The Region of Extremadura inaugurated its year as European Entrepreneurial Region in a ceremony held at the Parliament of Extremadura in the presence of Guillermo Fernández Vara, President of the Regional Government and Member of the European Committee of the Regions, showcasing the region as a space for innovation, business development, and entrepreneurship.
President Fernández Vara stated that the future will depend on the capacity to generate ideas and projects and pointed out that the role of public authorities will be to stand by these ideas and projects in order to help them move forward. "There are many enterprising people", he indicated, underlining the importance of entrepreneurship for a generation of young people who know perfectly that their future and their life will not consist in working for others, but in "jointly developing innovative projects". "Talent doesn't have borders, and when talent moves across the world, it is very difficult to hold back. Let us be capable of developing talent, and there will be no wall in the world to stop it", he asserted.
Kristin Schreiber, Director for the COSME programme at the European Commission, addressed participants in a video message, congratulating Extremadura for joining the select club of the European Entrepreneurial Regions (EER), "our European Silicon Valleys". "Only with strong SMEs and more entrepreneurial spirit, we can achieve a sustainable economic recovery in the European Union", she added.
To disseminate the EER award within the territory of the region, four outstanding entrepreneurs were nominated as Extremadura's EER 2017 ambassadors:
- The "Fire Award" was presented to Luisa Santana Muñoz, Director-General of machinery producer SEGEDA, honouring her professional trajectory and her active participation in the business and social life of the region.
- The "Air Award" was offered to Luis Felipe de la Morena, CEO of metal-working company IMEDEXSA, recognizing the international activities of his company and its contribution to the regional economy.
- The "Water Award" was offered to María Carmona, representing cleaning products producer Inquiba, as recognition for her outstanding commitment to a regional family business and her contribution to job creation.
- The "Earth Award" was presented to Atanasio Naranjo, founder of the agro-industrial group Tany Nature, rewarding his business achievements in a traditional economic sector and the application of innovation to horticulture.
The European Committee of the Regions' European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label identifies and rewards EU territories with outstanding and forward-looking strategies to promote entrepreneurship and support SMEs in their territories. Besides Extremadura, the regions of Lower Austria and Western Greece have been awarded the EER 2017 label. Applications for the EER 2018 edition are open until 7 April 2017.