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“Internationalisation 2015 – 2020” – ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’ Winner 2017

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In celebration of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) returning for another edition in 2018, Promoting Enterprise is bringing you a series of testimonials from the EEPA 2017 winners. Today’s winner – Internationalisation 2015-2020 from ecoplus International, shares with us their story of how they became the 2017 winners in the category ‘Supporting the Internationalisation of Business’.

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

We first heard of the competition via the newsletter of the liaison office of Lower Austria in Brussels as well as via the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. Entering seemed like a good way to present what we do at the regional, national and EU level, and it is always interesting to compete with others! We see competition as a sort of “benchmarking” for what we are doing.

How did you prepare your application?

We did not do anything special in preparation for EEPA, after all we are not “new” in the business – we have more than 10 years’ experience in this field. However, despite our experience we always enjoy opportunities to improve, adapt and innovate. With regards to EEPA we saw that we already had some specific support programmes that corresponded to the EEPA internationalisation category criteria quite well, so we just simply presented the work we have been doing with these programmes.

What was it like to win the award?

When we take part in awards of this kind we always want to win or, at least, be a nominee. Due to the time it takes to prepare all of the necessary documentation we rarely take part in these kinds of competitions. The last time we participated in something similar was in 2012 when we participated in an EU Award after being nominated by Austria. This time around, with EEPA, it was even better as not only were we nominated but ended up winning in our category!

How did winning the award impact your work?

Winning the award resulted in some great media coverage, but as always you have to be proactive. Winning an EU Award can be a good story for local media, but you have to share it with them. We were and continue to be supported by all our partners, but especially by the government of Lower Austria (by the governor herself) – so our advice is to share your award with those who support you throughout all your years of hard work!

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

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.

To find out more about Internationalisation 2015-2020 projects, read about them in the 2017 EEPA compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

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.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: “Reempresa” – ‘Improving the business environment’ Winner 2017

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Promoting Enterprise is back with yet another EEPA 2017 winner testimonial for you to be inspired by. Today is the turn of Reempresa, winner of the ‘Improving the business environment’ category with their project for ‘re-entrepreneurs’, represented by director Albert Colomer.

How did you first hear about the national competition?

We have participated in the SME Assembly conference for many years and have always been interested in the EEPA awards ceremony because it is a very important event where interesting initiatives for all Europeans are showcased. 

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

Reempresa was started in 2011 and throughout the years we have worked to implement the market for business transfers in Catalonia. Now that we have finished the development phase with great results, we thought that presenting our candidature to the EEPA awards was an opportunity to share our results with all the participating countries and to raise awareness about the importance of facilitating business transfers to support SMEs and to prevent the loss of jobs.

How did you prepare your application?

Reempresa works with a wide network of collaborators. We involved them and asked them to gather all their results and stories to explain them to the rest of Europe. Once we won the Spanish award, we launched a special website and social media campaign to share the award with all our partners, the team and, of course, with all our users who were able to sell and buy their businesses thanks to Reempresa.

What was it like to win the award?

It got my heart racing! We arrived in Tallinn without knowing at all what would happen and for us it was a big surprise. It is an honour to receive this award and we want to share it with everybody who made it possible!

How did winning the award impact your work?

For Reempresa, this award marks a before and after in the organisation! To appear on the EEPA blog and social networks, and the coverage given to us by EuroNews has been very important because it has allowed us to reach all of Europe and has allowed many people and organisations to get to know us. It has definitely helped us to be very motivated and keep working hard in the future!

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

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!

What are your plans for the future?

We are currently having talks with many countries to implement this initiative that has worked so well in Catalonia. Together, we hope to build a European business transfer market with the aim of helping European SMEs.

To find out more about Reempresa, read about them right here in the 2017 compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

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.

EEPA 2017 Testimonial: “Enterprise Village” – ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ Winner 2017

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The European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are back again for 2018, and ready to discover more outstanding European projects in the fields of enterprise and entrepreneurship. In order to help potential applicants, Promoting Enterprise has asked EEPA 2017 winners to share their success stories give advice on how to submit and present an EEPA winning project. Today’s winner  is Enterprise Village from Estonia, the 2017 winners in the category ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’.

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

We first found out about the national competition from a colleague that saw it advertised on social media and in a local mailing list.

Seeing as we had just had a successful season and started to build a local track-record, we decided to give it a try. We did not have very high expectations, but we thought that even getting a little positive feedback on our mission would already be a success. Once we made it to the national finals, we started to think about how EEPA could help us with our marketing and also help motivate our team, especially our volunteers.

How did you prepare your application?

We didn’t launch anything special for EEPA, but we did make our video before we sent the application. It was something that had already been planned a long time before, but the EEPA application was definitely good motivation to finally do it!

What was it like to win the award?

When you find out that you are shortlisted of course you start to think “what if…”, but we didn’t expect to win. We were really excited when we did win because it was a complete surprise!

How did winning the award impact your work?

An important outcome from winning the award was that it gave us positive attention and resulted in us making some international contacts at the EEPA event. As a result of the international contacts we are actually working on one possible co-project with Cyprus.

The media coverage after the EEPA event was actually pretty low and we were a bit disappointed with the Estonian media. However, Euronews published a story about us before the EEPA event so we got our publicity anyway. Interestingly, we got more overall attention (including media) from abroad rather than from local sources.

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

Do not hesitate, apply! If you are doing the right thing, eventually someone will notice, and sometimes it’s the EEPA jury. 🙂

What are your plans for the future?

Our new programmes, meant for schools, are almost ready to ship to our first users. This means that in addition to visiting our learning center, teachers can also use our programmes at their own schools. In the near future we are also planning to translate our materials into English so as to introduce and expand our method to other countries. In the long term we hope to have several Enterprise Village style learning centers and schools as partners so that our programmes can be used in different European countries.

To find out more about Enterprise Village, read about them in the 2017 EEPA compendium, and be sure to watch their winning moment from the EEPA 2017 ceremony in Tallinn here.

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.

The SME Assembly 2017 – eMagazine

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The SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, focused on starting, scaling and spreading your wings, and provided a platform for discussion, networking and knowledge sharing. The outcomes of this European flagship event are now available for you to read, and look at in graphic representations, in the eMagazine on the newly updated SME Assembly 2018 webpage.

In the magazine you will find summaries of the daily activities as well as the key messages from the various sessions, speakers and masterclasses. In addition to the key takeaways for 2017, you will also find a selection of images taken during the event, all of which are available on the Promoting Enterprise Flickr. The magazine also highlights and displays visual documentation from the CoCreative Flow team who captured everything in realtime on site.

Be sure to read through to learn about everything that happened in Tallinn and don’t forget to check the updated SME Assembly webpage for the latest news on the upcoming SME Assembly 2018 in Graz.

 

SME Assembly 2017 – Delegate Feedback

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Welcome back! We hope you have all had a lovely holiday season and are ready to start the new year with us right here on the Portal. To start 2018, we decided to bring you the results of the SME Assembly 2017 delegate survey and find out what everyone really thought about their experience in Tallinn last November. Firstly the overwhelming feedback indicated that the SME Assembly was worth attending (94% of delegates agreed) and 97% of delegates said they would be participating next year, so we hope to be seeing some familiar faces in Graz this year!

Overall feedback

Attendees really enjoyed both the networking and learning opportunities, sighting the chance to meet experts, the quality of the speakers, interaction between different actors and stakeholders and the gained insights into new projects, as positive aspects of the location. Whilst we are interested in what was good, the Promoting Enterprise team are always looking for ways to improve so as to continue delivering high quality SME Assemblies. The two main improvements on which delegates commented were: the need for more networking time (both pre-arranged and facilitated) as well as increased opportunities for audience discussion within the sessions.

Sessions and content

This year the SME Assembly continued to offer a variety of plenary and policy sessions as well as specialised masterclasses and the entrepreneur expo. In terms of relevance and usefulness, the top plenary sessions were Ideas from Europe and E-Estonia, with over 50% of delegates indicating these sessions as ‘extremely useful’. The top two policy sessions, which received 53% and 51% ‘extremely useful’ ratings, were Single Market: New Barriers? and E-commerce. The top masterclasses, which were more niche and specialised in nature also received high ratings with 86% delegates saying ‘Ideas from Europe: 2 years on’ was either relevant and useful or extremely relevant and useful, closing followed by ‘An Hour of Code’, which was also rated relevant and useful or extremely relevant and useful by 85% of delegates.

Now that 2017 is behind us the preparations for this year’s SME Assembly 2018 in Graz, Austria are getting underway. Thank you to all the delegates who took the time to fill out the survey, your feedback is very important to us and helps to continually improve the SME Assembly!

So what is in store for this year? Follow the News Portal for the latest updates about everything to come and join us on the journey to the SME Assembly 2018…

From Slovakia to Estonia – The 2017 review

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The end of 2017 draws nearer, so what better time to look back on the exciting year we are soon to leave behind us! The Promoting Enterprise News Portal has been lucky enough to host several guest contributors, high profile interviews from the worlds of innovation and entrepreneurship, and of course be the ‘one stop shop’ for all European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) related content, amongst other topics.

We began the year by getting ready for the launch of EEPA 2017, looking back on the EEPA 2016 winners and finding out what the attendees of the SME Assembly 2016 thought about their time in Slovakia. The year continued on with the exciting launch of the 2017 edition of EEPA, during which we presented the shortlisted projects who went on to compete for European prizes. The standard of projects was extremely high and we would like to thank all of the National Coordinators for their hard work and dedication to their national campaigns.

The Youth Essay Competition also came back to Promoting Enterprise for a second edition, which attracted over triple the number of entries than last year. With many high quality entries coming from across Europe, and even beyond, the 2017 essay competition jury had a tough time choosing just three finalists for the shortlist. The finalists, Evlampia Karavangeli from Greece, Pavle Kostić from Serbia and Oksana Vedmidska from Ukraine, all impressed the jury with their answers to ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, which they went on to present at the biggest event of the year…the SME Assembly 2017. After a live audience vote, Oksana Vedmidska was chosen as this year’s winner.

This year’s SME Assembly was held in Tallinn, Estonia from 22-24 November 2017 and focused on encouraging us all to start, scale and spread our wings. If you missed it, read our daily posts (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3), have a look at our Instagram and watch the highlights video for coverage of this European flagship event for entrepreneurs, facilitators and innovative thinkers. There is also an SME Assembly conclusions post discussing the main results from Tallinn.

2017 has been a busy year with exciting developments, news, competitions and events. The Assembly continues to grow, European SME Week continues to excel and innovators continue to share their thoughts with us here on Promoting Enterprise. As we close a busy year, the whole Promoting Enterprise team would like to thank you for your support throughout 2017, we hope you enjoyed our posts and will continue to bring you more next year in 2018.

 

The EIPP – Providing connection opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs

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The European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is a virtual meeting place for project promoters and investors. This year the Portal was present at the SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, and came to life in the first ever EIPP matchmaking session during which investors, entrepreneurs and project promoters were able to meet in person and discuss future partnerships and investment opportunities.

But what did the participants think? Check out the videos below to see what everyone thought and be sure to go through the photo albums on Flickr to see, as Vice President Jyrki Katanien once put it, ‘the tinder of investment’ in action!

Ichó, Steffen Preuss, DE

Slow Mills, Erwin Meijboom, NL

Virtual Medicine, Tomáš Brngál, SK

EIPP Session highlights

Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Pavle Kostić

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European youth certainly have a lot to say about entrepreneurship, at least judging by the large number of entries for the 2017 edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition. This year the essays had to answer ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’, at first glance a simple question but which we discovered has many answers! 

Today, Promoting Enterprise continues to present this year’s talented finalists who we all met on stage in Tallinn at the SME Assembly 2017. Today’s interview takes us to Serbia to meet Pavle Kostić, a third year Management student at the University of Belgrade. Pavle impressed the jury with his passionate ideas and critique of current systems in his essay Ethics and a system as a prerequisite of regular competition, available for you to read in English and Serbian.

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

The opportunity to go and see Estonia, was the first thing that attracted me to participate. Every trip has a big contribution in developing people` s skills and enhancing the power of observing the environment around themselves. I also like to express myself, and in that sense, I saw a great chance to express my opinion in front of the whole of Europe. Ultimately, my Management studies and interest in entrepreneurship were strong reasons to take part in the Youth Essay Competition.

Sabine Soeder & Johanna Baumann, CoCreativeFlow

What did you think about the SME Assembly 2017?

What a great event! Estonia did an excellent job in organising the SME Assembly. I especially liked the E- Estonia showroom business tour, where I could see the amazing results of digitalization in Estonia, which made me ask myself why Serbia is such a bureaucratic country.

I heard a lot of useful ideas in the “Ideas from Europe” session and met smart people who discussed very important topics. In my opinion one of the best sessions, was listening to the smart young ladies, who discussed entrepreneurship in the 21st century.

 

 

 

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

This theme made me confront the real situation in my country, and the incorrect government strategy that is based on attracting multinational companies where manual labour and poor salaries dominate, as I wrote in my essay. We need to restart. We need support in order to stay and spread our ideas and energy to all regions, and to make a better society. We need equal conditions for everyone.

It also made me think  about Queen’s song “Spread your wings and fly away, fly away, far away…” which to me signifies going abroad and creating a new start, because your country does not understand you.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

There are a lot of plans for the future. I am currently a member of the Case Study Club, and we are preparing for global competitions. I also take every moment possible to work on additional projects, cases, and activities because I feel that I am doing something valuable and useful. I would like to go on Erasmus+ student mobility, but we will see… I am not good at predicting my future. I try to do what I like, and who knows where these paths will take me…

Read about the other Youth Essay Competition finalist Evlampia Karanvegeli and be sure to come back next week for an interview with this year’s winner Oksana…

Youth voices of Europe – Meet Youth Essay Competition finalist Evlampia Karavangeli

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What do Europe’s youth have to say about entrepreneurship? What skills do they think tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need? The 2017 edition of the SME Youth Essay Competition asked the youth of Europe for their answers to ‘What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?’. 

This year we were amazed by all of the entries from across Europe, all expressing different ideas and proposals to this year’s question.

Today, Promoting Enterprise presents one of the talented finalists who made it to Tallinn to present her idea live on stage at the SME Assembly 2017, meet Evlampia Karavangeli! 22 year old medical student Evlampia impressed the jury with her essay titled ‘Checkmate in Entrepreneurship’, which you can read here.

 

 

What made you enter the SME Youth Essay Competition?

Although at first glance it appears rather peculiar for a medical student to be interested in entrepreneurship, I saw this competition as a great chance to voice my firm belief that every future scientific breakthrough can only be achieved through the cooperation of people with various professional backgrounds, who possess certain talents and skills. My motive was to emphasise the importance of these qualifications on the road to professional success, regardless of the vocation one has chosen. Moreover, I wanted to convey a message to policymakers concerning the changes that need to be made, so as to promote youth entrepreneurship.

CoCreative Flow, Sabine Soeder & Johanna Baumann

 

What did you think of the SME Assembly 2017?

It was definitely a unique experience to be surrounded by so many inspiring people from all around the world, to discuss with them and exchange ideas about promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and research. I had the chance to participate in so many interesting conversations, learn new things and make connections. I also had the honour to present my own ideas in front of all the delegates and listen to their comments and point of view, which indeed helped me broaden my spectrum of thinking and motivated me for the future.

The theme of this year’s SME Assembly was to ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’, what does that mean to you?

It reminds me of the last phrase in my essay, that there is no elevator to success, so you have to take the stairs. A profitable enterprise and a successful career don’t happen overnight, you have to start by building your own vision and putting in work and devotion, as you scale and evolve by accumulating knowledge and experience, until you’re ready to spread your wings towards success.

What is next for you? Any exciting plans to share?

For the time being, I am staying focused on getting my medical degree in 1,5 years. I am highly fascinated by neuroscience, so I plan on expanding my knowledge in this field, during the time of my residency. Apart from clinical medicine, my dream is to contribute to research programmes concerning neurodegenerative and neuroimmunological diseases. Of course, I always remain open to new prospects and opportunities that might come up and I’m excited to see what the future holds!

Be sure to read an exclusive interview with another Youth Essay Competition finalist, Pavle Kostic

 

SME Week Newsletter 2017: Issue #8

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Another year, another SME Assembly in the European SME story.

The SME Assembly is over for another year and the 2017 edition, hosted by Estonia, was another exciting chapter in the European SME story. Over 600 delegates attended and speakers from a wide variety of disciplines including, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, digitalisation, e-commerce, public procurement and many more were all present in Estonia to share their knowledge and exchange with the European SME community.

Enjoy reading about everything that happened in Tallinn and be on the lookout for some exciting content and exclusive interviews coming your way very soon!

Read more >>

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