More than a medal: the EBA Gala in Dubrovnik

So we went at the European Business Awards Gala. And it's official, we're the National Public Champion for Romania. Here's the medal:

We're pleased to have it. We worked hard to earn it. Thank you for helping us get it! But the whole thing wasn't only about the medal. The event and the whole experience were also worthwhile. But lemme start with the beginning.

The Road

Because there were no direct flights and the indirect ones were pretty lame in terms of time and timing, we decided to go from Oradea to Dubrovnik by car. Through rocky Serbia and Bosnia, and not on the balmy highway along Croatia's coast... 850 km of driving, out of which probably half were on serpentines. My colleague Krisz, who drove the entire way, is now thinking of becoming a rally driver. And I thought he is already!

The City

The whole trip was quite an experience, but the highlight is by far Dubrovnik. The Adriatic, the old city, the narrow streets with bohemian cafes and the locals' laundry hanging over your head, the port, the mountain, the boulevards embalmed in a sticky-sweet scent coming from a ubiquitous species of flower tree… OK, I think it's easier to show you a pic:

The Informal Cocktail Party

The night before the conference, the EBA organizers got us all together at the Lazareti for an informal cocktail party to know each other. I'm talking about the representatives of the companies that were nominated for the awards or otherwise those who became national public champions, like us. It was a good starting point as everybody made their first contacts.Arriving at the event:

The Conference & Gala

Now let's get down to serious businessy stuff. The main day was dedicated to networking, knowledge sharing, awarding, and again networking. In the first part of the day we attended a series of interesting speeches on subjects like branding in B2B and B2C marketing, the imminent digital disruption that will free us from tasks robots should do, how to break into new markets such as Germany and Sweden (tip: locker room humor is NOT well viewed there in Scandinavia), and more.The awards Gala was a splendid, almost wedding-like event, with elegant waiters, tasty food, and good Croatian wine. Anyway, the awards ceremony had an Oscars feeling to it - someone even made a reference to this year's gaffe with La La Land. But I digress again…At the EBA Gala, there were the 34 National Public Champions, and 10 nominees for each of the 11 award categories. For each category, a single company was selected by the jury to be the winner. See the whole list of nominees and winners here.We got the medal for being National Public Champion for Romania:

The company which managed to gather the most votes in Europe and wins the European Public Champion is from Belgium.Click here for a video created by the organizers that capture the vibe of the events.

The attendees

Krisz and I had the chance to spend hours talking to dozens of interesting people from all around Europe. What impressed me was that although the businesses represented there were as diverse as they can get, they all had something in common: they were uncommon, if not extraordinary. That was no place for boring undertakings! Fresh cosmetics, electronic POS systems, handmade furniture, robotics, surplus food redistribution, innovative bricks (!), translations for deaf people - you name it. Too bad we only met a fraction of the people who attended!

Plans for next year?

For next year we aim to be nominated in one of the 11 award categories. The RSM Entrepreneur of the Year, The Employer of the Year, and The Award for Environmental & Corporate Sustainability look very promising and only being nominated there would surpass our achievement so far!And now, one more pic from Dubrovnik:

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