Scarborough named UK Enterprise Capital

Following a nationwide search the Scarborough Renaissance Partnership, leaders of the town's bid to secure the Enterprising Britain accolade, was rewarded at a ceremony in Downing Street for its Waking Sleeping Beauty project, which has transformed the declining seaside town into a shining example of enterprise excellence.

Enterprising Britain 2008 is a national competition that celebrates and recognises the most enterprising places in the UK. Run by the Mark Your Mark campaign on behalf of the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, it is a key part of the Government's drive to increase British entrepreneurship and identifies areas of enterprise excellence: those places that have created jobs, forged links in communities, and improved the local climate for businesses and residents.

In 2002 unemployment in Scarborough was twice the North Yorkshire average. More than a third of residents were living in neighbourhoods among the 20% most deprived in the country and seasonal unemployment was severe at 20% in the winter months. Prompted by this situation, local businesses and residents, supported by the council and Regional Development Agency, united to form the Scarborough Renaissance Partnership, aiming to halt the spiral of decline. Achievements in the past six years have included seasonal unemployment being stamped out, new industry sectors being created and developed and an influx of more than £200m of private sector investment, bringing hundreds of new jobs.

Scarborough's enterprise strategy focused on diversifying the economy, weaning it off its dependence on the declining tourism and fishing industries. Existing businesses have capitalised on the physical regeneration of the harbourside while ventures such as Woodend Creative Workspace have seen a boom in start- ups. Every £1 invested by the public sector has attracted £10 of private sector investment in the town. Scarborough's image has radically changed. The introduction of Freebay WiFi along the coast means visitors and businesses alike can stay connected and the development of sectors such as surfboard manufacturing has resulted in a much more creative, cultural feel to the town. Investors have been attracted and speculative property developers are moving in, something which would have been unheard of a few years ago.

Minister for Competitiveness and Small Business, Shriti Vadera, said: "Enterprise remains the backbone of our economy, with 4.7 million businesses last year contributing more than 50 per cent to the UK's turnover. The Scarborough Renaissance Partnership, winner of this year's Enterprising Britain Award 2008 has established a strong enterprise culture in the region, created jobs and stamped out seasonal unemployment - all the more vital during these uncertain global economic times. I would therefore like to congratulate the partnership on their success and for their hard work in establishing the Waking Sleeping Beauty programme".

Peter Jones, BBC TV Dragon and national Enterprising Britain judge, said: "Scarborough is a town with enterprise in its blood. The Waking Sleeping Beauty name is very apt: this is a town that has learnt to tap into its latent entrepreneurial talent and harness it with tremendous results. Scarborough's story is really compelling and the visible impact of renaissance clear - the creation and growth of a thriving creative and digital industry where one previously did not, and could not have, existed is a huge achievement. This sector now accounts for 19% of Scarborough's economy having taken over from tourism. Its success deserves to be celebrated."

Adrian Riley relocated his small business, Electric Angel Design, to Scarborough from Bradford in 2003 following the launch of Waking Sleeping Beauty. He has been at the forefront of the creative and digital sector's development andexpansion in Scarborough and co-founded the Creative Coast enterprise network of local businesses. Adrian reently took on a graduate of Scarborough's local Further Education College as a business partner, demonstrating the town's commitment to retaining and developing young talent. He says:

"Scarborough has surprised us - the energy and enthusiasm is infectious and has certainly influenced our approach to running a business here. It's been a superb move for us."

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Angela Eagle MP, said: "The Scarborough Renaissance Partnership has brought the public, private and community sectors together and has shown how Government's Enterprise policy, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, can help to transform local economies, providing jobs and growth at a time of global economic uncertainty. The UK has one of the most enterprising economies in the world making it one of the best places to start and grow a business. This success has been built up at a local level by development of successful partnerships such as the Waking Sleeping Beauty programme which have taken advantage of the highly entrepreneurial environment which this Government has put in place."

Twelve finalists, one from each of the Regional Development Agencies and Devolved Administrations, were shortlisted for the competition final in June and visited by Enterprising Britain judges over the summer.

Herefordshire received Enterprising Britain 2008 the runner-up award for the way the Council has brought about sustainable prosperity in the county while Furness' bid, led by Furness Enterprise, was highly commended for its focus on supporting and growing social enterprise in the rural North West.