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Local assistance for starting entrepreneurs in Auvergne, France - a winning entrepreneurship project

June 2010

Résidences d'entrepreneurs

'Résidences d'entrepreneurs', a business and employment support scheme in the Auvergne region of France, won the 2010 European Enterprise Awards Grand Jury Prize on 31 May. The awards go to public authorities that successfully promote entrepreneurship and small business.

The remote Auvergne region needed a social and economic boost. The ARDTA regional development agency therefore launched a scheme to provide assistance to people from outside the region who wish to come and set up or buy a business in the area. Specific accommodation and living expenses are covered, they are assigned a mentor to guide them around the local business environment, and they also receive additional forms of financial support.

The scheme has had very positive results so far: 211 businesses have been created in the area, providing employment for more than 600 people mostly in trade, tourism and services, but also in medicine.

This year, more than 330 projects in 28 European countries have participated in the European Enterprise Awards, with 53 of them selected for the European finals. Among the finalists, 'Résidences d'entrepreneurs' stood out as an excellent example of creating employment and boosting entrepreneurship.

The European Enterprise Awards, launched by the European Commission's DG Enterprise and Industry in 2006, reward public authorities' efforts to support small businesses and promote entrepreneurship, particularly at regional and local level. Following national heats, a European jury selects the European shortlist and then crowns the winners at an award ceremony, which this year was held in Madrid.

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