March 1, 2013
The annual European Enterprise Promotion Awards are organized by the European Commission to highlight the best public initiatives and private-public partnerships that promote enterprise and business development. This year’s competition was launched Feb. 15 and includes a new category for green projects.
The awards, given out for the first time in 2006, highlight special achievements in promoting entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the national, regional and local levels. The more than 2,000 projects which have been submitted for the competition to date have resulted in 10,000 new businesses being created. Along with selecting and promoting projects which effectively support enterprise, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards aim to share examples of the best entrepreneurship policies and practices, to inform the public about how important entrepreneurs are to the economy and society, and to motivate people to start their own businesses.
Small and medium-sized enterprises account for 85 percent of all new jobs in the EU. Surveys show that 37 percent of EU citizens would be willing to be their own boss if the opportunity presented itself. Self-employment appeals mainly to young people, with 45 percent of respondents aged 15-24 considering a business of their own as a career option. Such potential could mean millions more small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU. At the moment there are 20.8 million such businesses in the European Union.
According to European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, the EU Commissioner for Industry and Enterprise (pictured), the awards will help ensure that Europe’s enormous entrepreneurial potential can be used to the fullest. “If we want to stimulate growth in Europe, in addition to supporting the development of existing businesses we must also focus on new ones,” Tajani said.
The competition is divided into two stages: the national level and the European level. By June, each country needs to select two entries to be nominated for the second stage, in which a panel of judges will select the winners. All nominees from the national and European competitions will be invited to attend the awards ceremony, where they will be given the opportunity to present their projects at an international forum. The European Enterprise Promotion Awards will be handed out during the 2013 SME Assembly held Nov. 25-27 in Vilnius, Lithuania.
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