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EEPA 2020 – Meet the Special Mentions

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Last week on Promoting Enterprise we announced the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist, which features all of the projects that the jury have selected to compete in the EEPA finals at the SME Assembly.

The jury also selected projects that they wished to award a Special Mention, which is given to a project that stands out to the jury but has not been awarded in a particular category. This year the EEPA jury has awarded 6 Special Mentions, across the different categories in recognition of their outstanding work.

Montenegro: Stock Market of Entrepreneurial Ideas- IDEALAND

IDEALAND is an event dedicated to encouraging the development of entrepreneurial business ideas, primarily among high school and university students from Montenegro and the surrounding region. Over the past 10 years, more than 1 000 student business ideas have been submitted, and each year the submissions are narrowed down to the top 11. At the event the 11 strongest ideas are presented by their creators in 3-minute pitches. For 10 years now, this event has encouraged young people to produce top quality ideas and solutions to everyday problems.

Cyprus: The Entrepreneurial Journey

Junior Achievement Cyprus is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, the world’s largest non-profit organisation addressing, through education, the fundamental social and economic challenges faced by young people. JA Cyprus offers entrepreneurial programmes to young people from primary to post-secondary level, providing access to opportunities for active participation in business and community life. Through its programmes More than Money, Economics for Success, Entrepreneurship in Second Chance Schools, Innovation Camp, Company Programme and StartUp, the initiative has provided entrepreneurial education to more than 2 100 students at all levels of education, all over Cyprus in 2020 alone.

Ukraine: #StartBusinessChallenge (SBC)

#StartBusinessChallenge is a free support tool that provides clear step-by-step instructions on how to start a new business or scale-up an existing one in Ukraine, in compliance with national and local regulations. Launched in 2017, #StartBusinessChallenge contains 176 business instructions for 15 business clusters, as well as localised procedures covering the specific registration requirements of 32 Ukrainian cities. #StartBusinessChallenge was updated in 2020 with verified healthcare instructions and digitising tips for businesses related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Netherlands: ImpactCity The Hague

ImpactCity is a startup and scale-up community in The Hague that helps startups and scale-ups that make a contribution to society to successfully launch and grow their businesses. At its Apollo 14 hub, the initiative connects startups with investors, governments, international companies, research centres, studios, and thousands of creative entrepreneurs. At the same time it offers access to a comprehensive business network, inspiring company locations, and international trade missions and competitions. To effectively address global challenges, ImpactCity facilitates public and private partnerships on themes such as safety, humanitarian innovation, sustainability, renewable energy and food.

Slovakia: Zodpovedné podnikanie prístupné pre všetkých

“Zodpovedné podnikanie prístupné pre všetkých” is an initiative that supports the entrepreneurship of disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, and in particular the long-term unemployed, migrants, people with disabilities, and marginalised ethnic groups. It aims to provide work for everyone regardless of their origin. It has a special focus on integrating Roma people into the Slovak workforce. This has a knock-on effect of encouraging Roma children to attend school which, in turn, has a positive impact on their future employment prospects.

Slovenia: Slepota ni ovira za podjetništvo

“Slepota ni ovira za podjetništvo” is an initiative being implemented by Technology Park Primorska to identify business and employment opportunities for the blind and visually impaired, in cooperation with the Inter-municipal Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired Nova Gorica. It develops the entrepreneurial competencies of its participants and advises them in setting up a new business. The programme also develops the skills of the blind and visually impaired, who are then motivated to take on tasks independently and either set up their own company or make a more active contribution to the company in which they will be employed.

Congratulations to the 2020 EEPA Special Mentions! Don’t forget to have a look at the EEPA 2020 shortlist and keep coming back to the News Portal to start meeting more EEPA 2020 projects and finding out about what they do.

Want to watch the EEPA 2020 finals? Register for the SME Assembly 2020 and secure your place.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Listen Up Foundation – Special Mention 2017

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Who else received an EEPA 2017 special mention? Meet the Listen Up Foundation from Bulgaria, who were recognised for their work for the deaf and hard of hearing communities in Bulgaria. Find out how they entered and the exciting opportunity that came their way after the EEPA 2017 awards ceremony…

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We first heard about the national competition via the Reach for Change Foundation network, of which we are a member. This network often notifies us of different opportunities, and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) was one of them.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

The main motivation for entering was to bring more visibility to the challenges that the deaf and hard of hearing students face in schools and universities. We specifically wanted to highlight the challenges posed by them having no access to information and communication. For us we needed to show how important it is to make all involved parties – students, parents, teachers, lecturers and many others involved in the training process at schools and universities – aware of these students and their needs.

How did you prepare your application?

In general we are constantly in the process of developing new activities and expanding on our work, specifically creating an environment with higher awareness on the need for accessibility for all. Our preparation simply consisted of accurately documenting what we do and being sure to include all of our latest activities. For us this meant including big developments such as the establishment of the Academy for deaf and hard of hearing children and youth by the Listen Up Foundation. Through the establishment of the academy we can continue to bring more empowerment tools for the deaf community in order to be actively involved in the change-making process.

What was it like to receive a special mention and how did it affect your work?

It was a complete surprise, we didn’t expect it and we are so thankful for it! It was really wonderful to be acknowledged and we truly appreciate it. Not only was it fantastic recognition for our project, but it was an opportunity for both the Bulgarian and wider European deaf communities to be in the spotlight and receive the attention they deserve.

Receiving the special mention also created some exciting opportunities for us. We recently signed a contract with the Ministry of Education in Bulgaria to provide accessibility services to the deaf and hard of hearing students at approximately 50 mainstream schools. This will come into force around the beginning of the next academic year from 2018-2019.

Why should others enter EEPA 2018 and what advice would you give them?

We strongly recommend entering the EEPA competition to anyone that is considering it! By entering such an important contest you will gain recognition for your project and doors will open for other opportunities.

What are your plans for the future?

Our future plans consist of us continuing our work through raising awareness of the deaf and hard of hearing communities, and advocating for their needs. We believe that video-relay services for deaf signers will cover all major institutions across the country in the future. We also hope that over the next two years all deaf and hard of hearing students will have access to speech-to-text services at both schools and universities.

Interested in the work of the Listen Up Foundation? Visit their website to find out more! 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.

Turning graduate innovation into sustainable business – EEPA 2016 Special Mention

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Stepping into the working world as a fresh graduate is already a daunting prospect, especially for those wanting to start out as entrepreneurs. Today Promoting Enterprise presents an innovative Irish project designed to support these young and brave innovators.

EEPA Special Mention project IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme from Ireland, is a 9 month business development programme designed to support recent graduates turn innovative product and service ideas into sustainable, scalable businesses and in doing so, develop critical entrepreneurial skills. This interview gives us an insight into their application journey, their advice for EEPA 2017 applicants and what to expect from the project team in future.

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

We heard about the competition via an email from Gillian Slattery, the Regional Development Executive at Enterprise Ireland. We had been running the programme since 2011 and the competition provided an excellent opportunity to see where we stood in comparison with similar programmes both nationally and internationally.

What was it like to receive a Special Mention?

It was very satisfying, we knew that we hadn’t been shortlisted for the main award so didn’t have any expectations. As a result it was a complete surprise.

free pic no repro fee pictured at the annual IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme Awards and Showcase in UCC’s Aula Maxima on Monday, 27th June. pictures by Gerard McCarthy 087 8537228 more info Alison O’Brien Fuzion Communications 021 4271234 086 3879388

How did winning immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?

The award is very important as international 3rd party validation of what we are doing for funders, sponsors and others who have supported the programme. The award was very positively received by our Local Authorities – Cork City and County Councils and we received letters of congratulation from the President of the University and the Senior Vice President Academic and Registrar.

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

It provided us with a valuable opportunity to step back and reflect on our project and we used the application process to provide a snapshot of the programme at that point in time. The Special Mention Award created a number of important opportunities to connect with others operating in the same space across Europe.

What are your plans for the future?

The plan is to double the programme over the next couple of years and to continue to develop the support offered to maximise the start-up success rate.

Helping Latvian youth realise entrepreneurial dreams – EEPA 2016 Special Mention

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

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

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

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

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How did you go about preparing your application?

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

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

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

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

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

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

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

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

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

eepa-2016-latvia

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

www.radamnovadam.lv

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