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European Business Awards reveal the businesses defying the downturn


A panel of respected business experts judging the 2009 European Business Awards has revealed that despite the economic downturn, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.

With the European Business Awards judging process close to completion, Mr Isidoro Unda - chairman of the panel assessing nominees for the Atradius Growth Strategy of the Year Award - believes that Europe’s business scene remains vibrant and forward-thinking in the face of challenging trading conditions.

“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well throughout Europe. Entrepreneurial is an overused expression - often attributed to maverick businesses - but the word rightly describes these nominees. They are all driven by their own self-belief and ability to engage others in their mission, creating enthusiasm and commitment from those who work for and with them.” said Unda, CEO of risk insurance specialists Atradius.

“Since the commercial landscape has changed radically over the past year, the downturn in the global economy must surely play on every business’ mind when deciding future strategy. But dynamic and creative businesses will always adapt and find new outlets, often when their competitors are being overly cautious or simply looking in the wrong direction.”

Ten companies are in the running for this year’s Atradius Growth Strategy of the Year Award. They include the Ashtead Plant Hire Company Limited, Bright Grey, Petroleum Experts, TotalPDA and Webmart from the UK, Poland’s Mellon Poland Sp.z o.o, French companies GYS and Webhelp, and Dutch firms De Nederlandse Energie Maatschappij B.V. and Huxley Associates.

With all 10 companies demonstrating outstanding growth over the past year, the EBA judges were impressed with the nominees’ proven ability to cope with fluctuating markets. Candidates such as print specialist Webmart - which reported a growth rate of 23.16% in 2008 - have responded to the credit crunch with a range of positive strategies.

“The downturn has created a fantastic opportunity for companies prepared to go out and grab them and we’ve decided to invest faster in our software development and marketing to take advantage of the recession. Each €1 invested now is worth €2 in relative competitive advantage as our rivals are cutting their investment, so by building an increased strategic advantage now we will benefit disproportionately when the inevitable economic upturn begins,” said Webmart CEO Simon Biltcliffe.

About The European Business Awards:
The European Business Awards is an independent Awards programme designed to recognise and promote excellence, best practice and innovation in the European business community, in line with the broad aims of the European Union and business representative groups across the member states.

Celebrating its third successful year, the European Business Awards highlight and promote examples of individuals and organisations that achieve outstanding results across a variety of disciplines - from environmental concern to marketing and ICT - results that set them apart as leaders in Europe.

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