European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2012: National winners
Over 400 projects competed in this year's national competitions for a chance to enter the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. Countries were allowed to nominate a maximum of two entries (in different categories) to the European competition in different categories, so the 57 national winners represent the very best national initiatives to promote enterprise, inspire entrepreneurs and showcase entrepreneurship policies in their countries.
The number of entries was slightly more entries than in 2011, despite the challenging economic environment. It was also only the second time in the history of the awards when all 27 EU Member States have participated.
Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Belgium: The Bryo initiative supports pre-start-ups in Flanders and is dedicated to creating optimum conditions for successful entrepreneurship. The project has led to the creation of over 200 new businesses.
Bulgaria: StartUp Academy is a year-long programme for young entrepreneurs. It comprises the annual start-up Conference, where start-up companies, which are looking for funding, clients or partners, can deliver presentations. To date, 5000 participants have registered for the annual forums.
Croatia: The Croatian Chamber of Economy conducted an annual online survey looking at the educational needs in small and medium enterprises with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurial skills. This allowed them to identify the level of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge among employees.
Cyprus: The Women’s Cooperative Bank aims to boost women’s entrepreneurship by providing easy access to finance through a cooperative bank set up by female entrepreneurs. Since the project started, women’s entrepreneurship has increased in Cyprus overall from 12% in 2001, to 28% today.
Czech Republic: The EDUKOL start-up centre provides women with consultancy services and a business incubator unit to help them launch their own businesses. It was created to support the relatively large group of women who intend to return to work after taking maternity leave. In total, 121 women have benefited from the centre.
Estonia: ENTRUM is a Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (ENTRUM) which was launched in 2010 to promote an entrepreneurial mindset amongst Estonian youth. ENTRUM annually rotates from one Estonian region to another and provides free practical seminars and networking sessions for youths. During its two years in operation, ENTRUM has worked with 1,100 young people.
France: The ‘French Students Entrepreneurship Plan’ is a national action plan to promote entrepreneurship within all higher education institutions and implement measures to raise awareness and provide training and support for potential entrepreneurs. Nationally, over 250 higher education institutions have are working toward the action plan and 140,000 students have benefited as a result.
Germany: The ‘German Children and Youth Foundation's Student Companies Network’ coordinates, qualifies and supports student companies in the six Eastern German states in order to promote entrepreneurial thinking and action. Since 2010, the network has reached approximately 4,000 people a year, of which 80 per cent are children and young people.
Greece: The Corallia Clusters Initiative seeks to support Greek enterprises and give them the same opportunities as international competitors to penetrate mature markets. For the three year period of operation (2008-2010), there has been an increase in employment of 63 per cent and an increase in exports of Greek products by 119 per cent.
Ireland: Kidz Buzzness is a game developed for primary school children between the ages of 10 – 12 years, designed to provide them with a creative understanding of entrepreneurship. The Regional Authority is looking to introduce the game across the Irish education system so that all children can benefit from the initiative.
Italy: ‘Active Principles – Young Ideas for a better Puglia’ is a competition that encourages young people of Puglia to transform their entrepreneurial ideas into practical projects. 10,000 young people aged 18 to 32 participated in the first of two competitions, creating of 114 new businesses in the region.
Latvia: The Nordea Business School “From Idea to Investor” offers a six-month training programme for entrepreneurs in Lativa. More than 20 new companies were founded at the end of the programme.
Netherlands: Over 500 children aged 4-12 in a Groningen neighbourhood have participated in this project to set-up a garden to grow their own produce and build enterprise skills.
Poland: ‘Farm tourism – the road to success in rural areas’ aims to create jobs for the long-term unemployed and raise qualifications in the Kielecki Poviat tourism sector. As a result of the programme, 20 new “agritourism” farms were created.
Farm tourism – the road to success in rural areas
Portugal: The National Creative Industries Prize supports creative entrepreneurship with a strong business potential by offering a €25,000 prize to the winner. The 40 shortlisted projects were given the chance to develop their business plans with industry specialists.
Romania: The ‘School for Startups’ supports aspiring entrepreneurs through an informal educational approach, providing a series of guest professor lectures and individual mentoring. Half of the participants started their own business after attending the course.
Serbia: The Success Flower Awards aim to make women’s achievements in Serbian economic development more visible, with the goal to increase Serbia’s female owned SME’s from the current 26%, to the 30% which is the EU average.
Slovakia: The Small Carpathian Wine Route is a partnership to improve and increase tourism and wine production in the region, with special emphasis on supporting small enterprises. From only 25 business members in 1996, it now has over 357, more than half are SMEs.
Slovenia: ENSPRIRE EU seeks to identify and create policies that foster entrepreneurial inspiration amongst vulnerable target groups. The ENSPIRE EU toolkit and a mutual exchange programme between the partner regions, ensured the sharing of good practices.
Spain: The 'Enterprising Route' introduces entrepreneurial culture into the University of Granada campus and develops student interest in starting and running their own enterprises. This year it has resulted in the creation of 320 jobs and 6 companies.
Sweden: 'With full speed into the future’ is a project that aims to embed a culture of entrepreneurship and creativity in the Municipality of Söderhamn. As a result, new business initiatives and young entrepreneurs have gotten involved in entrepreneurship in Söderhamn.
Turkey: The SME Consultant Development Programme is a free-of-charge service in the Turkish banking sector where trained Relationship Managers provide tailor-made strategies for SMEs, benefiting more than 1,000 companies.
UK: Outset was created to raise aspiration for enterprise among hard-to-reach groups. The project was specifically created to help the most vulnerable groups, including the long-term unemployed, recently redundant, and people with disabilities. Since the start, Outset has created 890 jobs through grassroots engagement.
Category 2: Investing in Skills
Austria: The Technology and Innovation Project (TIP), a joint venture of the Lower Austria Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Government of Lower Austria, assists enterprises to realise their innovative project ideas. TIP provides subsidised consultancy services, events and workshops for 500 of Lower Austria’s SMEs each year.
France: Public policy initiative PROGRESS was created to support the social and solidarity economy. Over 1,000 people have participated in training since 2008, and since 2006 74 projects have received funding, representing 880 jobs.
Germany: ‘Small Business Management’ is a specialised programme at the University of Duisburg designed to build entrepreneurial knowledge and expertise. Since 1999, the project has supported well over 100 start-ups, which have helped create over 350 jobs.
Hungary: With Hungary’s growing textile industry, the Hungarian Society of Textile Technology and Science promoted optimal sewing processes by providing accredited adult education programmes at clothing factories. Since the start of the programme, the society has organised training courses at 13 factory sites for 128 trainees.
Ireland: The Innovation in Business Centre in Castlebar organises an annual event, the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, to encourage and promote entrepreneurship. It attracted over 400 people last year.
Latvia: The entrepreneur board game ‘Time for Business’ was created to attract children and young people into business. The game was successfully launched with support from the University of Latvia. Over 1,000 units of the game have been created and sold.
Malta: The ‘Grand Tour of Taste 2011’ was designed to promote small businesses such as restaurants and local wine producers. This was an excellent showcase for the culture and cuisine of Malta and Gozo, resulting in coverage across national and pan-European media.
Netherlands: Yes!Delft created the entrepreneurial development programme, YES!Pro, which provided intensive training for young entrepreneurs. Within seven years YES!Delft has helped to launch 100 companies.
Poland: The Economics and Services School Complex started a project to support the entrepreneurial activities of students by enabling them to operate businesses such as a catering company and a training shop.
Romania: The CIBIB was founded with the purpose of developing entrepreneurship among young people and provides education, internships and vocational training.
Serbia: Since 2005 the Faculty of Technical Arts has been supporting the Best Technology Innovation Competition (BTIC) with the aim of promoting innovation within the Hi-Tech sector. The project has led to 65 newly established high-tech companies.
Spain: The Vitamin E project invests in the next generation of entrepreneurs in Castilla and Leon by providing teaching materials to pupils from primary school to baccalaureate level. The project has benefited over 162,000 pupils in the region.
Sweden: Campusi12 was created to foster a digital visualisation cluster and entrepreneurship in the small rural military town of Eksjö. Since its foundation in July 2009, the number of partner companies has more than doubled, to over 100 and most importantly, students’ are now more inclined to be entrepreneurs themselves.
Category 3: Improving the Business Environment
Austria: The Move IN and GrOw (MINGO) initiative has supported more than 2,500 local business owners in their initial growth phase by providing affordable leases for business properties in the city of Vienna and delivering tailor-made consultancy and training options.
Croatia: Adria Winch, which designs ship winch equipment, invested in a Plasma Cutter thanks to a subsidised bank loan, which has resulted in an increase in sales and revenue from 48 million to over 84 million kuna in 2012.
Denmark: A professional B2B service, Early Warning assists businesses in crisis by supporting entrepreneurs with their business needs. Assistance is offered via a network of 120 volunteer advisers with extensive professional experience.
Estonia: e-Annual reporting enables Estonian entrepreneurs to file annual reports via an e-Reporting mechanism from the Central Commercial Registry, which has led to a savings of over €4.5 million.
Finland: The Procurement Agent promotes the participation of SMEs in public procurement by providing training, information and tools to strengthen their tender. This service has benefited 89 competitive tenders and is to be extended nationwide.
Finland: The Salo Unit of Turku University of Applied Sciences promotes entrepreneurship, team work, readiness and appetite for business as a core part of its ten year project. To date, 25 companies have been formed, including three cooperatives owned by students.
Italy: FaciliTO tackles difficulties faced by SMEs in urban areas by providing access to advice or funding. Over 200 businesses have accessed FaciliTO and 93 of them received financial support.
UK: The Winning Formula for High Performance Technology project has safeguarded the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, saving 21,000 jobs in the local community with a £10 million loan to Silverstone Circuits.
Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business
Belgium: EXPLORT reinforces the Wallon regions’ export capacities by providing a qualified and experienced workforce in foreign trade by giving young people the opportunity to gain practical experience in companies and abroad. 2103 students and graduates have benefited from this support, as well as 821 companies and operators.
Hungary: ‘The Hungarian Dental Tourism Project’ seeks to maintain and enhance Hungary’s leading position in dental services by forming an innovation network of Hungarian dental tourism enterprises, to increase the number of ‘dental tourists’ coming to Hungary. As a result of the project, 80 dental practices have been created.
Lithuania: A ‘Competitiveness Hub’ was created to monitor and evaluate business competitiveness of the export market in Lithuania. The project provided financial support and removed obstacles for SMEs. Sixty companies in Lithuania have utilised the ‘Competitiveness Hub.’
Malta: The Malta Chamber of Commerce selected regional chambers of commerce abroad to match-make services between local and foreign small businesses. As a result, forums have been held in several countries and the first winner of the National Enterprise Support Awards has been awarded.
Portugal: Five small wine producers from the Douro region cooperated to develop a brand and bring Douro wines to the world, resulting in an increase of 134% of exports of wine from the producers.
Slovakia: The REGIONFEMME project supports women entrepreneurs to work cross-border by offering resources and best practice exchange. The project also offers resources including seminars, language courses and access to a database of female entrepreneurs.
Category 5: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Bulgaria: The ‘Sprite Graffiti Fest’ supports the development of young artists and provides the opportunity for professional realisation in all areas of contemporary art. Many of the more than 200 artists continued their creative work as professionals after school or university graduation.
Cyprus: In an effort to preserve and develop the historic village of Kalopanayiotis, ETAK KALOPANAYIOTI worked to attract private investors to invest; improve the residents' standard of living and protect the unique surroundings of the village. Several entrepreneurs came together to create the company Eteria Touristikis Anaptixis Kalopanayiot.
Czech Republic: The Chartered City of Most worked to reduce unemployment through a social clause in public contracts, which allows for the rebuilding of public spaces, cleaning services and auxiliary building work, especially in deprived areas. Ten people found jobs, nine of them from the Roma minority.
Greece: The Chios Masitha Growers Association produced and developed high quality Greek products and created a network of shops in Greece and abroad to promote and sell products made from mastiha. From 2005 to 2010, there was a steady increase in the sales value and quantity of mastiha products.
Lithuania: GATES was created by the UN Development Program in Lithuania to establish a unified approach to CSR, by offering training and support to over 500 SMEs. So far, over 2,500 people from over 500 SMEs in Lithanuania have been involved.
Luxembourg: The INDR created a nationally recognised label ‘Socially Responsible Company’ available to companies, particularly SMEs who demonstrate a commitment to socially responsible business. Since 2010, the INDR has promoted over 600 companies and awarded the label to 51.
Turkey: Disabled at Work is a joint Turkish-Dutch project designed to support disabled people in the workplace by providing job training and a mentor programme, resulting in 194 people being trained and 65 employed.