Brussels, 18 Oct 2005
Inspired by the experience of the UK's 'Enterprising Britain' competition, the Commission and the UK Presidency have announced plans for the first European Enterprise Awards, to be held in 2006.
The awards aim to raise awareness of entrepreneurial activities and celebrate their success. The competition is open to all local and regional authorities in those countries participating in the Commission's enterprise programme (EU Member States, Bulgaria, Iceland, Norway, Romania and Turkey), including public-private partnerships, educational programmes and business organisations.
Presenting plans for the award in Luxembourg, Commission Vice President for Enterprise and Industry, Günter Verheugen, said: 'These awards recognise those who are already helping to make Europe more competitive and will encourage efforts throughout Europe to create an environment where entrepreneurship can prosper.'
The European Enterprise Awards aim to recognise excellence in initiatives designed to promote entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging enterprise in disadvantaged areas, reducing red tape, improving enterprise education, and promoting sustainable business practices. Candidates will be required to demonstrate how they have facilitated business during the two-year period prior to the Award year.
A high profile jury made up of European entrepreneurs, leading business figures, academics, Commission officials and government representatives will select the overall winners of the competition. Joint nominations from more than one country for cross-border initiatives will also be accepted, as long as all the countries involved support them.
Welcoming the awards, UK Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said: 'I am pleased to see the launch of a competition that recognises the role of enterprise in generating economic success. Our Enterprising Britain competition proved very successful in recognising enterprise achievement throughout all regions of the UK and we are pleased that it has inspired the creation of a European Award scheme.'
The European Enterprise Awards will be officially launched on 14 November in London, and the first award ceremony will take place in November 2006.