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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.

EEPA National Winners 2018 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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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 “Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit” category has once again proved to be the most popular category, receiving 14 entries for the 2018 edition. This category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women. Have a look at the winning national projects below and stay tuned to find out which of them will make it on to this year’s EEPA shortlist after the jury meeting in late September 2018.

Belgium: De Makersrepubliek: Handmade in Brugge, The Box en Turbo

Bulgaria: Gabrovo Innovation Camp

Croatia: Sisak-Moslavina County – Center of The Gaming Industry

Cyprus: IDEA

Estonia: Superheroes

France: Youth services cooperatives

Greece: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship

Latvia: Support for self-employment and business start-ups

Lithuania: Futurepreneurs

Netherlands: Day for Change Actie

Poland: The “Małopolska” program – technology is becoming a business here

Romania: Rubik Hub

Sweden: JA Sweden – an entrepreneurial youth

United Kingdom: Supporting Fife’s Enterprise Journey

Come back to Promoting Enterprise every week to find out about the national winners across the other five EEPA categories: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, Improving the business environment, Supporting the internationalisation of business, Supporting 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!

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…

The EEPA 2017 shortlist continues – Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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The EEPA 2017 shortlist introductions continue! Today is the turn of Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills. This year candidates in this category come from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia, and the projects focus on supporting entrepreneurs, helping them start out and making technology and the digital world accessible to all.

The Business Generator focuses on bringing in external expert support systems for SMEs to add value to their business concepts. Few such support systems currently exist for SMEs as many consider bringing in external expertise as too time-consuming. Each Business Generator is staffed with four individuals: two men and two women, each with different profiles and skills, who have all experienced growth. Each team covers: analytical capability, financial expertise, empathy, customer benefits, development process management, creativity and innovation. Acting as coaches, Generator staff ask the challenging questions from an outsider perspective that result in new decisions and tangible change.

Tech Sisters is an Estonian non-profit run by women working in IT and/or studying IT with the mission to increase women’s digital literacy and interest in IT. This is done through organising meetups for women in tech and running entry-level coding and tech workshops for women. Workshops specifically for teenagers promoting IT activities are also organised with the participation of inspirational IT female role models. By inspiring, encouraging and educating women/girls about IT, Tech Sisters aims to bring more women into IT and create a more diverse environment in the tech field.

The University of Latvia (UL) Student Business Incubator has assisted students of the UL and other higher education establishments of Latvia to start and develop an enterprise during their studies. The business incubator provides free premises and office equipment, offers free counselling sessions, help from mentors and industry professionals in business development as well as individual and group coaching sessions in cooperation with the Coaching School of Riga. The incubator also organises entrepreneurship events to encourage youth entrepreneurship, during which participants go through an accelerated incubation process, meet active professionals and receive feedback on their ideas.

So who will win this year? All will be revealed at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn this November! Find out about the Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit nominees here, and stay tuned for Category 3 introductions next week!

 

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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Time to meet the next category of European projects competing to be on the EEPA 2017 shortlist! Look here if you missed Category 1, but today it is the turn of Category 2: Investing in entrepreneurial skills.

This category recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills. In 2016 the prize was won by Enterprise Educators Academe from the United Kingdom, for their project working to embed entrepreneurship into education curriculums.

This year there are 9 outstanding European projects competing in this category. Best of luck to all the projects and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Belgium: VentureLab – Student Entrepreneurship for Change

Bulgaria: Implement a Strategy for local development in the municipality of Ardino and implementation process of the Strategy for Community-led local development in the municipalities of Ardino and Djebel

Cyprus: Sound Labor Relations, Contemporary Enterprises  

Estonia: Tech Sisters & Digigirls

Ireland: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating an Entrepreneurial Mindset Amongst Engineers: The DkIT BSc (Hons) in Engineering Entrepreneurship

Latvia: University of Latvia Student Business Incubator

Lithuania: Youth Entrepreneurship Education Program – ATVERK

Malta: The Maltese Business Story Initiative

Sweden: Business Generator

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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As the jury decision for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist draws closer it is time for us to meet all of the outstanding projects from across Europe that are competing on European level! Promoting Enterprise will be presenting all of the national winners that are being considered for the European shortlist as well as the categories that they are competing.

This week is the turn of Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, which recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people and women. In 2016 the prize was won by the entrepreneurship stronghold Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat from France.

This year there are 18 projects competing in this category and competition is fierce! Good luck to all the projects and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Croatia: BUDI UZOR®/BE THE ROLE MODEL™

Cyprus: The Future in our hands:  Creating European entrepreneurs

Czech Republic: Jaudelam.cz

Denmark:
Fonden for Entreprenørskab som national, ansvarlig aktør for implementering af entreprenørskab i uddannelserne.

Estonia: Enterprise Village

Finland: Pikkuyrittäjät – Mini company program for primary school

France: Start’Up Lycée

Germany: BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @Hansenberg

Greece: PATRAS Innovation Quest (Patras IQ)

Hungary: Startup Campus Program

Italy: 3D 4-Uman Technology is not uniquely human

Latvia: Information campaign “Support for entrepreneurs

Lithuania: KTU Startup Space

Romania: Doing innovative business based on advanced research and public communication

Serbia: Caravan of Youth Entrepreneurship

Slovakia: I will do it.sk

Turkey: Supporting Entrepreneurship, Skills and Future of Children and Youth Programme

United Kingdom: Made in North Tyneside

Helping Latvian youth realise entrepreneurial dreams – EEPA 2016 Special Mention

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Innovative business ideas can come from all sorts of people, as seen today in the next European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016 winner interview. Read about these successful project journeys, and pick up their useful tips and tricks for future applicants.

This interview looks at one of the EEPA 2016 Special Mentions, Latvian project Radam Novadam (Create for County), represented here by project coordinator Andris Cheksters. This project, which received Erasmus+ funding that was granted by Agency of International Programms for Youth in Latvia, is a competition for students with three key objectives: To generate added economic value in Latvian regions, To discover and unleash the skills and abilities of students to help them along in their careers and finally to build a new generation of socially responsible entrepreneurs.

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

I first heard about the EEPA competition when I was working on the project, and thought it looked like a good opportunity. We were planning to launch the project one more time and thought that should we be recognised with this award that it might help us obtain the necessary funding to continue providing this opportunity for students to get into the entrepreneurial mindset.

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How did you go about preparing your application?

We actually applied quite late in June, and in Latvia the national winners are announced in July so we did not have much time to prepare. It was actually a surprise when we found out we were national winners because we did not hear anything for quite a while so just assumed that nothing had happened and forgot about the application.

What was it like to win the award and what kind of response did you receive?

It was definitely a surprise and it felt good to be promoted on a European level. We actually were surprised twice, first by being announced as national winners and again when we found out we were going to be a special mention at the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava! It made our work feel appreciated and recognised, which is great for our project because the student teams in the competition can also benefit from extra exposure.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

It was not particularly big news on a national level, but it was a big thing both for myself and all the project partners. There were several articles written about the project, and the exposure the award gives definitely helped with our credibility. I am not sure if this is a direct result of the exposure, but around the same time we also managed to secure some funding we had applied for to help continue running the competition for students.

Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?

The award has already helped in terms of scaling up the project, which really suits my vision for this project’s future. In future hopefully this project can be replicated across different European countries so that all European students and youth can start companies and use their local advantages in order to create international teams and in turn successful businesses. The project has a different structure to other ‘business idea’ competitions with a reality show style format and a focus on actual results and created economic values, so I want to bring this innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity to other European countries.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

This award provides recognition which is always good for project, especially if that recognition comes from a higher and recognised entity like the European Commission. This level of validity and credibility makes it much easier to launch a project or to look for funding, which is support we need with our innovative approach.

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The project will re-launch again on 6 February to continue the search for inspiring entrepreneurs!

www.radamnovadam.lv

EEPA – Investing in entrepreneurial skills

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Each week, one of six European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) categories is presented on the Promoting Enterprise blog. The EEPA awards reward annually, those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.

You can have a look at last week’s featured projects shortlisted for EEPA Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. This week, it is the turn of the shortlisted projects in Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills. Three projects, from Italy, Latvia and the UK, support the inclusion of the unemployed and young jobseekers into the workforce through skills development and mentorship. Two of the shortlisted projects have a focus on the crafts industry, while the third includes the creative arts as an area targeted for support.

blog-imagesThe Bottega Scuola project in Italy supports the young unemployed by encouraging craft skills and business development ideas in artistic and traditional industries through six months’ work experience. The project acts as an artisan teaching workshop intended to increase job opportunities and stimulate new local entrepreneurial initiatives. Watch their video!

The project for the Development of innovative entrepreneurship in Jelgava City and Zemgale Region in Latvia is a platform through which the local government supports innovative entrepreneurship and facilitates networking, local good practice and mentor support. One example is the successful Competence and Contact Exchange initiative for the cottage arts and crafts industry, which develops entrepreneurial skills and creates innovative new products. So far, 10 000 people have taken part in various activities for developing innovative entrepreneurship and on average 63 new entrepreneurs sign up every year! Watch their video!

students-uni-liverpoolThe Enterprise Educators Academe in the UK has created the world’s first internal, accredited, enterprise educator training programme. The training and support of over 600 staff of all disciplines to embed enterprise skills across the university curriculum has been at the heart of the programme. In the first two years alone 21 000 students were reached and over 2 000 freelance businesses created. Business and public sector projects projects benefited from student support resulting in an economic impact valued at over EUR 4.4 million (GBP £4 million). Check out their YouTube channel!

By investing in entrepreneurial skills, these projects continue to support ongoing regional initiatives to integrate young people and the unemployed in the workforce. All 6 EEPA category winners will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia, when the Grand Jury prize-winner will also be announced.

EEPA 2016 shortlist announced!

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In total, 343 National EEPA entries were received from 31 participating countries in 2016, which were then narrowed down by the national EEPA coordinators to 57 projects put forward for the European level of the competition.

At a meeting in Brussels on 27 September, the EEPA Jury drew up a project shortlist for each of the EEPA’s six project categories.  Let´s meet 18 shortlisted winners for EEPA 2016!

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The winners are spread pretty evenly across Europe, with only Serbia featuring on the list more than once, with winning projects in the Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency categories. We will present all of the shortlisted projects, category by category, on the Promoting Enterprise blog over the next six weeks.

The winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia, when the Grand Jury prize-winner will also be announced. All of the national winners will have their costs covered to send one representative to attend the SME Assembly, while shortlisted projects will be able to send two representatives.

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted projects – they are all worthy winners, and the EEPA Jury will have a difficult task in selecting the winning projects in each category. We wish them all the best of luck at the SME Assembly in November.

 

CONNECT Latvia – supporting entrepreneurs in Latvia

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CONNECT Latvia is a non-profit membership association with the objective to help create and develop new and innovative companies in Latvia. Set up by Alexander Efremov, the founders of Connect Latvia include Riga Technical University, University of Latvia, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Connect Sweden and Riga City Council. In this interview, Efremov talks about the motivation behind the organisation and the importance of nurturing young entrepreneurs.

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CONNECT Latvia appears to be a hybrid organization – part membership association and part incubator and training provider. Could you explain exactly what you are and how you operate?

Yes, CONNECT Latvia is a truly hybrid organisation, as is innovation itself. CONNECT’s mission is to stimulate new entrepreneurial ventures in our region. Even though entrepreneurship is usually associated with starting up a company, it’s meaning is much broader. It could be a social venture or pursuing someone’s dreams in research. The first, original CONNECT network was established in San Diego, USA back in 1985, where it is still operating and has reached a broad community by providing technology entrepreneurship development. Core to CONNECT’s growth and development is a culture of collaboration, fostered by San Diego CONNECT’s first director, Bill Otterson.

Still alive in our minds is his vision, which could be described as ‘networking is what makes us a community.’ Bill would, during an important event where high-level executives have gathered, spend hours talking to a young man or woman who is just starting his/her first entrepreneurial venture. These are heroes to whom we look up and follow, and they lead our next generation in the entrepreneurial journey. Another inspiring leader, friend and role model for CONNECT Latvia is Professor Alan Barrell from the University of Cambridge, UK. He is the initiator of the Cambridge Venture Camp programmes that are run in Cambridge for students from many different parts of the world, e.g. China, Vietnam, Finland, Portugal and Latvia. Alan’s passion for entrepreneurship and innovation cannot be summed in a few sentences, but one example stands out: “The concept of the world without borders – the entrepreneurship world today can become the world that unites nations and countries, despite and even encouraged by differences that will make all of us richer, firstly in our minds.”

Alan Barrell and I both meet with young entrepreneurs and inventors to discuss their business or invention ideas, trying to develop the essence of entrepreneurship and make young innovators ready for real life and for successful business life.

What were your objectives when you set up the Riga-Cambridge Venture Camp and what do you hope to achieve from it in terms of sustainable development in the SME sector?

The Riga-Cambridge Venture Camp is a new project undertaken by CONNECT Latvia. It is an informal education programme, which takes place in leading universities, business incubators and innovation centres in Riga, Latvia and Cambridge, UK. The Venture Camp is an opportunity for cross-disciplinary students to gain practical insights into the local and global business world from experienced entrepreneurs/lecturers in Riga and Cambridge. It’s also an opportunity for lecturers to foster their methodology and expand their knowledge in their area of expertise, which they can, in turn, implement into their daily lecturing activities.

We’ve come to realise that cross-disciplinary students have little or no knowledge about doing business or of commercialising their ideas and inventions. The usual scenario is either thinking that an idea is unreal and, therefore, no effort is put into actually testing that hypothesis, or the other storyline is often by investing time and money into a solution that nobody needs. What we want to refine here is the attitude and potential of our young and talented by explaining vital business development processes with real-time work on the business ideas with which students come into the Venture Camp. Our participating lecturers, entrepreneurs and mentors are dedicated to helping the Venture Camp participants succeed. Success for some is the first failure, the chance to learn and do better in the next business project, and for others it’s a prosperous SME. Some of our programme graduates have launched booming SMEs, such as ICT Amber Housing in the housing sector; VIVIDLY, a virtual reality platform for architects and their clients; KonqEyes, an application to assist the blind. These are just some examples, and even those who are still in the midst of their way to success have gained the necessary boost to strive for their goals. Our mission is to be there and give a helping hand throughout the programme and beyond.

Is there anything that you feel the European Commission can do to assist you achieve your objectives for Latvia?

Support incentives through visiting experts, co-organising workshops, promotion of activities, programmes, experts, members, organisation…

Such activities like the EU-co-financed project under the Interreg programme, ‘Best Agers’ or another project ‘Connect Baltic Sea Region+’, have played crucial roles in forming CONNECT’s vision and activities. Leaders of these projects and the international team around them have influenced development of the mindset, capacity and passion for entrepreneurship and innovation in all aspects of the life cycle. For example, the Best Agers project focuses on how to engage seniors aged 55+ in business activities at a broader, deeper and larger scale. Some activities were focused on using the skills and experience of best agers to become mentors for young people and entrepreneurs; others brought to the table issues on safe and adapted workplaces for elderly people. One noteworthy example of this was the City of Kiel Waste Management project in which they redesigned and rebuilt waste collection machines so that people who work them could get into and out of them more easily by simply making one small step up/down instead of three larger steps. We call it ‘making the world a better place to live.’

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