Three small businesses - two with a staff of 28 and one with just two employees - have won the first European IST Prize for innovative IT products with market potential.
The grand prize winners, who each receive ??200,000, are Advestigo, Cavendish Kinetics and Guardia.
France's Advestigo won for its AdvestiSearch product, a digital content monitoring system for deterring media pirates; Netherlands-based Cavendish for its Nanomech embedded flash memory technology that can withstand radiation and extreme temperatures; and Denmark's Guardia for its Guardia Control System, a face recognition security system which could be used in cashpoints, airports or business premises.
Prizes of ??5,000 were also awarded to 17 companies for their ground-breaking technologies.
A total of 213 applicants from 28 European countries competed for the 2006 IST Prize, which was organised by the European Commission and the European Council of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering.
At yesterday's awards dinner in Vienna, information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding called for more European investment in IT but added: "We must also ensure that this investment feeds a chain of innovation and growth throughout the economy."
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