In the framework of the European Entrepreneurial Region Award initiative, launched by the Committee of the Regions, the Region of Murcia (Spain) was elected in 2011 as one of the three European Entrepreneurial Regions together with Brandenburg (Germany) and County Kerry (Ireland).
The European Entrepreneurial Region Award is an initiative of the Committee of the Regions identifying and rewarding EU regions with outstanding, future-oriented entrepreneurial strategies; regardless of their size, wealth or specific competences. The regions with the most visible, credible, forward-looking and promising political vision are granted the label “European Entrepreneurial Region” (EER) for a specific year.
The Region of Murcia is well known in Spain for its devotion to agriculture and tourism, but as it lacks industry of big companies, after the crisis started, the region had several difficulties to face the problems of unemployment and economic decline. However, The Government of the Murcia Region together with the Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Mucia designed a strategy to foster entrepreneurship at regional level as a way to mitigate unemployment and revitalize local economy.
The main activities made to promote entrepreneurship consisted on:
- Fostering this entrepreneurial approach in society. To this purpose, they have organised, since 2007, the “Entrepreneurship Day”, where, every year, over 1500 participants have taken an active part and 40 organisations have been involved.
- This initiative started introducing entrepreneurship in schools to children as a transversal subject. This action has involved over 65 educational centres, which means more than 16.000 students were involved and it also included training in entrepreneurial skills for more than 560 teachers every year.
- They supported the creation and consolidation of companies.
- They acted as coordinators of the regional network to support entrepreneurs.
Within a wide range of activities and initiatives, one of the most relevant is the Red de Viveros de Empresas, which is a regional network of 11 Local Business Incubators plus two European Business Centres.
The Red de Viveros de Empresas aimed at providing information, advice, logistic facilities, access to networking for SMEs and entrepreneurs and at bringing together the main business support organisations disseminated in 13 municipalities of the region.
The main activities developed by this network were the elaboration of a common procedures manual, generating new business ideas, entrepreneurial diagnoses, access to business plans, generating ICT solutions promoting and providing information on funding facilities. They also designed a plan on training managers on managerial and entrepreneurial skills, project management, business marketing, promotion of incubators and technical and financial analysis.
With a budget of 50.000 EUR per year, having 60% of it financed thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, this initiative achieved in two years (2010-2011) to have the following results: creation of 900 jobs, creation of 75 firms per year and signature of 15 cooperation agreements. The success of this initiative was also due to the participation of approximately 70 co-operating and supporting organisations, such as local councils, chambers of commerce, business and intermediate organisations.
If you want to know more about this initiative, please, click here. (Only available in Spanish)20 July 2015