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Tag ‘Ideas from Europe’

Secrets of Success 2018-2019: Entrepreneurs of Europe – Connecting, Sharing and Innovating

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‘Secrets of Success’, the biennial brochure that celebrates entrepreneurial successes across Europe and COSME countries, is back with another cohort of innovative entrepreneurs.

The latest edition investigates the journeys that entrepreneurs from across Europe have taken, discovering their motivation, and recording their struggles along the way. In ‘Secrets of Success’ we showcase small and medium-sized enterprises in the European Members States and countries in COSME, Europe’s programme for small and medium-sized enterprises. The entrepreneurs come from wide-ranging sectors, and bring a great variety of experiences to this year’s edition. Despite their differences, they all share the following two values: ‘Learning from Failure’ and ‘Building your Best Team’. Through both struggles and successes, these entrepreneurs are examples of persistence, and highlight the benefits of connecting, sharing and innovating.

Read this year’s edition to learn from these entrepreneurs and allow their stories to inspire you on your own entrepreneurial journey.

What are the YEC 2018 Jury looking for? – Mervi Pankalainen

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The 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition deadline is getting closer and we are still looking for more entries. But how can you be sure that the competition jury will like your entry? Promoting Enterprise is here to help! Today on the News Portal SME Week Youth Essay Competition jury member Mervi Pänkäläinen, Ideas from Europe 2017-2018 finalist, is sharing what she will be looking for in an entry, how she will judge an entry and very importantly what will make an entry stand out for her.

Want your essay to catch Mervi’s eye? Read what she has to say below:

What will you be looking for in an entry?

I am especially looking forward to hearing the person’s own voice. Through their essay, I want to learn about their own experiences, observations and learnings and how those have been combined into the bigger picture.

What are the top 3 criteria you will base your judging on?

When judging the entries I will be looking for the three following elements:

  • Personal insights and stories;
  • An understanding of the big picture; and
  • Passion and purpose, I want to know why this matters to you.

What will make an entry stand out for you?

An entry will stand out if it had a strong personal touch and insights that only a young person can deliver. I am really looking forward to learning from these young people!

What advice would you give for those still not sure about entering the competition?

Organising your thoughts and putting them down in words is always a great exercise for the mind. There is no “wrong” way of doing this. We want to know how you see the world, what you think about it and how it could work better. It’s your thinking and ideas that matter and we are eager to hear those! Avoid trying to sound like an experienced government official, let your own words be heard.

What steps do you think should be taken to foster and encourage innovation?

True innovation can only happen in a safe environment. “Psychological safety” is a term and state of mind that I pay a lot attention to. We can design an endless number of processes to boost innovation, but unless the culture actually makes people feel good and relaxed about themselves and others in the team, the processes are wasted. We need informal opportunities to bring different people and perspectives together, offer clearly framed challenges to work on and leadership – not management – to make it all happen. Humour is an asset that is rarely intentionally used, but that can be key to creating psychological safety.

Interested in entering this year’s competition? Find out more about the 2018 SME Week Youth Essay Competition right here! Keep coming back to the News Portal to find out more about the competition and all of the jury members, and don’t forget to submit your essays by 23 September 2018.

SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #3

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The future of European startup policy – Have YOUR say

Interested in finding out what the most innovative Europeans are up to? What about a chance to have your say in European startup policy making? Or perhaps you have an entrepreneurial project that deserves recognition on European level? You are in the right place!

In this edition of the SME Week Newsletter find out about the latest EEPA 2018 updates, the recent Ideas from Europe finals, an opportunity to contribute to EU startup policy and more.

Read on to find out more and don’t forget that we want to hear YOUR stories, so get in touch to see yourself featured in upcoming editions.

Read more >>

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Joint development, social conversation, shared purposes – The second edition of Ideas from Europe

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© Twycer / www.twycer.nl

This week on 24 April in the Hague, ‘Ideas from Europe’ kicked off the joint development of shared purposes to take on global challenges. 12 inspiring entrepreneurs showcased their solutions and the audience, consisting of 500 European guests in the venue and many more watching via the livestream, elected the following three solutions as most relevant: Micreos, with the world’s first targeted antibacterial product; ApisProtect, using in hive-sensors, retrofitted into existing beehives to unobtrusively monitor honey bee colonies; and Too Good to Go, a smartphone application that helps restaurants and food sellers sell their surplus food instead of wasting it, thereby fighting food waste.

State Secretary Mona Keijzer of the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy opened this second edition of Ideas of Europe. “The new market model of Ideas from Europe brings together and encourages stakeholders to develop not just one, but rather groups of innovators to bring their solutions to market faster and more effectively. I am very enthusiastic about this approach.” European Commissioner for SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska reiterated that message, saying that even though “the challenges that we are facing today in regards to the environment, energy, health and demography are enormous, we must treat them as opportunities. All twelve solutions presented here today have been shared purposes and are all very good examples of sustainable solutions to global challenges.”

Watch the key note speeches below:

Independent Platform

Ideas from Europe is an independent platform that facilitates the development of an idea into a mature, sustainable solution and connects all parties needed in this process. During biennial validation cycles, ground-breaking solutions to global challenges are scouted and validated in the EU. Part of this ongoing process are podium events throughout the EU, where innovators present their solutions and stakeholders participate.

Value Tracks

Sustainable initiatives are first validated by Ideas from Europe on their basis of their benefit to society, taking into account all perspectives at once: societal, economic viability, feasibility and scalability. Once validated by the public, these ideas are subsequently launched by Value Tracks. The Value Track method focuses on joint development by market parties such as government agencies, innovators, investors, companies, scientists and citizens. The main advantage of this method is that it helps make mutual dependencies transparent, which allows for collaboration and new agreements.

But what about new value tracks? Ideas from Europe are taking their question global, and asking the general public what shared purpose they feel is the most relevant from their perspective. To vote for your favourite solution, go to the Ideas from Europe website and leave your opinion. The global choice will be announced on 6 July 2018, during the SME Envoy week in Cyprus.

© Twycer / www.twycer.nl

Missed out on the finals? Or want to relive the excitement all over again? Watch the recorded livestream of the entire event here.

Ideas from Europe finals on April 24 – Innovative ideas on stage

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Ideas from Europe will for the second time highlight 12 inspiring innovative European entrepreneurs, who will present their ideas to solve some of our most pressing global challenges.

The live audience, as well as those joining via livestream, will be able to participate in the joint development and acceleration of those solutions. At the end of the event, the audience in the room will be consulted as to which of these 12 solutions they feel could have the most social impact. Ideas from Europe will also launch an online campaign to ask the general public the same question. The chosen solution will receive assistance from Ideas from Europe in order to scale up and develop.

Ideas from Europe is an initiative of the European Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy that facilitates joint development of innovations with societal impact.

“We continuously search for and validate innovative solutions to global challenges, connect innovators to stakeholders and create transparency in order to free-up the road for scaling-up process,”

  • Sonja van Meerbeek, director of Ideas from Europe

This year’s innovative ideas were found through a series of searches across European Member states, with the semi-finals held during the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. 28 speakers took the stage in Tallinn, where 11 were selected by a jury to go through to the finals. The final idea was selected via a public wildcard vote, bringing the total number of finalists to 12.

Ready to hear what the speakers have to say? Will we see you at the Ideas from Europe finals? Learn more about the speakers and be sure to check out the final event programme here.

For more information visit the Ideas from Europe website and follow @ideasfromeurope on Twitter.   

SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #2

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EEPA 2018 – Call for national submissions

Welcome to the March edition of the SME Week Newsletter!

Today we bring you the latest updates from EEPA 2018, the upcoming Ideas from Europe final and the latest events across Europe in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, startups and enterprise. Read on for two special features on the Maltese SME Week, and an exciting initiative for SMEs from Austria, both of which highlight the diversity of the European entrepreneurial community.

Interested in learning more? Keep reading and don’t forget to send in your updates and contributions about your latest activities, events and initiatives, to be featured in upcoming editions.

It is that time of the year again, when the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) commence and the best projects from all across Europe begin to compete for a place on the EEPA 2018 shortlist.

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Ideas from Europe – Wildcard winner 2017-18

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Today’s post comes from Ideas from Europe who have an announcement that we have all been waiting for…who is the wildcard winner?

A dream has come true…Hugo Mercies from Rhythm’s DREEM has been voted as the twelfth speaker for Ideas from Europe!

Thousands of votes were cast over the last two months, in order to find the twelfth speaker that will take the Ideas from Europe stage on April 24 in the Knight’s Hall in The Hague. It was a tough battle, particularly in the last two weeks, which ended with a real sprint for the finish over the last days. We would like to extend a big round of applause to all of our candidates who fought with great energy and effort and were able to mobilise public support!

With 37,5 per cent of the votes, DREEM was chosen to share their breakthrough wearable technology that improves deep sleep quality. Not only by studying our sleep behavior, but also by actively enhancing our deep sleep, which improves both cognitive and physical performance throughout the day.

We would like to thank everybody that voted for their favourite idea and to remind you that in addition to the finalists, all of the semi-finalists will be attending the Ideas from Europe event in April in The Hague.

Congratulations Hugo, we look forward to welcoming you on stage!

Watch Hugo Mercier sharing the Rhythm solution at the semi-finals in Tallinn in November 2017, and watch all the other Ideas from Europe here.

Find out more about Ideas from Europe on the Promoting Enterprise Portal.

Ideas from Europe – Wildcard candidates 2018

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Have you voted for your favourite Ideas from Europe wildcard candidate yet? Read on for a re-cap of all the wildcard candidates and be sure to make your voice heard before voting closes to get your candidate to the finals on 24 April in the Hague later this year.

 

Michalis Agapiou, Novelseas (Cyprus)

The Syndeseas Integrated Solution is an innovative tool, managed by a team of Shipping MRV Auditors. The tool is designed to support and facilitate the enhanced implementation of new and existing maritime regulations as well as help reduce emissions and the use of fossil fuels.

Watch the pitch here.

Mark Marinov, eCars.bg (Bulgaria)

eCars.bg makes electric mobility easy to understand, desirable and accessible. They produce and distribute EV charging stations, as well as own the largest online media for electric mobility in Bulgaria. In addition they spread their message through the production of a unique TV series featuring Bulgarian celebrities.

Watch the pitch here.

Martina Cvetković, Balmaris (Croatia) 

Balmaris uses a system to filter ballast water without the use of chemicals. This reduces the damaging effects of invasive alien species introduced via ballast water that are recorded in the seas all over the world and that are having considerable economic, ecological, and environmental impacts.

Watch the pitch here.

Radek Hušek, Sens Foods (Czech Republic)

Sens Foods is looking to use insects to create a whole new range of sustainable, next-gen food products. Using cricket flour, they have developed unique protein and energy bars – gluten and lactose free, with the highest quality protein from crickets and premium natural ingredients.

Watch the pitch here.

Margus Kullerkupp, Sol Navitas (Estonia)

Sol Navitas provides living quarters with natural fresh air with the help of solar energy. As a result global air is less polluted because the technology only uses existing solar energy that does not emit CO2 into the atmosphere.

Watch the pitch here.

Hugo Mercier, Rythm (France)

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, yet most people still know relatively little about sleep and its implications for our bodies. With Dreem, the breakthrough wearable technology that improves deep sleep quality, Rythm not only studies our sleep behaviour but actively enhances our deep sleep.

Watch the pitch here.

Sotiris Bantas, Centaur (Greece)

Centaur are passionate about food safety and enabling abundance. Created by an agronomy expert and software engineer, Centaur brings intelligent technology to history’s oldest industry, by keeping crops healthy and the world happily fed.

Watch the pitch here.

Priszcilla Várnagy, Be-Novative (Hungary)

To be engaged and to be creative, people need unusual triggers to create breakthroughs. Be-Novative invites corporate and individual users to a virtual brainstorming during which participants can find solutions to the world’s big problems or for everyday life situations, using the power of creativity and community.

Watch the pitch here.

Andrea Civra, Panoxyvir (Italy)

We spend nearly five years of our lives coughing and having clogged noses. The Panoxyvir spray is based on molecules produced by our body that have the ability to modify cell membrane composition, which can be used to cure colds and prevent the onset of symptoms.

Watch the pitch here.

Anna Ramata-Stunda, Alternative Plants (Latvia)

Alternative Plants is a biotech start-up that develops plant stem cell cultures for sustainable production of botanical ingredients. Plant stem cell technology is our tool to make inaccessible ingredients from rare medicinal plants accessible to all.

Watch the pitch here.

Violeta Masteikienė, FriendsJam (Lithuania)

Friends Jam is an organisation that connects big families with gardeners or arboretum owners. Together they collect the surplus berries and fruits from the year’s harvest. These are then used to either complement the existing food budget for a large family (allowing them to save for other items), or are made into jams which the families can then sell for extra money.  

Watch the pitch here.

Klaus Conrad, Easy Peasy Coding (Malta)

Easy Peasy Coding uses technology to make children think. Their programs include after-school and joint parent/child classes. The initiative also trains teachers, and provides schools with classroom-ready resources like student workbooks, as well as guidance on how to link coding to core curriculum subjects.

Watch the pitch here.

Artur Racicki, SEEDia (Poland)

SEEDiA creates products that gather solar energy. Their solar benches, stands and other products utilise the energy they gather to charge mobile devices (both with USB ports and wireless chargers), Wi-Fi hotspots, heated seats, radio, LEDs and screens.

Watch the pitch here.

Flavia Oprea, ENTy (Romania)

ENTy aims to empower Ear-Nose-Throat-doctors to issue data-based assessments. The solution consists in a lighter, portable, lower cost device that generates numerical indicators which are easy to interpret.

Watch the pitch here.

Tomáš Brngál, Virtual Medicine (Slovakia)

Every student of medicine has to pass an anatomy exam, which is considered to be one of the toughest. Virtual Medicine has the following mission: simplified and effective learning of anatomy. This was the reason for which they created the first virtual anatomical classroom, in which students are learning about anatomy using virtual reality.

Watch the pitch here.

Jernej Vidmar, AgiliCity (Slovenia)

Urban planning methods are completely obsolete and are practically the same as they were 100 years ago. That’s why AgiliCity is developing an innovative solution that moves urban planning to industry 4.0 standards, making it a lot smarter, more flexible and transparent.

Watch the pitch here.

Alejandro Badolato, Auto Drive Solutions (Spain)

Auto Drive Solutions (ADS) is specialised in the precise guidance and positioning of trains, automobiles and other vehicles. ADS develops innovative and disruptive positioning systems and developed a first prototype that has been successfully tested on the Madrid Metro.

Watch the pitch here.

Jonathan Burr, Howz (United Kingdom)

In the UK, 3 million people juggle paid work with caring responsibilities for the elderly. Howz brings peace of mind, by monitoring the elderly’s use of everyday objects, learning what’s normal and alerting the family when things look out of the ordinary.

Watch the pitch here.

Best of luck to all of the wildcard candidates with all of their innovative solutions and we look forward to finding out who will fill the last spot on stage at the Ideas from Europe finals in The Hague on 24 April 2018…

SME Assembly 2017 – Delegate Feedback

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Welcome back! We hope you have all had a lovely holiday season and are ready to start the new year with us right here on the Portal. To start 2018, we decided to bring you the results of the SME Assembly 2017 delegate survey and find out what everyone really thought about their experience in Tallinn last November. Firstly the overwhelming feedback indicated that the SME Assembly was worth attending (94% of delegates agreed) and 97% of delegates said they would be participating next year, so we hope to be seeing some familiar faces in Graz this year!

Overall feedback

Attendees really enjoyed both the networking and learning opportunities, sighting the chance to meet experts, the quality of the speakers, interaction between different actors and stakeholders and the gained insights into new projects, as positive aspects of the location. Whilst we are interested in what was good, the Promoting Enterprise team are always looking for ways to improve so as to continue delivering high quality SME Assemblies. The two main improvements on which delegates commented were: the need for more networking time (both pre-arranged and facilitated) as well as increased opportunities for audience discussion within the sessions.

Sessions and content

This year the SME Assembly continued to offer a variety of plenary and policy sessions as well as specialised masterclasses and the entrepreneur expo. In terms of relevance and usefulness, the top plenary sessions were Ideas from Europe and E-Estonia, with over 50% of delegates indicating these sessions as ‘extremely useful’. The top two policy sessions, which received 53% and 51% ‘extremely useful’ ratings, were Single Market: New Barriers? and E-commerce. The top masterclasses, which were more niche and specialised in nature also received high ratings with 86% delegates saying ‘Ideas from Europe: 2 years on’ was either relevant and useful or extremely relevant and useful, closing followed by ‘An Hour of Code’, which was also rated relevant and useful or extremely relevant and useful by 85% of delegates.

Now that 2017 is behind us the preparations for this year’s SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria are getting underway. Thank you to all the delegates who took the time to fill out the survey, your feedback is very important to us and helps to continually improve the SME Assembly!

So what is in store for this year? Follow the News Portal for the latest updates about everything to come and join us on the journey to the SME Assembly 2018…

SME Assembly 2017 – Day 2

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Day 1 was exciting, and Day 2 certainly did not disappoint! The first full day of sessions and masterclasses was opened with keynote speeches from Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Urve Palo, Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, followed by insightful questions from the session chair Mari Vavulski, head of Startup Estonia.

The opening was finalised with the highly anticipated results of the Ideas from Europe semi-finals were announced. So many good ideas meant the Jury had a tough decision to make, but the following finalists were selected: Julien Penders of Bloomlife (Belgium), Klaus B. Pederson of Too Good to Go (Denmark), Steffen Preuss of Ichò (Germany), Fiona Edwards Murphy of ApisProtect (Ireland), Aida Nazarikhorram of LuxAI (Luxembourg), Mark Offerhaus of Micreos (The Netherlands), Artur Racicki of SEEDia (Poland), Francisco Duarte of PavNext (Portugal), Mervi Pänkäläinen of Mightifier (Finland). Another project received a special mention from the Jury, Refugee{code} and as such will also be going to the finals in the Hague.

One place has yet to be filled, and is now down to a public vote which opened online during the announcement. Voting will be open until early 2018 and will decide which of the remaining 19 semi-finalists will take the final spot at The Knights Hall in The Hague in the Netherlands!

With an exicting kick-off the day continued with several policy sessions and masterclasses, ranging from a focus on invest and finance, to teaching practical skills like basic coding and the basics of cybersecurity for SMEs. There was also the annual SME Performance Review, presented by Costas Andropoulos from the European Commission. Have a look at the Live Tweet feed for the highlights of each session.

The night kicked off with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards ceremony, where all national winners received a certificate from SME Envoy Viljar Lubi up on stage. The host, Andres Torm, then went on to present the shortlist and invite several distinguished presenters to award each prize. For more details on the EEPA winners have a look at the EEPA winners post, and be sure to read the 2017 compendium to learn more in depth about each of the awarded projects.The night was far from over at the end of the ceremony and continued on as Kultuurikatel transformed for the EEParty where winners, delegates and attendees had a chance to continue networking and enjoy what the DJ had to offer.

Hopefully you are not too tired from yesterday’s sessions, and see you around for Day 3…

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