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Helsinki-Uusimaa awarded as European Entrepreneurial Region 2021–2022

Markku Markkula and the prize.

The Helsinki-Uusimaa Region has been selected European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) 2021–2022. Awarded by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), this label of excellence goes to regions who have demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurial foresight and an intelligent growth strategy taking into account larger societal challenges. The 2021–2022 merged version is centred around the theme “Entrepreneurship for a Sustainable Recovery”.

The five other winning regions from the European Union are Castelo Branco Municipality in Portugal, Gabrovo Municipality in Bulgaria, Madrid Region in Spain, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in France and Silesia Region in Poland.

Deeply affected by the crisis, the 2021–2022 EER winning regions have shown a remarkable capacity to seize the crisis as a window of opportunity to reset the course of their economic development. The CoR awards these territories as beacons of a sustainable European recovery.

Endowed with a strong research and education infrastructure, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region enacted a coherent set of measures to speed up the development of its circular and sharing economy and bring collaborative consumption models to economic viability.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said:

“A solid and sustainable SME sector is key to recovery and for creating local jobs. Helsinki-Uusimaa Region in Finland – the first region ever to receive this award for a second time – was awarded for its new model of growth, based on accelerated digitalisation and sustainability, to help deliver on climate neutrality by 2035. This is what Europe can achieve with a vision and regional leadership. Congratulations Helsinki-Uusimaa Region and to everyone involved: you are a pioneer that redefines the boundaries of regional and European success.”

The Helsinki-Uusimaa Region has a particularly strong record in the field of business education. In 2012 it was already awarded European Entrepreneurial Region for its strong promotion of young entrepreneurs. Almost ten years later, the region is aiming to create the ideal environment for the future-minded and sustainability-driven new generation of entrepreneurs to take the next step and put their skills at the service of a deep social and economic transformation.

Markku Markkula, President of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Board and Head of Finland’s delegation in the European Committee of the Regions said:

“Helsinki-Uusimaa was among the first regions awarded an EER label in 2012. We orchestrated a year with more than 100 events promoting entrepreneurship, especially among young people. Now we face a different reality due to the impacts of pandemic and climate emergency. The EER 2021–2022 Award for the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region will be, above all, a platform to tackle these new challenges and collaborate locally and internationally to invent an integrated green, digital and entrepreneurial future.”

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Background:

The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) award is a project that each year identifies and rewards EU territories, which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. The territories with the most credible, forward-looking and promising plan are granted the label “European Entrepreneurial Region” (EER) for the following year.

The EER label has been set up in partnership with the European Commission and is supported by EU level stakeholders such as SME United, Eurochambres, Social Economy Europe and EURADA.

The EER jury – composed of CoR members, representatives of EU institutions, social partners and territorial associations – will monitor the implementation of the prize-winning regional strategies throughout 2021 and 2022 – with the aim of providing the winners with an objective outside view on their policies and on the progress made during that year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EER 2021-2022 edition covers two years. In light of the current sanitary and economic crisis, the EER jury decided to merge the 2020 and 2021 calls in order to give regions the opportunity to re-draft their regional development strategies and adapt them to the changed context.

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