An innovative hackathon helping prospective entrepreneurs to develop their cultural businesses, and existing SMEs to develop new products in relation with the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) mega-event and its legacy.
Cultural2Business is an action of Timisoara’s Action Plan, designed for aspiring entrepreneurs in the CCI to develop their business ideas through mentoring, co-creation, and innovation.


Using, as a starting point, the Good Practice from our partners in Leeuwarden – the Cultural Launch Game, we saw a need for a replication of the programme, adapted to the local culture. The essential values for the local community in Timisoara were identified: mentoring, collaboration and co-creation, a context and also support for new initiatives.

After intensive stakeholder consultation through interregional exchange and Local Learning Labs, we come up with a hackathon-like event ‘Cultural2Business’. In Cultural2Business, participants can develop business ideas in the creative and cultural sector with the help of mentors.

Available in a format more familiar to the local of Timisoara – a hackathon, the three-day programme is free and addresses both people already involved in the CCI and people specialising in technology (programming, algorithms, any representative of the Information Technology and Communications (IT&C) sector), marketing and communication, and business management.


Before the event, there is a need for the development of a Cultural2Business programme identity, e.g., name, logo, visual identity manual, and a social media platform. Once the online presence is established, the organisers can proceed to the promotion and prepare for the implementation of the programme. There will be two pre-events prior to Cultural2Business, whose purpose is generating business ideas in the CCI in the context of ECoC, and promoting the programme within the local community.

Cultural2Business will take place over a weekend, from Friday to Sunday, thus allowing a wider participation.

The tentative agenda is as follow:

The opening and final presentations are suggested to be public events, to offer transparency into Cultural2Business’ impacts the local community, and to give the whole community the opportunity to view the results, namely the final presentations, of the event.

Should the event be held virtually to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, the structure of the programme will not change. The online transition will take into account the following components:

  • A virtual space will be used. The pre-events can be held on Zoom, and for the hackathon, Discord can be used jointly with StreamYard and YouTube live for transmission.
  • Management of participants and team work sessions, mentoring and workshops within the programme are also translated online can be held on Discord.
  • The opening presentation of the programme will be public, as well as the final presentations. For this purpose, a combination of tools and platforms will be used, such as OBS, StreamYard and YouTube Live.

Players involved

In order to facilitate innovation, create disruption, and develop new initiatives, it is crucial that the participants should come from the following sectors: CCI, business, management, communication, marketing and technology.

Mentors are members of the local community, people who have experience in business, in cultural and creative initiatives. The role of mentors is to provide:

  • practical business information and coaching in validating the business plan
  • consultancy in the cultural sector
  • access to own resources (contacts, partners)

Potential partners are public institutions, organisations or companies that bring resources to support the programme with:

  • mentoring hours both within the programme and possible post-programme for teams
  • money prizes for the winners or for all the teams
  • co-financing support to cover part or all costs
  • promoting the programme among the members of the organisation or the community


For the development of such a programme it is necessary to preparation of approximately 3 months, during which:

  • The identity of the programme is created and the promotion in the local community begins
  • Start the registration process for the programme
  • The two pre-events are implemented
  • The three-day Cultural2Business hackathon programme
  • Post-programme follow-up is done with participants and mentors


The proposed action is the result of the inspiration that the Municipality of Timisoara found from ECoC-SME Partnership. The interregional learning process developed within the project has the potential to positively influence the development of new and innovative methods to increase capacity of SMEs and prospective entrepreneurs to act in the Timisoara 2023 and its legacy context.
This action will encourage actors not only in Timisoara, but also in the West region up to 2023, the new year for Timisoara ECoC, to develop further innovative and successful approaches.