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The ENVISION consortium builds a community of 3 million SMEs and carries out research on business model innovation. We need your help. Please fill in our research survey at
 
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As an incentive, we offer a summary of the research results and will draw one day of free business consulting by an internationally renowned expert. The runner ups will receive ENVISION t-shirts and first aid kits.
 
Your input is important for us to find out how you conduct innovation in your business, and how this contributes to the growth of your enterprise. We would appreciate you taking the time to complete the following questionnaire which should not take more than 20 minutes. This research is supported by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.
 
Thank you for your time!
ENVISION consortium

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Valentine's Day means Business

The following companies are in the "Love game". Could your think of benefiting from this theme?

 

Singles:

 

Happn

At least once in our lives, we have all crossed paths with a charming stranger, praying that he/she turns around and starts talking to us casually. Unfortunately, shyness prevails and that scenario never happens (the meeting in the film “I promise” does not depict real life). Fortunately, the French start-up Happn solved this "problem" with an application to find the people you cross paths with and would like to see again. No more dating sites and mysterious dates in Starbucks!Meetings are now made in realtime, with no risk of losing sight of them. So open your eyes wide and smile at the charming stranger!

Happn was founded in January 2014 in Paris, and seduced thousands of users soon after.

 

Bumble

It is often said, women are more entrepreneurial in love than men (yes gentlemen, that’s correct)! Now there is an application that helps to take the first step in connecting with a person whom you are interested in. This has been brought to the market by a small Italian start-up, Bumble. If two people like each other, they add themselves to their common circle. The woman has to engage into a conversation in 24 hours or the connection breaks. Better to break the ice quickly without waiting on who is going to make the first move! And it works... 60% of matches result in a conversation.

 

Smeeters

Have you ever been told that the best way to find love might be in a group? What better than a night arranged in a bar, sipping a fruity cocktail, to make new connections? French start-up Smeeters organizes it all. It suggests meeting new groups of friends, which, according to your criteria, you would love to meet. The meetings are 100% real and live, so you do not have to worry about surprises or the authenticity of people. Meetings of Smeeters are arranged in a bar of your liking! And by the way, what have they planned for your mates for Valentine’s Day? A small group outing they do not know yet?

 

Couples:

 

Weromantique

Small French start-up Weromantique suggests important tips for couples’ weekends. Long gone are the romantic clichés like love apples and Cupid, this start-up is about more than that! Romantic weekends without clichés, Weromantique promises unforgettable moments to be shared with your special someone. And guess what, this year Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday! A short getaway would be a good idea, wouldn’t it?

 

Little Riot

Isn’t it nice to sleep in the arms of your loved one after a hard and long day at work? Yes. But not all couples have this change: They do not live together, and some are in a long distance relationship. Fortunately, more and more resources are available to maintain the spark between a couple. Whoever said "out of sight, out of mind" certainly had never lived in the 21st century, especially when it is now possible to hear the heartbeat of your partner, wherever you are! An electronic bracelet and an application are sufficient for that, and the London-based start-up Little Riot has developed them. This little gadget called Pillow Talk allows the couple to be connected during sleep and to hear, thanks to the sensor placed under the pillow, heartbeat of each other. The gadget is still in the prototype stage, and there was a successful Kickstarter campaign to start production this year. Staying connected via instant messaging is good, but feeling connected is even better!

 

Happy Couple

You challenge each other in board games, mobile games, and challenges all the time. But if one day you are asked what your loved one likes to eat for breakfast, or what is their favorite cultural activity is, will you know the answer? There is only one way to check: Connect both to Happy Couple, an application dedicated to couples to play and get points while strengthening their relationship. Questions about Louis XVI and the American continent are so outdated; choose the more personal questions to spice up discussions with your partner.

 

Couple

A small cozy place just for the two of you, on your phone wherever you are, wouldn’t that be nice? Yes indeed. So if you do not know Couple yet, immediately log in your store. Couple is definitely THE great application dedicated to couples, to keep every memory of their history and stay connected on the same principle as instant messaging system like Whatsapp. Organize, track your daily news feed, share each moment as if you were living together with drawings and photos. Thanks to this application, the relationship lives in real time, to live your story in all its moments.

 

Wedding planning

 

Wedzem

It is time to take the big step,marking the beginning of the rest of your life as a married couple, the day you say "Yes I do" to your loved one is coming: Your wedding! You're impatient, excited, you cannot wait for that wonderful day, but at the same time you have concerns about all this: The budget, gifts, guests ... there is a lot to think about. Do you remember the start-up Wedzem recently presented in La Ruche? In terms of wedding planning, this young French start-up will surprise you! Forget the unnecessary spending, this participatory wedding platform allows your guests to contribute financially to one of your lists: Dress, caterer, photographer etc.

 

Marry Click

Speaking of marriage and photographers, the budget spent on getting amazing shots of this unforgettable moment can often be very high. Because every problem has a solution, also for weddings, Italian start-up Marry Click offers to find you the best photographer. This follows the same approach a recruiter uses to find a collaborator. Post your announcement with the details of your wedding (where, when, how many people, what style...), find the profiles of applicants (profile, pictures, comments), and hire the best photographer in the budget that YOU have set. Marry Click system naturally allows you to enter your opinion once the delivery is complete.

 

Let’s get Weddy

If you are getting married, and prefer a DIY approach in arrangements to save on flowers, the dress and all the tralala, the English start-up Let's get Weddy is for you. Its service helps in finding partners and suppliers, and creating a custom wedding in an economic way. Listed by category, city and budget, partners can be contacted directly from the website and rated by users to avoid unpleasant surprises.

 

Wanderio – Alcitour
Your darling has left to Erasmus exchange, much too far for your taste. Despite all the ways to stay connected, you fear he/she can go wrong. This is the starting point of Italian startup Wanderio, which has set up a playful, innovative and fun system, called Alcitour, to calculate your odds of being replaced by another. In eight short steps, Alcitour calculates your risk of being betrayed and offers you an immediate discount on your journey to be rejoined with your partner. Obviously the application poses you to the second-degree interrogation, but the idea knows some success in Italy, and may be soon be available in other European countries.

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Harmonizing operations in many locations

the story of

Euran Rakennustarvike Hardware Store

By Marikka Heikkilä

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Euran rakennustarvike is a family-owned hardware retail company owned by the Helin family. In 1993, the family purchased the hardware store at a time when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Located in the small city of Eura, Finland, its target customers are local contractors, decorators, DIYers, farmers, and homeowners. The company stocks and sells building materials, timber, decorating goods, painting supplies, tools, gardening products and much more.

Leentje 171After running the shop for 15 years, the Helin family expanded their business by acquiring two other hardware retail stores located in neighboring cities. Each store has its own managing director who is responsible for running the shop, managing the store’s inventory, and carrying-out deliveries to customers as needed. Three years after expanding their business, the company was confronted with economic difficulties, primarily due to low sales volumes and the overall economic recession taking place in Finland.

The owners asked for help from Jorma Sieviläinen, a Commercial Advisor and a Ph.D. Student from the Turku School of Economics. Accepting the task, Sieviläinen began investigating how the profitability of the company could be improved. His discussions with the store managers revealed that the key processes of sales varied from store to store and each had their own product and supplier databases.

There was clearly a need to integrate the IT-systems and to harmonize the customer data, product pricing and assortment strategies. These tasks took several months to complete.

Further financial analysis showed three other company weaknesses: customer discount levels compared to competitors were high; product purchase prices did not necessarily affect the sales prices; and staff costs were high, especially during the inactive season (October – March). These issues were tackled by introducing new customer discounts politics, product pricing methods, and negotiating with the staff to move their holidays to the inactive season thereby increasing the amount of holiday they take.

Another important change that took place was the innovation of their management model. Before the family delegated the operations to each stores’ directing managers. This caused disintegration in the company and was overall a weak management model. The company changed this by employing an approach more suitable for a retail chain. In doing this, CEO Tapani Helin (pictured above) took direct responsibility of the business and cooperation between stores. The key performance indicators were reported on a monthly basis and discussed between the CEO and the store managers, which led to increased business knowledge and more fact-based decision-making. After the above changes, in 2014 the yearly turnover remained at the same level, but the company was showing profit again.

In summary, this is the story of a company that sought outside help and carefully analyzed its operations. Relying on that analysis, they discovered a need to harmonize its operations and processes, increase coordination and knowledge exchange between stores, and adopt key performance indicators to aid in decision-making. These changes turned the profit-plummeting fragmented store-based Business Model into a profitable Business Model for a chain of stores.

As a result Tapani Helin is taking the next step in business model innovation by attempting to cut the number of suppliers. Currently the company has 336 suppliers, mainly offering similar products. By concentrating on the number of suppliers, he is looking for a better negotiation position, increased savings, and more efficient supplier chain management.

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ENVISION LAUNCHES ITS ONLINE PORTAL TO SERVE EUROPEAN SMEs

ENVISION LAUNCHES ITS ONLINE PORTAL TO SERVE EUROPEAN SMEs

 

On October 9th 2015, ENVISION has launched its comprehensive online portal that aims to serve new and existing entrepreneurs in Europe to innovate their businesses. The portal is at www.businessmakeover.eu.

The ENVISION Project Mission

SMEs are fundamental to economic stability and prosperity in Europe. For this reason, at ENVISION, we aim to empower European SME’s to innovate their business models.

“With the project we expect to find patterns and gain even deeper knowledge on how SMEs innovate. We see it as our mission to deliver clear executable management practice, geared towards SMEs. We strive to develop a platform and tools that are easy to understand and use, as well as offer practical examples of easy to implement changes in Business Models. Changes in the business logic of SMEs should make them less vulnerable for economic changes and more sustainable, as well as contribute to productivity and innovation in society.” – Harry Bouwman, ENVISION coordinator.

We begin this mission on October 9th with the launch of user-interactive business makeover portal. 

Portal Features

On ENVISION’s Tools Page, envisionaries can view, learn about, and download various business model innovation tools to use in their own business makeover.  In addition, on our Challenges’ page, users can learn about and participate in various European-wide business model innovation challenges.

Furthermore, envisionaries can stay informed by following our blog. Part of the ENVISION project is being ahead of the curve when it comes to new discoveries about SME business model innovation. In doing this, the ENVISION team both produces and consumes the latest academic research and movements in order to keep our envisionaries updated on the latest trends. We will use the blog as a way of communicating new trends and developments as they emerge.

However, above all, the most important feature of the portal is the Community Page. Part of the ENVISION mission is fostering the online SME community. And we have designed our platform to do just that. Here envisionaries can meet, network, and learn from other envisionaries, and contribute to the ENVISION community.

To be a part of the ENVISION project, visit www.businessmakeover.eu .

 

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ENVISION project is boosting European competitiveness and job creation

In the current tough economic environment, business model innovation can be the key to becoming or staying competitive. To boost European competitiveness and job creation, the ENVISION, Empowering SME business model Innovation, project will activate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Europe to re-think and transform their business models with the help of an easy-to-use, open-access, self-service web platform. The project gathers nine partners and their wide networks across Europe to build the tools, study the impact of such tools and activate the SMEs for using the tools. The project is funded under the Horizon 2020 funding frame.

Why SMEs are vital for Europe?

Europe has more than 20 million SMEs representing over 99% of all European businesses. Moreover, 85% of net new jobs created in the EU between 2002 and 2010 were in fact created by SMEs. As such, SMEs clearly represent the backbone of the European economy driving economic growth and employment. “All small businesses should now really think what they could do in order to grow their business and hire new people. ENVISION is an excellent effort to bring in the necessary tools for this business makeover”, says the ENVISION project coordinator, Professor Harry Bouwman from the Delft University of Technology.

A committed team with a vision

One of the project’s concrete objectives is to increase awareness of business model innovation and reach out to at least 15% of European SMEs (that is a whopping 3 million SMEs) while ensuring that the most prominent companies for new job creation are involved. The ambitious goal of the ENVISION project is pursued by a consortium of nine partners from seven countries. In addition, there are over 20 SME stakeholder networks participating across Europe. “There is a lot of talk about business model innovation in small businesses. Our aim is to find out how significant the impact is for the European economy. One of the most important aims of the project is that we’ll build and make easy-to-use tools available for small companies looking for improving their business”, continues Professor Bouwman.

First release of the ENVISION platform in late 2015

The kick-off meeting of the ENVISION project took place from 18th to 20th February 2015 in Delft, The Netherlands. It was agreed in the kick-off meeting that the first version of the ENVISION platform will be made available at the end of 2015. However, as we have already started working on it, new content will be appearing at the project’s website and updates will be frequently posted on our Facebook and Twitter profiles over the next months.

Stay tuned, as we’d love to have you on-board in this exciting journey!

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Website:         http://www.envisionproject.eu
Facebook:      
http://www.facebook.com/InnovateBusinessModels
Twitter:         
https://twitter.com/InnovateBM; @innovateBM

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