Friday, November 30, 2012 | 1:31 PM
What do you get if you combine a Chinese language school based in Spain and run by an Italian, a travel information company from the UK and a German online tennis shop? The answer: the winners of the euronews Business Awards competition 2012, which were sponsored by Google.
The three winners were in Brussels yesterday evening for a prize-giving ceremony. Each received a trophy, a Galaxy Nexus phone and a Chromebook, as well as training about how to make the most of the web from Google experts. And best of all, euronews made a mini-documentary about each of the winners, which will be aired on the euronews network and on YouTube.
Back in September, we launched the competition to find interesting stories of small and medium sized businesses using the internet to successfully attract customers, grow their market share or go global. From pig farms to cooking schools, more than 100 small businesses sent in their video submissions, reminding us of the vast array of businesses benefiting from the web.
A panel of expert judges whittled down all the video entries to a final shortlist of 15, it was up to members of the public to vote for their favourite videos in each of the three categories: Growing Online; Going International; and Women in Business. Over 4,000 people across Europe participated in the competition by watching the videos and voting for their favourites.
Times are tough across Europe but in Rostock, a town with one of the highest unemployment rates in Germany, centercourt.de has thrived online for over 12 years. Orientalmente's story demonstrates how the web helps entrepreneurs get new ideas off the ground quickly, creating new jobs in Spain, where finding work is very tough at the moment. And MyDestination.com shows how it's possible to build a global business in double quick time thanks to the Internet. All three winners are a timely reminder of how the internet helps small businesses in any part of Europe grow.