Economic development and business support organisation YTKO has been announced as just one of four entries shortlisted in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2012, for ‘Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit’ through its Outset start up programme in the UK. The announcement comes shortly after YTKO beat strong competition to win the government’s Enterprising Britain Award 2012, for ‘Promoting Enterprise’.
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards aim to recognise innovation and reward the success of public bodies and public-private partnerships in promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship at a national, regional and local level. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, commented: “The creativity shown by these projects demonstrates exactly why harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit to drive European business is so important. They are the best of the projects seeking to put the 10 principles of the Small Business Act for Europe into action and ensure that small business is not only driving future economic success but that it is increasingly accessible and inclusive.”
Over 400 projects from 30 European countries competed in this year’s national competitions for a chance to enter the European Awards. YTKO’s Outset programme was shortlisted by a high-level jury representing business, government and academia, which reviewed the 57 national winner entries to establish a shortlist of 14 nominees in five categories.
Outset is a tailored programme that delivers pre-start and business start-up support, access to finance and specialist growth provision – and specialising in the creation of sustainable businesses by disadvantaged groups and those furthest from the labour market. In Torbay, Outset is funded by Torbay Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund to support local people.
Many Outset clients live in the UK’s most deprived wards, from inner cities to isolated rural and coastal areas. Since submitting its nomination for the UK Enterprising Britain Awards at the end of May, Outset has helped more than 7,000 clients explore enterprise as an option through its outreach work.
Uniquely, Outset uses a braided approach to enterprise promotion; combining grassroots, community-based outreach from local teams, with effective, tailored marketing communications and a strong, collaborative ethos to working with partner organisations. Together, these elements increase awareness and interest amongst clients to show that self-employment and enterprise is a realistic and achievable alternative to self-employment.
Of the clients that have continued onto the programme, more than 1,000 have started a business, creating over 1,200 jobs. Half of these new entrepreneurs are women, a third are aged under 25 or over 50, and the majority were previously unemployed. Together, Outset’s disadvantaged, under-represented clients have created more than £2.3m GVA, unlocked more than £1m of business finance, and the programme has saved more than £1.2 million on JSA benefits alone.
Joanna Drake, Chair of the Jury commented: “The quality of the entries to the 2012 competition made the shortlisting process extremely difficult. The projects we reviewed were amazingly diverse and demonstrated an extraordinary range of creativity in finding new ways to support and drive the creation of SMEs. We were particularly impressed by how many of the projects incorporated a socially conscious aim – seeking to help disadvantaged people while simultaneously promoting small business.”
YTKO will attend the first ever SME Assembly on 15 November 2012 in Cyprus, where winners for each of the five categories will be announced. One project will also receive the prestigious Grand Jury Prize.