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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 Testimonial – Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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Another category another European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) 2019 winner! This week we are discovering the story behind HealthTech Nordic, the winner of ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business.

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 270 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

We spoke to Margareta Wallentén from the project team to discover the story behind this winning project.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
I received a general email from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Tillväxtverket, (the Swedish EEPA coordinator) informing us about the EEPA and requesting us to apply. We had never heard about EEPA before and were not even aware that the SME Assembly or EEPA existed.

How did you prepare your application?
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.

What was it like to win the award?
Amazing! It was really nerve-wracking sitting in the audience and listen to the presentations of the three category finalists. Both we and the project from the Netherlands were convinced that the Romanian project would win, their film was so good! When we heard our project announced as the winner we couldn’t believe it!

As I was standing on the podium giving my Thank You speech I just blacked out and completely forgot the name of my project colleague standing next to me. We have worked together for almost 2 years and her name was totally gone. I almost panicked there and then, on stage, so I just admitted that I had forgotten her name! Looking back at the recording I realise that the ‘eternity’ when I blacked out was really just a second or two.

After the ceremony so many people came up to me and thanked me for being me on stage, displaying happiness, surprise and passion and for giving them a reason to laugh at this otherwise very formal event.

Overall it was an amazing evening and experience.

How did winning the award impact your work?
I posted about the win on LinkedIn and Facebook and have never before gotten so many comments and congratulations! The project’s lead partner organization Innovation Skåne also published several very engaging posts in social media as well as sent out a widely read press release. We also watched as HealthTech Nordic got increased social media attention after the awards, so that growth has been quite exciting to watch.

It has also helped on a practical level with our new funding application to Interreg ÖKS, who also congratulated us on our win.

Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?
Our advice is to just apply! Applying gives good visibility to your project, from clients, financiers, politicians and other stakeholders. It also made our six project partners come together and focus on this goal, the application, and realising how much we have achieved so far. What the EEPA prize will bring in the long run we don’t know yet, we will have to wait and see.

What are your plans for the future?
HealthTech Nordic applied for continued financing from the Interreg ÖKS budget in the category Job Creation, and we recently found out that we have been successful and received the financing to continue our work with our growing community. With the funding we are able to continue as planned, supporting our members so they can grow and thereby create new jobs – all while also facilitating better health worldwide.

We have a community of more than 270 startups in the healthtech sector and will continue to support them as much as we can as the disruptive change of the digitalisation of healthcare has just begun.

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:

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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We are nearing the end of our shortlist introductions as today is the turn of the projects nominated at European level in Category 5: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency.

These three projects have been nominated for their work in green markets and for taking an environmental approach with their projects. 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.

TILOS, Greece

The TILOS initiative created an integrated energy solution with innovative features to help island regions transition to new models of production and management of electricity energy. The solution uses clean, renewable energy sources and the application of modern energy storage technologies to reduce dependency on cost-intensive and polluting oil. The solution was successfully implemented on Tilos and a toolbox of innovative products was created to facilitate international and community adoption of smart energy practices. Tilos has been able to penetrate up to 75% of the renewable energy sources and exports additional clean energy to the island of Kos.

Green PAC iLab, Netherlands

At GreenPAC iLab, new entrepreneurs in the plastics industry are supported to help them start their businesses and achieve sustainable and circular business models. The project functions as a community where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for a plastic product or service are coached and given access to a network of professionals that help with feasibility studies, research and product development. Through collaboration with plastics professionals and research groups, the GreenPAC iLab is fostering a new generation of plastics entrepreneurs guided by circular and sustainable values. To date, 40 start-ups have received assistance and 52 jobs have been created.

KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership), Sweden

KTP Energy, run by Dalarna University and The University of Gävle, facilitates a sustainable knowledge flow between academia and the business world to conduct strategic development projects within regional SMEs with great energy efficiency potential. The projects are implemented by European graduates together with academic and business coaches. These partnerships have led to 75% of companies creating new development positions, and many graduates remaining within the companies, meaning that young graduates are moving to rural areas with their knowledge and skills and contributing to their development. To date, 24 successful sub-projects have led to increased energy efficiency and profitability for participating companies and their customers.

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

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.

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business – EEPA 2019 Shortlist

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Time to meet the fourth category of projects that have been nominated for this year’s shortlist! Let’s meet the three projects that the EEPA 2019 Jury have chosen to compete in Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business at the EEPA 2019 finals at the SME Assembly in Helsinki this November.

Crossroads 2, Belgium

CrossRoads2 is a project within the European Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme aiming to stimulate sustainable cross-border cooperation between SMEs in Flanders and the Southern Netherlands (Zeeland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg). The project focuses on companies with good, innovative and technically feasible project ideas, and helps expand their regional development plans to incorporate cross-border opportunities. Concrete actions include building an efficient network to establish contacts and disseminate information, and the creation of financial incentives within a sound legal framework. Since 2016, over 750 companies have been involved in cross-border exchanges resulting in financial support for 56 innovation projects and 35 feasibility studies.

The Romanian high tech innovation, competitive all over the world, Romania

This project aims to push Romanian high-tech industries at an international level, to export Romanian high-tech capacities, and regain Romanian competitiveness in the global arena. The initiative makes use of partnerships at both national and international level between support organisations, universities and national institutions. The project works to build trust between all involved partners, and where possible encourage synchronisation of processes to avoid system blockages. In addition, important work has been carried out on re-building innovation models and analysing what Romanian companies need to advance. To date the initiative has supported over 2 500 individual participants and over 800 companies.

HealthTech Nordic, Sweden

HealthTech Nordic is a community of over 230 Nordic startups offering digital healthcare solutions designed to empower patients and revolutionise healthcare services. The project provides knowledge and initiatives to accelerate startup development, in order to tackle healthcare shortages and unite pioneers in HealthTech and eHealth. The community creates connections between innovative solutions, healthcare and the global market by advancing ideas and pooling resources, and provided support is based on members’ immediate challenges and on state-of-the-art research in international scaling of startups. Through their work, HealthTech Nordic helps drive regional development and facilitates new job creation in HealthTech startups.

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: Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

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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 fifth category in which projects compete is Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency. 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.

Germany: StartGreen@School

Greece: TILOS

Netherlands: Green PAC iLab

Sweden: KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership)

Turkey: Regional Development Oriented Mission Differentiation and Specialization

This year this category received 5 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects focused on knowledge transfer regarding energy efficiency for SMEs, assisting entrepreneurs in the plastics industry to ensure they follow circular models and introducing sustainable entrepreneurship principles in schools.

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 2019 – Meet the National Winners: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

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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 fourth category in which projects compete is Supporting the Internationalisation of Business. 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.

Belgium: Crossroads 2

Estonia: E-residency

Portugal: PORTUGUESE JEWELLERY NEWBORN

Romania: The Romanian high tech innovation, competitive all over the world

Slovakia: Startup Sharks

Slovenia: SKIS System (Smart Key Information System)

Sweden: HealthTech Nordic

This year this category received 7 entries from a variety of programmes, including projects focused on improving business environments for startups, digitising administrative procedures and facilitating foreign involvement in the national entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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.

Business Generator becomes Navigator Scale-up

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Back in 2017, the project “Business Generator” from Sweden, won the EEPA Category “Investing in entrepreneurial skills” for their work in identifying the gap in the strategic management process for SME companies, as well as a way to reach SMEs and provide them with useful skills for their daily lives as entrepreneurs.

After initial struggles to keep the Business Generator going after the EEPA competition, this project, and specifically coordinator Anette Rhudin, are back with a brand new and improved ‘Navigator Scale-up’. The Navigator serves as a support for SMEs that need to have a board under Swedish law. Due to financial constraints it is normally a challenge for SMEs and entrepreneurs to have an external board not made up of family and friends, and thus miss the chance, to have that input, that the right matched, external competence can give. Having a competent board can help avoid bankruptcy, develop necessary company procedures and aid in the overall management of the SME.

Through the Navigator SMEs can be matched with externals that serve as a board or ‘navigators’, without taking away control from the SME. The Navigator is a particularly good option for SMEs looking to scale up, as the externals are there to coach, ask critical questions and offer guidance based on their extensive experience. Through their experience, external board members are able to make SMEs aware of ‘hazards’ and guide them so as to avoid expensive failures.

Positive changes can only happen in a safe environment, which is why a Navigator’s primary task is help the entrepreneur navigate a changeable environment and give them enough control to feel safe and be able to scale up their company. One of the crucial success factors in the Business Generator project was that the four external navigator members had all gone on their own scalable business journeys. Being able to understand the current entrepreneur’s experience enables externals to truly coach and give the best advice to the SME they are assisting.

The Navigator has already been helping several SMEs, specifically OptiPack, an SME in a typical small Swedish village which started last year. Optipack began with four young people who had no experience of owning a company and who required a bank loan to get started. In order to qualify for a loan they needed an external board with experienced members, which is where Business Navigator came in to help. After being assigned a Navigator team they began to advance, thanks to the collective experience of their external board members who between them are experienced businesspeople and own large international companies.

Thanks to help from their Navigator, Optipack were able to invest EUR 2 428 882 in their latest product and continue working and developing.

Optipak are a successful example of what a Navigator can do for an SME, and we hope to keep coming back with more success stories as the Business Navigator gets bigger and spreads its message, support and advocacy for SMEs.

Youth Essay Competition 2018 – Who is going to Graz?

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Today is the day that we all find out who is going to Graz to the SME Assembly 2018 from the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition!

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone that submitted an entry for this year’s Essay Competition. The standard was very high and the jury spent lots of time and effort deliberating the shortlist, which was then narrowed down to the final top three candidates.

We would firstly like to give special mentions to the following entrants who made it onto the competition jury shortlist:

  • Antonios Vasilakis Kinalis
  • Babatunde Onabajo
  • Georgina Whiteman
  • Klemens Okkels
  • Roberta Dobra
  • Rory Daniels

These entries were of a high quality and received much praise from the judges, so congratulations on being on the shortlist!

Now comes the time to announce the top three finalists who will be joining us at the SME Assembly in Graz to present their essays and compete for the public vote. Please congratulate:

So who will be this year’s winner? We look forward to meeting the top three and finding out next month in Graz!

The Youth Essay Competition jury would also like to give a special mention to Vincent Straub from Germany. The jury were only able to select three finalists, but felt that his essay was very strong and well written and as such deserved recognition.

EEPA National Winners 2018 – Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills

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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.

The second category of the EEPA, “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills” recognises initiatives that improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills. This year the entries come from across eight different countries and will be competing for spots on the final European shortlist determined by the EEPA 2018 Jury in late September.

Austria: i2c STARTacademy

Croatia: BUDI UZOR®/BE THE ROLE MODEL™

Cyprus: Bi-Communal Innovation Camp

Germany: Nachfolge in Deutschland (Succession in Germany)

Hungary: Team Academy Budapest

Ireland: ACORNS – Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups

Lithuania: VERSLUMO AKADEMIJA

Slovenia: Practical entrepreneurial education in High schools

Sweden: Timbanken

Come back to Promoting Enterprise every week to discover the national winners across the other five EEPA categories: Promoting the entrepreneurial spiritImproving the business environmentSupporting the internationalisation of businessSupporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency and Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

Want to know who will be judging the 2018 projects? Meet the EEPA 2018 Jury here on the Portal!

EEPA National Winners 2018 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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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.

The “Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit” category has once again proved to be the most popular category, receiving 14 entries for the 2018 edition. This category recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mind-set, especially among young people and women. Have a look at the winning national projects below and stay tuned to find out which of them will make it on to this year’s EEPA shortlist after the jury meeting in late September 2018.

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

Bulgaria: Gabrovo Innovation Camp

Croatia: Sisak-Moslavina County – Center of The Gaming Industry

Cyprus: IDEA

Estonia: Superheroes

France: Youth services cooperatives

Greece: Piraeus Blue Entrepreneurship

Latvia: Support for self-employment and business start-ups

Lithuania: Futurepreneurs

Netherlands: Day for Change Actie

Poland: The “Małopolska” program – technology is becoming a business here

Romania: Rubik Hub

Sweden: JA Sweden – an entrepreneurial youth

United Kingdom: Supporting Fife’s Enterprise Journey

Come back to Promoting Enterprise every week to find out about the national winners across the other five EEPA categories: Investing in entrepreneurial skills, Improving the business environment, Supporting the internationalisation of business, Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency and Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship.

Want to know who will be judging the 2018 projects? Meet the EEPA 2018 Jury here on the Portal!

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