By Daniel Hunter

Northamptonshire is celebrating after being named the most enterprising place in Britain. Northamptonshire County Council has won the accolade for helping to generate economic prosperity across the County.

The Enterprising Britain competition was run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and was looking for the place that could best demonstrate a positive impact of enterprise on the community over the past two years.

The announcement was made by Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon during the MADE entrepreneurial festival in Sheffield.

“Northamptonshire County Council has shown real initiative in reinvigorating the local economy," Mr Fallon said.

"They have shown complete faith in the newly formed Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership as well as backing the motorsport industry and high performance technologies sector.

"The sector is the base for a number of highly skilled successful companies, employing a large workforce that significantly contributes to the local economy. I would like to congratulate them on their fantastic achievements.”

Northamptonshire County Council also picked up the award for Encouraging Export, thanks to the positive work undertaken by the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership. They are one of the few local enterprise partnerships to have set up a European Office helping them to build trade links in Europe and work closely alongside UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

“I’m delighted that we’ve received recognition by the Government for all the good work we’ve been doing to bring economic prosperity to Northamptonshire," Councillor Jim Harker, Leader of Northamptonshire County Council said.

"We are committed to creating the conditions to bring economic growth to our county and will do whatever we can to boost business and enterprise.

“Silverstone and the British Grand Prix give Northamptonshire an international profile so it was essential that we stepped in to help where we could. However our work with Silverstone is just a part of the many initiatives we have in place to prepare the county for future growth.

“We also see the importance of establishing strong trade links with Europe and beyond and are pleased that our innovative approach to this has been endorsed by the Government.”

The other UK category winner for ‘Promoting Enterprise’ went to YTKO’s Outset programme for its work in providing support to under-represented enterprise groups in partnership with local authorities.

In what was a strong field of entrants there was an additional special judge’s award for Darwen Aldridge Community Academy. The school links students with the local community to develop business ideas among young people. Since launching the project in 2010, the school has engaged with over 3,000 budding entrepreneurs and businesses in the local area to promote enterprise.

Northamptonshire County Council and YTKO will now go on to represent the UK at this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards for ‘improving the business environment’ and ‘promoting entrepreneurial spirit’ respectively. The awards are run by the European Commission and take place in Nicosia, Cyprus on 15 November 2012, which is during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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