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The Single Market Start-up Award


In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the EU Single Market, EUROPEN and JA Europe, a leading organization that provides educational programs for STEM skills and entrepreneurship, partnered to launch the Single Market Start-Up Award. This contest challenged students' start-ups to showcase their ability to take advantage of the Single Market opportunities and drive their businesses forward. The Association's success in inspiring innovation among young people and promoting the development of new startups was recognized at the European Association Awards 2023, where EUROPEN was selected as a finalist. The article below, written by the Europen team, presents this initiative.


The Purpose of the Project


At EUROPEN, we are dedicated to fostering a fully accessible and competitive European market that drives the circular economy while safeguarding essential products and the environment. Our commitment to supporting the European Single Market is unwavering. For the past thirty-one years, the Single Market has been a cornerstone of the European Union, facilitating the free movement of companies and citizens across all EU member states. It has successfully eliminated numerous barriers to business, enabling countless enterprises to expand beyond their home countries and become pan-European success stories. Moreover, it has paved the way for scaling up investments in innovation, accelerating the transition to a circular economy.


In partnership with JA Europe, EUROPEN aims to empower young and innovative talents across Europe through the Single Market Start-up Award. This initiative recognises university start-ups that have harnessed the opportunities of the single market to operate their businesses across different European markets. For the second consecutive year, start-ups from universities all over Europe competed to demonstrate the best single-market potential, aspiring to scale up their businesses beyond national borders.



Methodology: Selecting the Best of the Best


The selection process for the winning team is based on four key criteria:


  1. Impact: Evaluating how effectively the team has utilized and benefited from the European Single Market, including the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital, and their operations across various EU markets (R&D, production, distribution, etc.).

  2. Sustainability: Assessing whether the team has developed a business plan centred around a sustainability strategy that enables them to operate across multiple EU markets.

  3. Innovation: Measuring the extent to which the start-up has leveraged opportunities to scale up investments to support innovation.

  4. Future Development: Considering the start-up's plans for further expansion and development within Europe.


Tangible Impact: Success Stories and Positive Effects


Last year’s winners, the Greek team SEaNSOR, have made significant steps in advancing their projects. SEaNSOR's vision is to create a safer environment, and they are currently collaborating with WWF Hellas to develop a pilot buoy to enhance monitoring and protection efforts in critical ecosystems in Greece. This pilot buoy is expected to be operational this year and will be installed in a protected area known for its rich biodiversity. In addition to receiving a €1,000 award, SEaNSOR was also surprised with an invitation to attend Slush 2024 in Helsinki, one of the largest start-up fairs in the world. At the event, the team had the opportunity to network with thousands of founders, investors, and visitors. The experience impacted the team, transforming their vision and approach to their start-up.



Meet this year’s winners! Saga Medical Solutions, a start-up dedicated to providing sustainable solutions for the medical sector, has emerged as the new champion. You can learn more about their journey and innovations by watching their story here.


Looking Ahead: Ongoing and Future Initiatives


Our collaboration with JA Europe will continue next year, as we remain committed to supporting young innovators. In the meantime, we will maintain ongoing contact with the two start-ups to monitor their progress and provide necessary support.


The Single Start-up Award will keep on complementing the transformative power of the European Single Market and its ability to foster innovation, sustainability, and cross-border collaboration. We look forward to continuing this journey and celebrating the achievements of young entrepreneurs across Europe.



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