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Europe’s most enterprising place

Scarborough LighthouseI just got notice from UK BERR that Scarborough has been crowned Europe’s most enterprising place (see below).  This is amazing news when you see who they beat – for example look at the money spent on infrastructure in Valencia.  Never mind they obviously delivered a fantastic campaign so weel done to them.  Slightly muddled up my childhood memories of Scarborough beach though… “free wifi on the coast”? 

The reigning champion of the Enterprising Britain competition, Scarborough, is celebrating again after being named the most enterprising place in Europe at this year’s European Enterprise Awards. Run by the European Commission, the Awards saw Scarborough take the Grand Jury Prize, making it the overall winner, and in the jury’s view, the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe.

The seaside town was up against the best of European enterprise, including Finland’s capital city, Helsinki; Spain’s second biggest port, Valencia; and Liege in Belgium, known for its beer, chocolate and water exports. Despite its population of just 50,000 – tiny in comparison to its competitors – Scarborough’s work to encourage people to start-up and grow businesses and create jobs saw it awarded the top prize at a gala dinner in Prague’s Zofin Palace on Wednesday evening.

Part of European SME Week, which runs from 6 – 14 May 2009, the European Enterprise Awards recognise outstanding initiatives that support enterprise and entrepreneurship. The awards are inspired by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’s (BERR) successful Enterprising Britain competition, which celebrates and rewards the most enterprising places in the UK.

Congratulating the winners, Secretary of State for Business Minister, Lord Mandelson, said:

“A strong enterprise culture inspires communities and creates jobs – something which is vital during these uncertain economic times.

“I would therefore like to congratulate the Scarborough Renaissance Partnership on their success and in being recognised not just as the most enterprising place in UK but in Europe”.

Scarborough’s winning bid was led by the Scarborough Renaissance Partnership, a coalition of local entrepreneurs, Scarborough Borough Council staff and residents, which transformed what was a seaside resort in decline into a thriving enterprise hotspot. Achievements include stamping out seasonal unemployment, diversifying to grow new industry sectors and attracting more than £200m of private sector investment.

The Partnership’s work reduced the town’s economic dependence on the declining tourism and fishing industries, capitalised on the physical regeneration of the harbourside, kick-started a boom in business start-ups and introduced free wifi internet access along the coast, making the internet accessible to all.

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