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EEPA 2020 Shortlist – Improving the business environment

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Another week and another round of introductions to the projects that have been shortlisted by the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) jury for the 2020 European finals!

Today we are meeting the projects competing in Category 3: Improving the business environment. Our 2020 finalists come from Finland, Germany and Spain. The work that made the jury take notice of these projects focuses on: providing a wide range of entrepreneur support services from a single hub, facilitating the development of local start-up friendly structures and public-private acceleration specialised in promoting Industry 4.0 projects

Finland: Business Espoo – Helping companies thrive

Business Espoo is a business service network that supports the vitality of local entrepreneurs and companies by providing a wide range of high-quality business support services from one hub. For example, the network provides advisory services to entrepreneurs setting up or developing a company, in addition to support in acquiring skilled workers, finding access to funding, and in conducting international recruitment campaigns. Entrepreneurs are also offered opportunities to network through various events and trainings. Business Espoo supports entrepreneurs and companies through all stages of the business life cycle.

Germany: Start-up BW Local –Landeswettbewerb für gründungsfreundliche Kommunen

Start-up BW Local is a regional competition in Baden-Württemberg that helps communities, cities and districts develop concepts for startup-friendly local structures. Entrepreneurs then evaluate these concepts and award a “Startup-friendly” label to the best ones. The award has helped to increase the founding of start-ups and enterprises in Baden-Württemberg. In the first round of the competition, 75 municipalities were awarded the title “Excellent place for founders and start-ups”. The competition has strengthened the community of startup supporters and has helped to establish un-bureaucratic structures from which startup entrepreneurs can really benefit.

Spain: BIND 4.0 – Basque Industry 4.0 Accelerator Program

BIND 4.0 is a public-private acceleration programme specialised in promoting Industry 4.0 projects. It is aimed at technological startups with 4.0 solutions in the fields of advanced manufacturing, energy, health and food. The programme has been set up as an open innovation platform, where startups from all over the world and large industrial companies established in the Basque Country interact in an agile way to develop innovative high-impact projects. The startups receive intensive support and benefit from activities aimed at accelerating their development and immersion in the Basque industrial ecosystem.

Be sure to read about the EEPA 2020 Special Mentions and the finalists for Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit, and Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills, and don’t forget to come back every week to meet more EEPA 2020 finalists!

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

EEPA 2020 – Running a national competition with German coordinator Juliane Kummer

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Today on Promoting Enterprise we are delighted to introduce one of the key players in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), a national coordinator! National coordinators are responsible for promoting and driving applications for the national EEPA competitions. They offer assistance to applicants, ensure that they understand what is expected of them and reach out to organisations and projects that could be eligible to apply. In addition they are in charge of the national selection process, including finding the national jury, bringing them together and ultimately facilitating the final national winner choices.

Today’s interview is with German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer who gave us an insight into what it’s like to coordinate a national competition, her experiences in the role and how she has adapted EEPA to run during COVID-19.

How long have you been the EEPA national coordinator for Germany?

I started as the EEPA national coordinator for Germany in the spring of 2015, shortly after the national jury meeting. That year the selected national winner was ‘Enterability’, which went on to become the 2015 winner in the ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ category.

©RKW Kompetenzzentrum

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

One thing that I love as an EEPA National Coordinator is that I get to learn from outstanding projects and initiatives at both national and European level, and I get to do this every year! Related to that – one of the most important things I’ve adopted is the motto “Do good and talk about it!” This describes EEPA and the initiatives it recognises perfectly. If you have a great initiative and you are making a difference, make sure to talk about it!

What was different about organising this year’s national competition? What changes did you have to implement?

We launched our German EEPA campaign at the end of February and searched for applicants until 9 April. Because of the coronavirus and its economic consequences (both long- and short-term) the supporting institutions that we work with to search for EEPA applicants were very busy and facing various challenges. As such, it was not easy to reach potential EEPA participants and we took special care with our communications activities and modified them where necessary. In the end, we were very lucky to receive 22 great German entries, and I thank all of them for having found the time to participate in this year’s competition.

Another thing that was different was that we held our national jury meeting in May via video conferencing rather than in person, as we usually do. That was an interesting experience, but it required more preparation, especially from the jury members. I was very grateful for our experienced national expert jury and for the fact that each jury member was very well prepared.

You have chosen your two national winners, what made them stand out from the other applications?

We chose “Start-up BW Local” and “Greentech.Ruhr” as our national winners and have put them forward to represent Germany at the European level.

“Start-up BW Local” focuses on one of the most important base elements in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem: municipalities. It rewards the most founder-friendly concepts from municipalities – assessed by founders – and supports them with implementing their concepts. I think the direct and indirect impact on the local entrepreneurial culture could be immense.

“Greentech.Ruhr” is outstanding because the project team has built up a regional green economy network consisting of 175 partners, and covers all industries of the environmental economy. Furthermore, they address an important challenge by supporting the local transformation process from mainly coal and steel industries to a diversified and ecologically-responsible economy, while also contributing to achieving the aims of the European Green Deal.

What are you most excited for in the EEPA 2020 competition?

Like every year, I am very excited to see the national winners and to see which projects will win. Of course, I am especially looking forward to seeing how the German projects will do in the competition.

However, this year I am most excited to see how we will celebrate the EEPA winners and national winner projects at the SME Assembly in November, given the current situation. I hope for the best, in all participating countries! Now and in post-crisis times, it will be even more important to show best practice in promoting enterprises across European countries, and continuing doing so even more than before.

Find out more about the 2020 national German winners here and stay tuned for the latest EEPA 2020 updates right here on the News Portal.

EEPA 2020 – Germany selects their national winners!

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The EEPA competitions are going ahead as usual and national coordinators and juries are compiling their strongest national projects and making the difficult decision about who should compete at European level.

This year in Germany, the expert jury selected their national EEPA winners via a video jury meeting, during which they assessed the 22 applications received by national EEPA Coordinator Juliane Kummer at RKW Kompetenzzentrum.

©RKW Kompetenzzentrum

After two selection rounds the experienced national jury selected the following projects to represent Germany at this year’s European competition:

Start-up BW local

“Start-up BW Local” is a federal competition that supports and honours the most founder-friendly concepts from municipalities. The concepts are assessed by founders and the winners receive a certificate and financial support to realise their concepts. Start-up BW local will be competing in Category 3: Improving the Business Environment.

Greentech.Ruhr

Greentech.Ruhr is a network consisting of 165 enterprises (mainly SMEs), research and educational facilities and other institutional partners. The network supports the regional environmental economy and the transformation process from mainly coal and steel industry to a more diversified economy with a particular focus on ecological solutions. Greentech.Ruhr will be competing in Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

Congratulations to these two outstanding projects and good luck for the European competition!

Interested in following the rest of the German EEPA 2020 campaign? Make sure to have a look at the German competition website, the national coordinator website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

More about EEPA

The EEPA reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level through a variety of initiatives spanning six individual categories. Winning projects are chosen via a series of rounds including a national competition, a European competition to determine the shortlist and finally an awards ceremony where the prestigious EEPA jury reveal their top choices per category and their selection for the Grand Jury Prize. Find out more about the updates for EEPA 2020 here.

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