European Entrerpreneurship Promotion Awards
This year’s European Entrepreneurship Promotion Awards took place on 26th of November in Helsinki, Finland, in the framework of the 2019 European SME week. The award seeks to reward those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.
Cooperatives Europe’s Director Agnes Mathis was selected this year to judge the entries of inspiring European projects, and had the honour of introducing the short-listed projects as well as the winner of the ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ category, stressing the fact that the social dimensions of these projects must not be seen as secondary, but be regarded as fully fledged businesses.
The winning project of this category, ‘Start-up Your Future’ from Germany, is a pilot project of the Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland (WJD), funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It aims to help refugees to set up their own businesses by giving them support and offering them the option of self-employment through mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten. Voluntary mentors guide refugee entrepreneurs through the startup process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan. Since the project began, 185 start-up sponsorships have been implemented, 207 refugees have been helped in their business ventures and 22 startups have received support.
A Belgian cooperative ‘Haven Port Incubator CVBA-SO’ was awarded in the ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ category. The cooperative supports and strengthens young people who want to develop an entrepreneurial project, and offers a safe testing ground to encourage creative youth entrepreneurship to grow into socially relevant companies. By offering a risk-free environment Haven encourages entrepreneurial youth to learn, experiment and fail, and thus enhance their competences for their future enterprises. The project has been active for two years and has 49 young affiliates that have benefited from the scheme.