Our network begins in October 1993 as a department of the vocational training center BFZ Essen e.V. in Essen, Germany. A month later, PEN Worldwide (at the time called EUROPEN) begins as a European Project, financed by the European Social Fund and the German federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia.
The first Members Meeting of the EU project EUROPEN (PEN Worldwide) takes place on October 24-25, 1994 in Haarlem, Netherlands. The countries present at this first meeting are Spain, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Austria, Great Britain and Germany.
The EU project EUROPEN (PEN Worldwide) officially becomes an international network with the acceptance of its first overseas member from Canada. The first Clearing Center Client database software links member countries and creates an international trading database, allowing trainees to transact online with Practice Enterprises from around Europe and across the Atlantic.
The nonprofit association EUROPEN e.V. (PEN Worldwide) is created with its home office in Essen, Germany. Founding members include Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Switzerland.
The network has expanded around the world over the past years, growing from 12 members to 29 member countries spanning the globe, from Europe to the Americas to Asia-Pacific region. The international network becomes an internationally recognised best practice, further expanding into new target groups and trainees of all ages. In 2005 an additional name “PEN International” is added to “EUROPEN” to cover the expansion outside of Europe and create an international structure.
The network continues to spread into expanding regions, including new country networks in Latin America and Asia. The team at the International Practice Enterprise Coordination Centre in Germany grows, and continues to do so over the next years.
The 1st Practice Enterprises on the African continent open in Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia. The name "EUROPEN-PEN International" (PEN Worldwide) is created to represent the international nature of the network, including a new logo and branding.
Germany celebrates the 50th anniversary of its network’s International Practice Enterprise Trade Fair in Essen, Germany. More than 225 Practice Enterprises from over 20 countries participate at this Golden Jubilee event.
The 1st Global Enterprise Challenge for Practice Enterprises is held in Germany. The event has been held again 8 times since 2015, in China, South Korea, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria and Austria in 2018.
The Practice Enterprise concept is designated as an internationally recognized Excellent Practice in training for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Skills by the European Training Foundation, adding to its previous designation as a Best Practice by the European Commission.
The 1st Asian Region Networking Event is held in Seoul, South Korea. Over 15 countries take part in the event, which include a regional conference, Trade Fair, Members Meeting and Global Enterprise Challenge Event. The Practice Enterprise concept is rapidly growing in the Asian region.
2018 marks the 50th Edition of the Members Meeting. Members Meetings are held bi-annually in different member countries around the world each year, twice yearly since 1993. These meetings gather representatives from all member countries for 3 days of workshops, networking and sharing of best practices.
PEN Worldwide (EUROPEN-PEN International) launches a social media blitz, with new Instagram, Facebook and Twitter formats and an all-new public website and marketing tools. The network expands its global reach through project partnerships funded in large part by the European Commission.
2020 marked an evolutionary period for the Practice Enterprise concept. Our network developed online learning systems and platforms for operating the concept online and designed and launched webpages for holding trading events, fairs and competitions online.
We also held our two bi-annual Members Meetings online. This change turned into a positive for our network, leading to increased participation in our statutory meetings and offering trainees a forum for experiencing learning with internationalisation-at-home using the online Practice Enterprise concept.
Our network continued to evolve in 2020-2021, leading us to update our legal name from EUROPEN-PEN International to become PEN Worldwide. This was done to recognise the true international aspect of our network and our capacity to keep everyone connected remotely while growing our community to new heights during the challenges faced in 2020-2021.