As preparation for Action Plans (AP) are under way, ECoC-SME project held a project workshop on the results of Local Learning Labs (LLLs), and stakeholders’ needs and suggestions for AP development.

Local Learning Labs (LLL) are workshops held by our partners to engage their local/regional Stakeholder Groups in the discussion & joint development of ideas for harnessing the local ECoC project for SME generation & support.


Facilitating entrepreneurship in the Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI)

Leeuwarden sees a need for a better setting for CCI start-ups to grow, bloom & prosper, with special attention to young CCI-entrepreneurs-to-be. It is a part of their AP to adjust the existing strong ecosystem for entrepreneurship in Leeuwarden & Fryslân to the needs of the CCI. Simultaneously, there has been increasing urgency to engage the CCI-sector in policy aimed at entrepreneurship.

Along the way, our Dutch partners (Gemeente Leeuwarden and Business Development Friesland) are re-building & testing their Good Practice Launch Game for the CCI. Their Leeuwarden ECoC-legacy-organisation Leeuwarden-Fryslân2028 is also integrating CCI-entrepreneurship in their work on Arcadia – a 100-day international art and culture event in 2022.


Materahub has been an active partner in many interregional projects generating innovative and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems, new forms of cross-sectoral collaboration and new skills development in CCI.

Their proposal for AP is to stimulate public investment in the Basilicata region for the CCI to build capacity building and cross collaboration actions with other strategic sectors, investing in the creation of new prototypes, new enterprises and new models of socio-economic growth. 

Additionally, Matera also seeks to propose a more effective role for the actors who have managed the year by ECoC in their AP. At the same time, discussions are underway for Matera to form an online network of cultural operators in ECoCs. Our Italian partner saw and acknowledged similarities but no interregional interactions between these operators. This network can help cultural operators survive after the ECoC year.

Creating a business-friendly environment in the CCI in Timisoara is very much needed for post-COVID recovery of the sector. Additionally, further involvement of TM2023 is required, as an intermediary between CCI and other industries. The organisation can strengthen cross-regional and cross-sectoral partnerships by acting as a coordinator for European relations, with a focus on the ECoC bid book and maximising local impacts.

Capitalising on an active and closely-collaborative stakeholder network, the Municipality of Timisoara is designing Cultural2Business as an action of their AP – a three-day hackathon for prospective entrepreneurs to develop their cultural businesses, and existing SMEs to develop new products in relation with the ECoC mega-event and its legacy.

Strengthening cross-sectoral cooperation at the local and regional level

Constantly navigating through the Pandemic waves and adjust their ECoC programme accordingly, the Municipality of Rijeka realises cross-sector collaboration is now important like never before – and there is a need for a new model/platform/hub which allows and encourages this collaboration. Using the crisis as an accelerator for innovation development, the pivotal focus of their APs is on innovation and know-how transfer through education, mentoring, and cross multi-sectoral support.

There are three actions under development for Rijeka AP: (1) Creative Doctors, (2) Step ahead for creative beginners, and (3) More than 1000 square meters for shared use.


Kaunas’ LLLs were held around identifying effective collaboration methods in the business community, and at the same time, raising awareness of the value creation possibilities that Kaunas 2022 can offer to SMEs. From the findings of their LLLs, VMU Centre for Enterprise Practice centralises their AP around two pillars:

  1. Create a sustainable model of community integration by bringing together the youth, cultural, educational, business and social sectors, with the common goal of developing ideas for the city where one wants to live.
  2. Develop the creative thinking and entrepreneurial skills by encouraging the development of ideas that create impact in communities and Kaunas region.

The workshop has also inspired our associated partner and ECoC candidate The Saimaa Phenomenon 2026 with some ideas to complete their bid books. Read their thoughts here.