The practice aims to stimulate the involvement of young high school students in planning the development of their city.
The "Creative Timișoara" program tries to familiarize the high school students with the most important resources of the city and guides them in discovering ways of improving their use. More importantly, it tries to prove to high school pupils that their voices can and should be heard when it comes to city development, as their generation will live in the environment created through the decisions made in the present.
The program started in 2015, each edition starting with a series of courses in the field of entrepreneurship held by teachers of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration and by experts from the local business environment. Participant high school pupils visit local start-ups and participate in conferences.
Teams of pupils and teachers from the same high schools are created, and each team proposes an idea for an innovative start-up that will offer goods or services to the local population, or an idea for a public investment. The teams have one month to elaborate the business/investment plans, then they promote their ideas on a crowd funding platform. The money gathered by each team belongs to the team members, standing as a proof of their idea's public validation. The final evaluation of the projects is based on the experts’ opinion and the validation from the local population. All participants receive certificates for attending the educational program and prizes from sponsors. The teams that classify on the first 3 places receive cash prize.
The main resources needed are:
• Volunteers: 10 lecturers, 2 experts in promotion activities, 4 members of the jury
• Classrooms for courses and conference rooms
• 4 buses
• Crowd funding platform
• Approx. 5.000 euro prize money for the teams and remunerations for the high school coordinators
Evidence of success
• The number of yearly participants has increased from 60 (in 2015) to 400 (in 2020);
• Over 150.000 yearly views of the online promotion campaigns led by the teams.
The difficulty of organizing classes in other cities or regions has limited the expansion of the program outside Timișoara. Currently, the pandemic shows that classes can be held successfully online. This will finally allow the program to expand regionally and, in a later stage, nationally.
Potential for learning or transfer
The "Creative Timișoara" program is the result of the collaboration between the academic environment, business environment, high schools and public authorities. Such a collaboration should be welcomed in every region. The program can be replicated, but a collaboration with the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration West University of Timișoara is also an available option.
As an example, for the 2019-2020 edition, 400 pupils divided into 4 groups imagined a business solution in the ECoC context for their city’s development with a tech approach and a social impact.
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