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County Kerry Wins European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year Award

Prestigious Award Celebrates Outstanding Entrepreneurial Vision

European Entrepreneurial Region Kerry has been awarded the prestigious title of European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year 2011 at a ceremony hosted by the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR) in Brussels today (Thursday 11th February).

The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) award is designed to identify and reward EU regions with outstanding entrepreneurial vision and to encourage local and regional authorities to do more to promote small business across Europe. Kerry was one of just three regions in all 27 EU states to receive the accolade, along with Brandenburg, Germany and Murcia in Spain.

Launched in October, the EER award is open to every region in Europe, regardless of its size, population and wealth. Applications were sought from all over Europe and the successful submission that won the Award was made jointly by the Institute of Technology, Tralee and Shannon Development, who share a joint campus at Kerry Technology Park. Kerry was selected based on the quality, efficacy and long-term success of its entrepreneurial vision. 

The Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen TD, welcomed today’s announcement, acknowledging Kerry’s proven track record of companies with global success, “I am delighted that Kerry has achieved the title of European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year 2011.  I visited Kerry Technology Park myself and saw at first hand the supportive environment it offers to companies throughout all stages of their business lifecycle - from initial business start-up through growth and onto stand-alone businesses.  In addition, the co-operation and collaboration offered to companies by existing businesses on the ground also helps to ensure their mutual success in their respective businesses for the county.  I congratulate all associated with this very positive announcement.”

Welcoming the Award, Dr. Vincent Cunnane, chief executive, Shannon Development said, "Shannon Development was delighted to work with our partners to help secure the Award which is a tribute to the spirit of entrepreneurship that prevails in Co. Kerry. Innovation and entrepreneurship are traits we strongly try to foster at our Kerry Technology Park in Tralee, which has a success rate of 90 per cent when it comes to business start ups - that's a full 10 per cent higher than the national average. Having had three winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, we are proud of our outstanding entrepreneurs at the Park.”

Michael Carmody, President of the Institute of Technology, Tralee explains, “Entrepreneurship forms a central focus of the campus with programmes designed to encourage the exchange of ideas among students, staff and entrepreneurs. This ethos, combined with the activities of the Young Entrepreneur Programme means that one in five students now studies entrepreneurship in Kerry, more than any other county in Ireland. The phenomenal success of the newly launched Endeavour Programme is further testament to our commitment to fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.”

Driven by Shannon Development’s Kerry Technology Park, Institute of Technology, Tralee and entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly, a number of groundbreaking initiatives have been developed in recent years to grow Kerry’s position as a central hub of enterprise education and business development.

Now in its third year, the Young Entrepreneur Programme is a pioneering initiative designed to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship and real life business skills among second and third level students in the region.  The Programme brings students face to face with internationally successful entrepreneurs on a regular basis.

The Endeavour Programme, which launched in 2009 with the aim of fast-tracking Ireland’s next generation of entrepreneurs, attracted over 500 applications from up-and-coming business people around the country.  15 successful business start-ups are currently embarking on the programme at Kerry Technology Park with access to top quality facilities and individual business mentoring.   

The three successful regions were chosen following assessment by a jury of CoR members, representatives from the European Commission and from business organisations BusinessEurope, UEAPME and Eurochambres.