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EEPA 2017 Testimonial: Import Promotion Desk – Special Mention 2017

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Time for another testimonial from a 2017 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) special mention!

Today’s EEPA interview takes us to Germany to meet the recipients of an EEPA 2017 Special Mention, theImport Promotion Desk (IPD). IPD share with us their tips for making your EEPA submission stand out by drawing on their own experiences, and their plans for the future of the project. 

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

We first heard about the awards scheme from a colleague and decided to enter because of the good reputation of the award and the chance for publicity for our work.

How did you prepare your application?

We did not do any specific activities in preparation for our EEPA submission. We are convinced of what we do and therefore thought that a good, concise and accurate description of our constant activities was special enough!

What was it like to receive a special mention?

We were extremely proud to receive the special mention, and we certainly did not expect it. The recognition by a neutral authority such as the EU Commission was very important for us as it confirmed our strategic approach, thus giving our project credibility and validity. In addition, our participation in the EEPA scheme attracted considerable attention and raised the awareness level of IPD once again.

The awards ceremony was an opportunity to get to know other interesting companies and to exchange ideas and experiences with many entrepreneurs from different countries. Although we exchanged with start-ups from different sectors we are not working in, the ideas they have were very inspiring. Additionally, we got really good feedback from many different angles.

How did receiving a special mention impact your work?

The media coverage was not very extensive, but this was probably due to it being quite difficult to describe what the special mention is exactly. However, the awareness within our network was extremely positive. After all, it is also a recognition of our good cooperation with our partners as well as the IPD team.

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

Entering EEPA is a good chance to be compared with other projects, but it means that you really need to make sure that your submission and the overall uniqueness of your project stand out. As such, the award submission should be prepared very carefully, make sure your collected data and documents are well-structured and easy to follow. Furthermore, best-practice examples should be well-presented to highlight the work that you have been doing.

In our case we focused on highlighting the core competence of IPD, which is supporting exports with a focus on development. We provide exporting companies in developing and threshold countries with the knowledge and competences they need to increase their competitiveness on the international market. We also included our focus on sustainability, in terms of enabling exporters, developing better access to the EU market for external countries and selective support for the export of in-demand products.

In your application be sure to clearly indicate your strengths and competencies. For us this meant highlighting our good knowledge of the product demand due to our strong network of relevant sector associations (and through them many importers and wholesalers) in Germany (and Europe). We also continued to demonstrate our competencies by describing how we use our knowledge and network. We explained our focus on demand, and how this ensures that the enterprises achieve long-term sales on the export market. When selecting products to support, we carefully check using market studies and demand analyses which products are gaining importance on the German and European markets.

Overall, convince the national and European jury to view your project as a European best practice that deserves to be rewarded for all of the hard work that you have put in!

What are your plans for the future?

Our goal is to integrate developing countries more effectively into global trade, and thus make a substantial contribution towards sustainable economic development in these countries. Many exporters from developing countries are only denied access to the EU market because they lack knowledge of the legal standards and import regulations, the required certifications and above all the contacts with European traders. This is exactly where the IPD comes in. We offer exporters specifically selected information and training on export marketing and advise them on the whole quality management process and on certification of their products. In addition, the IPD establishes valuable business contacts between the exporters and potential customers through specialist trade fairs.

Our vision is to broaden our project to more developing countries and sectors so that more companies can profit from our services.

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.

What happens at an EEPA national ceremony? – Let’s look at Germany!

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We have seen the shortlist, and started introducing all the candidates, but what happens before that? What does a national ceremony look like? Today on Promoting Enterprise German National Coordinator Juliane Kummer shares with us what happened at the 2017 German EEPA national ceremony.

The German national awards ceremony 2017 took place on 13 October 2017 in Berlin, as part of the deGUT-fair, one of the most important German entrepreneurship fairs. The ceremony was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and was presented during the fair forum. The two winners “BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” and “Import Promotion Desk” were announced to the visiting public and they received congratulations and a winner’s certificate handed out by the Ministry. Following the award presentation, each winner was invited to present their innovative and inspiring initiatives by giving a short interview on the stage. These two winners had been selected by a national expert jury who evaluated a total of 29 entries in May 2017.

“BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg” project, takes a different approach to education and aims to educate secondary school students in the areas of business, natural sciences and ultimately entrepreneurship. The project is divided into different phases and includes business competitions, immersive internships abroad, science clubs and business weeks. Through these activities students are pushed to think like entrepreneurs, work in teams, and work in collaboration with local and national stakeholders. As they advance through school activities become more complex and introduce different skills, allowing the students to develop into competent candidates for the modern labour market.

The “Import Promotion Desk” supports German imports, thus opening the door for SMEs from selected developing and emerging countries to access the European market and develop trade capacities. The aim is to maintain the sustained import of particular products from partner countries, whilst maintaining high quality, social and environmental standards. The IPD brings together European importers, who can optimise procurement and increase product diversity, and exporters as trade partners. Consequently partner country export capacities are strengthened through job creation and income increase. IPD is currently active in the following counties: Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Columbia, Nepal, Peru and Tunisia.

Both projects will be present at the SME Assembly, so if you are interested in finding out more visit their websites and see if you can spot them at the event next month!

 

Two more EEPA finalists have been announced! Who will represent Germany at EEPA 2017?

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The national competitions for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2017 have been taking place across Europe and some of the national winners have already been announced! Here on Promoting Enterprise we have announced and presented the Dutch national winners and today national coordinator Juliane Kummer tells us about the German campaign and the two German national winners who will go on to compete at European level.

How many applications did you receive in total for EEPA 2017? Is this number higher than in 2016?

Juliane Kummer, German EEPA Coordiantor

We received 31 applications, but two of them were not eligible for the competition yet, so overall we had 29 projects. This number is higher than in 2016 when we received 30 applications of which 27 were eligible and competed at the national level.

What categories were the projects competing in?

We received applications in each category for 2017. 19 of them were competing in “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”, 5 in “Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills” and 3 in “Improving the Business Environment”. One project applied for the category “Supporting the Internationalisation of Business” and another for “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship”.

How did you reach out to potential EEPA applicants? What was your strategy for encouraging applications?

Our strategy had various elements. Firstly we spread the news about EEPA widely to make it popular, which was also complemented by individually contacting interesting projects and trying to encourage them via personal appeals to participate. To spread the news and cultivate public relations, we contacted more than 1.000 multipliers and informed them about the German campaign. We used our social media channels and communicated via the official German EEPA-Website, we issued a press release for our launch and we contacted PR Managers at relevant institutions and asked them to spread our news concerning the competition via their website and/or other communication instruments such as newsletters. For the second part of our strategy, we researched EEPA-suitable projects and programmes and contacted them directly to invite them to participate in the competition.

In addition, we developed a simplified application form for the German competition before the 2017 campaign started which we also provided on our website as an online-application-form.

How were your winners selected? Can you tell us about your jury and your selection process?

The German winners were selected by a jury of national experts. We sent all the application documents to the jury members before meeting to select the German winners. At first, the jury discussed all the entries and then voted for the top 10. These top 10 were then discussed again and a second vote was held to select the two German winners.    

German EEPA 2017 Jury

Who are the national winners?

One of our winners is “BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @ Hansenberg”, competing in the category “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit”. The BIRTH-Concept at the Hansenberg boarding school connects the topics of “MINT“ (“STEM”) and economic issues with enthusiasm for technology, delight in experimentation and responsible team work. Pupils from 14-18 years old receive entrepreneurship education in combination with knowledge about natural sciences and economics, business games, interdisciplinary competitions and cooperation between businesses and universities. It is an integrated project that aims to increase young people’s motivation, cooperative skills and their innovative and technological mind-set, helping them to become responsible adults.

The other German winner is the “Import Promotion Desk”, competing in category “Supporting the Internationalisation of Business”.  The Import Promotion Desk (IPD) serves an important hinge function between European importers and SMEs in selected developing and emerging countries. The aim is sustainable and structured import promotion of certain products from partner countries – in compliance with high quality, social and ecological standards. For this purpose, the IPD matches European importers and exporters from emerging markets as trade partners.

Follow updates on the German competition via the official German EEPA-Website and here on Promoting Enterprise!

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