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EEPA 2019 Catch-up – How to get SMEs involved in public procurement

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with one of our 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winners, who have produced some useful documentation that they would like to share throughout the EEPA network.

“Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes” or “Public Procurement for SMEs”, won the“Improving the Business Environment” category last year during the final EEPA ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. This project was recognised for its work on implementing measures in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement. These measures promote and facilitate SME participation in public contracts and have successfully increased the awarding of contracts to SMEs to twice the national and European average.

The public procurement market accounts for more than 20% of the European Union GDP. If SMEs had access to part of that, it would be significantly more than current public funding offerings but without additional cost and simultaneously stimulate SME innovation and growth.

The city Council of Valladolid public procurement system has proved that it can be done, with more than 80% of their contracts being awarded to SMEs to date. Their model is replicable and is based on the three 2014 Contracting Directives. In order to help other European contracting authorities follow their example, or take inspiration from Valladolid, this EEPA winning project had created the following guiding documents:

This document contains more specifics on the measures put in place to facilitate the participation of SMEs in public contracts

This document provides explanations on what is needed and how to implement an SME friendly public procurement system, including legal and directive references

This document outlines the advantages of contracting with the public sector and the basic requirements and actions

For more information on their work and the produced documents, contact the project here.

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Improving the Business Environment

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Onto the next category! Today we are meeting the 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Award winner of the “Improving the Business Environment” category, Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes from Spain. The project was recognised for its work in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement.

Since 2015, the City of Valladolid has adopted specific measures to promote and facilitate the participation of SMEs in public sector contracts. The city adapted contracts to the capacity of SMEs, allowing them to acquire valuable experience and credibility that could be re-used when competing in other tenders from other awarding authorities. According to municipal data, the awarding of contracts to SMEs is twice the national and European average, reaching 75% of contracts awarded in 2016 and 2017, and even 81% in 2018, with 51% of the total amount of the municipal expense managed through contracts awarded to SMEs.

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

Our desire to facilitate SME participation in public procurement led us to carry out several activities with the General Subdirectory of SMEs of the Ministry of Industry of the Government of Spain. As such, they informed us about the EEPA competition and encouraged us to participate.

How did you prepare your application?

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.

What was it like to win the award?

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.

How did winning the award impact your work?

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.

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

Getting European-level recognition for your work is hugely satisfying, both professionally and personally. But above all it allows the organization in which you work to become more visible in the business and social sphere, with an image of commitment to innovation and sustainable development.

The SME Assembly experience is another great part of EEPA, and allows you to meets other projects and people from across the European Union. It opens your mind to new opportunities and ideas, all within a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

What are your plans for the future?

Internally, we will continue to improve the system based on experience and evaluation, as well as on the ideas and experiences of other entities. Externally, we will try to spread our work and methodology throughout the European Union. We have prepared guides to help other contracting authorities easily incorporate SME involvement in public procurement and to spread awareness about how important it is for SMEs to have opportunities to work with the public sector through contracts. This will allow SMEs to become more competitive and innovative, without incurring more public spending, which highlights our slogan for SMEs: “Don’t subsidise me, buy me”.

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:

EEPA Class of 2019

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2019 celebrated the best of the best in a ceremony on the 2nd day of the SME Assembly 2019. On 26 November 2019, six category winners were awarded with EEPA prizes, and an overall Grand Jury Prize winner was crowned as being the most outstanding project across the six categories for 2019.

Congratulations once again to the EEPA class of 2019!

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Haven Incubator CVBA-SO, a safe port for young experimentation, Belgium

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

IDEA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre, Cyprus

Improving the Business Environment

Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes, Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

TILOS, Greece

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Start-Up Your Future, Germany

Grand Jury Prize

Green PAC iLab, The Netherlands

Improving the Business Environment – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Who else has made it onto the 2019 European shortlist? You have met the first six projects chosen by this year’s jury, 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.

This week, we are meeting the three shortlisted projects competing for the prize in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

Fast Tracking Success, Bulgaria

The Fast Tracking Success Initiative focuses on accelerating the professional development of young university and vocational school graduates, by providing employment opportunities and internships in Bulgarian and foreign companies operating in industrial zones. The initiative also assists investors in state-owned industrial zones to overcome the lack of qualified specialists, and contributes to promoting investments in new sectors of the economy, as well as those with high added value, by creating favourable conditions for the investors. So far, over 100 highly qualified young professionals have taken up permanent jobs in companies with production facilities.

The Innovation Market, Czech Republic

The Innovation Market is run by the city of Prague, and aims to enhance the transfer of knowledge from the scientific and research domains to the private sphere. The Market is a publicly available web application that offers research services to entrepreneurs looking for research or development partners. By facilitating cooperation between research institutes, universities, entrepreneurs and businesses, the project aims to streamline the city’s commercialisation of research and development, and increase innovative activities and competitiveness of Prague businesses. Institutes register on a voluntary basis, meaning entrepreneurs and businesses have direct contact with those institutes open to collaboration.

Promotion of public procurement with SMEs, Spain

Since 2015, the City of Valladolid has adopted specific measures to promote and facilitate the participation of SMEs in public sector contracts. The city adapted contracts to the capacity of SMEs, allowing them to acquire valuable experience and credibility that could be re-used when competing in other tenders from other awarding authorities. According to municipal data, the awarding of contracts to SMEs is twice the national and European average, reaching 75% of contracts awarded in 2016 and 2017, and even 81% in 2018, with 51% of the total amount of the municipal expense managed through contracts awarded to SMEs.

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

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.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Improving the Business Environment

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The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) are an opportunity for outstanding projects from across the European Union and COSME countries to be recognised for their work in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The third category in which projects compete is Improving the Business Environment. The projects listed below are national winners in this category and will be considered by the EEPA 2019 Jury for a place on the 2019 European shortlist.

Austria: i.ku – Kufstein platform for innovation

Bulgaria: Fast Tracking Success

Czech Republic: Trh inovací

Ireland: The Digital School of Food

Latvia: Consult First

Lithuania: Development of the Dreverna Small Boat Harbour by way of a public-private partnership

Malta: MEAINDEX – The Online Toolbox for Business Entrepreneurs

Spain: FOMENTO DE LA CONTRATACIÓN PÚBLICA CON PYMES

Turkey: TIM-TEB StartUp House

This year this category received 9 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects focused on transferring scientific knowledge, supporting innovative startups in the food industry and facilitation of relationships between supervisory authorities and entrepreneurs.

Keep coming back to the News Portal each week to discover the national winners in each category for EEPA 2019!

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 will be chosen by a European jury. All nominees from the national and European competitions will be invited to attend the final awards ceremony. The ceremony recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – 2019 edition launch

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back again for another cycle to identify and reward the best projects from across Europe. Get ready to see the most innovative and inspiring projects from across Europe compete against each other to win a coveted EEPA 2019 prize.

On Tuesday 29 January, EEPA 2019 and the project nominations, which will be happening on a national level, were officially opened. National deadlines are individual to each participating country and will be communicated by the National Coordinators. Once the national competitions have taken place, European level submissions will be accepted until the deadline on 03 July. Once the European nominations have been received, the EEPA 2019 Jury meeting will take place in mid-September which will be followed by the announcement of the shortlist on by the end of September. The final step will be the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place in Helsinki, Finland on Tuesday 26 November as part of the annual SME Assembly.

Public bodies and public-private partnerships from across the EU Member States, will be competing for the coveted awards, which go to the most imaginative and successful initiatives that support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). All the information about the awards and application process can be found on the DG Growth website, and is available in all EU languages.

The 2019 EEPA categories are as follows:

  • Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Investing in entrepreneurial skills
  • Improving the business environment
  • Supporting the internationalisation of business
  • Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency
  • Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

EEPA is a great opportunity to be recognised on a European level and to meet like-minded Europeans and international actors working to promote and advocate for SMEs. If you are interested in applying, make sure to have a look at the application information page and speak to your national coordinator. There are also past EEPA winner testimonials available to inspire your entry and to learn more about the competition. For more information about EEPA 2018 watch the 2018 winners’ videos on our YouTube channel!

The secretariat team look forward to supporting you through the 2019 EEPA campaign. For support with social media, blogs and promoting EEPA in your country please contact Megan Gardner megan.gardner@gopacom.eu for all other technical questions, please contact Ann Garrot, Secretariat Manager ann.garrot@LOWeurope.eu.

Stay updated with all EEPA news by following us on Twitter (@EEPA_EU and #EEPA2019) and Facebook (@PromotingEnterprise).

Improving the Business Environment – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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Ready to meet the next set of shortlisted EEPA 2018 projects? Today it is time to introduce the projects in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment. This year the competing projects come from Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. Don’t forget to read about the shortlisted projects in Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills.

Romania: Start up Nation Romania

This programme encourages the establishment and development of SMEs, and seeks to improve their economic performances, create new jobs and insert into the labour market disadvantaged persons, the long term unemployed and graduates. The programme has overseen increased investment in new innovative technologies, and as a result 21 000 new jobs have been created, of which more than 16 000 were for disadvantaged people. The programme has also facilitated SME access to finance, and introduced electronic automation systems for business plan registration and company founding. The project activities also stimulated new trade register registrations, which increased by 28.98% in 2017. 

Spain: Open Innovation 4.0.

This public-private cooperation programme aims to improve the business environment of Asturias by: Strengthening business leadership through technology; Acceleration and growth of start-ups; Reinforcement of business cooperation; Encouraging the open innovation concept; and Attracting investment. Selected start-ups join a 4.0 acceleration programme featuring both group and individual tutorials with sector experts. As well as obtaining initial funding to prepare joint proposals, they have access to specific funding for Open Innovation to implement collaborative projects. To date, 123 ideas and solutions have been presented with 14 going on to form companies that implement technical solutions.

United Kingdom: Anchoring economic growth in the Tees Valley

This project has achieved significant results in helping the Tees Valley region overcome the loss of key industries. Working closely with public and private partners, particularly Tees Valley Combined Authority, the project, coordinated by Teeside University, has delivered targeted support that has seeded new enterprises and helped existing businesses in the Tees Valley to tackle the barriers to economic growth. The targeted support has been supplemented by University provided expertise and talent, particularly in the areas of adopting digital technologies and innovation. Project results include 1446 university-business projects, growth of a technology business cluster and a stronger entrepreneurial culture.

Keep coming back to the Portal to meet all of the shortlisted projects and don’t forget to follow all the updates to find out who wins in Graz this November.

EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

EEPA National Winners 2018 – Improving the Business Environment

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EEPA – The European Enterprise Promotion Awards, recognises outstanding projects from across Europe that are working to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across six different categories.

The next EEPA category is “Improving the Business Environment” which recognises initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth, and simplify both legislative and administrative procedures for businesses. Have a look through the national winners in this category below and stay tuned until the end of September to see which of these makes it onto the European shortlist!

Austria: Industry-Startup.Net

Finland: Kakola – from a Prison to an Etrepreneurial Base

Iceland: Electronic Company Register

Italy: PLL – Piani Locali per il Lavoro

MaltaSetting of a one-stop-shop customer care service to facilitate simplification for SMEs

Poland: Entrepreneur Package

Romania: Start up Nation Romania

Slovakia: Better Regulation Center

Spain: Open Innovation 4.0.

United Kingdom: Anchoring economic growth in the Tees Valley

Come back to Promoting Enterprise every week to find out about the national winners across the other five EEPA categories: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, Investing in entrepreneurial skillsSupporting the internationalisation of businessSupporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency and Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

Want to know who will be judging the 2018 projects? Meet the EEPA 2018 Jury here on the Portal!

EEPA 2018 European deadline – National Coordinators submit top national projects

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The European level of the EEPA competition closed last week on 3 July 2018. National coordinators have been submitting their top national projects for consideration by a European jury for the EEPA 2018 shortlist, and a total of 56 entries were received.

This year the national winners will be evaluated by a jury with members from different sectors, disciplines and backgrounds. The 2018 members can be found here on the News Portal.

2018 saw a total of 303 national projects submitted across 32 participating countries. Portugal achieved the highest ever recorded national total for EEPA with a spectacular 82 applicants to their national competition.

After the reinstating of the green category, EEPA 2018 will see projects competing across six different categories for 2018:

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit (14 entries) was once again the category with the most applications closely followed by Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills (10 entries).

This year’s EEPA jury will meet in Brussels on 26 September 2018 to deliberate which national projects will make it onto the 2018 European shortlist. Keep coming back to the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for both the announcement of the shortlist and an introduction to all of the shortlisted projects by competition category.

Good luck to all of the national winners! Don’t forget to keep checking here for the 2018 shortlist announcement…

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 two entries to be nominated for the European competition.

A shortlist of nominees will be chosen by a European jury. All nominees from the national and European competitions will be invited to attend the final awards ceremony. The ceremony recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

What is it like to win? EEPA 2017 winners share their experiences

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Past winners have shared their tips for how to prepare for an EEPA submission, and their application journeys and lessons. But what does it feel like to be announced the winner of an EEPA category after putting in so much hard work? How did our past winners feel when they were recognised as some of the best projects in Europe? Today our 2017 winners reflect on their winning moments and what it was like to win the award.

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

Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017

“It was incredible! It was an amazing recognition and such a great source of motivation for us to continue our work! I later realised that winning and being identified in front of everyone was really important, because afterwards I was approached by several people who wanted to know more about the project. It was really interesting to be able to speak about our work with so many different people.”

ADIE – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship Winner 2017

“When we take part in awards of this kind we always want to win or, at least, be a nominee. Due to the time it takes to prepare all of the necessary documentation we rarely take part in these kinds of competitions. The last time we participated in something similar was in 2012 when we participated in an EU Award after being nominated by Austria. This time around, with EEPA, it was even better as not only were we nominated but ended up winning in our category!”

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

“It got my heart racing! We arrived in Tallinn without knowing at all what would happen and for us it was a big surprise. It is an honour to receive this award and we want to share it with everybody who made it possible!”

Reempresa – Improving the business environment Winner 2017

“We really wanted to win the European prize, but just because we thought we were the best project didn’t mean that the jury would think the same thing. When Business Generator was announced as the winner, I had a pulse of 1000! Friends who have seen the video of us winning say that I look unmoved, but really I was shocked. Just hearing Sweden mentioned with our project was incredible, I was representing our country!”

Business Generator – Investing in entrepreneurial skills Winner 2017

“When you find out that you are shortlisted of course you start to think “what if…”, but we didn’t expect to win. We were really excited when we did win because it was a complete surprise!”

Enterprise Village – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit Winner 2017

Would you like the chance to have a ‘winning moment’? Apply for EEPA 2018 before it is too late! Check your national deadlines and read more about past winners.

Watch all of the EEPA ‘winning moments’ and highlights from the SME Assembly 2017 here:

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