Press release, Economic and Financial Affairs, Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research), Environment, Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

Finnish Y4 project wins the European Enterprise Awards Grand Prize

07 Dec 2006, 16:02 en

The Finnish Y4 Committee has won the Grand Prize in the first ever European Enterprise Awards competition. The Y4 Committee in Central Finland beat 12 other shortlisted European enterprise projects.

The Jury considered the Y4 the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe because of its success in changing the culture and mindsets of people in the region. The Y4 committee brings together 36 public organisations to make Central Finland a more entrepreneur-friendly region. Its strategy ensures that the business perspective is taken into account in all decision-making and that people are encouraged to be entrepreneurs whilst adopting ethically sustainable values.

The European Enterprise Awards ceremony was held today on 7th December 2006 at the Committee of Regions (CoR) headquarters in Brussels. The Finnish Minister of Trade and Industry, Mauri Pekkarinen, represented the current EU Presidency. The ceremony was also attended by the Vice President of the European Commission, Günther Verheugen, and the Chairman of the Committee of Regions, Michel Delebarre.

Mr Pekkarinen congratulated the leaders of the Y4 project: "Appreciating, encouraging and motivating people creates new innovation and enterprises. The Y4 project has successfully,in collaboration with the regional organisations, applied these principles in their ambitious task to make Central Finland the most entrepreneur-friendly region in the world."

"It is great to see a Finnish project succeed in such a prestigious competition of more than 400 candidates. It goes to show how Finland can excel in promoting entrepreneurship and, above all, the ability they have to create partnerships. I hope that the international success enjoyed by the 4Y project will encourage the many other ongoing, valuable enterprise projects in Finland."

Over 400 projects from 28 countries participated in the competition. After two selection stages at the national level, 51 projects were nominated for the semi-finals. Of these, 13 projects were shortlisted for the European Awards. In addition to the Grand Prize, nominees from five categories were awarded.

The winner of the Grand Prize and the other 12 finalists will be widely publicised in Europe. Following the Awards ceremony, the winners have been invited to participate in a panel discussion at a seminar organised by the EU's Committee of Regions. The projects will be showcased on the European Enterprise Awards website. The European Enterprise Awards are designed to share examples of best entrepreneurship practices and create a higher awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in society. However, the key objective of the Awards is to create regional enterprise models that can be employed Europe-wide.

The competition was organised by the European Commission, EU's Committee of Regions and the Finland, the current EU presidency. The purpose of the Awards was to reward innovative and creative initiatives by local and regional authorities in support of entrepreneurship across Europe. Open to the local and regional authorities from the EU member states, Bulgaria, Iceland, Norway, Romania and Turkey, the competition will be organised again in 2007.

You can find further information on the European Enterprise Awards on the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry website atwww.ktm.fi/yrittavaeurooppa and on the European Commission's website at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/entrepreneurship/smes/awards/index_en.htm

Further information on the Y4 Committee's Y4 project in Finnish at: http://www.y4.fi/.

Further information Mr Mauri Pekkarinen, Minister of Trade and Industry, tel. +358 9 1606 3500 Ms Marjaana Aarnikka, Chief Counsellor, tel. +358 9 1606 2122 or +358 9 50338 4350 Ms Jenni Hakala, Communications Officer, tel. +358 50 359 3812 Mr Petri Palviainen, Y4 representative, tel +358 50517 1663



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