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EEPA 2020 – How to prepare your application

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There is still a chance to participate in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA)! Make sure that you submit your applications before your national deadline. Remember that each national deadline is different so check yours here.

What goes into an EEPA application? What makes your application stand out from all the others? Here on Promoting Enterprise the EEPA Class of 2019 have shared their advice for preparing an EEPA application and some top tips they used to make their applications stand out. Read through their advice below and don’t forget to apply!

We wrote our application for the national competition and really emphasised the link between the results of the startup businesses and the methods we use. It was important to stress that in addition to results such as revenue and employment of the startups, at GreenPAC iLab the emphasis is on the connection between research carried out by applied universities and the knowledge gap of a startup. We then add to that knowledge, for example by facilitating necessary feasibility studies.

Both the startups and the universities benefit: the startups have access to knowledge and equipment which are not available in the market and the universities have access to new economic and technological developments which they otherwise have no access to.

The application was prepared with the invaluable support of the local Ministry of Economy and Development, which provided us with all the necessary information, and followed closely the progress of our application. We also benefitted from and really appreciated the support of the TILOS project consortium partners that in collaboration with the committed employees of Tilos Municipality prepared a strong proposal.

  • TILOS, EEPA 2019 Winner, Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Just before applying for EEPA, we had been requested to apply for the RegioStar Award, so we used that application as a base and updated it with more recent information and specific aspects relevant to EEPA. Overall the application process was very smooth, and the hardest part was actually getting the recommendation letter signed by the right person at the Swedish Agency of Innovation, Vinnova.

Since 2016 our work surrounding the improvement of social efficiency in municipal public sector contracts has been under evaluation, and in response to that we put into place procedures to ensure that all awarded SMEs were up to the highest standard. This particular work helped us to prepare our EEPA application and finding the level of detail required. We also drew on past experience and collaborative work with local companies which allowed us to get the support of different local business associations for our EEPA candidacy.

The ‘preparation’ for the application was our intense activity over the past four years. We needed to organise all the information and experience that we had gathered to demonstrate the extent of our activity, our commitment and the EEPA values that it represents. At this point, we were amazed by the willingness of our community (government partners, startups, associates, collaborators and friends) to support our candidacy and provide their own testimony for our work. 

Writing the application was a team activity that had its own ‘local’ results as well! It brought our team closer and boosted our confidence. It also brought our collaborators closer to us and their support was incredible!

We prepared the application with a small group of our members. It was interesting to write the application and define what we are doing and how we differ from others. Some of our preparation was a bit rushed and looking back we could have done more, but in the end it all worked out and the experience was worth it.

  • Haven, EEPA 2019 Winner, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you haven’t completed your EEPA application yet, don’t forget that you can ask your national coordinator for support!

Make sure to submit before your national deadline. Note that some of the 2020 national deadlines have been extended, so keep checking your national pages and the News Portal for updates.

EEPA 2019 Catch-up – How to get SMEs involved in public procurement

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are catching up with one of our 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winners, who have produced some useful documentation that they would like to share throughout the EEPA network.

“Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes” or “Public Procurement for SMEs”, won the“Improving the Business Environment” category last year during the final EEPA ceremony at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. This project was recognised for its work on implementing measures in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement. These measures promote and facilitate SME participation in public contracts and have successfully increased the awarding of contracts to SMEs to twice the national and European average.

The public procurement market accounts for more than 20% of the European Union GDP. If SMEs had access to part of that, it would be significantly more than current public funding offerings but without additional cost and simultaneously stimulate SME innovation and growth.

The city Council of Valladolid public procurement system has proved that it can be done, with more than 80% of their contracts being awarded to SMEs to date. Their model is replicable and is based on the three 2014 Contracting Directives. In order to help other European contracting authorities follow their example, or take inspiration from Valladolid, this EEPA winning project had created the following guiding documents:

This document contains more specifics on the measures put in place to facilitate the participation of SMEs in public contracts

This document provides explanations on what is needed and how to implement an SME friendly public procurement system, including legal and directive references

This document outlines the advantages of contracting with the public sector and the basic requirements and actions

For more information on their work and the produced documents, contact the project here.

EEPA 2019 Testimonial – Improving the Business Environment

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Onto the next category! Today we are meeting the 2019 European Enterprise Promotion Award winner of the “Improving the Business Environment” category, Fomento de la Contratacion Publica con Pymes from Spain. The project was recognised for its work in the Spanish city of Valladolid focusing on giving SMEs opportunities in public procurement.

Since 2015, the City of Valladolid has adopted specific measures to promote and facilitate the participation of SMEs in public sector contracts. The city adapted contracts to the capacity of SMEs, allowing them to acquire valuable experience and credibility that could be re-used when competing in other tenders from other awarding authorities. According to municipal data, the awarding of contracts to SMEs is twice the national and European average, reaching 75% of contracts awarded in 2016 and 2017, and even 81% in 2018, with 51% of the total amount of the municipal expense managed through contracts awarded to SMEs.

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

Our desire to facilitate SME participation in public procurement led us to carry out several activities with the General Subdirectory of SMEs of the Ministry of Industry of the Government of Spain. As such, they informed us about the EEPA competition and encouraged us to participate.

How did you prepare your application?

Since 2016 our work surrounding the improvement of social efficiency in municipal public sector contracts has been under evaluation, and in response to that we put into place procedures to ensure that all awarded SMEs were up to the highest standard. This particular work helped us to prepare our EEPA application and finding the level of detail required. We also drew on past experience and collaborative work with local companies which allowed us to get the support of different local business associations for our EEPA candidacy.

What was it like to win the award?

It was tremendously exciting, as we did not expect it! It was already a huge achievement for us to have passed the national phase and be nominated for the EEPA jury shortlist. We knew that our project was different from past category winners, which tended to be specifically aimed at the creation or development of new companies as opposed to our project which involves indirect support to existing companies. But luckily for us the Jury recognised the impact of our public procurement system on companies and how it allows them to develop their potential as a public supplier, be more competitive and innovative, and receive fair and fast payment for their work.

Winning an EEPA showed us that our path is the right one and implements one of the objectives of public procurement in Europe, as stated by the Commission and the European Parliament in the three Contracting Directives of 2014.  We hope that our win can also serve as an example to others with similar projects to keep going and inspire contracting authorities in particular to undertake similar SME-friendly measures.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award has put a spotlight on our work and the change that we are trying to bring about for SME involvement in public procurement. The prize not only represents recognition of the teamwork and effort that went into the project, but also that this work has a positive effect on sustainable business development and thus on employment generation.

We have received congratulations and encouragement from fellow colleagues, family and friends, and have also been mentioned in the local media which is quite exciting. It is also nice to see the City Council being recognised as an organisation and being praised for some of the valuable work it does.

It is a shame that the national media has hardly mentioned the award, which has limited its effect in bringing the issue of SME involvement in public procurement to the authorities that need to be made aware.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?

Getting European-level recognition for your work is hugely satisfying, both professionally and personally. But above all it allows the organization in which you work to become more visible in the business and social sphere, with an image of commitment to innovation and sustainable development.

The SME Assembly experience is another great part of EEPA, and allows you to meets other projects and people from across the European Union. It opens your mind to new opportunities and ideas, all within a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

What are your plans for the future?

Internally, we will continue to improve the system based on experience and evaluation, as well as on the ideas and experiences of other entities. Externally, we will try to spread our work and methodology throughout the European Union. We have prepared guides to help other contracting authorities easily incorporate SME involvement in public procurement and to spread awareness about how important it is for SMEs to have opportunities to work with the public sector through contracts. This will allow SMEs to become more competitive and innovative, without incurring more public spending, which highlights our slogan for SMEs: “Don’t subsidise me, buy me”.

Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel:

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Time to introduce the last of our shortlisted projects for EEPA 2019! These three projects were chosen by the EEPA 2019 Jury to compete in the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

Today we meet the projects nominated at European level in our final category, Category 6: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship.

Start-Up Your Future, Germany

“Start-Up Your Future” is a pilot project of the Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland (WJD), funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It aims to help refugees in Berlin-Brandenburg to set up their own businesses by giving them support and offering them the option of self-employment through mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten. The partnerships invite voluntary mentors to guide refugee entrepreneurs through the startup process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan. Since the project began, 185 start-up sponsorships have been implemented, 207 refugees have been helped in their business ventures and 22 startups have received support.

Insieme per il lavoro, Together for Work, Italy

Together for Work facilitates the inclusion of low-level autonomy individuals, including those in vulnerable situations living in the metropolitan area of Bologna and specifically, unemployed young people and adults in difficult financial and social situations, into the labour market. The project’s work is in line with the sustainable development goals aimed at ending poverty and providing employment for all. This is done through horizontal cooperation, via awareness actions and active involvement of local companies, professional training bodies, associations, unions and the non-profit sector. In the first two years 135 companies were involved and 260 individual placements in companies were achieved.

Reborn Programme – Programa Renace, Spain

The REBORN initiative reduces and where possible eliminates debts of businessmen and entrepreneurs whose businesses closed as a consequence of the financial crisis. Run by the Institute of Development, the initiative consists of a programme of exoneration of the liabilities accumulated through extrajudicial agreements agreed by the Public Authorities. The programme is an incentive to re-start entrepreneurial activities without entrepreneurs having to enter employment or committing fraud when restarting their business. So far, 69 companies and self-employed people in critical situations have managed to save their businesses, and a total of 7.3 million euros has been exonerated to allow entrepreneurs to start again and create employment for others.

Have a look at all of the 2019 shortlisted projects right here on the Portal!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

Improving the Business Environment – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Who else has made it onto the 2019 European shortlist? You have met the first six projects chosen by this year’s jury, time to meet the next three projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen to compete in the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

This week, we are meeting the three shortlisted projects competing for the prize in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

Fast Tracking Success, Bulgaria

The Fast Tracking Success Initiative focuses on accelerating the professional development of young university and vocational school graduates, by providing employment opportunities and internships in Bulgarian and foreign companies operating in industrial zones. The initiative also assists investors in state-owned industrial zones to overcome the lack of qualified specialists, and contributes to promoting investments in new sectors of the economy, as well as those with high added value, by creating favourable conditions for the investors. So far, over 100 highly qualified young professionals have taken up permanent jobs in companies with production facilities.

The Innovation Market, Czech Republic

The Innovation Market is run by the city of Prague, and aims to enhance the transfer of knowledge from the scientific and research domains to the private sphere. The Market is a publicly available web application that offers research services to entrepreneurs looking for research or development partners. By facilitating cooperation between research institutes, universities, entrepreneurs and businesses, the project aims to streamline the city’s commercialisation of research and development, and increase innovative activities and competitiveness of Prague businesses. Institutes register on a voluntary basis, meaning entrepreneurs and businesses have direct contact with those institutes open to collaboration.

Promotion of public procurement with SMEs, Spain

Since 2015, the City of Valladolid has adopted specific measures to promote and facilitate the participation of SMEs in public sector contracts. The city adapted contracts to the capacity of SMEs, allowing them to acquire valuable experience and credibility that could be re-used when competing in other tenders from other awarding authorities. According to municipal data, the awarding of contracts to SMEs is twice the national and European average, reaching 75% of contracts awarded in 2016 and 2017, and even 81% in 2018, with 51% of the total amount of the municipal expense managed through contracts awarded to SMEs.

Keep coming back to the News Portal every week to meet the 2019 shortlisted projects!

Don’t forget to have a look at all of the EEPA 2019 national winners that represent the top projects across all of the participating countries right here.

EEPA 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

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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 sixth category in which projects compete is Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship. 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.

Finland: The Shortcut Startup Entrepreneurship Track

France: L’incubateur de commerces de centre-ville (The incubator for town centre businesses)

Germany: Start-Up Your Future

Greece: Regeneration of sugarcane cultivation, revival of traditional sugarcane molasses product

Italy: Insieme per il lavoro, (Together for Work)

Latvia: Atbildīga biznesa vēstneši (Responsible Business Ambassadors)

Netherlands: Move2Social

Slovakia: Responsibly for the community of the blind and partially sighted (support of the Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union – ÚNSS)

Spain: Reborn Programme – Programa Renace

This year this category received 9 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects helping refugees integrate into local business ecosystems, working to revive traditional farming practices to create jobs for underprivileged groups, bringing responsible businesses together to help impart lessons to other business owners and more.

This is the last EEPA category and you have met all of the national winners. But which national winners will make it onto the EEPA 2019 European shortlist? Stay tuned to the News Portal to find out!

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 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 2018 Testimonial: Industry 4.0 – “Improving the Business Environment” Winner 2018

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Another project, another story! Today EEPA 2018 winner Open Innovation 4.0., shares what brought them to the winner’s stage at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2018 and their advice for 2019 competitors. TheOpen Innovation 4.0. project from Spain won the Improving the Business Environment category in 2018 for their 4.0 acceleration programme that gave selected start-ups the opportunity to join a 4.0 acceleration programme featuring both group and individual tutorials with sector experts. As well as obtaining initial funding to prepare joint proposals, selected start-ups also have access to specific funding for Open Innovation to implement collaborative projects.

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

The national EEPA competition has always been on our radar, and we have been aware of EEPA for a while due to close links with both our national authority and the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. As such, we knew that in order for our application to be strong we need to include and clearly state our focus, approach, innovation, transferability, sustainability and impact. We believed that Open Innovation 4.0 had these elements so we prepared our application.

How did you prepare your application?

Once we had taken the decision to apply, the process was easy. All of the rules, instructions and the general process were very clear and we received answers to all our questions. We also really benefited from receiving a lot of information on past EEPA editions.

What was it like to win the award?

Winning the award represented recognition of our firm commitment to promote modernisation through digitalisation, as well as recognition of the work of both the IDEPA staff and the European Business and Innovation Centre (CEEI Asturias), both of which invested a lot of effort and enthusiasm in developing the Open Innovation 4.0 programme.

How did winning the award impact your work?

Receiving the award has given us great visibility. The regional press picked up our story and has positioned the Open Innovation 4.0 programme in the media, which has contributed to disseminating and raising awareness of the programme in the Asturian business ecosystem.

In addition to increased regional awareness, the award has also contributed to our position on the international stage. This is largely down to the respect that the institution that awarded us, the European Commission, receives. As a result, the organisations that drive the Open Innovation programme, IDEPA and CEEI Asturias, are now positioned at the European and even international level as points of reference among the key players in regional economic promotion.

Why should others enter EEPA 2019? What advice would you give them?

Receiving an EEPA is a recognition of the effort put in, and of the innovation that your project brings to Europe. It is also an opportunity for winning projects to receive great visibility for both their work and good practice.

What are your plans for the future?

The future will clearly involve a continued commitment to promoting Industry 4.0 through the Open Innovation 4.0 programme, due to this programme being central to the strategy implemented by the Government of the Principality of Asturias.

The programme is lively and dynamic, and is now in its third year. The programme is currently dealing with six tractor companies that have posed their technological challenges in Industry 4.0 to more than sixty startups in order to receive their innovative solutions. These actions form part of the Asturias Digital Innovation Hub, the platform that we use for coordinating our resources in order to speed up the digitalisation process of Asturian industry, and which is made up of the main centers of scientific-technological competence in Asturias.

Find out more about the Open Innovation 4.0 programme in the EEPA 2018 compendium and keep coming back to the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for more information on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.

Why should you enter the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2019?

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With the beginning of a new European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) cycle, many of you might be wondering if you should take the chance and try to secure your place in the EEPA hall of fame. But why should you enter EEPA? What should you prepare?

Promoting Enterprise has collected some advice from previous winners to showcase the best parts of entering EEPA and their advice for prospective candidates. Collect some tips and tricks from our past winners, and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel!

“Other organisations and projects should enter EEPA because it is a great way to get recognised for the work that each of us put in daily and it is truly a great experience to participate in the ceremony. Furthermore, it is great way to meet like-minded people and expand your network.”

  • Lean Landing, Grand Jury Prize Winner 2018

“Any organisation that believes its project has a beneficial impact on promoting entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional or local level should enter EEPA. It is a great opportunity to make your project known to a wider audience, to have insight into similar ones running across Europe and to be part of a pan-European business promotion environment.

EEPA 2019 candidates should extensively document their activities, carefully assess the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of their initiatives, and present concrete, measurable and usable results. The potential of transferring the project to other regions in Europe is an important asset too. Overall, do not hesitate to participate in EEPA if you have a significant entrepreneurship promotion practice to share.”

  • Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit Winner 2018

“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 this 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

Firstly, it is always useful to take, from time to time, an “outside view” on what you do, based on the criteria of the EEPA.  Taking part in an EU Award means competing with a lot of other projects – so there is also the chance to learn from others.

Secondly, EEPA is a chance for recognition on an EU level. 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.

Finally, prepare well! Be aware that it requires quite a lot of work until your documents are “final” (based on the requirements of the EEPA). Advice and help from the national body (in our case the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy) might also 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. Showing that the submitted project has a positive impact on their territory and that it can help other European countries and citizens!

  • Reempresa, ‘Improving the business environment’ Winner 2017

Keep coming back to the Promoting Enterprise News Portal for the latest on EEPA 2019 and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

European Enterprise Promotion Awards – ‘Class of 2018’

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The 12th edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is now over, and after months of waiting we now know which projects were crowned best in Europe. Congratulations to all of the winners in the EEPA ‘Class of 2018’, your hard work has paid off! Have a look below to find out more about this year’s winners, and click on each project to see their video presentation from the SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria. 

Grand Jury Prize: Lean Landing, Denmark

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship, Greece 

Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills: i2c STARTacademy, Austria

Improving the Business Environment: Open Innovation 4.0., Spain

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business: Kasvu Open – company growth sparring programme, Finland

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency: Matosinhos Carbon-zero Living Lab enhanced by local carbon market, Portugal

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship: ProjectTogether, Germany

Stay tuned for the publication of the 2018 Compendium of winners brochure (in English) to find out more about this year’s winning projects, and don’t forget to have a look at the EEPA 2018 ceremony photos here.

Keep following right here on the Portal and across social media (Twitter and Facebook) for winner interviews and updates.

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