Professional development for cultural entrepreneurs in Serbia

Academica Group (NGO), Serbia
IFCD funding: USD 97,250 | Timeline: February 2012 – February 2013

© Jonathan Davis

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About the project

Aim
Strengthen the capacities of cultural entrepreneurs in Serbia's rural and least developed areas and promote the cultural industries as a viable source for sustainable development.

About the organization
Founded in November 2004, Academica is a non-profit association that combines activities of a think tank with that of a research and development association. It is a key association in Serbia that comprehensively deals with the cultural economy. Comprising development platforms related to the creative industries, it brings together experts in humanities, social and applied sciences along with artists and creative individuals aiming to influence both cultural policy and the general public. Academica Group designs and implements research, development and production programs intended to serve as platforms for the development of strategic themes, thinking and research relative to the creative sector.

Local Context
Despite the fact that entrepreneurship and small to medium enterprises have been considered the backbone of Serbia’s economic growth in the last decade, there are no programs providing the skills, knowledge and abilities for entrepreneurs in the creative sector. In addition, there exists very little financial support for entrepreneurs seeking to establish their business. This lack of systemic support for the cultural industries is hindering their full development and as a result, they are particularly under-developed. In a country where self-employed individuals make up about 70% of the labor market in underprivileged regions and unemployment remains chronic due to a lack of business skills training, promoting professional development in the cultural industries can be a viable solution for job creation and income generation.

Main objectives
The goal of this project is to raise awareness about the concept of cultural industries in Serbia and to emphasize that the creative sector is a source of sustainable development and jobs, particularly in least-developed areas. The project promotes the cultural industries as a viable means for sustainable growth and poverty reduction. Policy-making and financing measures are used to create conditions for the cultural industries to grow in targeted areas. In addition, focus is on creating a network which would regroup the various stakeholders of the country’s creative sector, in an effort to encourage public-private partnerships.

Main activities
This project provides capacity building and mentoring for 150 cultural entrepreneurs from 15 rural and least-developed Serbian municipalities. This will be followed by the creation of a cultural industries support fund to provide seed funding to viable entrepreneurial initiatives. It also will organize panels, debates and media events with key stakeholders, leaders and decision makers to identify areas in need of policy development.

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