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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News blog23 June 2023Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs5 min read

Introducing the EEPA 2023 Jury

The national stage of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) is well under way and as the European deadline approaches, it is time to acknowledge our esteemed panel of jury members. 

EEPA 2023 logo white background

These experts from various backgrounds bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to evaluate the outstanding projects competing for these prestigious awards.

The 2023 Jury comprises of seven members in total and is chaired by Outi Slotboom who is the Director for Strategy and Economic Analysis at the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SMEs of the European Commission.  Other members are:

Thomas Wobben, Director, Committee of the Regions

Giovanna Gregori, Director, European Family Businesses

Elisabeth Backteman, SME Envoy, Sweden

Yolanda Alcalá García, SME Envoy, Spain

Gilles Vandorpe, Grand Jury Prize Winner 2022

Thomas Cooney, Professor Entrepreneurship at the Technological University Dublin

Let us tell you a bit more about our jury members and give them a big welcome!

Thomas Wobben


Thomas Wobben EEPA 2023 Jury

First, we meet Thomas Wobben, who is a seasoned EEPA jury member. After studying Economics and Politics, Thomas worked for voluntary sector organisations and, in 1993, joined the European policy services of Saxony-Anhalt. 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 for legislative works at the Committee of the Regions.

“The EEPA competition offers to me every year a sample of a European diversity. Looking at the EEPA projects, I try to assess their impact and added value in a specific territorial context, shortlisting in particular those that inspire and provide at least some transferability potential to other territories with similar characteristics,”


Giovanna Gregori

Giovanna Gregori EEPA 2023 Jury


Next we introduce you to Giovanna Gregori. Giovanna brings a wealth of expertise to the EEPA Jury. As the Executive Director of AIDAF, the Italian Family Business Association, and a Senior Corporate Reputation and Sustainability Advisor, she has a deep understanding of sustainability and corporate reputation. Giovanna is also involved with the European Family Business Management Committee and the Family Business Network Sustainability Committee. Her extensive experience includes consulting numerous Italian Family Businesses, founding The Regenerative Society Foundation, and holding influential positions at prominent organizations like illycaffé and Louis Vuitton Italia. Giovanna's fluency in multiple languages, coupled with her passion for arts and culture, enables her to offer a unique perspective to the Jury.

Elisabeth Backteman

Elisabeth Backteman EEPA 2023 Jury


Next we meet Elisabeth Backteman. Elizabeth's impressive career spans various senior roles within the Swedish government. With her background as State Secretary for the ministries of Justice and Economy, Trade and Industry, she possesses extensive knowledge in policymaking. Currently serving as the Director General for the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) and the SME-envoy for Sweden, Elisabeth plays a pivotal role in promoting economic growth and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Her experience in finance, quality management, and business policy provides a valuable perspective when evaluating the impact of EEPA projects.

Yolanda Alcalá García

Yolanda Alcalá García MINCOTUR II Subdirectora General SME Spain Envoy



Yolanda is the Deputy Director of SME Support, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, which makes her responsible for the coordination of SME Policy, including the regulatory framework, strategies, and tools within the Spanish Ministry. With her extensive background not only in finances, but also as a qualified Industrial Engineer, Yolanda has hold roles as a Senior Advisor within the Ministry of Finance and the National Contact point for  the investigation programme Horizon 2020.

Gilles Vandorpe

Gilles Vandorpe EEPA 2023 Jury


Representing last year’s Grand Jury prize-winner is Gilles Vandorpe. As the Chief of Staff and Director of Entrepreneurs for UNIZO, the organization representing small and medium-sized enterprises in Flanders and Brussels, Gilles's expertise lies in supporting entrepreneurs and advancing their interests. With a Master's degree in Economics and European Business, Gilles is passionate about the difference entrepreneurs make in society. Responsible for overseeing operational activities and managing a portfolio of products and services, he possesses a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by SMEs. His experience in this sector will contribute significantly to the evaluation process.

Prof. Thomas M. Cooney

Thomas M. Cooney SME Week 2022 - EEPA 2023 Jury


Prof. Thomas M. Cooney is another seasoned jury member. Representing academia on the Jury, and renowned as a leading expert in entrepreneurship policy, Thomas serves as a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Technological University Dublin. He also holds the position of Academic Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship and is actively involved with multiple organisations in supportive capacities. With his expertise in entrepreneurship policy, Thomas has collaborated with entities such as the Irish Government, the European Commission, OECD, and the European Training Foundation. His extensive research and publications on entrepreneurship further contribute to his deep understanding of the subject matter, making him a valuable member of the EEPA Jury.

Outi Slotboom

Outi Slotboom SME Week 2022 - EEPA 2023 Jury


Finally, we would like to introduce you to Outi Slotboom holds the position of Director for Strategy and Economic Analysis at the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SMEs of the European Commission. Leading the strategy for EU industrial policy, the Single Market, SMEs, and entrepreneurship, Outi's expertise in economic analysis supports the development of effective policies. Her comprehensive understanding of these areas ensures that the evaluation of EEPA projects is grounded in sound economic principles and aligns with the strategic goals of the European Commission.

The different backgrounds and extensive experience of the 2023 EEPA Jury ensure a comprehensive and fair evaluation of the projects competing in this renowned European competition. Their collective knowledge and expertise will play a crucial role in identifying projects that showcase innovation, sustainability, and economic growth.

About EEPA 2023

The EEPA competition has two stages. Applicants must first compete at national level to be eligible to compete at European level. For the national competition, each country nominates up to two entries for the European competition in six categories:

  • Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Investing in entrepreneurial skills
  • Supporting the digital transition
  • Improving the business environment and supporting the internationalisation of business
  • Supporting the sustainable transition
  • Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

The EEPA 2023 jury then chooses a shortlist of nominees to compete at the final awards ceremony, which recognises the winners for their efforts and gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a pan-European environment.

For more information, visit the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise news portal, and make sure to follow us on #EEPA2023.


Promoting Enterprise - categories
  • EU SME Week
  • EU SME Assembly
  • European Enterprise Promotion Awards
Promoting Enterprise - tags
  • European Enterprise Promotion Awards