The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Markku Markkula, awarded Glasgow (UK), Lombardia (IT) and Małopolska (PL) as European Entrepreneurial Regions (EER) 2016. The Award ceremony was held in Brussels today after a jury, consisting of members from EU institutions and business associations, selected the regions' strategies as the best to promote entrepreneurship and spread innovation among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
SMEs play a vital part in the European economy: 99 % of all European businesses are SMEs and one in two new jobs is created by them. The EER award evaluates the EU regions investing in an entrepreneurial spirit. "Since the launch of this initiative, fifteen regions have already shown us that they are ready to tackle the challenge of creating jobs and growth through their support to SMEs. This year the winners embraced the importance of engaging stakeholders, as seen in Małopolska; renewed traditional industries in Lombardia; and improved governance to steer innovation and entrepreneurship as in Glasgow," President Markkula pointed out. "Our goal has been to promote SME forerunners in Europe and I am pleased to note that since its launch the EER has been proven to be effective in this".
"It is a great honour to join the group of the European Entrepreneurial Regions" said Marshal Marek Sowa, arguing that: "Małopolska is a region of creative citizens and innovative entrepreneurs – it is them who inspire us to act and to undertake new challenges. In the following years we will focus mainly on the development of new technologies in business because it is the area, where we see a great chance for the Małopolska Region. We are aware that it requires building a strong partnership between local government, entrepreneurs and scientific institutions. This is out ambition for the forthcoming years".
"We are really pleased to receive the EER award as acknowledgement of the quality of our strategic efforts to support entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers" said Mr Mario Melazzini, Minister for Enterprise, Research and Innovation, of the Lombardia Region. He stressed that: "We are currently the 5th EU region for GDP and its entrepreneurial system keeps flourishing thanks to the spreading of outstanding technological and scientific knowledge. The pending challenge we face is to double investment for innovation and research, to reach a target threshold of 3% of the regional GDP, in order to create new business opportunities and open up new markets".
Glasgow, which is the second city to take the award following Lisbon's success last year, laid out a six-point strategy to increase the number of businesses to 20,000 by 2017 which is an additional 2000 businesses. Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and the Economy at Glasgow City Council, said: “I am delighted that the Council has been given this award, due recognition from our European peers for all the work our officers have done to support new businesses in the city over the past few years. The fostering of an entrepreneurial culture is a key ambition of the Council as this is one of the best ways to create prosperity for future generations and we have ambitious targets for the number of new businesses to be created in Glasgow by 2017.” Glasgow becoming the European Entrepreneurial Region in 2016 further coincides with winning Council of the Year earlier this year and securing around 1.6 billion euro (£1.13 billion) in a City Deal.
The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) identifies and rewards EU regions which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. The regions with the most credible, forward-thinking and promising vision plan are granted the label “European Entrepreneurial Region” (EER) for a specific year. The EER label has been set up in partnership with the European Commission and is supported by EU level stakeholders such as UEAPME, Eurochambres and Social Economy Europe. It remains open to any organisation willing to contribute to its objectives. The implementation of measures is regularly monitored by the EER jury.
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