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 2021, 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 tourism-cultural supply chain (understood as activities aimed at valorising and enjoying the cultural, environmental and landscape heritage and improving services) are eligible.
The promotion and development of entrepreneurial potential through participation in cultural activities in the Italian system have received impetus from the National Digital School Plan. This is a policy document adopted by the then MIUR (now ME - Ministry of Education) in implementation of Law 13 July 2015, no. 107 (so-called “La Buona Scuola”) and aimed at defining an overall innovation strategy for the Italian school (See 6.8). The multi-year plan (2014-2020) provided for the implementation of the 35 points in which it was divided. Among the objectives of the plan, there were some that aimed at the acquisition for students of the skills necessary to carry out their school curriculum and oriented towards the development of entrepreneurial skills useful even at a later time, outside the school environment. The Plan included: the promotion of creativity, entrepreneurship and leadership of the students for the valorisation of the key competences of the school curricula; the involvement of students as a lever to digitize businesses; the valorisation of the relationship between school and work; the promotion of careers in the field of “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths). To achieve these objectives, various “actions” were identified that focus on entrepreneurship and the development of digital careers: among these, there are the action dedicated to a curriculum for digital entrepreneurship and the action dedicated to the development of a Digital Career Plan.
Some specific initiatives, governed by the actions identified by the Plan, have highlighted the valorisation of competition as a training tool: as well as positively tested for disciplines such as mathematics, physics and Italian, the “entrepreneurship Olympics”, structured as contests aimed at students, which consist in identifying innovative solutions (on products, services, processes).
For the development of entrepreneurial skills, the Plan aimed to valorise significant synergies, which include the School-Work Experience for digital companies: the goal is to promote a dialogue between the world of school and the world of work, built starting from the strengthening of key digital skills and competences focused on the protagonism of students.
Starting from March 2018, the Ministry of Education adopted the Syllabus for Entrepreneurship in secondary Schools , with the aim of achieving a structural introduction of entrepreneurship education in Italian schools. The tool consists of the set of materials necessary to accompany schools in the construction of structured paths to provide students with the ability to transform ideas into actions through creativity, innovation, risk assessment and assumption, the ability to plan and manage entrepreneurial projects.
The syllabus is divided into five macro-areas: forms and opportunities of doing business; the generation of the idea, the context and social needs; from the idea to the company: resources and skills; the company in action: dealing with the market; economic citizenship.
Among the initiatives included in the National Digital School Plan, there are the “acceleration paths”, which complement the expected basic curriculum and competitions, and which come from the world of entrepreneurship. These paths allow the most deserving students to gain experience with a training program, established thanks to the collaboration with the main players in the world of digital entrepreneurship and the start-up ecosystem, as well as with universities, which includes hours of training experience with workshops. in areas that concern the application of digital to contexts such as entrepreneurship, storytelling, digital marketing, the study of social media languages, among other disciplines.
Among the other initiatives included in the National Digital School Plan to promote entrepreneurship among young people connected to the concept of digital, there are workshops, intended as spaces for dialogue with the territory, put into practice by integrating programs aimed at creativity into the school education plan and the development of digital skills. For this reason, funds have been allocated for the creation of workshops that help students develop skills such as creativity and innovation (See 8.5).
Starting from 2013, with the Directorial Decree n. 436 of 13 March 2013, the Ministry of Education has provided for the creation, within the Universities, of Contamination Lab (CLabs), places of contamination between students of different disciplines and PhD students, in which to develop innovation projects with an entrepreneurial vocation. The contamination workshops consist of an exchange and sharing between several actors, in order to promote a new culture of entrepreneurship that aims to reduce the gap between the academic world and innovation, between the student and the work market.
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 that of the National Youth Agency (See 1.7, 2.5). The activities of the ANG 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.
Support young entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sectors
The “Cultura Crea” project managed by INVITALIA supports the creation and growth of entrepreneurial and non-profit initiatives in the cultural-tourism industry sector, which aim to enhance the cultural resources of the territory in the regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily. “Cultura Crea” is aimed at micro, small and medium-sized businesses of the cultural and creative industry.
For the creation of new businesses, investment programs are funded which involve the creation or introduction of innovative products or services 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 activities related to 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.