Local-regional stakeholders  discussed lessons learnt from the Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 ECoC project in light of its evolving Legacy Program.

As the 2018 European Capital of Culture, Leeuwarden is in the midst of developing and organizing its Legacy Program. The Local Learning Lab organized within the Interreg Project ECoC-SME provided the organisation of the Legacy and the municipality with valuable insights into how an event like ECoC and its aftermath can help stimulate the emergence of start ups and the growth of cultural and creative small and medium sized businesses.

The focus of this workshop was on youth and educational institutions and their relation with the EcoC organisation and entrepreneurship.

The participants of the LLL were representatives of the local authorities, educational institutions, students, incubators, start-ups and creative SMEs. The director of the European Tourism and Futures Institute (part of NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences) was present as an expert and provided an introduction on the role governments can play in stimulating entrepreneurship directed at the visitor economy.

A lively discussion developed focusing on three central themes: 1) youth and cultural capital, 2) youth and entrepreneurship, and 3) educational institutions, cultural capital and entrepreneurship. The main learnings centred on:
1.    Using the event as a shared goal; capitalizing on the existing energy and targeting that towards entrepreneurship
2.    Generate challenges from the event organisation and use them as a driver for innovation and entrepreneurship
3.    Utilize existing infrastructure, incubators and innovation ecosystems to give start-ups a boost and facilitate further development and scale up. Use the event-organisation and -airplay as a “portal” for finding that existing infrastructure.