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Search is on for the most enterprising place in South East

18 March 2009

SEEDA begins the hunt for the South East’s enterprise success stories with the launch of the Enterprising Britain 2009 competition. Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, is calling for hotspots of innovation – locations which are tackling the economic downturn head on by creating jobs, boosting local businesses and nurturing budding entrepreneurial talent – to step up and show why they deserve to be named the South East’s most enterprising place.

The Enterprising Britain competition, a key part of the Government’s drive to create the right conditions for enterprise across the UK, seeks out areas of enterprise excellence from across the country – villages, towns, cities and neighbourhoods which have embedded a culture of enterprise that supports and encourages their entrepreneurs and businesses, helping them to survive the downturn and emerge stronger on the other side.

Last year Millbrook Technology Campus was named the most enterprising place in South East and went through to compete in the national competition. Millbrook Technology Campus (MTC), in the Outer Shirley area of Southampton, was recognised for revitalising six hectares of land on the western outskirts to create a business technology park that contains office and meeting space, acting as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration in the deprived area of Millbrook. MTC now provides a centre of excellence for innovation, business development and enterprise.

The 2009 competition was recently launched in Scarborough at last year’s winners. Following its Enterprising Britain success, the seaside town’s enterprise credentials have just been recognised on an international scale by the European Enterprise Awards, where it is up against countries including France, Latvia and Norway on the shortlist for the Entrepreneurship Promotion category. The results will be announced at an awards ceremony in Prague in May.

The Scarborough Renaissance Partnership – a coalition of local businesses, residents and council representatives – transformed the declining seaside town into a shining example of enterprise achievement, stamping out seasonal unemployment, creating new industry sectors and attracting more than £200m of private sector investment along with hundreds of new jobs. It reduced economic dependence on the declining tourism and fishing industries, capitalised on the physical regeneration of the harbourside, kick-started a boom in business start-ups and introduced Freebay Wifi along the coast, making the internet accessible to all. This year, Enterprising Britain is encouraging businesses-led projects which have transformed their local communities to enter the awards and gain recognition for their fantastic work.

Secretary of State for Business, Lord Mandelson said:

"Enterprise is a long-term investment for the future and crucial for success in the current economic climate. In a downturn, it is more important than ever that entrepreneurs are supported and have the confidence they need to develop their ideas.

"Enterprising Britain allows communities to share their experiences of innovation, inspire others and drive forward enterprise."

Helen Cook, Women’s Enterprise Manager at SEEDA said:

"Now more than ever, we need to tap into examples of what is working in places across the South East in terms of supporting, encouraging and maintaining enterprise. Entering the Enterprising Britain competition is your chance to shout about what you’ve achieved and to ensure that other communities and enterprise projects can learn from your successes. The competition helps highlight and spread best practice in enterprise across the UK and I would encourage all the innovative projects out there that have used entrepreneurial spirit to make a location in the South East a better place to live and work, to enter and have a chance at being crowing the UK’s enterprise champion."

John Burroughs of Scarborough Council said of Scarborough’s Enterprising Britain 2008 win:

"Winning Enterprising Britain has put us on the map and raised our profile. People now realise that Scarborough is more than just a seaside resort; it’s a hub of culture and business – a contemporary, vibrant, thriving town. Our win has generated increased interest from external developers and investors and the whole Enterprising Britain experience has engaged everyone in the town in enterprise – encouraging people to get involved and make their ideas happen, whether it is in school, at home or at work. We hope it will ensure that our next wave of entrepreneurs are supported and can take up the challenge to become more enterprising."

Enterprising Britain is free to enter and is open to all places in South East that can demonstrate the impact enterprise has had on their community in the past two years.

Completed applications must be submitted by 30 April 2009 and the winner will be announced in October.

The competition is run by Make Your Mark, on behalf of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), working in close partnership with SEEDA.

To register interest, please contact:

Helen Cook, SEEDA
Email: helencook@seeda.co.uk

Or email your contact details to enterprisingbritain@makeyourmark.org.uk.

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155