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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.6 Developing entrepreneurial skills through culture

Last update: 10 February 2022
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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

At present, as in years past, there are no cultural education programmes dedicated to the development of youth entrepreneurship. 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:

  • The cultural skills certificate Kompetenznachweis Kultur! is awarded by experts to young people aged 12 and over who are actively involved in artistic or cultural educational activities. The certificate describes the personal, social and methodological skills demonstrated by the individual throughout the activity and can help ease the transition to working life for the young person, providing talking points in interviews and an opportunity to discuss special skills.
  • 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 contests go through to the state competition. The first-placed young men and women 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 (Bundesministerin für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend).
  • The German Youth Photo Award (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 Award as individuals and in groups. The Award 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, BMFSFJ). Other backers include the German photographic industry association (Photoindustrie-Verband) and photokina.
  • The Sociocultural Fund funding programme for young cultural initiatives (Fonds Soziokultur für junge Kulturinitiativen) 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 over a period of 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 (Förderpreis für junge Künstlerinnen und Künstler), 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.

Support young entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sectors

Due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic, the creative economy has attracted considerable attention from policymakers in recent times. With most writers, film-makers, musicians, visual and performance artists, architects, designers and games developers working either freelance or in micro-entities and small businesses, the pandemic put their livelihoods in jeopardy. In response, the federal government launched the cultural and creative economy initiative (Initiative Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft) to promote cultural exports and training, and set up a competence centre for the cultural and creative economy (Kompetenzzentrum Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft). The initiative also awards prizes and hosts competitions, including the German Cultural and Creative Pilots (Kultur- und Kreativpiloten Deutschland) competition and the German economic film award (Deutscher Wirtschaftsfilmpreis) (cf. BMWi 2018).

Advice for start-ups

Students and graduates looking to start their own business can seek advice from art, media and design schools, for instance:

The federal states also offer contact points for the (prospective) self-employed, which work with universities across the region.

Young entrepreneurs from across Europe can take part in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs exchange programme to meet experienced business professionals and gain insights into the European market. To be considered for participation, the tandem partners must come from different EU countries.

There are also nationwide funding initiatives and funds in each of the Länder, such as this one in North Rhine-Westphalia.