Burnley has been handed a hugely significant national accolade by being named “The Most Enterprising Area in the UK”.
The award is deserved recognition for the town which is bucking the trend of the national economic downturn, according to council chiefs.
Recent years have seen huge investment in education, regeneration and business in Burnley with many more exciting projects on the horizon.
It is not just about investment though – the award recognises the shared work of Burnley Borough Council, politicians and local businesses in getting projects off the ground in the midst of one of the most severe economic climates this country has experienced.
Judges at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said they were impressed by work to “reframe perceptions of Burnley”.
The Burnley Bondholders – a collection of business leaders working together to raise the profile of the town – and the much publicised interest shown by Prince Charles has boosted Burnley’s profile nationally.
The council’s chief executive, Mr Steve Rumbelow, said: “Thre’s a real buzz about the place.
“We’ve been working hard for the last few years, particularly while we’ve been in recession, to make sure that when we come out we can do so with a bounce.
“We feel that we now have the foundation for a much brighter future. The competitive nature of business in this country means that profile is crucial – we have upped our profile. The work of the Burnley Bondholders has been key to this.
“Burnley is bucking the trend. If we can achieve such progression in the most difficult of times then we can do it even better when the economy picks up.”
Judges also praised the commitment from Burnley Council to assist businesses, that commitment was just as important as a big budget and that Burnley could be seen as “a pioneer for others”.
In further recognition of this, Burnley has been nominated to represent the UK, alongside the FA Premier League, in the European Enterprise Awards, to be held in Lithuania in November.
Leader of Burnley Borough Council, Coun. Julie Cooper, said: “We are punching above our weight and we have big ambitions.
“Burnley is well on its way to forging a strong international reputation as a centre of excellence for manufacturing, particularly in the aerospace industry.
“This award reflects Burnley’s growing stature in showing the way to the rest of the country in promoting manufacturing in Britain and puts us on the map as a place where enterprise and innovation are thriving.
“It’s great that we’re the most enterprising area in Britain but it’s only the start. It reflects what’s happening in our town but it’s nowhere near the end of the story.
“Work which is underway to create an innovative ‘supply village’ in the former Michelin tyre factory is just one example of how an old manufacturing site that was symbolic of Britain’s industrial past is being transformed into a shining example of our country’s high-tech manufacturing future.”
The Enterprising Britain Awards are seen as a key part of the Government’s drive to increase rates of entrepreneurial activity in the UK.
It is being managed by Young Chamber Ltd on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.