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Inside a National EEPA campaign with Belgian coordinator Françis Otte

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are joined by Belgian European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) National Coordinator Françis Otte. Françis is an experienced National Coordinator and today he is sharing that experience and advice on how to run a successful national campaign, reaching out to potential applicants and what he has learnt throughout his time as coordinator.

How did you prepare for EEPA 2019?

After 13 EEPA editions, the preparation of each edition has become a form of routine. We think it’s important to put together a qualitative jury that will appoint the two Belgian nominees and will take enough time to do so.

Updating the website still takes a lot of time and energy from our various services, especially because for the last two or three editions participants in Belgium can download all the necessary documents from the website in their respective languages, and are able to submit their entry form in Dutch, French, German or English.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?  

  • Always keep track of the information of interested participants and former participants
  • Get help from someone who knows a target group with potential participants better than yourself
  • Try to orient participants towards an award category with less competition.

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2019 campaign?

We usually don’t really work around a “main aspect”. In fact, we always fall back on what we have been successfully using for years. Specifically: clear communication by means of a clear website, social media and service to potential participants. For the communication we work together with the regions and other organisations. Something else that we believe is an important aspect is that we try to add something new to each edition.

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

Be patient. 13 editions have taught us that participants always wait until the last moment to send us their entry forms.

Don’t forget to reach out to your 2019 EEPA National Coordinator before your national EEPA deadline! They can help with applications, getting ready for the competition and any other questions you may have about the exciting EEPA process.

Inside a National EEPA campaign with Finnish coordinator Kati Shibutani

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As the European deadline for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) gets closer, Promoting Enterprise wants to highlight one part of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Today we have Finnish National Coordinator Kati Shibutani telling us about her work in organising EEPA as well as her advice on how to run a successful national EEPA campaign.

How did you prepare for EEPA 2019?

As a national coordinator for EEPA, I’m glad that I have many colleagues here in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment who deal with SME promotion and with whom I can discuss and share ideas for EEPA. There is also a team of 3-4 persons especially for EEPA preparations and together we plan and decide on EEPA related issues.   

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?  

I have found it very useful to inform as many people and entities as possible about the EEPA competition. It could be that someone knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone – in this way you may learn about new and potential candidates for EEPA – and if a candidate is not eligible to apply this year, they may be eligible next year.

In addition to the excellent support and assistance the national EEPA coordinators get from the Commission it is good to have some advertising in the national language – and that is why our communications team did a video for EEPA with Finnish subtitles. The video and the message were spread across Twitter which has been our main advertising channel for the campaign. We have also sent some direct emails to relevant people and organisations in the business promotion field who could assist us in spreading the word of the EEPA competition. By designing short, clear and fresh messages we hope to interest and attract as many potential EEPA candidates as possible.   

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2019 campaign?

This year – as well as last year – we aim to courage potential candidates to apply by saying that “this is your chance to meet other candidates and ideas from Europe, to share best practices and learn from them”, and if you aim to win, the first step is to apply!   

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

Many countries may have initiatives for SME promotion that may look similar at first glance but may have a small detail – a different aspect, approach etc. – that makes them better, more effective etc. These details are worth studying and if applicable adopted or tested in your country.  Therefore, cooperation – sharing best practices and learning from them – is the most important thing, and also applies to the field of EEPA.    

In order to get in touch with Kati or any of the other 2019 EEPA National Coordinators, have a look here and make sure to reach out to them for help with your EEPA 2019 applications.

EEPA 2019 FAQ: What categories can I apply for?

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Thinking about applying for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2019? The first thing you should do is get in touch with your 2019 EEPA National Coordinator to find out about your national competition and for all the details regarding the 2019 entry criteria.

What about all the different categories, do you know what criteria apply? Where does your project fit best? Today on Promoting Enterprise we will take you through each category and have a look at some past winners to inspire your 2019 entries.

Grand Jury Prize

The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the best overall project for the EEPA cycle that year. This prize is not dependant on category and goes to outstanding projects that are recognised on a higher level than in the category they entered.

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Projects in this category are recognised for their initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women.

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

Projects entering this category should possess initiatives that improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Improving the Business Environment

This category focuses on initiatives that support enterprise start-up and growth, and simplify both legislative and administrative procedures for businesses.

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

This category includes an international perspective, and should be considered by projects that encourage enterprises and particularly small and medium-sized businesses to benefit more from the opportunities offered by markets, both inside and outside the EU.

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

After a temporary suspension in 2017, this category came back in 2018 looking for initiatives that support SME access to green markets and help to improve their resource efficiency through, for example, green skills development and matchmaking, as well as funding.

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

The final EEPA category is for projects that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities.

Don’t forget to direct all of your EEPA 2019 questions to your National Coordinators and to the EEPA Secretariat and best of luck with your applications.

EEPA National Coordinators 2019

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With the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) officially launched for 2019 it is time to get to know the important people that run the national awards in each country…your National Coordinators!

National Coordinators ensure that the national EEPA competitions run smoothly and that all applicants are supported throughout the competition process. They also have the very important role of nominating the two lucky projects that will represent their country at the European level of the EEPA competition.

If you are considering applying for EEPA 2019 then be sure to get in touch with your National Coordinator as soon as possible and make your application as strong as possible. Find all of the contact details for the 2019 National Coordinators below and don’t hesitate to contact the EEPA Secretariat for more information.

Find out more about EEPA participation and the national competitions for 2019 here.

Belgique/België Ελλάδα Lietuva România
България España Luxembourg Slovenija
Česko France Magyarország Slovensko
Crna Gora/Црна Гора Hrvatska Malta Suomi/Finland
Danmark Ísland Nederland Sverige
Deutschland Italia Österreich Türkiye
Eesti Κύπρος Polska Сpбија
Éire/Ireland Latvija Portugal  

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week for the latest EEPA 2019 information as well as the freshest updates from the worlds of entrepreneurship and enterprise.

EEPA 2018 – Learning from Portuguese National Coordinator Helena Moura

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EEPA continues and so does the work of all of the National Coordinators. Today on Promoting Enterprise we are joined by Portuguese coordinator Helena Moura, who has been involved with EEPA since the inception of the scheme in 2005. Continue reading to learn from her experiences and to find out what goes into the Portuguese EEPA campaign.

How have you been preparing EEPA 2018 so far?

IAPMEI, the Portuguese body responsible for EEPA coordination, did a preliminary benchmark comparing the actions carried out during the previous EEPA editions versus related results. This allowed us to define an integrated action plan based on:

  • a core message combining “motivation” with the benefits of participation in EEPA, an EU initiative carried out in more than 30 countries
  • sharing information on awarded projects
  • personalised mailing, by post, from the President of IAPMEI addressed to a wide range of entities (over 800), including ministries, and a personalised email to over 1 300 other entities
  • strengthening the collaboration with national and regional stakeholders
  • highlighting EEPA on the IAPMEI website and on the portal of the Portuguese Enterprise Europe Network consortium
  • reinforcing the dissemination of EEPA material via IAPMEI social networks and newsletters
  • researching online and through media for eligible initiatives

This was combined with a regular assessment so as to allow for a reformulation of the action plan where needed.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?

Based on experience, my top 3 pieces of advice would be to do your research, establish close cooperation with stakeholders and create those direct contacts and finally, put in the hard work! Several of the Portuguese projects awarded in previous editions, including on EU level, come from research carried out by IAPMEI. Once you have identified the potential candidate, it is also very important to identify the right person to be your contact. This will allow to better introduce the EEPA scheme, motivate them to participate and to give all the necessary support and follow-up.

IAPMEI developed a committed task force which is dedicated to motivating participants and supporting the preparation of entries, something which has definitely been s key for reaching out to potential applicants.

What will be the main aspects of your EEPA 2018 campaign?

For the current campaign IAPMEI has widened the scope of the target audience, and enlarged the dedicated task force for direct contacting of potential applicants. There has also been additional training for the task force members, so as to have more assertive and effective communication with potential applicants.

What advice would you give to projects applying in the newly re-instated category ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’?

It is a challenging category, but not impossible to apply for! Portugal was awarded in this category in the first year, and the winner was found through careful IAPMEI research. My advice would be to take the time to identify and contact the entities with the potential to apply for this category, and most importantly don’t give up!

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

Having worked in EEPA from the very beginning (2005), I would say that it is a challenge to promote enterprises and entrepreneurship and, mostly, to encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs. However, despite the difficulties the visibility and impact that the projects and related promoters achieve with EEPA participation is important and should definitely be highlighted when recruiting potential projects. When you are promoting the EEPA think about what opportunities could come as a result of participation, and share that with your potential applicants.

Since 2006, Portugal has achieved more than 14% of the total of the EEPA national entries, which demonstrates the commitment of the Portuguese promoters participating in the initiative. These results are in line with the high entrepreneurship performance in Portugal and demonstrate the dynamism and effort that the country has been carrying out to promote the business activity in the Europe.

Any other National Coordinator experiences that you would like to share?

I have witnessed the enormous commitment from all the involved parties, from the huge dissemination carried out by the European Commission and, at national level by IAPMEI, the great commitment of the President of IAPMEI and of course that of the National Jury. Without their commitment and dedication, the EEPA would not be what they are in Portugal today. We are also lucky enough to be able to organise a national ceremony with the participation of a member of government, and featuring the testimonials of previously awarded Portuguese projects.

Interested in what goes on behind the scenes of EEPA? Read the latest national coordinator interview here with Estonian coordinator Kaupo Sempelson and keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for all the latest EEPA news.

EEPA 2018 – Behind the scenes with Estonian National Coordinator Kaupo Sempelson

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What happens behind the scenes of EEPA? What goes into organising a national campaign? Today on Promoting Enterprise Estonian National Coordinator Kaupo Sempelson shares what has been going into the Estonian EEPA 2018 campaign.

How have you been preparing EEPA 2018 so far?

We finalised all of our preparations and launched the Estonian national competition on the 8th of February, for which the deadline is the 6th of April. However, we have recently begun the national process and we are hoping for a lot of active participation.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants? 

The most important piece of advice I can give is to spread the invitation to apply across different networks, but also to send direct invitations to potential candidates. The direct approach is sometimes the most cost efficient solution. In Estonia we have also made use of the ministry’s Facebook page to disseminate the information about the EEPA national competition.

What will be the main aspects of your EEPA 2018 campaign?

We will not run a media campaign, as we are focusing our efforts on reaching potential candidates directly. We have found that this is particularly effective and allows us to secure quality entries.

What advice would you give to projects applying in the newly re-instated category ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’?

It is a very good opportunity for a potential project to get publicity. I think that the potential of this category is as yet undiscovered by potential projects. The entrepreneurial spirit category is very popular each year, so I think that we need to put some extra effort into reaching the green markets projects so this newly re-instated category can be just as strong.

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

During my time as Coordinator I have seen a lot of initiatives worth rewarding and I am convinced that the EEPA competition is a very good award scheme for these projects to gain the recognition they deserve. The fact that the competition is on a European level is definitely an important aspect and one that has a positive effect on the projects.

Interested in what goes on behind the scenes of other national EEPA campaigns? Have a read of interviews with the Spanish and Swedish EEPA national coordinators here on Promoting Enterprise.

The countdown for the #EEPA2017 shortlist begins

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The entry deadline for the European level of the EEPA competition closed on 3 July 2017. The entries are now being checked and prepared for evaluation by the Jury.

In 2017 305 National EEPA entries were received from 32 participating countries. 56 projects were then selected by the National Co-ordinators as the best of the best and were put forward for the European level of the competition.

Interested in finding out who will be competing for the European awards? What does each country have to offer this year? Promoting Enterprise will be introducing you to all the categories and national winners throughout the summer…so stay tuned!

Who will be judging the entries? This year the diverse EEPA 2017 jury is made up of eight representatives from across different sectors and professions:

Kristin Schreiber (Chair) – Director, SME Policy & COSME, DG Grow, European Commission
Mr Thomas Wobben – Director, Committee of the Regions
Mr Christian Cardona – Minister of Ministry of the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Malta
Mr Viljar Lubi – Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, Estonia
Karen BoersCo-founder & President, European Startup Network
Lisa Steigertahl – Co-founder & Director, European Startup Network
Ms Daniela ÖlmungerGrand Jury prize winner of 2016 edition, Entrepreneurial West Hisingen
Professor Thomas Cooney – Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology

The EEPA Jury will meet in Brussels in September to decide on a project shortlist for each of the EEPA categories. The shortlisted projects will be announced soon after the Brussels meeting, and the winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 23 November in Tallinn, Estonia.

Keep up with all the latest EEPA news right here on Promoting Enterprise, and good luck to all competing projects!

What does a national coordinator do? – Inside the Spanish national EEPA 2017 campaign

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The 2017 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is in full swing, and a lot of national deadlines are approaching…so get those applications in!

Today we meet Spanish EEPA National Coordinator Antonio Fernandez Ecker, who gives us a glimpse into the Spanish campaign and his advice for promoting EEPA 2017.

How have you been promoting EEPA 2017 so far?

The promotion for EEPA 2017 has been focused on providing relevant information and getting it to the right people. Part of this is including the relevant information about EEPA 2017 on the web page of the Ministry for Industry and SMEs and disseminating it via social media and email.

For our email dissemination we have directed our communications to specific entities such as:

  • Members of the State Council for SMEs: an advisory board for SME affairs which is made up of representatives of the general state administration as well as representatives from the autonomous communities and local entities
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Business schools
  • Universities
  • Points of care for entrepreneurs (a network of unique one stop shops which exist in Spain, for information and electronic administration services for entrepreneurs and companies)
  • 2016 prize winners

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?

  • Motivate them to participate by showing them that they are running an initiative with good results
  • Prepare a good application that reflects why the project is good
  • Give them relevant information about previous editions

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2017 campaign?

To increase the dissemination of information amongst interested actors in the SME environment, with the goal of getting them to present success stories which take place in local environments which normally would not have as much publicity. We have also been taking a direct contact approach, providing information via email or telephone, so as to resolve any doubts that projects may have before presenting themselves as candidates.

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

In my brief experience as a National Coordinator, I have only been in this role from September 2016, I have learnt that knowing, sharing and disseminating examples of successful initiatives in different EU countries is very important. It allows us to learn from each other, avoid previously made mistakes and put into practice initiatives that would otherwise have been difficult to implement. Overall, I believe that EEPA is extremely useful for promoting entrepreneurship in our countries.

Thinking of applying? Contact your national coordinator before your national deadline!

What does a national coordinator do? – Inside the Swedish national EEPA 2017 campaign

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The preparations for the 2017 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are underway and National Coordinators across the participating countries have been working hard to promote the awards and find innovative and interesting entries to compete on European level for the 2017 titles!

Today Swedish EEPA National Coordinator Maria Evertsson gives us a glimpse into the Swedish campaign and her advice for promoting EEPA 2017.

How have you been promoting EEPA 2017 so far?

I have been promoting EEPA online with information and a simplified on-line-tool for applicants to fill in, which is supported with tweets about our EEPA web page. On the basis of the applications we receive our national jury will pick two national winners. Those two winners will then fill in the full application.

I have also reached out to actors involved in European Structural and Investments Funds and asked them to spread the word about EEPA 2017.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?

  1. Address actors with good local and regional knowledge who can help spread the word.
  2. Focus on the benefits for applicants in terms of visibility, European networking and international recognition.
  3. Make it easy and attractive for applicants to participate.

What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2017 campaign?

  • An attractive web page combined with social media.
  • A simplified submission procedure.
  • Link to last years’ EEPA to help potential candidates understand what it is all about.

What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?

There are a lot of things happening which means that you may not reach your target audiences despite great efforts. You need to repeat information and find ambassadors with good knowledge about what is going on who can help you spread the word about EEPA. People do not necessarily understand that they could be EEPA material. It can help to give examples from previous years.

Thinking about applying? Need more advice or information? Find your national coordinator’s contact details here and ask them everything you want to know about EEPA!

European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2017 – Apply now!

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The 2017 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards is now under way! The prestigious awards ceremony will take place this November in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, as part of the SME Assembly. Many of the national deadlines have now been announced and national campaigns have been launched across all the participating countries.

Thinking about getting involved in the 2017 edition? Be sure to check your national deadline, as each country has a different deadline. Some of them are quite soon…so start applying!

For more information be sure to contact your national coordinator, they can help with the submission progress and any other questions. Perhaps you are looking for some inspiration? Wondering what it means to be an EEPA winner? Have a look at the testimonials from the 2016 winners, for exciting anecdotes, where they are now and advice for future applicants.

Have a look below for some important EEPA dates and start applying today!

Watch the 2016 Awards ceremony:

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