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Spotlight on top regional projects - 01/02/2013

RegioStars awards recognise outstanding regional projects funded by the EU.

The 5 winners demonstrate innovation in fostering smart, sustainable growth benefiting people, the environment and the economy.

They are among the hundreds of thousands of projects receiving EU regional development funds. The 2013 RegioStars in each category are:

UPTEC, smart growth – the University of Porto’s science & technology park has so far helped 110 firms, including 95 start-ups, 5 large companies and 5 private innovation centres. Some 800 graduate jobs have been created, contributing to robust economic growth in the region.

Enworks, sustainable growth – the environmental support service helps small businesses in North West England become more resource efficient. As a result companies have identified annual savings of €95 million. Environmental improvements have created or protected some 960 jobs.

Individual employment paths, inclusive growth – the Polish project in Elblag provides professional job coaches to long-term jobless workers aged 45 and over. Around 80% found a job and with ongoing support 9 out of 10 were still employed 15 months later.

Neighbourhood Management Berlin, deprived urban areas (CityStar) – the project introduced governing bodies in depressed districts of Berlin, strengthening local residents’ participation in programmes to improve their quality of life.

Towards Work, informing the public – the Lithuanian project ran a series of video clips on TV channels challenging attitudes toward the deaf. Pilot job centres were established to help those with hearing disabilities find a job, with 2 out of 3 finding employment.

Regions submitted a record 149 projects for this year’s awards. The winners received their awards on 31 January at a ceremony in Brussels.

Applications for the 2014 awards should be sent by 19 April 2013. Finalists will present their projects before an independent jury during the EU’s annual conference for representatives from local and regional government (7-10 October).

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