Info Day on the European Entrepreneurial Region Award 2017

An Info Day on the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) 2017 award was held at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) on 22nd January 2016. The EER is a project that 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 CoR representatives Marc Kiwitt and Bert Kuby presented the conditions for application, consisting of the application form, including a fact sheet on the applicant territory, an outline of its political vision, a description of foreseen governance mechanism to ensure efficient implementation of the EER actions, as well as an action plan and a communication plan; and a declaration of political commitment demonstrating that the territory’s EER strategy is endorsed by its political leadership (e.g. the regional assembly, the regional government or other authorised political bodies).

The EER label is open to all EU territories below the level of the Member State (communities, autonomous communities, departments, Länder, provinces, counties, metropolitan areas, large cities, as well as cross-border territories with legal personality such as EGTCs and Euroregions) that are endowed with competences at a political level and able to implement an overall entrepreneurial vision, regardless of their size, wealth or specific competences.

During today’s presentation examples of best practice were presented by Malgorzata Kwiecień, Senior Specialist for Economic Cooperation, Marshal’s Office of Małopolska (Poland), 2016 award winner, and Cristina Silva, Project Manager, Municipal Council of Lisbon ( (Portugal), 2015 award winner.

Emphasis was put on the fact that prior to submitting the applications, the existing city and regional resources were used, involving political support and cooperation with all key institutions, including chambers of commerce, start-up companies, universities, economic networks, civil society sector, government institutions, so as to promote the innovative entrepreneurial spirit in their communities with the help of the CoR.

Malopolska Region focused on the development of new technologies by building partnerships between local authorities, entrepreneurs and scientific institutions. The Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 envisaged an investment of 2.9 billion EUR in the Malopolska Region from the Cohesion Fund and European Structural and Investment Funds, including an investment of ca. 160 million EUR for research and innovation in enterprises, 125 million EUR for the development and competitiveness of SMEs and 35 million EUR for the development of the SME sector staff competences. The benefits of the award for the Malopolska Region were the confirmation that the region was a friendly place for investments and a reliable partner for cooperation in the international area, the promotion of the region and recognition from the EU institutions for the activities undertaken in the region for entrepreneurship development.

The experiences of Lisbon suggest that the city became open to new entrepreneurs, to the creation of new concepts and new innovative projects. By involving all key stakeholders in Lisbon, the weaknesses were transformed into strengths. The Action Plan included the implementation of the Small Business Act and the main EU policy initiatives and instruments, the promotion of entrepreneurship, ensuring environmental sustainability and cooperation among all actors in the city. The objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy were implemented within the framework of the Action Plan. The strategic objective was for Lisbon to become an Atlantic Business Hub and a Start-up City with the development of strategic clusters. The city organized an entrepreneurship week in Lisbon, promoted the concept of shopping and start-up day, involving a total of about 30 entrepreneurial projects and activities including two incubators and several investment agencies. The award allowed the promotion and visibility of all projects at the European level, and entrepreneurship was also promoted in primary and secondary schools.

As tips for successful EER application, it was pointed out that good knowledge of the regional entrepreneurial instruments and entities for SME’s support was necessary. The city, i.e. regional authority should act as a facilitator for all stakeholders in the local economy. Moreover, it was important to exchange resources and information, mobilize all stakeholders, as well as identify opportunities and initiatives for increasing the visibility of entrepreneurial networks and projects in the region.

The deadline for application is 18th March 2016.

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