing good practices as drivers of entrepreneurial activity and competitiveness. The IAPMEI president said that, bearing in mind that Portugal was the country that received more applications at the national level in the current edition, most of them of high quality, these results were in line with the high performance of entrepreneurship in Portugal. He added that the results demonstrated a mobilising capacity and the ability to foster a scale effect that was key in helping to create a more competitive country.
IAPMEI welcomed participants with a video on “Innovation, entrepreneurship, development with a view to creating more jobs, better quality of life, more competitiveness, more growth: these are the objectives of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards”:
This video includes testimonials from representatives of Portuguese projects that have been awarded at EU level:
Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship (2015): This award was very important for Lisbon Micro-Entrepreneurship, providing huge national and international visibility. It has allowed new partnerships for development. I strongly recommend applying for the EEPA. Margarida Figueiredo and Maribel Ferreira.
AMS – Thinking Ahead (2014): We managed to make a society which became more cost effective in the Iberian Peninsula. The greatest impact was visibility. Paulo Santos.
FAZ – Ideas of Portuguese Origin (2014): The award gave us more visibility, more contacts with national and international enterprises and replicability, namely with Greece. We invite all the companies and organisations that believe in their work to apply for EEPA. Luis Jerónimo.
The sexiest industry in Europe (2013): It is giving results and this for us is highly rewarding. Paulo Gonçalves.
Douro Boys (2012): It was very important that the Douro Boys project was awarded very high visibility not achieved up to that point. Francisco Olazabal.
On the spot Firm (2007): It is worth mentioning the effort that was made to submit the application in order to give visibility at internal and external levels to good quality projects, as it was with On the spot Firm. Maria Manuel Leitão Marques.
The Jury Members and candidates
Many countries held national Awards ceremonies to celebrate their national entries, below is an example from Portugal.
The President of the Board of IAPMEI, Professor Miguel Cruz, chaired a Ceremony to announce the 44 national applications in Portugal in July.
The session aimed to:
- Recognise and thank the commitment of all candidates
- Promote the visibility of the entries and projects, each candidate also received a participation certificate.
- Announce and reward the best projects by category and the runners up.
- Promote and share good practice and promote the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.
By joining this European Commission initiative, IAPMEI aims to promote and share “good practice”. It also aims to widen the visibility of initiatives that work as drivers of entrepreneurial activity in a range of ways, demonstrating the capacity and potential which is key in helping Portugal to become a more competitive country, IAPMEI’s President said.
Miguel Cruz added that due to the investment and growth challenges faced, a growth must rely on the diversification and sophistication of products and services, on markets’ diversification and on a strong trademark.
The session was attended by more than 90 participants, with a large representation of EEPA candidates, and to whom certificates of participation in the “EEPA 2015” were issued.
IAPMEI has been the National Coordinator for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards since its first edition (2006). Thanks to an integrated action plan, a good cooperation with stakeholders and a pro-active demand, IAPMEI succeeds in involving the participation of SMEs and stakeholders committed to sharing good practices resulting in higher levels of competitiveness and entrepreneurship. Throughout the nine editions of the EEPA, IAPMEI has distinguished approximately one hundred projects in Portugal.