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
Watch all of the EEPA ‘winning moments’ and highlights from the SME Assembly 2017 here:
What makes a successful European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) entry? What is the secret to winning at European level? Today on Promoting Enterprise, the 2017 edition winners tell us why others should enter EEPA 2018, and share their advice for making an application stand out.
The 2017 winners shared a lot of advice in their testimonials but there were certain things that each of them mentioned as key to their EEPA success, and reasons why an EEPA prize is so valuable. Firstly, all of the winners recognised the power of the EEPA scheme for bringing recognition to project work at European level, as well as the opportunity to see and interact with other projects that have been recognised as best European practices.
“The prize itself is valuable, but so is the opportunity to see how projects in other countries deal with the same issues and questions. You can see differences in financial solutions, project launches and how each country has their own solutions and plans, all of which are the best across Europe.”
- Business Generator – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills Winner 2017
In addition to European recognition, being a part of EEPA helped winners gain experience in pitching their projects. This is particularly useful when building awareness and a network around your work, and something that the EEPA application process values highly.
“It was very helpful to get pitching experience and advice on our Innofest-proposition. One of the main reasons behind our win was that we presented a new proposition (i.e. festivals as testing grounds for innovators) to add to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
- Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017
Finally, all winners agreed that EEPA is a big contributor to increasing awareness around project work. Through EEPA, the winners had the opportunity to attend the prestigious SME Assembly, where they mingled with a variety of stakeholders and players in the entrepreneurial, SME and startup ecosystems.
So what advice do the 2017 winners want to share with this year’s applicants?
“My advice for future applicants would be to work a little more upstream, and to focus on having good national mobilisation around your project and work. Once this is established, it can then be complemented by working with the public entities that transmit the EEPA message and that organise the awards.”
- ADIE, Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship Winner 2017
“Prepare well! Be aware that it requires quite a lot of work until your documents are “final”, so advice and help from the national body might be very useful, so make the most of it.”
- Internationalisation 2015 – 2020 – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business Winner 2017
“I would recommend working on the tangible results of your projects. Show that the submitted project has a positive impact on its territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!”
- Reempresa – Improving the Business Environment Winner 2017
“When applying it is important to ask yourself if others can replicate what you do. Success is always a combination of vision, strategy, trial and error, lessons learnt and results, so be sure to include your project story and journey.”
- Business Generator – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills Winner 2017
“Do not hesitate, apply! If you are doing the right thing, eventually someone will notice, and sometimes it’s the EEPA jury.“
- Enterprise Village – Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit Winner 2017
“Our advice for future applicants is to make sure that you highlight why your initiative is both effective and unique.”
- Innofest – Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017
For more information on the 2017 winners, read the EEPA 2017 winner testimonials here. Some of the EEPA 2018 national competitions are still open, so check the national deadlines here and apply before it’s too late!
The first national deadlines for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards are coming up soon, so don’t miss your chance to enter! This year the awards ceremony will take place in November in Graz, Austria as part of the SME Assembly 2018.
Check your national deadlines in the table below and don’t miss out on this year’s edition! Each participating country has a different national deadline so be sure to get the right one. All submissions must be done at national level in order to be eligible at European level, for which nominations close on 3 July 2018.
*The Netherlands national deadline is provisional. Please come back to this page regularly for updates once the national deadline is confirmed.
Watch the winning moments from EEPA 2017:
Promoting Enterprise is back with yet another EEPA 2017 winner testimonial for you to be inspired by. Today is the turn of Reempresa, winner of the ‘Improving the business environment’ category with their project for ‘re-entrepreneurs’, represented by director Albert Colomer.
How did you first hear about the national competition?
We have participated in the SME Assembly conference for many years and have always been interested in the EEPA awards ceremony because it is a very important event where interesting initiatives for all Europeans are showcased.
Why did you decide to enter the national competition?
Reempresa was started in 2011 and throughout the years we have worked to implement the market for business transfers in Catalonia. Now that we have finished the development phase with great results, we thought that presenting our candidature to the EEPA awards was an opportunity to share our results with all the participating countries and to raise awareness about the importance of facilitating business transfers to support SMEs and to prevent the loss of jobs.
How did you prepare your application?
Reempresa works with a wide network of collaborators. We involved them and asked them to gather all their results and stories to explain them to the rest of Europe. Once we won the Spanish award, we launched a special website and social media campaign to share the award with all our partners, the team and, of course, with all our users who were able to sell and buy their businesses thanks to Reempresa.
What was it like to win the award?
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!
How did winning the award impact your work?
For Reempresa, this award marks a before and after in the organisation! To appear on the EEPA blog and social networks, and the coverage given to us by EuroNews has been very important because it has allowed us to reach all of Europe and has allowed many people and organisations to get to know us. It has definitely helped us to be very motivated and keep working hard in the future!
Why should others enter EEPA 2018? What advice would you give them?
I would recommend working on the tangible results of your projects. Showing that the submitted project has a positive impact on their territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!
What are your plans for the future?
We are currently having talks with many countries to implement this initiative that has worked so well in Catalonia. Together, we hope to build a European business transfer market with the aim of helping European SMEs.
Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2017 testimonials and don’t forget to check all the social media channels (Twitter: @EEPA_EU and Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise) for the latest EEPA updates.
It is that time of the year again, when the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) commence and the best projects from all across Europe begin to compete for a place on the EEPA 2018 shortlist.
Today 05 February, marks the opening of the EEPA 2018 and the project nominations, which will be happening on a national level. National deadlines will differ across countries 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 2018 Jury meeting will take place in mid-September which will be followed by the announcement of the shortlist by the end of September. The final step will be the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place in Graz, Austria on Tuesday 20 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 2018 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
For the 2018 edition the previously suspended ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ is back and accepting submissions.
Interested in learning more about EEPA? Want to know what the awards ceremony is like? If you are thinking about applying for an award speak to your national coordinator and be sure to read past EEPA winner testimonials which will soon include interviews with all of the latest EEPA winners. For more information about EEPA 2017 take a look at the shortlist and watch the winners videos below!
2017 EEPA: Grand Jury Prize winner – Innofest (NL)
2017 EEPA: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit winner – Enterprise Village (EE)
2017 EEPA: Investing in entrepreneurial skills winner – Business Generator (SE)
2017 EEPA: Improving the business environment winner – Reempresa (ES)
2017 EEPA: Supporting the internationalisation of business winner – Ecoplus International (AT)
2017 EEPA: Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship winner – Adie (FR)
The EEPA secretariat team look forward to supporting you throughout the 2018 EEPA campaign. For support with social media, blogs and promoting EEPA in your country please contact Megan Gardner firstname.lastname@example.org and for all other technical and administrative questions, please contact Andrew Dec, Secretariat Manager andrew.dec@LOWeurope.eu.
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017 have come to an end, but what a journey it has been! From the opening of national competitions in early 2017, the announcement of all national winners, the long awaited publication of the shortlist and now finally the winner’s ceremony we have witnessed all of the hard work and dedication that goes into the outstanding projects submitted each year.
It is with great pride that Promoting Enterprise can now present to you the EEPA ‘class of 2017’, the projects that were crowned European winners at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia (click on the picture to see their video presentation).
What was their first reaction?
Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Enterprise Village, Estonia
Mehis Parn: “Now we know we do the right thing!”
Investing in entrepreneurial skills:
The Business Generator, Sweden
Anette Rhudin: “Hard working entrepreneurs need nutrition and that is what we do for them. Thank you!”
Improving the business environment: Reempresa, Spain
Albert Colomer: “We are just happy! Thank you for this fantastic award!”
Supporting the Internationalisation of Business:
“Internationalisation 2015 – 2020”, Austria
Johanna Mikl-Letiner (Governor of Lower Austria): “We now see that our strategy to internationalize is successful!”
Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship:
Adie (Association for Economic Rights Initiatives), France
Marine Viala: “It´s our birthday this year! Aide has a big potential and this prize “salut!” to our work!”
Grand Jury Prize: Innofest, The Netherlands
Anna van Nunen: “We thought you forgot us. But this, of course, is now a great surprise!”
Please find here the 2017 Compendium of winners: EEPA 2017 Compendium Brochure (in English).
Congratulations to this year’s winners and we hoped you enjoyed the ceremony (photos)! Be sure to keep following us here on the portal for winner interviews and updates to find out more about this year’s projects.
Time for the Category 3: ‘Improving the Business Environment’ introductions! The Jury has selected four projects as 2017 finalists all with different innovative ideas. This year the Category 3 projects represent the Netherlands, Austria, Italy and Spain.
Innofest works with eight summer festivals in northern Netherlands as living labs for innovation, and provides a safe environment for entrepreneurs to test their prototypes before bringing them onto the market. Innofest sees festivals as temporary mini societies, with their own set of challenges in the areas of water, food, logistics, energy and waste, among others. As contained environments, product testing results are measurable, and can reduce innovation failure rates in an area with many SMEs but that is lagging behind the rest of the Netherlands in innovation. During the festival on-site support is offered along with networking opportunities and follow-up guidance.
‘Innovation to Company’, the project from the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in Vienna, brings together innovative and flexible start-ups with established enterprises with resources and market positioning. Through active networking and matchmaking, start-ups help with the development of innovation and solving of challenges that an established enterprise may face. In turn the established enterprises offer resources and market placement, making the cooperation mutually beneficial. To date, 16 enterprises (2015-2017) and 150 start-ups (2017 not yet included) have participated, and 2.5 million EUR in potential profit opportunities for start-ups has been generated.
Manufacturing Project – The Green Innovation Factory is transforming the historic Rovereto factory into an industrial innovation centre. The centre covers eco-sustainable construction, renewable energy, technologies for environmental management and monitoring, natural resources, and the circular economy. Within the project exists the Pole of Mechatronics, which involves public bodies, private individuals, and trade associations. It is an innovative hub serving a widespread production chain that involves the qualified participation of companies ranging from automotive, robotics, sensors, industrial automation, up to biomedical industries. It houses productive spaces, technological workshops, and school buildings.
Reempresa pioneers the innovative concept of a trading market for SMEs in Catalonia, which helps ‘re-entrepreneurs’ i.e. buyers take ownership of an existing SME. The business transfer scheme preserves existing businesses and jobs, thereby ensuring continuity, and promotes economic growth. It also promotes awareness about public-private collaboration and the benefits of standardising business transfer facilitation procedures. Since 2011, Reempresa has successfully transferred more than 1,230 businesses, preserved more than 3,500 direct jobs and generated more than EUR 56.8 million in investment. This one-stop-shop platform brings retiring business owners, or others who choose to sell their business on, together with young entrepreneurs that wish to acquire a business without having to start from zero. From the first meeting, through negotiation to the conclusion of the transfer, Reempresa provides mentoring and support to ensure a smooth transfer and the future viability of the business. The scheme is also an employment opportunity, providing sustainable careers for the ‘re-entrepreneurs’, 40% of which were previously unemployed. Not only is Reempresa a national success story, but it is also an example of a highly innovative and inspiring project with high replicability potential.
Who will be the Category 3 winner for 2017? Find out this November at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn! Find out about the Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit and Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills nominees, and stay tuned for Category 4 introductions next week!