We are back with another European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner testimonial! Last time we brought you the story of our ‘Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills’ winner – Merkuur Mobile Workshops from Estonia. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you do!
This week we are in the Basque Country to meet our ‘Improving the Business Environment’ winner BIND 4.0, a public-private acceleration programme specialising in promoting Industry 4.0 projects. BIND 4.0 is targeted at technological start-ups 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 start-ups 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 start-ups receive intensive support and benefit from activities aimed at accelerating their development and immersion in the Basque industrial ecosystem.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
The EEPA are well known throughout Europe for recognising initiatives that improve business at the local, regional or national levels. BIND 4.0 offers something valuable to all parties involved in our programme and our main goals are to increase talent, innovation and competition in our region. We decided to apply and see how we compare to the other incredible initiatives focused on start-ups and business development, and we are quite pleased with the results.
How did you prepare your application?
Our main goal is to contribute to improving the society in which we live through innovation and technology, so we felt our objectives were in line with those of the EEPA. We filled out the application by detailing the impact that BIND 4.0 has had on the industrial and entrepreneurial ecosystem. We explained how our programme is symbiotic; there are benefits for technology start-ups, for the local economy and for established companies looking to collaborate on pilot projects.
What was it like to win the award?
It is a great honour for BIND 4.0 to receive this award from among 13 other stellar candidates throughout Europe. The EEPA is an official recognition of our on-going commitment to business development through the acceleration of start-ups, and of the collaboration between public institutions and private companies. We are thrilled to be acknowledged, at the European level, for our efforts over the last five years.
How did winning the award impact your work?
This award is a source of pride, for consistently accomplishing our goal to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Since our inception, we’ve accelerated over 100 start-ups and facilitated the development of more than 170 Industry 4.0 projects. This award provides additional validity to our international initiative so we can continue to attract talent to the Basque region and promote collaboration between young start-ups and large corporations.
Why should others enter EEPA? What advice would you give them?
If you would like to see how your programme and efforts measure up against the other programmes being implemented throughout Europe, we recommend applying. The EEPA is a great way to stay informed about impactful programmes, ground-breaking initiatives and the benchmark models in the marketplace.
What are your plans for the future?
The BIND 4.0 Team is currently preparing for the fifth edition of the programme that begins in January 2021. We are also organising a new edition for the post-COVID climate, so we have redesigned the programme to continue supporting start-ups in an online format. The Basque Country is one of the strongest industrial ecosystems in Europe and this award helps enforce the impact BIND 4.0 continues to make toward innovation in entrepreneurship.
We have a positive outlook for the year ahead, as we offer a bridge between flexible, innovative start-ups and proficient, forward-thinking corporates. The COVID pandemic brought numerous significant changes, from establishing remote working conditions to creating new safety measures; we saw innovation in so many new areas. The health and technology innovations this year have been inspiring and are an indication of the direction on which all businesses will need to focus in the year ahead. We feel BIND 4.0 is in the best position to help connect start-ups and corporations and turn innovation into action.
Congratulations to BIND 4.0! Re-live their winning moment and make sure to keep up with their work and future innovations on their website.
You can also catch up with the SME Assembly 2020 highlights:
The original press release is available in the Commission Press Corner.
On Friday 12 June, the European Commission sent Member States for consultation and comment a draft proposal to further extend the scope of the State aid Temporary Framework adopted on 19 March 2020 to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The Temporary Framework was first amended on 3 April 2020 to increase possibilities for public support to research, testing and production of products relevant to fight the coronavirus outbreak, to protect jobs and to further support the economy. On 8 May 2020, the Commission adopted a second amendment extending the scope of the Temporary Framework to recapitalisation and subordinated debt measures.
The Commission is now proposing to further extend the scope of the Temporary Framework by enabling Member States to:
- Support certain micro and small enterprises, including start-ups that were already in difficulty before 31 December 2019, and
- Provide incentives for private investors to participate in coronavirus-related recapitalisation measures.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said “Micro, small and start-up companies face specific challenges as a result of the coronavirus crisis. They are crucial for the economic recovery of the Union. That’s why we propose to extend the Temporary Framework to enable Member States to give further support to micro and small companies, including start-up companies. Furthermore, we propose to introduce conditions that provide incentives for private investors to participate alongside the State in recapitalisations. This is welcome as it reduces the need for State aid and the risk of distortions to competition. We continue to work closely with Member States to ensure that European businesses have access to urgently needed liquidity, to contribute to the economic revival post-coronavirus.”
Micro and small companies have been particularly affected by the liquidity shortage caused by the economic impact of the current coronavirus outbreak, exacerbating their existing difficulties to access financing compared to medium-sized and large enterprises. If left unaddressed, these difficulties could lead to a large number of bankruptcies of micro and small companies, causing serious disturbances for the entire EU economy. The new proposal would allow Member States to extend aid to SMEs that qualify as being in financial difficulty on 31 December 2019 and increase the possibilities for small and start-up companies to receive support.
The new proposal also includes adaptations that incentivise private investors to contribute alongside the State, and thus limiting the risk of competition distortions and preserving effective competition in the Single Market.
Check out other COVID-19 related news and updates here on the News Portal.
The PARSEC Accelerator invites SMEs and start-ups to meet the 100 winners of Open Call 1 to jointly develop Earth Observation-based business solutions for the food, energy or environment sectors and apply to the Open Call 2.
The PARSEC Open Call 2 will distribute €1.5 million equity-free funding to 15 winning consortia and provide access to business support services (investment readiness program, export promotion and coaching) and the PARSEC Business Catalysts in order to help their solutions enter the global market.
The PARSEC Accelerator is uniquely positioned to help SMEs and start-ups benefit from the rapid evolution of the Earth Observation sector, enabled by new, maturing and converging technologies such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence. The PARSEC Business Catalysts, three tools supporting big data processing, in situ data access and access to an Earth Observation marketplace, represent an exceptional opportunity for start-ups and innovative SMEs looking for efficient ways to launch their innovations.
In order to apply for the second Open Call, external SMEs or start-ups have to team up with one of the winners from Open Call 1 and form a cross-sectoral and/or cross-border consortium of 2-4 organisations. The PARSEC Accelerator will facilitate networking for interested SMEs and startups via the online PARSEC matchmaking platform. To join the matchmaking register for free here. You will receive an invitation to join within 48 hours of registering.
The deadline to apply is 20 June 2020 at 17:00 CET. Eligible consortia will be invited to pitch their business ideas in front of a jury of experts at the PARSEC Demo Days on 2-3 July 2020.
SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava is over but the collaboration continues. Here are a couple of first take-away recommendations from the conference:
- More creative approach to education, encouraging companies, the public sector and schools to work together and adapt traditional educational structures and teachers´ skills to the rapidly changing work environment.
- Entrepreneurship and digital education should be present in education from primary school level including both obligatory and elective subjects.
- Make public procurement more start-up and SME friendly.
- Develop a network of national scale-up advisors to help companies to grow.
- Establish a matchmaking platform between start-ups, scale-ups and corporates for networking and collaboration / funding opportunities
- Empower local and national ecosystems and build sustainable working relations among eco-players. The European ecosystem will follow consequently.
- Continue to remove existing barriers in Europe (IPR, free movement of data, access to finance etc.) so that European start-ups and SMEs think of Europe as their natural market.
- Failure forms part of every successful company, this needs to be embraced, openly discussed, and learnt from.
- Embrace the collaborative economy and alternative forms of financing, supporting businesses and public administration in the shift towards different ways of working.
- Learn from best examples on national level and scale them up in Europe
This is just one contributors list, do you have anything to add? Other points to share? The Online SME Assembly LinkedIn group is there for you to discuss, collaborate and share your input! If you missed out on the assembly or want a quick overview, be sure to read our daily posts and check out our social media.
SME Assembly Daily posts:
Entrepreneurs, national EEPA winners, competitions, and more about business in the EU
This month is a busy one as we continue to gear up for SME Week this November. June sees the closure of all national European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) competitions in time for the European closing date of 1 July. Find out if you still have a chance to enter and win one of the prestigious European awards by searching the deadlines in the article below. Also, meet Kenny, our new Entrepreneur in Residence, and enter or promote our youth essay competition. Read more >>
The surge in innovation triggered by the invention of the internet and the development of the worldwide web 20 years ago has, to put it bluntly, changed everything. Apps appear (and disappear) all the time as we seek to harness the power of a virtually free globalised communication system. There are apps to tell us how many kilometres we’ve run, jogged, walked; there are apps to monitor our health, apps that recognise wine labels and can tell us where to buy a bottle; there are even apps to tell us about apps.
Some of these apps will turn out to be useful, some will be a flash in the pan, and some will be game-changers … but so far none will tell you how to be successful in starting up a business and making it grow.
If the truth be told, although the internet has changed everything, everything has stayed the same. The challenges of starting and developing a business are the same now as they have always been. Whether you’re operating in the infotech world of apps or have developed a new medical procedure, if you want to monetise it then you need to answer one fundamental question: what are we going to sell, in what market, and at what price?
Although the question is simple, the answer is probably not because inherent in it is a business fundamental: can we sell enough of our product to generate sufficient cashflow to allow the business to survive? Let’s remember, without cashflow, the business will fail: it’s as harsh as that.
If your analysis shows that you’re unlikely to sell sufficient volume and you’re unable to market it at a sufficiently high price, then this suggests that you’re unlikely to be able to start up a company. But that’s not the end of it: if, in your opinion, the product or service is a genuine game-changer then, after establishing your intellectual copyright, you could market it on licence to one of the big players in the field and take royalties
The real business world is one of harsh reality. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute for every 100 start-ups, 25 fail in the first year, 27 fail in the second year and 21 fail in the third year. That’s a staggering 73% failure rate over the first three years. The main reasons are: incompetence (particularly emotional pricing, taking too much from the business, non-payment of taxes, no knowledge of pricing, lack of planning, lack of knowledge of financing and no experience in record keeping) and lack of managerial experience (particularly poor credit granting practices and too rapid expansion).
Having invented a game-changing and innovative product, remember that starting up your own company is not necessarily the right answer. So consider sharing the risks and working with others to monetise your great idea.
The motto of this year’s gathering is “Europe Works For SMEs: Forward. Together.” Following the tremendous success over three years, the 2015 SME Assembly is set to be yet again the most important European event for SME policy. This time more than ever we are inviting you to develop SME policy together and co-create innovative ways of cooperation to ensure effective support for entrepreneurs. To this end we are inviting well-known and new partners from the world of business, academia, policy making and media. We will be honoured by the presence of HRH The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, in particular for an interactive discussion about women entrepreneurship.
For the first time, the SME Assembly 2015 will feature an exceptional session, which may be shaped by interested National Coordinators. Another first, the Netherlands will hold a European edition of the TEDx Binnenhof event in late March 2016.
TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world in the form of short, powerful talks. 10 entrepreneurs with great ideas and innovative solutions for the challenges Europe and the world are facing will present their inspiring thoughts at this special TEDxBinnenhof in the Netherlands. To find these 10 the following process will be starting soon: local TEDx organisers in the Member States in cooperation with SME Envoys will choose their national candidate.
On our side we would also like to encourage the national SME Week Coordinators to assist this process, in as far as it is relevant for you. Should you be interested, please contact: GROW-SME-WEEK-ADMIN@ec.europa.eu
The SME Assembly will also be the focus of the European SME Week; and will host the presentation of the 2015 European Enterprise Promotion Awards. We are also proud to say that we are teaming up with the Start-Up community in Luxembourg who will hold a Start-up weekend right after the formal end of the SME Assembly; for those interested there will a possibility to experience entrepreneurship in action.
Digital technologies are the single most important driver of innovation and growth today. They re-shape entire industries and open doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. The Secret of Success 2014-15 brochure features 35 of Europe’s finest digital icons.
This very interesting video from Euronews about digital entrepreneurs in France is worth a look. It features Secret of Success entrepreneur, Benjamin Suchar who created Yoopies, (Europe’s leading social platform for child-minding services) after seeing his how two sisters had limited choices for their childcare.
Europe’s digital economy has huge potential -as the success of French start-ups like Yoopies illustrates. It helps users to find a babysitter based on 50 criteria including, location, profile, and rating. Launched in 2012, Yoopies went from 3 to 15 people, from 10 babysitters to 400,000. The platform is now available in 7 languages in 9 countries. It now has a 300% year-on-year turnover increase and is moving into other services including shopping delivery and housekeeping.
‘42’ is another example of the digital’s sector’s potential. Created by top French digital entrepreneur Xavier Niel, ‘42’ is a unique school which trains 900 young people in digital skills each year, free of charge and regardless of qualifications.
Gilles Babinet is one of the EU’s Digital Champions, whose mission is to promote the benefits of an inclusive digital society.