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EUROPEAN ENTERPRISE PROMOTION AWARDS 2012: Estonian project makes the shortlist

8. October 2012 - 0:00

This year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) nominees help people create and grow businesses – whether technological or traditional, local or international. This year projects have supported entrepreneurs from 10 to over 50 years-old across Europe to set-up and improve the SMEs so critical to the European economy.

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. The winners for each of the five categories will be announced at the first ever SME Assembly on 15 November 2012 in Cyprus, to which all nominees will be invited. One project will also receive the prestigious Grand Jury Prize.

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 402 projects competed in this year’s national competitions for a chance to enter the Awards. Slightly more than in 2011, the Awards also received entries from a record-breaking 30 European countries – all 27 EU Member States as well as Croatia, Serbia and Turkey. A high-level jury representing business, government and academia reviewed the 57 national winner entries and established a shortlist of 14 nominees in five categories.

The e-Annual Report was one of just three entries shortlisted in the Improving the Business Environment category:

Estonia: e-Annual reporting 
e-Annual Report enables entrepreneurs in Estonia to file annual reports via an e-Reporting mechanism from the Central Commercial Registry. This initiative represents a significant reduction in bureaucratic process and about 99% of the more than 140,000 companies registered in Estonia now use the system. It offers a significant saving for taxpayers and the Estonian Ministry of Finance found the time saved amounts to €4.6 million.

Minister of Justice Kristen Michal says, “To simplify the business processes is a basic political strategy in Estonia, which is implemented across all the ministries. The Ministry of Justice has also made a strong contribution in this regard. In Estonia, the establishment of companies through the Internet is very popular; approximately 85% of all companies are founded in a self-service Internet gateway. The electronic submission of annual reports was the next logical step. The availability of annual reports makes the business environment more transparent and the standardized form for annual reports makes data better comparable. Therefore, we have created the e-reporting environment, which supports the evolution of a more transparent business environment. On the technological side, we have adopted the XBRL standard, which is a big step forward from simple PDF documents, and thus, all the information to be submitted can be processed right from the beginning. Manual data entry will be reduced, which also cuts the state’s costs.”

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.”

Since 2006, the European Enterprise Awards has rewarded excellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small business at a national, regional and local level. Its objectives are to identify and recognise successful activities and initiatives undertaken to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship, showcase and share examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices, create a greater awareness of the role entrepreneurs play in society and encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs.