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Competitiveness Ministers: Entrepreneurship is Key

 Press Release: Published July 2012

The EU Competitiveness Ministers agreed today on the need to promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture as one of the main pillars for the return of Europe to economic growth. Supporting entrepreneurship and especially Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, constitutes one of the main priorities of the Cyprus Presidency and was placed under the microscope of today’s Informal Competitiveness Council (Industry), at the “Filoxenia” Conference Center in Lefkosia (Nicosia).

The informal meeting, hosted by the Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr. Neoklis Sylikiotis, with the participation of the Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Mr. Antonio Tajani, recorded a broad convergence of views on many of the issues discussed, focusing mainly on four thematic areas:

  • The case for entrepreneurship education as a solution to youth unemployment.

  • Activating untapped pools of talent for entrepreneurship – the example of boosting women entrepreneurs.

  • Innovation as a driving force for entrepreneurship.

  • Keep existing entrepreneurs going by timely restructuring enterprises and giving honest failed entrepreneurs a second chance.

“Europe has realized that the economic crisis cannot be overcome only with strict austerity measures and has therefore decided the return to growth. And growth means, inter alia, promoting policies that support entrepreneurship and especially Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, that form the backbone of Europe’s economy, encourage innovation and create conditions for employment, thereby contributing to the maintenance of social cohesion”, emphasized Mr. Sylikiotis.

To achieve the Cyprus Presidency’s goal for a “Better Europe” and for Europe’s future growth, what is now required are measures and policies to support entrepreneurship and, as a result the real economy, through investment in ingenuity, support of innovation, creation of new business models, increase in productivity and creation of new jobs.

Encouragement of innovation

Today’s meeting succeeded in the convergence of the views of participants on a number of important issues related to entrepreneurship. Among other things, it was agreed that what is now required is the encouragement of innovation, the continuous guidance and support of innovative entrepreneurs and the training and access of women entrepreneurs to funding. It was also agreed that there is a need for strengthening those mechanisms that shape positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship in the broadest sense, through the inclusion of entrepreneurship in education and the creation of an entrepreneurial culture.

Referring to the workings of the meeting, the Cypriot Minister of Commerce underlined that “the outcome of today’s discussions on entrepreneurship within the four thematic areas that we proposed, in conjunction with the action plan for entrepreneurship now being developed by the European Commission, will be used as the basis for the preparation of the conclusions for entrepreneurship that are expected to be adopted by the Competitiveness Council on December 10”.

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