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13/04/2006 The national stage of the European Commission’s European Enterprise Awards.

At a press conference at the Ministry of Development, development minister Dimitris Sioufas, deputy development minister Anastasios Nerantzis and general secretary for industry Spiros Papadopoulos launched the national stage of the European Commission’s European Enterprise Awards.


Athens, 12 April 2006


At a press conference at the Ministry of Development, development minister Dimitris Sioufas, deputy development minister Anastasios Nerantzis and general secretary for industry Spiros Papadopoulos launched the national stage of the European Commission’s European Enterprise Awards.

The competition is open only to public bodies such as municipalities, communities, prefectures, regions and chambers, as well as to partnerships between public bodies and private bodies or educational institutions.

The competition is organised by the Directorate for International Industrial Plans of the General Secretariat for Industry (tel. 210 6965921 and 210 6965927), where interested parties can submit entries until 31 May 2006. Interested parties may contact the Directorate for International Industrial Plans for information and support in drawing up their entries.

As development minister Dimitris Sioufas stated, “The aim of the competition is to involve local government in boosting the culture of enterprise, the entrepreneurial culture in Greece, attaching the necessary importance to business and developing competition between local and regional authorities with regard to the highlighting, promotion and broader application of successful initiatives.”

Mr Sioufas described the five award categories:

  1. The Entrepreneurial Trailblazer Award, which recognises proposals that promote entrepreneurship and raise awareness in society. .
  2. The Enterprise Support Award, which recognizes innovative policies that attract investment and support businesses, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
  3. The Red Tape Reduction Award, which concerns actions to simplify and speed up administrative procedures.
  4. The Investment in People Award, which recognises practices to improve entrepreneurship education and training, strengthening the links between the educational system and business.
  5. The Responsible Entrepreneurship Award, which recognises responsible initiatives to promote corporate social responsibility and sustainable corporate practices with regard to the environment and society.

Beyond these five awards, a Jury’s Grand Prize will be awarded to the most creative and inspiring initiative.

The entries will be evaluated and the best ones selected by a committee announced by Mr Sioufas and chaired by former prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis. I believe that by accepting our offer to chair the committee, the former prime minister honours the goal of excellence and merit, and support for that goal. Also on the committee are the general secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation, Athanasios Vezirgiannis, the general secretary for Industry, Spiros Papadopoulos, the rector of the National Technical University of Athens, Andreas Andreopoulos, the president of the Economic and Social Council, Nicholas Analytis, the president of the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KEEE), George Kassimatis, and former Federation of Greek Industries president, Theodore Papalexopoulos.

The two best entries will be selected to take part in the European Enterprise Awards. The Greek nominees will compete with candidates from the other 24 member states of the European Union and from Bulgaria, Iceland, Norway, Romania and Turkey.

At the launch of the competition, Mr Sioufas said:

“Support for entrepreneurship has been recognised as a principal factor in improving the competitiveness of the economy, creating jobs and producing wealth.

If Europe wishes to safeguard its social model, it needs greater growth. It needs more investment and more businesses. It needs more entrepreneurs who want to take innovative business initiatives. It needs even more high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises.

To advance this policy, daily efforts are being made at national and Community level. For this policy to be successful, central government, local government, the business community and our educational system must all be actively involved.

Our aim is to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and develop business activities, factors which are necessary for the growth of the Greek economy, the creation of new jobs and improved quality of life for all. In this framework:

  • We are providing practical encouragement and support for the creation of sustainable and competitive businesses through a range of measures.
  • We are creating an institutional framework that simplifies administrative procedures for businesses, and supports and encourages entrepreneurs.
  • We are promoting actions to exploit new knowledge, research and innovation, for the creation of products and services with greater added value.
  • We are increasing the role of education in the creation of a more entrepreneurial mindset.

We want local government and local bodies to assist us in this endeavour. I am not talking about difficulties in granting licences or creating basic infrastructure, or the excessive costs that businesses often have to bear, which create a negative climate for investment and entrepreneurship.

It is not enough to solve these problems. We must not forget that globalisation applies first and foremost to investment capital, which on a global level searches for the optimum location, each location competing with many similar ones all over the world to attract investment. At a local level, smart actions must therefore be created to encourage the entrepreneurship of the local population and attract investment.

Recognising the need for local action, the European Commission is organising a Europe-wide competition to reward excellence in the promotion of entrepreneurship at a local and regional level.

We fully agree with this European Commission initiative, which coincides with our own initiatives in this area, such as making 2005 to 2010 Competitiveness Years, and holding a student competition for entrepreneurship and innovation.

To promote this initiative at a national level, the Ministry of Development has announced a competition to recognise and reward original and effective initiatives to promote entrepreneurship locally.

The aim of the competition is to involve local government in boosting the culture of enterprise in Greece, attaching the necessary importance to business and developing competition between local and regional authorities with regard to the highlighting, promotion and broader application of successful initiatives.” .

Furthermore, the competition aims to raise awareness of entrepreneurship among citizens and local authorities themselves, and to highlight and publicise best practices in the particular sector, which will constitute examples for future action.

The competition is open only to public bodies such as municipalities, communities, prefectures, regions and chambers, as well as to partnerships between public bodies and private bodies or educational institutions.

There are five award categories in the competition:

  1. The Entrepreneurial Trailblazer Award, which recognises actions that promote entrepreneurship and raise awareness in society.
  2. The Enterprise Support Award, which recognises innovative policies that attract investment and support businesses, particularly in disadvantaged areas. .
  3. The Red Tape Reduction Award, which concerns actions to simplify and speed up administrative procedures.
  4. The Investment in People Award, which recognises practices to improve entrepreneurship education and training, strengthening the links between the educational system and business.
  5. The Responsible Entrepreneurship Award, which recognises responsible initiatives to promote corporate social responsibility and sustainable corporate practices with regard to the environment and society.

Beyond these five awards, a Jury’s Grand Prize will be awarded to the most creative and inspiring initiative.

Any initiative by local bodies that promotes entrepreneurship and helps make businesses more competitive is a good idea that can be entered in the competition. Generally speaking, the best ideas are those which are both original and effective. However, their impact on local society and on relations between local stakeholders, and the ease with which they can be applied throughout the European Union will also be taken into consideration.

The entries to the competition will be evaluated and the best ones selected by a national selection committee made up of distinguished personalities who will guarantee the validity of the results and demonstrate the great importance to the Ministry of Development of involving local government in boosting the culture of enterprise in Greece, while attaching the necessary importance to business and developing competition between local and regional authorities with regard to the highlighting, promotion and broader application of successful initiatives.

It is a great honour for us that the Committee will be chaired by former prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis.

The members of the committee are the general secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Athanasios Vezirgiannis, the general secretary for Industry, Spiros Papadopoulos, the rector of the National Technical University of Athens, Andreas Andreopoulos, the president of the Economic and Social Council, Nicholas Analytis, the president of the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KEEE) George Kassimatis and former Federation of Greek Industries president, Theodore Papalexopoulos.».

Deputy development minister Anastasios Nerantzis said:

«Development. Development in everything and development for everyone. One might compare development to a leopard, which is perfectly easy to recognise but more difficult to describe. What is certain is that development is the fruit of competition and competition alone in an arena in which entrepreneurship can flourish. Entrepreneurship, competitiveness and development are served by the programme announced by prime minister Kostas Karamanlis himself and implemented with flair and imagination by the minister, Mr Sioufas and the political leadership of the Ministry of Development. They are also precisely the purpose of these awards, details of which you heard from the minister earlier. We want to express our pleasure that they are being supported in this way, and also that the committee comprises such important and distinguished representatives of Greece’s social and economic life. I think this process promises to be both attractive and objective».

General secretary for industry Spiros Papadopoulos said that the awards concerned a very interesting and important topic – the culture of action and the business climate that is created in local societies – and cited examples that would be eligible for the competition:

  • A region organises a special seminar to train the local workforce, which improves the productivity of businesses in the area.
  • A municipality sets up an office to provide investors with information about local business and investment opportunities.
  • A prefecture publishes a booklet listing all the businesses that are active in the area, with publishable material.
  • A region prepares studies on specific business investments that can be made locally and makes them available to potential investors.
  • A municipality provides local incentives to attract investment, e.g. reducing or giving discounts on rates, granting sites with special terms.

ΕRelevant information material is attached.

The development minister then answered questions from journalists:

JOURNALIST: There is a lot of talk about the development model that suits Greece. What is your position on this issue?

DIMITRIS SIOUFAS: “I’m following this discussion with great interest. My own answer is this. The Greek people gave a mandate to Kostas Karamanlis and the new government to implement a programme that embraces a new developmental and economic model. That is what we have been building on for the last two years, with great success, monitoring of course the experience and successes of other countries. Ireland, for example. We are transferring to the Greek situation and the Greek reality the experiences and successes that fit in with our basic developmental and economic direction and the social model that exists in our country. This is the answer as far as competition is concerned. What the opposition does is to carbon copy models that have no relation to the reality in Greece and which are condemned not only by the citizens of the country, but also by members of their own party.”

JOURNALIST: Regarding the incentives you’ve announced to boost the production and use of energy from renewable sources, is the ceiling 20%?

DIMITRIS SIOUFAS: “The announcement I made yesterday following work with Giorgos Alogoskoufis includes the framework in which the specific incentives policy will operate for the further introduction of renewable energy sources by private citizens. And apart from natural gas, which is rising from 500 to 700 euros, for the two other categories (purchase of solar collectors and the installation of central air conditioning running on natural gas or solar energy, as well as the purchase of decentralized systems for generating energy from renewable energy sources) we have introduced a discount of 20%, but the level of deductible spending will be set by the finance bill which will be tabled in the autumn and will apply from 1 January 2007. And that was reasonable, so that neither Mr Alogoskoufis nor myself would pre-empt a policy that will cover all tax issues that will apply for 2007. This is the answer. And it will be a great boost when private citizens start using these forms, which will help to introduce electricity generation from renewable sources into our energy balance.”

JOURNALIST: About the incident at the Varvakeio Market?

DIMITRIS SIOUFAS: “As far as the incident is concerned, you know the unchanging of the ministry and the government. Journalists and the media must be able to do their work unobstructed in order to be able to inform the people of this country responsibly. And nobody has the right to obstruct the work of journalists and the media. This is an unchanging principle, and one which is in accordance with the constitution, well-governed state, democratic system and parliamentary democracy under which we live. I have often had the opportunity to comment such issues and my opinion remains unchanged.”

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