Yes, we’re pretty shocked, too.
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 last night.
Part of European SME Week, which runs from 6-14 May 2009, the European Enterprise Awards recognise outstanding initiatives that support enterprise and entrepreneurship. Congratulating the winners, secretary of state for business miinister, Lord Mandelson, said: “A strong enterprise culture inspires communities and creates jobs – something which is vital during these uncertain economic times. I’d like to congratulate the Scarborough Renaissance Partnership on its success and in being recognised not just as the most enterprising place in UK but in Europe.”
So how did this little seaside town beat off the competition?
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.
“Scarborough is stunning evidence of what happens when businesses, local people and the public sector work together to beat economic challenges by embedding a vibrant enterprise culture,” commented Harry Rich, chief executive of Enterprise Insight – the national enterprise campaign which runs the Enterprising Britain competition on behalf of BERR. “Enterprise will get the UK out of the downturn. Scarborough winning the European Enterprise Awards is a richly deserved boost for the town and for the UK as a whole.”
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