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Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit – EEPA 2018 Shortlist

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It’s time to meet the shortlist! Last week we announced the official EEPA 2018 European shortlist, and starting from this week we will be introducing each of the nominated projects, here on Promoting Enterprise. Today we begin with Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit. This year we have projects from Belgium, Estonia and Greece competing for the prize. Find out more about who is competing for the European title in Graz this year.

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

The Makersrepubliek brings together three initiatives, Handmade in Brugge, TURBO and The Box Brugge. With a shared physical space, the initiatives reinforce each other and encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas to achieve the overall objective of stimulating entrepreneurship in Brugge. The project specifically targets young people and women and has become a pioneering springboard for the city’s economy. Brugge is known for pioneering craftsmanship and through this initiative wants to bring traditional and innovative practices together to encourage businesses to consider the city as an attractive location, with innovative facilities like the ‘plug&play’ business premises offered in the inner city.

Estonia: Superheroes

Superheroes is an entrepreneurship and leadership accelerator dedicated to unlocking the potential of 13-17 year old girls. Over the course of four months and 10 workshops, participating girls test their strengths, boost their life skills and develop bonds with each other. Most importantly, they turn their dreams into reality by running projects they are passionate about in teams of five, supported by mentors. A unique methodology combined with a daring and engaging set of activities empowers girls to become more independent and entrepreneurial, and to be inspired by diverse role models across the globe.

Greece: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship

This project highlights blue entrepreneurship and economy, which cover the sustainable use of the sea and its resources for economic development. The Municipality of Piraeus has implemented several blue entrepreneurship actions including the BlueGrowth innovation competition, the BLUACT network, the Blue Development Strategy, two European programs and the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Centre for Blue Development. The goal is to create new sustainable businesses and jobs in the Blue Economy and to promote a new innovative business ecosystem. So far the project has produced 20 new startups, 45 new jobs and 55 networking events.

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.

Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Submissions closed

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Another year and another successful edition of the SME Week Youth Essay Competition. A big thank you goes out to all of this year’s participants for submitting your answers to “What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

This year we received submissions from 32 different countries, with the top three countries being Italy, Romania and Ukraine. We also received entries from other countries including Russia, Egypt, the Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Ghana, Algeria and Liberia. Unfortunately we can only accept submissions from citizens of COSME countries, but thank you for sending us your ideas!

So what happens now?

Now that the deadline has passed, the 2018 Essay Competition jury will deliberate and read through the entries to determine the top three submissions. These top three finalists will be announced right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media, so stay tuned to all of our channels to find out who will be joining us in Graz for a live final at the SME Assembly 2018.

What could you win?

Each finalist will win an all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria, be given special presentation training before the event and finally have their essay and ideas promoted right here on Promoting Enterprise and across all our social media.

Follow our social media so you don’t miss any news about the competition:

Twitter: @EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek

Facebook: @PromotingEnterprise

Instagram: @promotingenterprise

Previous editions of the competition:

2016: “What can the EU do to encourage more young people to become entrepreneurs?”

2017: “What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?”

Meet the EEPA Jury 2018 – Jesús Casado Navarro-Rubio

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The 2018 EEPA Jury meeting (where the EEPA 2018 shortlist will be decided) is getting closer and so is the announcement of this year’s shortlist. In preparation for the announcement, we have been meeting the new faces of the EEPA 2018 Jury here on Promoting Enterprise including Anna van Nunen and Dr. Matthias Tschirf.

Today we meet another new face on the jury, Jesús Casado Navarro-Rubio. Jesús is currently the Secretary General of European Family Businesses, a federation of 14 National Family Businesses associations based in Brussels. Having taken active roles on several association boards and advisory groups on both a European and national (Spanish) level, Jesús has cultivated extensive experience in the sector. Today he shares his thoughts on the EEPA and what kinds of projects he will be looking for this year.   

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

In my opinion, the most important characteristic for a project to be special is that it is innovative. It has to bring something new and show creativity.

What top three qualities should a project have to make it onto the 2018 shortlist?  

In order to make it onto the 2018 shortlist a project needs to:

  • Be effective
  • Be transferable to other countries and situations
  • Contribute to a better and stronger economy

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?   

In order to be considered for the Grand Jury Prize a project needs to be ambitious enough to be a game changer, to transcend the norm. I will be looking for a project that intends to create a revolution, not only an evolution.

Which is your favourite category and why?

All the categories are equally important but I do like “Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit” as it helps foster the entrepreneurial drive, and I also like “Supporting the internationalisation of business” due to it facilitating the scaling up of companies. These two categories are my favourites because the creation of new businesses and the scaling up of already existing companies are the cornerstone of the European economy.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2018?

I am looking forward to meeting my peers again, and to participate in stimulating discussions that help me develop my work. I am also looking forward to going to Austria again as it is such a lovely country.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

I would like to say two things to all of the national winners. Firstly, congratulations for having already achieved something great by getting this far! I would also like to thank you all for your contributions to creating a better Europe via your innovative projects.

Who else is on the EEPA 2018 jury? Read about the other jury members here on the News Portal:

  • Thomas M. Cooney (Professor in Entrepreneurship, Dublin Institute of Technology)
  • Thomas Wobben (Committee of the Regions)
  • Lisa Steigertahl (Entrepreneurship Consultant)
  • Kristin Schreiber (DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs)
  • Matthias Tschirf (SME Envoy for Austria, Director General for Enterprise Policy in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs)
  • Anna van Nunen (Director of Innofest, Grand Jury Prize Winner 2017)

Meet the EEPA Jury 2018 – Anna Van Nunen

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Ready to meet another EEPA 2018 Jury member? Today is the turn of Anna van Nunen, Director of Innofest from the Netherlands, which won the EEPA Grand Jury Prize in 2017. Today Anna will be sharing what she will be looking for when judging the EEPA applications this year, and some advice based on her experience as one of last year’s winners. 

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

An EEPA project stands out when it has a clear vision on how entrepreneurs are being supported and has an effective way of taking that vision and translating it into actions. I will specifically look at the way the projects answer the needs of local entrepreneurs.

What top three qualities should a project have to make it onto the 2018 shortlist?  

  • A proven methodology of helping entrepreneurs
  • Scalability of the initiative throughout Europe
  • A good dose of social entrepreneurship

I am a firm believer in innovation and entrepreneurship as conditions for a social and sustainable world.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?   

To win the Grand Jury Prize a project must be both innovative and effective. I will look for projects that are a little out-of-the-box and make use of regional infrastructure in an effective way.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I believe that innovation and entrepreneurship need to be stimulated at an early stage, so that we can create and foster an innovative generation. Therefore, I am really looking forward to reading all proposals in the category “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2018?

I am really looking forward to reading all applications. I know from last year that it will be an inspiring collection of initiatives and I look forward to learning from them all. I also can’t wait to meet and congratulate the winners afterwards!

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Keep it cool. For us (Innofest), just winning the national competition brought us so much and was a fantastic achievement. I would also advise all applicants to start preparing an international strategy before attending the SME Assembly. Once you are at the Assembly there is a great network of ecosystem partners from all over Europe that will attend the Assembly in Graz this year, so be prepared and make the most of it.

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. Read about the 2018 national winners and be sure to keep coming back to the News Portal to find out who makes it onto the EEPA 2018 shortlist.

Meet the EEPA Jury 2018 – Dr. Matthias Tschirf

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Matthias Tschirf is the SME Envoy for Austria and heads the Directorate General for Enterprise Policy in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.

As SME Envoy of Austria, Matthias Tschirf is focused on the SMEs which form the backbone of the Austrian economy. His field of activity embraces the quality of Vocational Education and Training, especially by the ongoing modernisation of the Austrian landscape of occupational profiles for the apprenticeship system, as well as technical standardisation and the development of the Trade Act.

In addition to heading the national EEPA jury in Austria, which put forward two Austrian projects, Matthias Tschirf is also a member of the 2018 EEPA Jury at the European level of the competition. Today, he shares his thoughts about the EEPA with us.

What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?

An outstanding project combines innovation and cooperation and supports enterprises throughout their life cycle. It has visible and presentable results and helps to improve the role of entrepreneurs in society or to start up a business.

What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the 2018 shortlist? 

A top project is oriented towards results and solutions and provides inspiration to companies, authorities and stakeholders.

What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?

An initiative which is worth the Grand Jury Prize should have an outstanding impact on companies‘  regional or local ecosystem. It should be especially inspiring and have tangible results.

Which is your favourite category and why?

I think that all categories are important and complement each other. My favourite is category 2 – Investing in entrepreneurial skills, because I think that skills and training are key to the prosperous development of enterprises. Entrepreneurial skills may particularly contribute to the creation of more and more competitive companies in Europe.

What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2018?

I have been involved in the preparation of this year’s SME Assembly and the motto “Connect. Share. Innovate.“ comprises the main elements of a future-oriented SME policy. I hope that the SME Assembly 2018 will give inspiration and new ideas to participants and bring forward SMEs and SME policy in Europe and beyond.

Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?

Good luck! I wish all applicants good luck in the second round of selection – to participate in the European competition is already a success. Take this as a reinforcement of the value of your projects and continue to develop and concretise your ideas.

Who else is on the EEPA 2018 jury? Come back to the News Portal every week to meet a new member and don’t forget to read about existing jury members Thomas M. Cooney (Professor in Entrepreneurship, Dublin Institute of Technology)Thomas Wobben (Committee of the Regions), Lisa Steigertahl (Entrepreneurship Consultant) and Kristin Schreiber (DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) right here on the Portal!

Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Time to get writing!

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Calling all 18-25 year olds, the European Commission wants to hear your voice!  

The Youth Essay competition, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is launching for the third time and is looking for answers to the following question:

“What steps should entrepreneurs and government take to become more innovative?”

By taking part in the Youth Essay Competition you have a chance to share your thoughts and opinions with key policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European platform. Sound interesting? In order to win the prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the 2018 SME Assembly in Graz, submit an essay of no more than 2 500 words in English before 23 September 2018.

Don’t know what to write? Not sure where to start? Have a look at previous winning entries:

You can also have a look at the entries from the finalists:

To get started, read through the rules below, get writing and SUBMIT!

If you have any questions please contact smeweek@loweurope.eu.

Rules

  • The competition is open to all 18 to 25 year olds from European Member States or COSME partners countries (see the list)
  • Essays should not exceed 2 500 words in length
  • All essays must be in English
  • Only one entry per applicant
  • The deadline for submissions is 23 September 2018
  • The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week and will compete at a grand finale in Graz as part of the SME Assembly, where they will present their essays
  • The final winner will be chosen via a public vote

Prize

  • An all-expenses paid trip to the SME Assembly in Graz, Austria for the three finalists, to present their essays to 500+ Assembly delegates
  • Presentation training before delivering essay live on stage at the SME Assembly 2018
  • Promotion of essays across SME Week social media channels

See Youth Essay Competition 2018 Terms and Conditions.

Follow us for competition updates on Twitter (@EEPA_EU and @EuropeanSMEWeek), Facebook and Instagram and be sure to follow and use the hashtag #SMEWeekYouth

SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2018 partners:

Belgium, it is time to apply for EEPA 2018!

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are under way across Europe, but what does a competition look like on national level? Today our EEPA journey takes us to Belgium, where the national competition is coordinated by National Coordinator Francis Otte.

Since 2006, Belgium has been participating in the EEPA awards scheme, and submitted a great variety of projects to compete at both national and European level. Of the all projects submitted, 3 have placed on the annual European shortlist and 3 have won prizes at European level, in both the ‘Investing in entrepreneurial skills’ and ‘Improving the business environment’ categories.

Find out more about previous Belgian winners:

This year the Belgian competition is open until 7 May 2018, so Belgian projects you know what to do! Get your applications in before your national deadline of 7 May 2018 in order to have the chance to represent Belgium on the European EEPA stage at the SME Assembly 2018.

For more information on the Belgian EEPA competition read the flyer in French and Dutch.

Visit the Belgian EEPA website for more information in French and Dutch.

Startup founders and managers – We need your input!

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The EU Startup Monitor Survey is open, and the European Commission wants to hear your voice! The Commission is looking for inputs to create more effective and meaningful policies that support young enterprises who have recently started a business or are in the process of scaling up. Through hearing what Europeans in the sector have to say, the European Commission can drive better evidence based policies to help startups in Europe.

The Commission is looking for founders and managers of European startups to take a few minutes of their time to provide their valuable input to the survey. After completing the survey, all participants will have the chance to win great prizes, such as: an exhibition stand at TOA Berlin, tickets to Pioneer’s 18, Bits and Pretzels and a personal invitation including travel and accommodation to the VIP SME Assembly 2018.

What are you waiting for? Contribute today!

Access the survey here.

SME Week Newsletter 2018: Issue #1

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EEPA 2018 Launch

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. Upon receipt of all European nominations, the EEPA 2018 Jury meeting will take place in mid-September which will be followed by the announcement of the shortlist on by the end of September. The final step will be the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place in Graz, Austria on Tuesday 20 November as part of the annual SME Assembly.

After a temporary suspension in 2017, we are also pleased to announce that the category ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ is back for 2018 and accepting submissions.

Read more >>

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