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The European Commission recognises ‘Barcelona Activa’ as the best European initiative developing entrepreneurship

‘Barcelona Activa’ is Barcelona City Council’s agency for local development. Its main activities are promoting business and employment creation. ‘Barcelona Activa’ wins the Grand Jury Prize of the 2011 European Enterprise Awards, organised by the European Commission, the European Presidency and the Committee of the Regions.

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26 May 2011 02:31 PM

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ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona City Council\u2019s local development agency has been awarded the Grand Jury Prize from the 2011 European Enterprise Awards, which are organised by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the European Presidency, which is now held by Hungary. The awards recognise \u201Cexcellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small business at a national, regional and local level\u201D. 399 projects from 28 different countries presented their candidatures, and \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 won. The Vice President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, announced the winners on Wednesday in Budapest. \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 received the first prize for \u201Cbecoming a reference point for the city's entrepreneurs and acting as a hub for entrepreneurship\u201D. The European Commission recognises the work undergone by \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019, developing \u201Cinnovative entrepreneurial support and training actions leading to the creation of 6,214 new businesses and 11,800 jobs\u201D since 2004, when the agency initiated a new period. \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 was created by Barcelona\u2019s City Council in 1986 as a public company to work as a \u201Cbusiness incubator\u201D, with 16 initial projects installed. However, 25 years later, the company has evolved and broadened its scope, mission and resources. Nowadays, it is one of Barcelona\u2019s economic engines, working with seven different themes, focusing not only on creating new businesses, but also on coaching existing business, developing staff and job seekers\u2019 skills, adapting new technologies to business needs or promoting innovation.


The European Commission recognised \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 among 399 projects from 29 countries (24 European Union member States plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Turkey and Serbia) as a European best practice in promoting entrepreneurship at local level. The candidates competed firstly at national level. The 54 projects were pre-selected to compete at European level. The jury set a short-list with 12 initiatives in six categories. \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 won the most important award, the \u2018Grand Jury Prize\u2019. The fifth edition of the European Enterprise Awards handed out five other thematic prizes to initiates from Turkey, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and Hungary.

The organisers cheered the Catalan centre for \u201Cusing an innovative model of both online and on-site services, the centre has coached more than 134,000 individuals. Every year, it organises a large array of events ranging from short "knowledge pills" to "knowledge weeks" and summer camps for entrepreneurs attracting more than 222.000 participants\u201D, states the Awards press release.

The European Enterprise Awards ceremony took place during the Small Business Act conference \u201CMobilising SMEs for the Future of Europe\u201D in Budapest. Vice President Tajani stated: \u201CWe need to multiply these concrete success stories and make Europe more business-oriented and business-friendly, as set out in the Small Business Act\u201D. The President of the Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso said: \u201CIn these difficult economic times, we need to support entrepreneurship more than ever. The European Enterprise Awards show what we can achieve a lot when regional and local authorities, universities and businesses all pull together in the same direction\u201D.

\u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 is the local development agency of Barcelona\u2019s City Council

It was created in 1986 as a public company, working as a \u201Cbusiness incubator\u201D. However, nowadays it works in many different areas and has a leading role in supporting not only business creation but also on coaching local business and helping them innovate, adapting to new realities and strengthening skills. \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 has seven activity lines at the moment, and helping entrepreneurs to create new businesses is only one of them. Another activity line is facilitating already created businesses first steps, by \u201Cgenerating cooperation networks and contributing to the improvement of their competitiveness\u201D, as it says on its website. \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 also identifies new opportunities brought by emerging economic sectors or new work cultures. It also adapts professional profiles of job seekers, by broadening their skills and knowledge. The agency also looks at new technologies and makes them accessible for companies and professionals. Finally, \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 also promotes innovation. Every year, more than 100,000 people come to the centre looking for information or directly for assistance. \u2018Barcelona Activa\u2019 assesses 1,000 new projects a year and has more than 115 companies settled in its \u201CBusiness Incubator and Technology Park\u201D, where recently created companies are offered lower rent, just one the many advantages. 

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  • Barcelona Activa's website (by ACN / Barcelona Activa)

  • Barcelona Activa's website (by ACN / Barcelona Activa)