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Brussels, 11 March 2011

12 nominees compete to be Europe's most entrepreneurial region

This year's European Enterprise Awards' nominees help people create businesses whether they are young or over 50, urban or rural, local or export oriented. Many of them have managed to drive social change through entrepreneurship by giving opportunities to disadvantaged groups such as immigrants, the disabled and even unskilled problem youth. The awards aim to recognise and reward the best entrepreneurial initiatives by public authorities at national, regional and local level to make Europe more entrepreneurial and business-friendly. The winners of this year’s competition will be announced on 24 May 2011 at the 5th EEA award ceremony co-hosted by the Hungarian Presidency in the prestigious National Gallery in Budapest.

While presenting the recently adopted Small Business Act Review (IP/11/218) to the Competitiveness Council, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: “These are Europe's best practices in putting the 10 principles of the Small Business Act for Europe into practice. They are concrete examples and ideas for action at all levels of how to make it easier to start, run and grow a small business and how to make European society more entrepreneurial and more inclusive.”

A total of 399 projects competed in national competitions in 29 European nations for the European Enterprise Awards 2011, exceeding last years’ participation. This year’s participating countries – 24 EU Member States and Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Turkey – selected up to two candidates to represent their nation at the European competition. Croatia, Serbia and Turkey participated in the competition for the first time this year.

The high-level jury, representing business, government and academia, reviewed the 54 selected entries and decided on a shortlist of 12 nominees in the following five categories:

Category 1: Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • Poland: Fostering entrepreneurship among the 50+

  • Spain: Transforming Barcelona’s entrepreneurial landscape

  • Turkey: Local honey bee spurs entrepreneurial buzz

Category 2: Investing in Skills

  • Netherlands: Learning about entrepreneurship through real-life practice in Amsterdam

  • UK: Creative skills drive social change and enterprise in Newham

Category 3: Improving the Business Environment

  • Hungary: Helping local SMEs save energy and money

  • Sweden: Stimulating rural entrepreneurship through e-trade and micro-investments

Category 4: Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

  • France: Rhône-Alpes Region uses unique support model to boost exports

  • Italy: Internationalising Prato’s businesses through product experimentation

Category 5: Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

  • Austria: Mentoring for immigrants helps social integration and economic development

  • Hungary: Hotel gains a competitive advantage by employing disabled individuals

  • Lithuania: Restaurant helps rehabilitation and integration of former drug addicts

All national candidates will be invited to the awards ceremony in Budapest on 24/25 May 2011. In cooperation with the Hungarian presidency, the event will focus on the exchange of best business promotion practices across Europe. It will also occur in conjunction with the Small Business Act conference “Mobilising SMEs for the Future of Europe”, which seeks to bring SMEs to the forefront of EU policy.


Since 2006, the European Enterprise Awards has rewarded excellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small business at a national, regional and local level.

The objectives of the European Commission’s annual European Enterprise Awards are to:

  • Identify and recognise outstanding initiatives that promote enterprise and entrepreneurship;

  • Showcase and share examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices;

  • Create a greater awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in society; and

  • Encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs.

For more information on the shortlisted projects, please see MEMO/11/156

Full information about the awards, the jury and its collaborators

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