The cultural and creative industry (CCI) plays an essential but often overlooked part in startup promotion.

The project’s interregional exchange, notably experiences from the study visit to Matera last October during this city’s ECoC event year, invited project partners and stakeholders to take a look at how our Italian host Materahub address this particular issue. Additional effort prior to the visit, including reading partners' mutual reports on their first local stakeholder workshops (Local Learning Labs), also contributed to interregional learning.

The experience is then used to improve policies and practices at the local level of Basilicata (Italy) and Friesland (The Netherlands).

Matera has for some time put lots of cards on the CCI, seeing the sector's key role in turning around the negative tendencies of youth outmigration, promoting sustainable tourism and valorisation of cultural heritage.

Matera's February Local Learning Lab (LLL) was open and direct. The core audiences are the youth and fresh graduates – the direct beneficiaries of CCI investments, and the main actors of the rapidly-growing outmigration movement across Italy.

The brainstorming was conducted with a multi-angle approach, taking into consideration not only the existing regional policies, but the social, cultural, and geographical contexts. A scattered suburban Southern Italy – whose economy is made up of family-owned micro-businesses and authorities who have insufficient resources to catch up with the innovative and fast-paced world of SMEs – have so far seen few opportunities for a young graduate looking to meet both his career and financial needs.

Correspondingly, Leeuwarden hosted a brainstorming session (LLL) to re-assess and better tailor their regional startup ecosystem for the creatives.

Recognising similarities between their region and Basilicata (relative remoteness, agricultural, peripheral in their respective countries, youth outmigration issues, aging) – Leeuwarden see the potential benefits of targeting and supporting the CCI in their startup promotion policies. The LLL resulted in the identification of a crucial difference between the creative and technology sector: the former serves immaterial interests besides direct economic purposes, whereas the latter forms business plans of ‘tech-as-a-service'.

Before the LLL, Leeuwarden and Friesland had formulated the idea of a Launch Game for promoting entrepreneurship among youth. Now, inspired by Matera, they are refining the event to engage CCI startups: integrating the principle value of the sector – fulfilling meaningful purposes, and inherently the role of NGOs. 

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