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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.6 Developing entrepreneurial skills through culture

Last update: 19 March 2024

Developing entrepreneurial skills through cultural activities

Support for youth entrepreneurship in the cultural field is implemented in the Italian legal system both through specific measures as well as general tools to support youth entrepreneurship, self-employment and start-ups (See 3.9).

The measure called “Nuove imprese a tasso zero” is managed by the INVITALIA Agency, with a counter open starting from January 13, 2016 and still open in 2022, with significant results achieved, both in terms of business plan and funded initiatives. This is a radical modification of the discipline of incentives for self-employment, introduced with the Ministerial Decree 8 July 2015, n. 140 (in implementation of the measures referred to in Title I of Legislative Decree 185/2000), whose main innovations compared to the past are represented by the audience of beneficiaries (which now includes not only young people up to 35 years of age, but also women regardless of age), by territorial extension (the whole national territory being now covered and not only disadvantaged areas) and in the type of public financial aid provided (low-interest zero-rate loans instead of non-repayable contributions).

Regarding youth cultural entrepreneurship, activities relating to the touristic-cultural supply chain (understood as activities aimed at valorising and enjoying the cultural, environmental and landscape heritage and improving services) are eligible.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) and its funding involve the Ministry of Culture as part of Mission 1 (Digitalisation, innovation, competitiveness, culture and tourism), Component 3 (Tourism and Culture 4.0). The planned interventions, in accordance with the objectives and transversal principles of the Plan, intend to restructure the key assets of the Italian cultural heritage and to encourage the creation of new services, also exploiting social participation as a lever for inclusion and regeneration, with the aim of improving attractiveness, accessibility (both physical and digital) and safety, from the general point of view of environmental sustainability. The measures are based on a multilevel governance model and foresee a strong cooperation between public actors, in line with the Faro Convention and the European Action Framework for Cultural Heritage. The M1C3 measures in which the MiC program is divided are three:,

  1. Measure 1: Cultural heritage for the next generation. Resources: €1.1 billion
  2. Measure 2: Regeneration of small cultural sites, religious and rural cultural heritage. Resources: €2.72 billion
  3. Misura 3: Industria culturale e creativa 4.0. Risorse: 0,46 mld €

In this framework the Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture has published the Public Call, funded by the European Union - NextGenerationEU, for granting non-repayable grants in favor of micro and small enterprises, third sector entities and profit and non-profit organizations, operating in the cultural and creative sectors to foster innovation and the digital transition. The Call, which has a value of 115 million euros, is part of the investment PNRR M1C3 - Investment 3.3 "Capacity building for cultural operators to manage the digital and green transition", sub-investment 3.3.2 "Support to the cultural and creative sectors for innovation and digital transition" (Action A2) and is aimed at providing support to the cultural and creative sectors for innovation and digital transition along the entire value chain (production, co-production , management, distribution and meeting with the public) through financial contributions.

Regarding formal university-based learning, there are courses with a vocation for cultural entrepreneurship. The three-year Bachelor’s degree reflects this vocation with courses in cultural heritage, the figurative arts, music, entertainment and fashion, the sciences of tourism, education and training and the social sciences and communication.

Regarding the Master’s Degrees, there are courses in anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, information, education and training, social sciences, communication, cultural and landscape heritage, with a significant technological footprint.

Regards non-formal learning (See 6.4), an important role is played by the Italian Youth Agency (See1.72.5). The activities of the Agency are part of the actions aimed at encouraging and supporting youth work, promoting the participation of young people in social life through youth creativity, forms of voluntary work and self-employment.

Supporting young entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sectors

Cultura Crea 2.0, the new edition of Cultura Crea, a measure promoted by MiC in cooperation with Invitalia, which supports the founding and growth of entrepreneurial and non-profit initiatives in the cultural, creative and tourism industry sector, which aim to valorise the cultural resources of the territory in the Regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily. The program, which is part of the PON Cultura e Sviluppo 2014-2020, provides for a subsidized interest-free loan and a non-repayable grant on eligible expenses, with an additional bonus for young people, women and businesses with a legality rating and it has now been refunded with actually 54 millions at disposal. In addition to this, Cultura Crea plus has been introduced, an incentive for companies that operate in the cultural, creative and tourism sector affected by the Covid-19 emergency. The incentive consists of an extra non-repayable grant to cover working capital expenses up to a maximum of 25,000 euros, necessary for restarting and supporting businesses. The budget granted is 10 million euros until the end of 2022.

Investment programs which involve the creation or introduction of innovative products or services are funded for the creation of new businesses in the following thematic areas: 

  • knowledge (development or integration of technologies that create, organize, store, etc. data on the cultural industry ); 
  • conservation (development or integration of innovative practices and processes related to the maintenance and recovery of cultural heritage);
  • fruition (development of innovative methods of use, communication, dissemination, valorisation, including by integrating local resources, cultural heritage, with the integration of digital platforms, hardware and software products); 
  • management (development of tools to engineer management of cultural assets and activities).

The funding includes subsidized zero-interest loans and non-repayable contributions up to the admitted expense. The program provides for subsidies relating to the third sector for the management of the attractions and cultural resources of the territory, entertainment activities and cultural participation. In all these cases, more favourable conditions are recognized for projects presented by women-owned companies, young companies or companies with a legality rating.