The European Commission announced last night in Tallinn that the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) was the “Innofest” project from the Netherlands, which supports start-ups through safe testing environments at summer festivals.

In addition to Innofest, 5 innovative projects from Estonia, Sweden, Austria, France and Spain won awards in the different EEPA categories, in a ceremony during the SME Assembly 2017, hosted in collaboration with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

EEPA is a programme from the European Commission to promote projects that support entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level. In total, 18 ideas with a distinct entrepreneurial spirit at the core of their activities were praised during the final round at the Kultuurikatel, Tallinn.

The complete list of EEPA 2017 winners is as follows: “Grand Jury Prize” – Innofest (NETHERLANDS), a concept using summer festivals as living labs for innovation and as a test ground for entrepreneurs before launching their products into the market.

“Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit” category – Enterprise Village (ESTONIA), an initiative designing and running roleplay games on entrepreneurship, economics and finance aimed at children and young people. Trained facilitators take players through different tasks which stimulate their creativity and cooperation, as a well as their entrepreneurial spirit.

“Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills” category – Business Generator (SWEDEN), focusing on bringing in external expert support systems for SMEs to help them add value to their business concepts. Facilitating a team of four experts per client, Business Generator mentors SMEs on analytical capability, financial expertise, empathy, customer benefits, development process management, creativity and innovation.

“Improving the Business Environment” category – Reempresa (SPAIN), a trading market for SMEs which helps entrepreneurs take ownership of existing SMEs while preserving jobs, business and economic growth. The business transfer schemed promotes awareness on public-private collaboration and the benefits of standardising business transfer facilitation procedures.

“Supporting the Internationalisation of Businesses” category – Program Internationalization 2015-2020 (AUSTRIA), an initiative supporting Lower Austrian SMEs in their initial foreign market ventures with free and tailored services. The project presents an innovative approach for supporting enterprises and start-ups, both in terms of growth strategies and international expansion, all in keeping with the concept of "start-up to scale-up".

“Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship” category – Adie Microfranchise Solidaire (AMS) (FRANCE), the first microcredit operator in France, which helps entrepreneurs with no financial support to start up their companies. By 2016, this initiative had enabled the creation and development of 14,366 businesses, and allowed over 200 entrepreneurs to join a microfranchise network.


The application period for the next EEPA Awards edition will kick off in February 2018 with the national-level competitions, while the European competition will commence during Spring. Next year’s award ceremony will take place during the SME Assembly 2018, under the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.