In light of COVID-19, the European Week of Regions and Cities 2020 took place online this year. The theme of the third week responded to the topic "Green Europe", to which the Budapest Enterprise Agency (BEA) joined with an event called 'Crafts in Fashion for a Greener Europe'. In addition to the presentations by representatives of the craft industry, the CRAFTS CODE project, funded by Interreg Europe, as well as its domestic and international good practices were presented during the English-language program. 

The online event was held on October 21, 2020 and nearly 30 people participated from 7 countries. After a brief introduction by the moderator of the programme, Mónika Alíz Mészáros, the President of the Budapest Enterprise Agency, Márton Ilyés informed the participants of the services of the BEA. He highlighted the microfinance scheme, which can also help early stage and new fashion designer and craft companies which are uncreditworthy by banks. He also outlined BEA's mission and renewed strategy, which is based on the following four main activities:

  • Innovative business development
  • Non-profit microfinance
  • Smart City innovation
  • Economic analysis

 The programme continued with a presentation by Carlotta Viviani, project manager of the Municipality of Florence, which is leading the Interreg Europe-funded CRAFTS CODE project. Carlotta highlighted that the craft sector, as one of the fundamental pillars of the creative industry, has a positive impact on the economy. The main objective of the project was identified to prevent the disappearance of traditional crafts.

The next speaker was Margaret Ann Dowling, head of brand and business development at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. In her presentation, she emphasized the importance of digitizing the business activities and displaying the content of the services offered in several languages.

As the Hungarian good practice of the CRAFTS CODE project, Zsuzsi Panyi presented the Poppy bulb online mentoring program, which aims to transfer up-to-date entrepreneurial knowledge to Hungarian craftswomen. As part of her mentoring program, she runs online courses and provides personal advice on a variety of topics, such as marketing, branding and pricing.

The good practice of Spain was presented by Marcos Seseña Blasco, owner and CEO of the worldwide known Seseña. The brand is a family business founded in 1901 and currently run by the 4th generation. It is the only tailor in the world that specializes exclusively in the design, manufacture and sale of capes. Marcos, the founder’s great-grandson, realized that one person was not enough to operate and promote the brand, so he built a team of external experts. As part of the new strategy, they have opened up to international markets and created various social media sites and sales channels.

Next up, Tanja Oraviita, the project manager – international projects/designer of Western Finland Design Centre MUOVA/Vaasa University of Applied Sciences informed participants about the good practice of Finland, the Kvarken shop, and she reflected on the previous speech, introducing the business founded by 8 independent craftswomen in 2019. In order to flourish their brand, they teamed up with the local population, paid special attention to customer feedback, introduced new customer acquisition activities and expanded their offerings. 

The presentation of the founders of the Hungarian Needlework Academy, Adrienne Körtvély and Orsolya Springer was the last best practice of the event. They talked about their international reference and wide range of handicraft workshops. The primary goal of the academy is to operate as a tradition-based, professional and community training workshop, as well as to provide professional training and education for professionals who already know and use other types of techniques and the basis of their livelihood forms.

BEA informed the audience about the upcoming CRAFTS CODE programmes such as the international thematic seminar which will be organized in mid-December in an online format and asked them to follow the news of the project on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the website.

You can watch the full event HERE and all presentations can be found in our library.