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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


8. Creativity and Culture

8.6 Developing entrepreneurial skills through culture

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  1. Developing entrepreneurial skills through cultural activities
  2. Support young entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sectors

Developing entrepreneurial skills through cultural activities

Developing entrepreneurial skills is not an objective of cultural education in Germany. Germany has no initiatives at the top authority level that would support the acquisition of such skills through cultural activities.

Young artists are supported by means of awards and prizes. Beyond that, they are often reliant on “regular” business funding, such as seed funding for start-ups. However, in many cases this kind of support is not right for projects in the cultural and creative sector. Germany maintains a separate statutory health, long-term care and pension insurance fund for freelance artists by the name of Künstlersozialkasse. 

Support young entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sectors

Cultural education in Germany also includes promoting up-and-coming artistic talent, i.e. young people who wish to pursue their artistic and cultural talents and interests professionally. Funding in this area is thus aimed at training artistic abilities and improving the profiles of young artists. In addition to training opportunities, mainly at colleges of the visual arts, music, musicals and dance, stage, art history, film and photography, a wide range of vocational training is also available, such as at stage schools, dance schools, music schools, etc.

Programmes and, above all, prizes offer up-and-coming artists the opportunity to benefit from scholarships, publicity and financial support. Programmes and prizes are organised at federal (national), state, regional and local level. Examples of prizes, programmes and similar for young artists include:

  • Youth making music (Jugend musiziert) is a music competition for children and young people that began in Germany in 1964. In addition to the artistic challenge, Jugend musiziert is about bringing together passionate young music fans. The competition has three phases: The winners of over 160 regional contents go through to the state competition. The first-placed males and females in the state competition then go through to the national final. Certificates and prizes are awarded at all three levels. In addition, foundations, organisations, institutions and private supporters award grants, special prizes and scholarships. The winners of the national finals are presented with an award by the Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
  • The German Youth Photo Prize (Deutscher Jugendfotopreis) discovers and promotes talented young photographers and helps them to develop their skills as a personal and artistic form of expression. This is done through awards, workshops, exhibitions and publications. Since it was established, well over 50 000 photographers have taken part in the German Youth Photo Prize as individuals and in groups. The German Youth Photo Prize was launched in 1961 and is organised by the German Centre for Youth and Children's Films (Deutsches Kinder- und Jugendfilmzentrum) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend). Other backers include the German photographic industry association (Photoindustrie-Verband) and photokina.
  • The Socio-Cultural fund’s 'Giving youth a chance' (Fonds Soziokultur 'Der Jugend eine Chance') funding initiative for young cultural initiatives provides financial support to young people aged 18 to 25 who have formed an initiative or club.
  • The Young Artists' Festival Bayreuth (Festival junger Künstler Bayreuth) brings together 1 950 talented young individuals from across the globe. The young artists themselves organise and entertain at the festival. About 25 000 young people from 80 nations have visited Bayreuth for the festival in 60 years. The close collaboration between young artists and cultural managers is an important part of the training.
  • The Ministry of Culture and Science (Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft) of North Rhine-Westphalia runs an award scheme for young artists, with 14 individual prizes worth 7 500 euros each awarded to artists in the fields of painting, graphic design and sculpture; poetry and writing; composition, conducting and musical performance; drama: directing, acting, singing, dance and set design; film: directing, set design, camera; media art; architecture, interior design, landscaping, urban design and design.

In addition, young artists are often reliant on ‘regular’ business funding, such as seed funding for start-ups. However, in many cases this kind of support is not right for projects in the cultural and creative sector. Some federal states thus offer special assistance. Example:

  • Baden-Württemberg: The MFG Innovation Agency (MFG Innovationsagentur) has been supporting media and the creative industries since 1995. It aims to strengthen the competitiveness of creative companies and promote industry networking, as well as to establish contacts with universities, commercial enterprises and funding institutions. MFG offers artists in the state of Baden-Württemberg needs-based support and funding for innovation processes and media projects. Other key areas include promoting talent, location marketing and continuing vocational training.