Economic development and business support company YTKO has raised the flag for the UK once again this year in Global Entrepreneurship Week, winning the prestigious Grand Jury Prize for inspiring entrepreneurialism at the 6th European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), at the European Commission’s first ever SME Assembly in Cyprus.
The company, winner of the UK’s national BIS Enterprising Britain Award for Promoting Enterprise in September, was applauded by delegates from across Europe, as Joanna Drake, Chair of the Jury and Director of SME and Entrepreneurship for DG Enterprise announced the Grand Jury Prize for YTKO’s Outset service. She said:
“When selecting the winner of the Grand Jury Prize, we are looking for a project that is both creative and inspiring in the way it encourages and supports entrepreneurship and this year’s winner has delivered impressive results whilst tackling the issue of self employment and unemployment.
“Outset uses innovative methods of communication to reach into different and often disadvantaged communities – and their ideas for marketing and communications could be transferable across the European community.
“The Award-winners this year are truly outstanding. Most critically, all of them, including Outset, could be adopted and replicated – this is what these Awards are really designed for: to identify brilliant approaches that can be shared and used elsewhere.”
Outset won against 420 project nominations from all 27 EU Member States, as well as three participating countries, Croatia, Serbia and Turkey, who have opted into the EEPA.
In the last three years alone, YTKO’s Outset programme has helped to create more than 1,200 new businesses and over 1,400 new jobs.
Outset supports disadvantaged clients in inner cities, coastal, rural and other deprived communities to be self-employed. The programme’s pre-start, start-up, investment readiness, post-start sustainability and peer group support has created more than £2.3m GVA, unlocked more than £1m of business finance – and saved more than £1.2 million on unemployment benefits alone in the last three years.
Many of the Outset programmes are funded by Europe, helping to create social and economic inclusion for under-represented and disadvantaged groups. More than half of the new businesses created via Outset are led by women, and 17 per cent of Outset clients are from black, minority or ethnic groups. Outset reaches more than twice the national average of young people in enterprise, at 15 per cent, with nearly a third of its clients previously unemployed. 21 per cent of the new businesses started with Outset’s support go on to create additional jobs within the first year of trading.
YTKO’s CEO Bev Hurley was in Cyprus to attend the SME Conference. On receiving the Grand Jury Award from the judges, she said, “I am so proud to accept this award tonight on behalf of my dedicated team and all the exceptional individuals who have participated in the Outset programme and created thriving new businesses. Their entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring, and shows that much can be achieved with the right attitude and the right support.
“Outset is creating a significant legacy of new jobs, new enterprises, and new entrepreneurs, all making a real contribution to economic recovery in the UK.”