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  • INTERACTIVE CITIES

    The Intercultural cities programme (ICC) supports cities in reviewing their policies through an intercultural lens and developing comprehensive intercultural strategies to help them manage diversity positively and realise the diversity advantage.

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in September (Alba Iulia).
    Transnational meetings in February (Lisbon), June (Tartu) and October (Ghent).
    Transnational meeting in January (Murcia). Final event in April (Genoa).

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

    Via Palazzo di Città, 1 - 10121 Turin (Italy)

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

    Edifício Municipal, Campo Grande nº25, 6ºE | 1749 -099 Lisboa

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

    City of Loulé
    Praça da República, 8104-001 Loulé
    Phone +351 289 400 600

    CONTACT US

    City of Igualada
    Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 1, 08700 Igualada, Barcelona

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    City of Genoa
    Via di Francia, 1 - XI floor. 16149 Genova

    CONTACT US

    This Action Planning network explored how digital, social media and user generated content can improve today’s urban management in European cities, whatever size. This challenge has been tackled in two ways: as an opportunity to redefine and deepen the concept of citizenship and civic engagement today, providing a path to spark cohesion, commonalities and shared value as well as increasing sense of place. As well as a way to improve the quality of public services, in terms of efficiency and transparency, and even widen the current service chart provided by local authorities.

    Digital, social media and user-generated content improving urban governance
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  • Supporting strategy-creation in the field of internationalization

    Hungary
    Debrecen

    Data-driven local governance aiming at improving the life of internationals

    Mariann Mocsár-Vámos
    Urban development Expert
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    Summary

    In Debrecen, traditional approaches to economic development were mostly about developing infrastructure, rather than focusing on people. After moving to making data-driven decisions, via survey of needs, Debrecen has been able to develop a strategy to welcome and retain international talents.

    Solutions offered by the good practice

    Debrecen is the economic, cultural, and scientific centre of eastern Hungary – and the country’s second largest city. With a booming economy, the city allocates considerable resources to promoting international investment and developing local businesses. Recently Debrecen announced more than two billion euros in foreign direct investment and 8000 new workplaces. 

    Hosting several multinationals such as BMW, Continental and Thyssenkrupp, and one of the oldest and largest universities in the country, Debrecen has a fair amount of international talent – and employment opportunities. Several separate initiatives were available to help international professionals and students on arrival in the city and during their stay.

    However, support was lacking in some areas. For example, many expatriates struggled to find suitable affordable housing, or understand key municipal information in Hungarian. Traditional approaches to economic development were mostly about developing infrastructure, rather than focusing on people.

    Debrecen’s involvement in WIT was managed by the city’s economic development centre, the municipality-owned company EDC Debrecen Nonprofit Kft (EDC). To enable the municipal government to make data-driven decisions, EDC launched an initial survey to identify internationals’ needs.

    Through interviews, and 450 survey answers for online questionnaires, EDC gathered perspectives on Debrecen’s safety, public transport and culture etc. The results showed that international residents appreciated the calmness, green areas, and social life, but lacked centralised information in English and international cultural events. Specific questions to international students also helped analyse potential future skills in the workforce and their match with the city’s growing number of multi-national corporations.

    Sustainable and integrated urban approach

    The aim is to create an environment, in which internationals find proper living conditions, that enriches the attractiveness of the city. The more international talent settles down in Debrecen, the higher the need for their integration is. Their expertise, skills and experiences help Debrecen reach a higher value-added in terms of economy, living conditions and social aspect.

    This process and integrity are emphasized by the Welcoming policy of Debrecen in the framework of internationalization. This policy contributes to the development of Debrecen in the field of local business environment, tourism, education (from kindergarten till higher education) which supports the sustainable urban development.

    Participatory approach

    The URBACT Local Group (ULG) brought together stakeholders linked to the city’s Investment Strategy and others such as expat relocation services. This helped Debrecen to develop a new motivation to change the city’s mindset towards internationalisation – and played an important role in looking at how they could help make life easier for expats in their city.

    Learning from Groningen and partner cities at WIT transnational meetings, EDC Debrecen developed a valuable peer learning approach locally, working with stakeholders individually on specific questions.  

    The strong stakeholder relations developed through WIT have played a key part in convincing local leaders to also focus on the social aspects of economic development. Building on this, EDC Debrecen will continue to pursue longer term goals, such as improving support for affordable accommodation, and encouraging local companies to recruit international talent.

    What difference has it made

    Given the linkages of the project to wider inward investment and economic development strategies, they engage with individuals on a one-to-one basis. The objective is to keep on growing the local economy and an integral to that is relationships with people, whether that be multinational companies, workers, or students.

    Language was confirmed as a serious barrier for many internationals trying to settle in Debrecen. So, supported by the Vice-Mayor, the ULG and EDC Debrecen decided to develop a website in English with practical information on topics ranging from jobs and housing to cultural programs.

    EDC Debrecen also identified other websites where English versions would be useful, for example on public transport, city works, the Christmas Fair, and other events. The local theatre started providing English subtitles, and other foreign languages will be introduced into the city’s cultural programme.

    Transferring the practice

    The long-term goal is to promote the internationalization of Debrecen, and to keep contributing to its urban and economic development. International presence in Debrecen makes our city a genuine multicultural community and enhances the achievement of the objectives we outlined in our Debrecen2030 Development Program. The city seeks to be as attractive as possible for international talent to stay and in our vision the city cannot be imagined without an international profile.

    The base of the transferring journey was to change the mindset not only within our organization but among stakeholders and the municipality.

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  • Nine ways cities can become more just and inclusive

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    15/11/2022

    These local actions for a fairer society are inspiring cities across the EU. Could they work in your city too?

    Articles
    Disadvantaged neighbourhoods

    The New Leipzig Charter highlights three forms of the transformative city which can be harnessed in Europe to enhance people’s quality of life: the Just City, the Green City and the Productive City.

    URBACT’s latest publication is packed with sustainable solutions to address these three dimensions – all tried, tested and transferred between EU cities, with adaptations for each local context.

    To give a taste of the full stories in ‘Good practice transfer: Why not in my City?’, here are nine examples of local actions for Just Cities. We hope towns and cities of all sizes will be inspired to ‘Understand, Adapt and Re-use’ these ideas for working with communities to fight exclusion and help drive a just transition to a green economy.

    1. Boost social inclusion through music

    One way Brno (CZ) is tackling social exclusion in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and encouraging children to stay in school, is a music programme inspired by the innovative Municipal Music School and Arts Centre in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (ES). Brno is one of six EU cities in the ONSTAGE network, which have adopted l’Hospitalet’s inclusive approach – with groups including a symphonic orchestra, big bands, pop-rock, and jazz groups. Working with teachers and parents, Brno launched its own group music activities in deprived areas, bringing people together, facilitating cultural exchanges, and even improving school results in maths and other subjects.

    2. Encourage volunteering

    Pregrada (HR) has found a way to awaken its volunteering potential and encourage more young people to get involved in helping others. Forming a diverse local group to connect relevant associations, council staff, and citizens of all ages, they introduced a new governance structure around volunteering, part of a participatory model for solving local social problems. The town, which already had many active volunteers, and close links between relevant boards and the council, based its new framework on the well-established Municipal Council of Volunteering in Athienou (CY) while also exchanging with six other EU cities in the Volunteering Cities network.

    3. Commit to inclusion and tolerance

    Hamburg’s Altona district (DE) has launched an anti-discrimination strategy, with a set of principles known as the ‘Altona Declaration’, co-developed by political leaders and residents: “We in Altona,… stand for a free and democratic society; like to encounter new people; represent diversity and engage against discrimination; encounter every person with respect and tolerance; believe in the equality of all people; recognise the chances that come with diversity and encounter every person openly and without prejudices.”

    Inspired by Amadora’s (PT) ‘Don’t feed the rumour’ initiative, through the RUMOURLESS CITIES network, Altona appointed local campaign ambassadors, and asked residents about community, democracy and equality – confirming a common desire to live in a society where people take care of each other.

    4. Celebrate local heritage through storytelling

    A movement to celebrate the built environment, promote active citizenship and fight urban isolation is growing up around a former radio station in a 1950s suburb of Pori (FI). Working with the city’s cultural department, an arts collective based on the site formed a local group and asked neighbours and radio enthusiasts to share their stories, in person and online, sparking new events, interest in local heritage, and the re-use of abandoned space in the old radio station. Pori based the initiative on good practice from Budapest’s annual ‘Weekend of Open Houses’, thanks to the Come in! network.

    5. Co-manage city assets

    The Belgian city of Ghent has a long history of policy participation, with council-appointed ‘neighbourhood managers’ supporting a variety of citizens’ initiatives. The Civic eState network helped Ghent learn from urban commons legislation in cities like Naples, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Gdansk, further boosting cooperation with residents – and bringing the city’s policy participation, real estate, and legal services to work together. Ghent applied these learnings in the re-use of the decommissioned Saint Jozef Church. Commoners, citizens, and nearby organisations formed a local group to jointly assign a local coordinator to ensure the building’s management and activities take into account the needs of its diverse neighbourhood.

    6. Empower neighbourhood partnerships

    A new initiative in the French metropole of Lille identifies local associations and their potential synergies in deprived neighbourhoods, in order to empower communities to propose and build their own joint social projects – such as linking up a retirement home with a neighbouring school. The idea is to support these projects on the road to self-sufficiency. Lille based their initiative on learnings from Lisbon’s (PT) Local Development Strategy for Priority Intervention areas, thanks to the Com.Unity.Lab network. Lisbon’s scheme tackles urban poverty and empowers communities by providing micro-grants to thousands of local projects, many of which become autonomous and create permanent jobs.

    7. Engage with citizens through play and games

    Cork (IE), is taking a ‘playful’ approach to improving the city for all, steered by a local group ‘Let’s Play Cork’ which includes the City Council, public bodies and associations across health, education, culture and sports. Applying good practice from Udine (IT) and other cities in the Playful Paradigm network, Cork’s actions so far include: pop-up play areas in the city centre, parks and libraries; play-based resources for festivals; toy-lending in libraries; and providing ‘street-play packs’ for neighbourhood events. This approach has been a catalyst for local groups and residents to start tackling societal challenges together, such as co-developing playful ideas for public spaces, including the permanent pedestrianisation of certain roads.

    8. Build municipality-NGO cooperation

    The ‘NGO House’ in Riga (LV) is a place for civil society organisations to hold events, develop sustainable cooperation with the municipality; and receive educational, technical and administrative support. The model inspired cities across the EU to boost their own synergies between NGOs, citizens and institutions – with support from the ACTive NGOs network. The Sicilian town of Siracusa, for example, has developed three new public spaces with local associations: Citizen's House on an abandoned floor of a school in a disadvantaged neighbourhood; Officine Giovani in a historic centre; and the Urban Centre, a recovered space, bringing the administration and community together in planning local policies.

    9. Welcome international talent

    Home to several multinational companies and a university, Debrecen (HU) is expanding support for professionals and students arriving from other countries to feel welcome and stay on as valuable members of the community. Debrecen is one of six cities in the Welcoming International Talent network, inspired by Groningen (NL) where a multidisciplinary team provides international residents with active support in housing, work, city living and communication. With improved stakeholder relations convincing local leaders to see social aspects of economic development, next steps include support for affordable accommodation, and encouraging local companies to recruit international talent.

    Find out more about these, and many more, sustainable city solutions – in the new URBACT publication ‘Good practice transfer: Why not in my City?’.

    Visit the Good Practice database for more inspiration.

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  • Welcoming International Talent

    Timeline

    Kick-off Meeting - Groningen, the Netherlands
    Transnational Meetings 2019 - Debrecen, Hungary - Zlin, Czech Republic - Parma, Italy - Magdeburg, Germany - Bielsko-Biala, Poland
    Transnational Meeting 2020 - Leuven, Belgium, Final Meeting - Groningen, the Netherlands
    Final Conference Welcoming International Talent

    This Transfer network focus on Higher education and knowledge economy, both have become a global competition for talent. Whereas the main European cities attract both students and skilled-workers by their scale and fame, medium-sized cities, like Groningen, will need a policy to attract talent, and to keep them economically active. In this project the best practice of Groningen, a welcoming policy for International Students and skilled workers, will be transferred.

    Cities looking for global talents
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  • Welcoming international professionals and students

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    15/11/2022
    MEDINT project MEDINT is an URBACt I Project which studied the integrated approach concept, which has become a characteristic feature of European urban development strategies. The work carried out in European cities shows that this concept has been interpreted and implemented in a variety of different ways (integration of local actors, of different economic sectors, of different initiatives, of different development tools and policies). The conclusions of the MEDINT network are summarized in the form of several pdf files.
    Articles
    City Branding

    European cities are becoming more international and multicultural. Despite the rise of negative sentiments around immigration and the fear of loss of identity, for many cities, finding international talent is an economic necessity. They need engineers, scientists, knowledge workers, but also plumbers, nurses and truck drivers. There are simply too many job openings that cannot be filled by locals or nationals. Moreover, Europe’s universities are vying to attract international students: to make up for an ageing home region, or just as a means to pick the best brains…

    In the URBACT Transfer Network, titled “Welcoming International Talent”, we focus on the question of how cities can effectively deal with the challenge of attracting, welcoming, retaining and integrating international students and professionals.

    This poses a lot of questions that cannot be answered by the city alone: it involves many players, including the universities, employers, citizens, cultural institutions, etc. And it touches on many policy fields: social, economic, urban planning, housing….

    Especially for smaller and medium sized cities, this form of skills-oriented internationalisation poses new questions and challenges. Unlike larger cities and capitals, they never had such large groups of residents (temporary or permanent) from abroad, but now they are facing a new reality.

    The city of Groningen, in the North of the Netherlands, is a prime example. Being a student city, it saw the number of foreign students grow dramatically in the last decade. And, the scientific staff of its universities has become more international too. At the same time, the local economy is growing, requiring skilled people, but the population is ageing and the workforce shrinking. Thus, for Groningen, a key challenge is to try to connect the dots: if more internationals students would stay and find a job in Groningen after graduation –rather than leave for their home country or a big city- it would benefit the urban and regional economy and counter go against the ageing trend. And, as Jan Kees Kleuver, project leader, stresses, “Groningen is essentially a student city. We need to attract more international students, because our regional population is ageing, and student numbers may go down….”

    Welcoming international expats is hard work

    Easier said than done! There are many barriers. Without mastering the Dutch language, it is not easy to fully participate in society. Until recently, Groningen’s theatres and events did not cater for English speaking people; moreover, even when most Dutch people speak English, it can be hard to find your way into local sports or music clubs, understand the Dutch healthcare system, find an international school for your kids, or obtain an internship. And it turns out that despite a low language barrier, Dutch and international students hardly mix. Then, there are (student) housing shortages, a lot of red tape regarding immigration rules, etc etc. How welcoming is all that?

    There is a lot to be done in Groningen, on many levels, to become a welcoming city to international expats. Last year, a set of key stakeholders – city, universities, the academic hospital, and big employers - decided to join forces and develop an integrated strategy to attract and embed international people to Groningen, and make them feel at home. A number of concrete actions are being taken:
    - developing a cultural community platform;
    - setting up an international house in the city centre;
    - measures to ease the bureaucratic burden for internationals;
    - support for regional companies to hire foreigners or provide places for internships;
    - a buddy system, linking locals to internationals.

    Groningen is very active, a frontrunner in this field. Most importantly, it involves the international crowd in the design and implementation of every action or policy, to make sure it’s a good fit. After successfully applying for “URBACT Good Practice”, it now leads a growing network of medium sized European cities that share the same ambition. 

    Welcoming International Talent URBACT Network

    As it stands now, the cities of Bielsko Biala (PO), Debrecen (HU), Leuven (BE), Magdeburg (DE), Parma (IT), and Zlin (CZ) have joined the network. They share the fact that they are medium sized university cities, with a growing influx of internationals. They all have the strategic ambition to become more attractive and welcoming to international professionals and students, and they want to learn from Groningen’s example. The partners realise that a common vision and partnership is required to get things done; first of all between city and the university, but also with employers, cultural institutions, events etc.  This is far from easy to achieve, and there is much to be learned. The partners have their own very specific local issues, and have developed remarkable initiatives themselves already. All cities see the project as a catalyst for their own ambitions and strategies; by peer reviewing each other, they hope to be inspired and go home with fresh ideas. As the vice mayor of Zlin, one of the partner cities, put it: “we will not wait until the end of the project to change our policies: we hope to be inspired by our partner cities, and start bringing partners together from day one, developing actions together, and implementing them”.

    Main issues identified

    The partners identified a number of specific issues on which the collaboration should focus:

    • Attracting international talent (marketing of the region together)
    • Labour market integration of foreign professionals and students
    • Social & cultural integration
    • Internationalisation of urban services, facilities and amenities
    • Housing and accommodation for internationals
    • Internationalisation of higher education & research
    • The cross-cutting topic of governance: collaboration between stakeholders, involvement/engagement of internationals

    How does a tree grow - and can you transplant it?

    Transferring Good Practices is far from straightforward. In this project, we compare the best practice to a tree: a living creature, that took long to grow and flourish, and that has roots in a fertile soil. The trunk of the Groningen tree is the comprehensive strategy of the city’s key stakeholders towards internationalisation.  The projects and policy programmes are its branches and the leaves of the tree are the visible actions and results of the strategy.

    The roots of the tree are beneath the surface. You cannot see them but they are decisive for the tree’s development. They represent the underlying institutional structures that helped the partners in Groningen to collaborate: trust between the key players/stakeholders; a shared ambition to lift up the city as place for international talent; and the shared realisation that collaboration is needed in the wider region – as well as shared leadership, to take responsibility for something that stretches beyond the interest of the individual organisations/stakeholders.

    The soil stands for cultural aspects that make it possible for the tree (trunk, branches, leaves and roots) to grow. It is a main source of nutrients. In the case of Groningen, this represents the participative tradition of involving citizens (in this case: internationals) in the design of policies; and its ability to collaborate and allocate resources to the common goal, resolving any emerging conflicts of interest.  

    The tree can only flourish in the right climate and weather conditions. This includes the political climate (the city management and elected representatives supporting the policy direction) and social climate: a receptive and supportive local population that embraces internationalisation to a large extent. Weather and climate can change, with significant implications for the tree.

    What does this imply for transfer potential?

    First of all, transferring an entire tree to another place is possible but very difficult, because the life of the tree depends on so many factors. That does not mean that it is impossible. Transfer to other cities can be considered on the level of the fully integrated programme approach, or on the level of individual projects. The latter will be the easiest. Stakeholders in Groningen have highly detailed project plans which they are happy to share with other cities. Also, the digital platforms (the cultural events website Here&Now and the new general Groningen platform for internationals) are being designed under the Creative Commons licence to facilitate replication and transfer.

    The transfer of the fully integrated approach is certainly also feasible, but it will require more effort, strong political, top-level support, and may take longer to materialize, especially for cities that are in an early stage of co-ordinating their internationalisation strategies. Also, contextual factors will play an important role: the local culture of collaboration, power relations between key stakeholders, competences, etc.

    Last but not least: although Groningen is recognized as good practice, there is much to be learned from the others as well. For example, Magdeburg set up a very interesting welcoming ceremony for all new internationals; Zlin University set up a buddy system linking Czech students to international ones, to foster integration. There is much to learn from other trees in the European garden. 

    ***

    Visit the network's page: Welcoming International Talent

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  • Building an effective entrepreneurship eco-system

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    15/11/2022

    How can cities create effective programmes for promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship? How should cities respond to some of the structural changes currently taking place in the business start-up market?

    With an estimated 100 million businesses starting up across the globe annually, an increasing number adopting innovative business models (built, for example, around the ‘sharing’ or ‘gig’ economy) and the number of sole-trader businesses increasing annually, this is clearly a highly active and increasingly disruptive marketplace.

    Among all URBACT Good Practices, Glasgow (co-operative entrepreneurship), Bologna (creative entrepreneurship), Piraeus (marine sector based entrepreneurship); and Barcelona (inclusive entrepreneurship) provide interesting examples on how to create impactful city-wide ‘ecosystems’ for promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship.  

    What are ‘entrepreneurship eco-systems’?

    Articles
    Digital transitions

    ‘Entrepreneurship eco-systems’ are essentially the ‘building blocks’ for stimulating entrepreneurship which can be adapted in a city to create a stronger or lesser environment for fostering entrepreneurship.

    The concept of places needing to think about such eco-systems has been widely developed by Dan Isenberg, the founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project and a former professor at the Harvard Business School.

    In his Forbes Magazine article, Isenberg suggests that the place-based ‘entrepreneurial eco-systems’ are made up of the culture of the city; the business enabling policies; the strength of local leadership; the availability of suitable finance for business; the quality of human capital; venture-friendly markets; and a range of institutional and infrastructural support.

    Why ‘entrepreneurship eco-systems’ are becoming increasingly important

    Wider structural changes within society are blurring the traditional boundaries between employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

    Shifts in technology, connectivity and the wants and expectations of both employers and employees are creating significant changes to the nature of work and the formal and informal contracts that exist between employer and worker (see, for example, Preparing for the Future of Work, World Economic Forum, 2016).

    These changes are giving rise to a whole new generation of freelancers.

    Overlay on top of these changes some of the wider shifts in society – including slow wage growth, the increasing high-cost of living in some of the world’s major Cities and the growth in the freelancer community – and it’s easy to see how these changes can support the future growth of some of Europe’s smaller and more peripheral cities (for an example, see The Four Trends That Will Change the Way We Work By 2021, Fast Company, 2015).

    These changes are also giving rise to a whole new vocabulary.  Phrases like the ‘independent workforce’ have emerged to describe the range of different contracting relationships that individuals can have with business. The number of solo-entrepreneurs - or ‘solopreneurs’ – is on the rise. Phrases like side-giggers have emerged to describe individuals who work in the sharing economy, whilst also holding down a traditional job, on a part-time basis.

    Udacity, the innovative online education provider that works in partnership with leading tech companies like Google, AT&T, and Facebook has coined the term ‘nano-degree’ and ‘nano-job’ to describe the short-term nature of individuals learning needs and the short-term nature of some work assignments in the tech industry.

    Rethinking traditional employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes is necessary

    With the blurring of lines between employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship, many forward-thinking cities are having to re-think the traditional employability and entrepreneurship programmes they have previously provided for their residents.

    Employability programmes increasingly need to include more content on enterprise and entrepreneurship, to try and support participants to acquire the skills needed to survive in today’s more complex labour market.

    Similarly, Entrepreneurship programmes need to adapt to be better suited to the increasing number of freelancers and sole traders joining their programmes, and to take account of innovative new business models that businesses might adopt. You only have to search for ‘Tools for Solopreneurs’ on the internet to see how fundamentally different their support needs are from more ‘traditional’ businesses.

    But the changes needed are much more widespread than that.

    Ultimately, because of the changing nature of the relationship between employer and individual, cities also need to try to embed a much deeper culture of enterprise in their entire population, to try and ensure that they are equipped with a more independent, resilient and self-reliant outlook and also possess the necessary problem solving, business and creativity skills needed to survive in this new world of work.

    The processes for collaborating with young entrepreneurs has had to become more collaborative and ‘experiential’ than ‘traditional’ start-up programmes – to encompass hackathons, service jams and meet-ups, rather than relying solely on classroom-based training courses and advice sessions.  

    Tips and Tricks from URBACT Good Practices    

    The Good Practices of Glasgow (co-operative entrepreneurship), Bologna (creative entrepreneurship), Piraeus (marine sector based entrepreneurship) and Barcelona (inclusive entrepreneurship) have each taken a different approach to business support, which other cities can take inspiration from.  

    •       Establishing a strong ‘generalist’ support system: Barcelona Activa’s Inclusive Entrepreneurship Good Practice offers a ‘universal’ service that is ‘available for all’ in the city which – between 2004 and 2016 - has supported over 100,000 participants, established over 18,000 companies and created over 32,000 jobs. It operates on the basis of being open to everyone and delivers a mix of online, one-to-many and face-to-face support services to anyone looking to start their own business. In addition, they offer specialist support services for particular nice groups they want to encourage, like women entrepreneurs and people from ‘disadvantaged’ backgrounds.



       
    •        Stimulating social entrepreneurship: Glasgow’s Co-operative City Good Practice has developed a city-wide approach to co-operative development, which is building new partnerships between public services and local people to foster greater co-design and delivery of local services and giving a wider group of residents of the city a direct experience of running, or being a shareholder in a social enterprise. The scale of the reach that Glasgow’s programme has achieved is impressive, helping local residents think about how social entrepreneurship can support their community to tackle local challenges. Stimulating social entrepreneurship in communities to help people overcome particular challenges can help individuals gain the experience of running a business, without necessarily having to carry all of the risk
      (because they are working in partnership with others).



       
    •        Supporting creative & cultural industries: Bologna’s IncrediBOL! Creative Innovation Good Practice programme provides a range of tailored support to creative businesses to support them to start up, has received over 500 applications over the last 7 years, supported over 80 businesses, which have a survival rate of 81%. The methodology for delivering support to businesses that apply to the programme is through a widely publicised business plan competition, which has been particularly successful in stimulating creative business ideas from the market, and investing in successful projects which have built the cultural fabric of the city (further building Bologna’s reputation as a cultural hotspot and attracting more creative talent).



       
    •        Building on your cities sector strengths and strategic assets: Piraeus’ Blue Growth Good Practice is a programme, which seeks to stimulate the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship in the marine sector in Piraeus. It seeks to strengthen and build upon some of the sectoral specialisms and strategic (topographic) assets of the city. As a sector based innovation programme, it also works around a business plan competition, supporting successful applicants to start-up.

    The four Good Practices also share a number of key characteristics, that make them stand out as Good Practice entrepreneurship programmes, namely;

    •        Their high levels of awareness / deep market reach: All of these programmes have managed to reach deeply into their target communities and create a high level of awareness and interest in their programmes, inspiring and making possible the aspirations of fledgling entrepreneurs. Achieving high-levels of awareness and market reach is important to drive up demand for entrepreneurship and help people understand where they can get support.

       
    •        Their approach to supporting entrepreneurs to grow their business. All of these programmes offer tailored and bespoke support to the people that go through their programmes, connecting them to the specialist support they need to succeed and/or stimulating other important components of the eco-system of support, to ensure aspiring entrepreneurs have access to the help they need to grow their business;

       
    •        Their work on stimulating a strong enterprise culture in their city. All 4 Good Practices also focus on trying to stimulate a change in the enterprise culture of their cities, by working in partnership with a range of stakeholders and agencies in their cities to widely promote the benefits of entrepreneurship.

    Creating successful entrepreneurial eco-systems requires a whole-system approach

    What these four Good Practices demonstrate is how creating a widespread change in the enterprise culture of a city can be a complex and challenging task, that requires strong leadership from city administrations, highly effective partnerships and the stimulation of crowd actions through an ‘ecosystem’ approach (for an explanation of eco-system thinking, see ‘What I Learned from Trying to Innovate at the New York Times’, John Geraci, April 2016) 

    A city cannot just focus on delivering one or two great entrepreneurship programmes targeted on a few niche sectors of the community, but needs to ‘conduct’ the market like the conductor in an orchestra - to incentivise behaviour change amongst communities, individuals, agencies, influencers and sub-cultures, to try and achieve an overall change in the macro-culture of the city.

    In addition to considering the whole-system, it is also important to think about the way different programmes incentivise people to think about starting their own business and how these programmes work together as part of a coherent customer proposition.

    In adopting the approach used by the URBACT Good Practices, other cities can create powerful support ‘systems’, which could work together to inspire and make possible the aspirations of their entrepreneurial residents.

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