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Catalonia was awarded the first European Entrepreneurial Region Award (EER), driven by the Committee of the Regions, which recognizes the best strategic project to develop support policies for SMEs and micro-companies.

The 35 aspirants included cutting-edge regions like Baden Württemberg, Lombardy, Flanders, Madrid, Valencia and Emilia Romagna. The Catalan candidacy was organized by the Ministry of Innovation, Universities and Enterprise (DIUE), with support from the General Council for the Catalonian Chambers Of Commerce, the Foment and Pimec associations, and ATA (Federation representing freelance workers in Spain).

The jury based their decision on the Catalan candidacy’s Plan to Implement the Small Business Act 2010-2013, a European initiative that Catalonia is a pioneer in applying, which the European Commission also recognized last December.

Challenges for the Catalan business fabric in 2013

The Small Business Act, drafted by the Secretariat for Industry and Enterprise, will allow Catalonia to pull out of the recession stronger than before and maintain its place as one of the driving forces in the European economy, where SMEs lead the recovery process taking into account their importance in the Catalan economy.

The rate of entrepreneurialism in Catalonia is predicted to rise from 7.4% to 8% over the 2010-2013 period and the average business size is expected to be 4.3 workers per company –it is currently 3.9, below the EU average of 4.4. Furthermore, considering that Catalonia was one of the first European regions to use clusters to design initiatives to reinforce competitiveness in the 1990s, the number of innovative companies is expected to increase 20%, creating 1,000 new technology-based companies and increasing from the current 300 Catalan multinational companies to 400 by 2013.

Minister Josep Huguet, accompanied by the secretary of Industry and Enterprise, Antoni Soy, and the secretary to the EU, Anna Terron, received the award yesterday in Brussels. Mercedes Bresso, president of the Committee of the Regions; Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, and Luc Van den Brande, president of the EER jury, were also present. Huguet said that “this award will allow us to improve Catalonia’s international projection and attract more new investment.” Additionally, Luc Van den Brande pointed out that “promoting entrepreneurship on a local and regional level is a key ingredient in any plan to pull out of the current recession”.


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