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EEPA 2021 National Winners – Improving the Business Environment and Supporting the Digital Transition

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It’s time to introduce you to some more EEPA national winners. Last time you met the winners in Category 2 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills – today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal it is the turn of the national winners in Category 3 – Improving the Business Environment and Supporting the Digital Transition.

This category is looking to reward innovative projects and solutions that help create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. It also aims to recognize initiatives that support the digital transition of the European economy. These could include projects that support enterprise start-up and growth, or simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses.

The projects that have been shortlisted in this category are tackling a variety of challenges – from innovative approaches to help businesses cope with the impacts of COVID-19 to digital solutions that streamline processes and increase efficiency.

The national winners in EEPA 2021 Category 3 Improving the Business Environment and Supporting the Digital Transition are:

Click on the links above to find out more about the projects’ innovative approaches to improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition. The national EEPA coordinators have selected these projects to proceed to the next phase of the awards, where they will assessed by the European jury.

We congratulate all of the shortlisted projects and wish them the best of luck going forward.

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2021 jury.

EEPA 2020 Testimonial – BIND 4.0 – Basque Industry 4.0 Accelerator Program

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We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’ winner – Merkuur Mobile Workshops from Estonia. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you do!

This week we are in the Basque Country to meet our ‘Improving the Business Environment’ winner BIND 4.0, a public-private acceleration programme specialising in promoting Industry 4.0 projects. BIND 4.0 is targeted at technological start-ups with 4.0 solutions in the fields of advanced manufacturing, energy, health and food. The programme has been set up as an open innovation platform, where start-ups from all over the world and large industrial companies established in the Basque Country interact in an agile way to develop innovative high-impact projects. The start-ups receive intensive support and benefit from activities aimed at accelerating their development and immersion in the Basque industrial ecosystem.

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

The EEPA are well known throughout Europe for recognising initiatives that improve business at the local, regional or national levels. BIND 4.0 offers something valuable to all parties involved in our programme and our main goals are to increase talent, innovation and competition in our region. We decided to apply and see how we compare to the other incredible initiatives focused on start-ups and business development, and we are quite pleased with the results.

How did you prepare your application?

Our main goal is to contribute to improving the society in which we live through innovation and technology, so we felt our objectives were in line with those of the EEPA. We filled out the application by detailing the impact that BIND 4.0 has had on the industrial and entrepreneurial ecosystem. We explained how our programme is symbiotic; there are benefits for technology start-ups, for the local economy and for established companies looking to collaborate on pilot projects.

What was it like to win the award?

It is a great honour for BIND 4.0 to receive this award from among 13 other stellar candidates throughout Europe. The EEPA is an official recognition of our on-going commitment to business development through the acceleration of start-ups, and of the collaboration between public institutions and private companies. We are thrilled to be acknowledged, at the European level, for our efforts over the last five years.

How did winning the award impact your work?

This award is a source of pride, for consistently accomplishing our goal to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Since our inception, we’ve accelerated over 100 start-ups and facilitated the development of more than 170 Industry 4.0 projects. This award provides additional validity to our international initiative so we can continue to attract talent to the Basque region and promote collaboration between young start-ups and large corporations.

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

If you would like to see how your programme and efforts measure up against the other programmes being implemented throughout Europe, we recommend applying. The EEPA is a great way to stay informed about impactful programmes, ground-breaking initiatives and the benchmark models in the marketplace.

What are your plans for the future?

The BIND 4.0 Team is currently preparing for the fifth edition of the programme that begins in January 2021. We are also organising a new edition for the post-COVID climate, so we have redesigned the programme to continue supporting start-ups in an online format. The Basque Country is one of the strongest industrial ecosystems in Europe and this award helps enforce the impact BIND 4.0 continues to make toward innovation in entrepreneurship.

We have a positive outlook for the year ahead, as we offer a bridge between flexible, innovative start-ups and proficient, forward-thinking corporates. The COVID pandemic brought numerous significant changes, from establishing remote working conditions to creating new safety measures; we saw innovation in so many new areas. The health and technology innovations this year have been inspiring and are an indication of the direction on which all businesses will need to focus in the year ahead. We feel BIND 4.0 is in the best position to help connect start-ups and corporations and turn innovation into action. 

Congratulations to BIND 4.0! Re-live their winning moment and make sure to keep up with their work and future innovations on their website.

You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:

EEPA 2020 National Winners – Improving the business environment

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) reward projects from across participating countries that work to promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives. The EEPA have now moved to the European level of the competition and the national winners from each participating country have been selected by their National Coordinators. So far we have introduced the national winners for Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills.

Today on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal we will be introducing the top national projects competing in one of the six categories; “Improving the Business Environment”. This category recognises initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth and simplify legislative and administrative procedures for businesses.

Find out more about the different competition categories on the EEPA website

Congratulations to the national winners of “Improving the Business Environment”!

Come back to the News Portal each week to find out which projects won their national competitions and are being considered for the European shortlist by our prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

EEPA 2020 – The European phase of the competition

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The European Enterprise promotion Awards (EEPA) are moving into the European phase of the competition. The EEPA Secretariat has received the vast majority of national winner projects from the National Coordinators for the jury to consider for the European shortlist. The remaining projects will be submitted in time for the jury meeting due to exceptionally granted COVID-19 national competition extensions.

EEPA 2020 will see the top national projects competing across the traditional six categories, but with an increased emphasis on sustainability across all categories:

All of the projects being considered for the European shortlist, the 2020 national winners, will be introduced right here on the News Portal so make sure to come back to find out which projects are being reviewed by the prestigious EEPA 2020 jury.

Congratulations to all of the national winners!

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

EEPA 2020 – Germany selects their national winners!

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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.

©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

“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

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!

Interested in following the rest of the German EEPA 2020 campaign? Make sure to have a look at the German competition website, the national coordinator website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

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.

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.

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