FLANDERS AWARDED EUROPEAN ENTREPRENEURIAL REGION
At the 102nd plenary session of Committee of the Regions, Flanders (BE), Marche (IT) and Noord-Brabant (NL) will be awarded tomorrow the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) 2014 label by the President of the CoR, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso.
The jury felt a strong leadership existed in all these regions and very comprehensive, future-looking strategies to further boost entrepreneurial activity in their territory, to contribute substantially to the network of EER regions as a whole while ensuring, at regional level, the swift implementation of major European policy initiatives such as the Small Business Act (SBA) and the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth and jobs. Moreover, all three applications did not only present excellent strategies, but benefitted from a commitment to do better and from a willingness to learn from other EER regions.
The EER award is proving to be an effective tool to promote entrepreneurial growth through the establishment of a lively network for the sharing of knowledge and best practices among EU regions” underlines President Valcárcel, arguing that: “This is part of the CoR contribution to the actual implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy and of the Small Business Act. In a time of economic downturn we are fully committed in promoting credible future looking strategies favouring a business-friendly environment as well as boosting innovation, sustainability and jobs in our regions”.
Flanders presented an excellent strategy corresponding to certain Europe 2020 objectives as well as SBA principles, covering both past achievements and plans for the future. The application also included EER specific indicators and activities planned for the region, featuring services, grants and business support structures to encourage entrepreneurship. Flanders’ application also had a very good focus on continuous innovation and creativity. In addition, a series of EER events were planned to use the EER label in 2014. Lastly, the region also presented good monitoring activities for a proper follow-up of the regional plans. “this award is not just an international recognition for the Government of Flanders, it is also an appreciation of the work that hundreds of thousands of Flemish entrepreneurs do every day in creating jobs and welfare” points out Flanders’ Minister-President Kris Peeters (BE/EPP).
The Marche region presented a “new deal” based on renewed regional development and new growth sectors. Their performance until now in making the region a business friendly and entrepreneurial zone was very credible, incorporating some of the key SBA principles such as responsive public administration. The application included a very clear plan tailored to the EER label, and linked SME policies to the use of Structural Funds, which further convinced the jury of the region’s commitment in this area. Apart from the inspiring political vision, the Marche region also scored high with a sound system of governance. “Our regional manufacturing industry is among the most dynamic in Europe and is continuing to show an outstanding production and innovation capacity, coupled with a unique entrepreneurial culture” says the President of the Marche Region, Gian Mario Spacca (IT/ALDE). He stresses that: “The regional government is focusing on improving the business environment as well as on valorising and supporting small, medium and large enterprises which are committed to innovate and develop the ‘Made in Italy’ values”.
Noord-Brabant aims to become Europe’s “heart of innovation” through their use of a smart specialisation strategy, and a thorough plan both to tackle weaknesses and build on the region’s existing strengths. In this respect, the regional strategy “Economic progress 2020″ convinced the jury. Already performing rather well, the jury appreciated the region’s clear commitment to stepping up efforts to do better and to provide an even more tailored support to existing and future businesses. The region’s targeted funding for SMEs, use of the Triple Helix+ approach, and links between the EER strategy and other cultural programmes in the region also impressed the jury. “It is a great compliment that Noord-Brabant receives recognition by the CoR as one of the top provinces in Europe for an entrepreneur to do business in” says Dr Wim van de Donk (NL/EPP),Commissioner of the King in Noord-Brabant, adding that: “It also acknowledges the Brabant approach of cooperation between entrepreneurs, education, municipalities and the provincial government.”