Ponta Delgada, Açores (P), 25 November 2011
The best Regional Innovation Project
This year’s winner is the Polish Region of Wielkopolska for its project “Promoter of Innovation”. Launched in January 2009, in cooperation with the Poznan Academy for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, this project aims at providing capital, legal advice, technical know-how and other services to facilitate the development of knowledge-based SMEs. These invaluable services are offered to students, recent graduates and the Poznan University of Technology staff members aged between 18 and 35.
So far the project has supported 21 companies and 45 business ideas out of which ¾ could not have survived without the legal and corporate consulting services provided by the Promoter. In the years to come this ingenious youth business and entrepreneurship initiative will continue to make Wielkopolska a highly competitive and innovative region in Europe.“Promoter of Innovation is an outstanding regional project to support entrepreneurship and new business concepts. The Pre-incubator takes full charge of the pre-incubated person’s clients during their operations in the early seed phase when the entrepreneur needs to concentrate on their business. That is truly an innovative approach, and it obviously works!” underlined Mr. Joachim Hafkesbrink, member of the jury.
AER Most Youth Friendly European Region (MYFER) 2011
The theme of this year’s MYFER competition, “Social Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities” was chosen by the AER Youth Regional Network members to acknowledge the important work undertaken by European regions to facilitate better inclusion of young people with disabilities. The regions were invited to present their policies and projects in this area in three main fields: education, employment and civic engagement.
The jury was particularly convinced by the projects presented by the Spanish Region of Catalunya, which has developed a coordinated and comprehensive policy designed to support the 38 997 young Catalans with disabilities. A coordinated approach between a number of regional departments, ranging from Catalunya’s Department of Social Welfare and Family to various ministries (education, employment), and together with a wide range of stakeholders, the policy includes different thematic projects targeting a better social integration of young people with disabilities: ”Assistance to independent living at home”, “Zoom Culture” (“Apropa Cultura”), or “University and Disability in Catalunya”.
The jury also awarded Dolnoslaskie (PL) with the 2011 MYFER Special Prize in recognition of the political will of the region to help youth with disabilities get into formal education systems, and the inscription of this aim in the “Development Strategy of the Lower Silesia Region by 2020”. Thanks to several projects and activities implemented since September 2007, like “Integration from kindergarten”, “the Social Scholarships of the Marshall of Lower Silesia”, or “Together fully able-bodied”, young people with disabilities are now receiving support during their studies, while teachers and lecturers are trained on how to work better with youth with disabilities.
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