Tag ‘Thomas Wobben’
Our next Jury member also has previous EEPA jury experience and joins us as a representative from the Committee of the Regions. Since March 2012, Thomas Wobben has been Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks in the Committee of the Regions. His responsibilities include monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, relations with the OECD and Eurostat, and prospective works of the Committee of the Regions. Today he shares with us what kinds of projects got his vote.
What will make an EEPA project stand out for you? What will make it special?
Above all, a successful project should demonstrate how it responds to specific local needs. Rather than adopting an unimaginative “one-size-fits-all” approach, it should lead the way by tackling the specific challenges of its territory – which could include a lack of entrepreneurial activity in a rural or economically less-developed area, low numbers of SMEs that are ready to scale-up and exploit the opportunities of the Single Market or global markets, or factors such as high unemployment or a low level of education — through innovative, forward-looking and sustainable solutions.
What top 3 qualities should a project have to make it onto the shortlist?
In my view, the most convincing EEPA applications are those driven by a strong partnership – involving business, public authorities, research and educational institutions, etc. – that can act both as a guarantor for the project’s continued sustainability and as a vehicle for sharing good practices and lessons learnt.
It is also crucial that the project contains an innovative element that goes beyond merely replicating established methods, but rather introduces new ideas and finds new ways to adapt existing methods to the specific context of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Last but not least, a strong project should of course make a tangible contribution to economic growth and job creation in its territory.
What makes a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize?
Beyond merely contributing to a specific area of entrepreneurship development, a project worthy of the Grand Jury Prize should attest to a strategic vision that integrates the project activities into a broader objective and creates an additional added value for society in areas other than business development in the narrow sense. Lisbon’s micro-entrepreneurship programme, which won the Grand Jury Prize two years ago, is an excellent example in this respect:
After being selected for the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label a year earlier thanks to its outstanding and forward-looking entrepreneurial strategy, the City of Lisbon went on to prove the success of this strategy by presenting some of its first results in its EEPA application. The Lisbon micro-entrepreneurship programme demonstrates how an intelligent policy implemented at local level can create synergies between entrepreneurship development, economic integration of disadvantaged groups such as migrants and unemployed people, and urban rehabilitation of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A number of Lisbon’s entrepreneurship support actions have since been scaled up at national level in Portugal.
Which is your favourite category and why?
While I do not have a favourite category as such, some of the most inspiring projects in recent years have been submitted in the category “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship”. In addition to the project from Lisbon, which I just mentioned, the Swedish project “Entrepreneurial West Hisingen“, which won last year’s Grand Jury prize, is another outstanding example. Through actions such as the Syrian Fast Track Incubator for refugees who had businesses in their home country, this project responds to the vital challenge of integrating refugees and migrants into our societies and has produced extraordinary results, including the creation of hundreds of new companies in a socially divided and economically disadvantaged area.
What are you looking forward to at the SME Assembly 2017?
For me, the SME Assembly is a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the principal European actors in the area of SME and entrepreneurship development: policy-makers from the European, national, regional and local levels, stakeholders, academics, and of course entrepreneurs.
Moreover, the SME Assembly illustrates not only the excellent cooperation between the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), but also the complementarity of our actions in the field of entrepreneurship promotion: while the EEPA recognizes actions that have already proven successful, the CoR’s European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label encourages cities and regions to develop their entrepreneurial potential even further in the future. I am therefore particularly looking forward both to the EEPA 2017 award ceremony and to the launch of the EER 2019 edition in Tallinn.
Is there anything you want to say to the applicants waiting for the shortlist announcement?
By being successful in the national selection round, you have already demonstrated the outstanding quality of your projects. Even if not all of you will be selected for the EEPA this year, you are doing important work on the ground that directly contributes to boosting growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.
In 2017 305 National EEPA entries were received from 32 participating countries. 56 projects were then selected by the National Co-ordinators as the best of the best and were put forward for the European level of the competition.
Interested in finding out who will be competing for the European awards? What does each country have to offer this year? Promoting Enterprise will be introducing you to all the categories and national winners throughout the summer…so stay tuned!
Who will be judging the entries? This year the diverse EEPA 2017 jury is made up of eight representatives from across different sectors and professions:
|Kristin Schreiber (Chair) – Director, SME Policy & COSME, DG Grow, European Commission|
|Mr Thomas Wobben – Director, Committee of the Regions|
|Mr Christian Cardona – Minister of Ministry of the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Malta|
|Mr Viljar Lubi – Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, Estonia|
|Karen Boers – Co-founder & President, European Startup Network|
|Lisa Steigertahl – Co-founder & Director, European Startup Network|
|Ms Daniela Ölmunger – Grand Jury prize winner of 2016 edition, Entrepreneurial West Hisingen|
|Professor Thomas Cooney – Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology|
The EEPA Jury will meet in Brussels in September to decide on a project shortlist for each of the EEPA categories. The shortlisted projects will be announced soon after the Brussels meeting, and the winner in each category will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 23 November in Tallinn, Estonia.
Keep up with all the latest EEPA news right here on Promoting Enterprise, and good luck to all competing projects!
Each year, in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, an independent high-level Jury is faced with the difficult task of drawing up a shortlist of projects that will compete for the first prize during the SME Assembly. This year is no different – the EEPA Jury should select three shortlisted projects in each of the six project categories by mid-September, a task that is made especially difficult by the high quality of the participating projects.
This year’s Jury includes representatives from government, business and academia and also includes a representative from Slovakia, as Slovakia will host the SME Assembly in Bratislava in November as part of the Slovak EU presidency. There are two permanent representatives on the Jury, one from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and one from the Committee of the Regions. The winner of the previous year’s Grand Jury Prize is also invited to sit on the Jury.
Over the next few weeks we will introduce you to all of the people who make up this year’s EEPA Jury. This week we start, in no particular order, with a representative from academia and the representative from the Committee of the Regions.
Prof. Thomas M. Cooney
Professor of Entrepreneurship, Dublin Institute of Technology
Thomas is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Visiting Professor at the University of Turku (Finland). He is also Academic Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship, a Board Member of Startup Ireland and works in a supportive capacity with a number of businesses.
As an expert in entrepreneurship policy, he has worked with the Irish Government, the European Commission, the OECD, the European Training Foundation and other international organisations. He has published widely on the topic of entrepreneurship and full details of his career can be found at www.thomascooney.com.
Committee of the Regions
After studying Economics and Politics, Thomas worked for voluntary sector organisations. In 1993 he joined the European policy services of Saxony-Anhalt and in 1995 he began working in the Liaison Office of Saxony-Anhalt in Brussels taking over as Director in 2000.
Since March 2012 he has been Director for Horizontal Policies and Networks and, later on, for legislative works at the Committee of the Regions.
The judging process
For the EEPA Awards, individual countries were invited to conduct national competitions to determine the best projects to represent their nation. Hundreds of projects competed in these national competitions in 2016 for a chance to vie for an EEPA. Countries were allowed to nominate a maximum of two entries per category to the European competition. Each Jury member reads and assesses every entry against defined criteria covering: originality and feasibility, impact on the economy, improvement of stakeholder relations and transferability. The Jury then meets to discuss their top entries in each category, before agreeing on winners, runners up and any special mentions. The shortlist is published shortly after the jury meeting and the winners are announced during the Awards Ceremony at the SME Assembly.
For more information: