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European Commission


Brussels, 25 November 2013

European Enterprise Promotion Award 2013 – Promising projects to kick-start new businesses

Today 19 public bodies and public-private partnerships who successfully promoted enterprise and entrepreneurship in 2013 were awarded prizes during the 7th round of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards. Organisations from 26 EU countries – including new EU Member State Croatia – as well as Serbia and Turkey, competed for the chance to win either a specific category or the prestigious Grand Jury Prize. Initially, hundreds of projects competed in national competitions, and 53 national winners were subsequently entered in the European level of competition.

The full set of winners, runners up and organisations receiving special mention are:

Grand Jury Prize: Improving the Business Environment

Think Small First (Latvia): Think Small First was developed by the Latvian Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to get Latvia out of the economic crisis. The initiative has helped micro-enterprises by promoting the creation of a special tax rate and simplified tax accounting system, by introducing a micro-credit programme and by making information about launching a business available in one place. A total of 28 000 enterprises have utilised the simplified tax-account system.

Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit

Winner – MyCity (Finland): The MyCity learning entity is a miniature city, built from mobile wall elements, and includes at least 15 different local and regional enterprises and public services where students work. MyCity, sponsored by the Finish Ministry of Education and Culture, operates in eight different municipalities and 24,000 sixth graders and 1,000 teachers have visited the sites.

Runner-up - Student Enterprise Programme (Ireland)

The Student Enterprise Awards Programme provides students with an opportunity to gain business and entrepreneurial skills in a practical real-life scenario where they actually establish and run their own mini-enterprises for six months or more. Numbers participating have grown year-on-year and now exceed 17,000.

Runner-up - Boost Your Talent (Belgium)

Boost Your Talent (BYT) is a project to promote the entrepreneurial spirit, focusing on schools and other youth organisations in the Brussels Canal area and central districts. It encourages young people at all school levels to discover entrepreneurship, the business environment, and their own entrepreneurial skills and qualities, and take an active role in their own project to achieve social and professional success. BYT directly trained 8,316 students between late 2008 and April 2013.

Investment in Skills

Winner - Senior Enterprise (Ireland)

Senior Enterprise is specifically designed to encourage a greater involvement with enterprise by those aged 50 and over and to raise awareness of their potential to start a business, acquire or invest in a business started by someone else, or to become a volunteer mentor. To date almost 1,000 individuals over 50 years of age, who have received some support from Senior Enterprise in Ireland, the UK and France, have set up new businesses.

Runner-up- Growth Factories (Denmark)

Vkstfabrikkerne (The Growth Factories) is a business incubation programme launched in January 2010. The project consists of ten business incubators, geographically spread throughout the region of Zealand. In total, 54 additional jobs in the region have already been created and other 300 are expected within the next three years.

Runner-up - You Can Change the Future (Serbia)

The purpose of the You Can Change the Future project, run by Junior Achievement (JA) Serbia is to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise and understand business and economics. During the 2011/12 school year, 8,021 students participated in JA Serbia programmes, supported by 485 teachers in 156 secondary and 52 primary schools across 72 municipalities.

Improving the Business Environment

Winner – Starter’s Agreement (Belgium)

The Belgium Starters Agreement helps aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to succeed. Entrepreneurs enter into a starter’s agreement with the City of Ghent to draft a business plan, appeal for professional advice and specialist guidance, follow training and development courses and to continue the independent business activity for at least 3 years in Ghent. To date, a total of 171 starter’s agreements have received a positive recommendation by the evaluation committee, with 166 of these approved by the Council of the mayor and aldermen.

Runner-up - Investment and Business Guarantees (Lithuania)

Investment and Business Guarantees (INVEGA) is a guarantee institution founded by the Lithuanian government. INVEGA provides guarantees to credit institutions for loans taken by representatives of SMEs for business start-up or expansion. Since 2001, INVEGA has provided 3,978 guarantees to credit institutions for small and medium-sized business loans.

Runner-up - Incredibol! (Italy)

Bologna’s Creative Innovation project, supports creative professions in Emilia-Romagna through cash contributions, workspaces and a network of public and private partners that provide services to the winners of the award. Incredibol! began in 2010 and gathered an impressive 243 design ideas from across the region. In total there were 32 winning projects which were able to take advantage of cash awards totalling €20,000, more than 500 hours of training and the professional support of 15 consultants.

Supporting the Internationalisation of Business

Winner Portuguese Shoes (Portugal)

In order to allow the Portuguese footwear industry to continue growing in a competitive international environment, the APICCAPS, a national business association, with the support of the Compete Programme, has taken various measures to promote Portuguese footwear. A campaign symbol for Portuguese Shoes was developed using the slogan Portuguese Shoes: Designed by the Future. As a result of this strategy, footwear exports have grown more than 20% in the past two years.

Runner-up - International Relays (France)

The regional initiative, International Relays, is an original and individualised concept that employs country experts to develop companies in Champagne-Ardenne for exportation. This technical and financial assistance provides personalised support adapted to the commercial development of regional companies in high-potential markets. International Relays have allowed approximately 100 companies from the Champagne-Ardenne region to implement effective exportation activity.

Supporting the Development of Green Markets and Resource Efficiency

Winner - The Town of Gürsu: Developing Unlimited Green Energy (Turkey)

Key aims of the Town of Gürsu project are to increase the use of green energy in Gürsu. Since the initiative began, four innovative applications have been configured, tested and applied. A photovoltaic solar energy plant was developed and Gürsu is now well-known for using clean solar energy in all of its service areas. Since the project began, the town has obtained 40% of its electricity needs from the sun in the 5 months of winter and 100% in the 7 summer months.

Runner-up - Packaging Recycling Scheme for the Republic of Cyprus

Green Dot (Cyprus) Public Co Ltd began household recycling collection in Cyprus in 2007 and it has grown to cover 85% of the population within five years. Cypriots have responded positively to the service and the overall recycling rate has doubled in the period of 2006 - 2012. The organisation has created more than 200 new green jobs and has allowed the local recycling companies to grow and enhance their long term sustainability.

Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Winner - Integration of disadvantaged people (Slovakia)

AV mobilita s.r.o. is a sheltered workshop specialising integrating disabled people into all areas of life. In addition to giving registered disabled citizens a job, it also gives them lifelong learning. In 2009, the workshop received an award from the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic for the integration of disabled persons into the workplace.

Runner-up - Entrepreneurship in Denmark (Denmark)

Entrepreneurship in Denmark collects and conveys knowledge, establishes networks and collaboration across organisations within business and employment and offers activities within competency development. The project has facilitated a partnership between six municipalities, the Danish regions, the Ministry of Employment and the Ministry of Business and Growth Denmark.

Special mentions

The Jury also gave special mentions to three innovative projects from Poland, the United Kingdom and Serbia:

  • The Fairytale about Entrepreneurial Janek and his Foolish Brothers (Poland): An initiative undertaken by the Municipality of Wrocław Economic Development Office involved the production and performance of a play entitled “The fairytale about Janek, the entrepreneur and his foolish brothers.” This is the first educational tool in Poland in the form of a theatrical performance to address entrepreneurship that targets primary school pupils. In addition to the live audience, 60,000 pupils from 720 schools around the country viewed the performance online.

  1. Premier League Enterprise Academy (PLEA) (United Kingdom): The Premier League Enterprise Academy (PLEA) programme was set up to help teach 11-19 year olds the basic principles of business and self-employment. Based around a 10-week course first developed by Middlesbrough Football Club, the programme helps youths understand the basic principles of business through a range of interactive learning opportunities both in the classroom and at football stadia. There have been PLEAs established at 20 clubs, which have engaged with over 80,000 young people.

  1. Linking Women (Serbia): The Association of Business Women in Serbia promotes and provides support to female entrepreneurs, while advocating for the improvement of the business climate and fostering local, regional and international networking. The initiative connects female entrepreneurs throughout Serbia, strengthening local associations and establishing and building the capacity of newly formed local associations. In the past year, three new Associations of Business Women have been created in Novi Pazar, Subotica and Zajecar.

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