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Brussels, 23rd October

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European Enterprise Awards: 51 nominees compete for the title of most entrepreneurial region in Europe

More than 400 regional and local authorities competed in the national round of the European Enterprise Awards. 51 have now been selected by the twenty-eight participating countries to compete in one of the six categories. This is the first part of an annual competition to reward public initiatives to support entrepreneurship. They represent a wide variety of projects that are successful in facilitating business and supporting entrepreneurship across Europe. The competition will raise awareness of partnership activities between locale administrations and businesses, in particular SMEs, and highlight the role of entrepreneurial success in developing Europe’s economy. Winners will be announced in Brussels on 7 December 2006 at a ceremony -organised by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the Finnish Presidency.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “The Awards highlight diverse and dynamic examples of government and business working together to make Europe a more enterprising place.”

Committee of the Regions President Michel Delebarre added: "For local and regional representatives, enterprises are not abstract entities. They are the daily partners of economic and social growth. It is the Committee of the Regions' conviction that the alliance of enterprises and territories will be the key for making the Lisbon Strategy a success."

To qualify for the European Enterprise Awards, candidates competed at national level where more than 400 entries were received from local and regional authorities. This includes towns, cities, regions and communities as well as public-private partnerships between public authorities and entrepreneurs, educational programmes, and business organisations. Participating countries (EU Member States, Bulgaria, Norway and Romania) could select up to two candidates for the European competition.

The objectives of the awards are fourfold:

  • To identify and recognise successful activities that promote enterprise and entrepreneurship;
  • To showcase and share examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices;
  • To create a higher awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in society;
  • To encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs.

The winners of these awards will act as role models across the regions of Europe, aiming to create environments where entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship can flourish.

There are six categories in the European Enterprise Awards.

  • The Entrepreneurial Trailblazer Award will recognise actions that promote an entrepreneurial culture and mindset.
  • The Enterprise Support Award will reward innovative policies that promote enterprise and attract investment, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
  • The Red Tape Reduction Award will reward measures to simplify administrative procedures for businesses, in particular for start-ups.
  • The Investment in People Award will recognise initiatives to improve entrepreneurship education and training.
  • Responsible entrepreneurship will honour corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.
  • Finally, a Jury’s Grand Prize will be awarded to the entry that is considered the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

A high profile jury, consisting of European entrepreneurs, leading business people, academics, as well as members of both the European Commission and national governments will select the winners of the European Enterprise Awards.

Winners in six categories will be announced at a ceremony in Brussels on 7 December 2006 where all nominees will be invited. An exhibition of the short-listed practices will allow the nominees to showcase their projects while a interactive workshop will offer the chance for the six category winners to present their winning practices.

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