The project aims at improving the growth conditions of creative entrepreneurs and attracting new creative entrepreneurs.
Southern Funen is an outlying area with low growth and limited access to knowledge, advice and relevant collaboration partners. The project aims at improving the growth conditions of creative entrepreneurs on Southern Funen, and as a consequence attracting creative entrepreneurs from other geographical areas of the country.
The objectives are reached through courses and coaching for selected entrepreneurs, improving their skills and changing mindset. In addition the project provides offers and facilitates network activities, mentoring and courses for municipal administration and business advisers.
The project is managed and coordinated by the local incubator “Fremtidsfabrikken and the main beneficiaries are the entrepreneurs in the 4 municipalities of Southern Funen, but also the municipal administration ad business advisers benefit from the activities. The main stakeholders are the mentioned beneficiaries and the city government of the 4 municipalities. Course instructors and coaches come from private firms and are selected in tenders.
The total budget of the project, including supplementary grants, was 3.4M Euro. The main budget item is expenditures on teachers and advisers. Another important budget item is project management. Registered time spent by entrepreneurs in the project counts as co-financing.
Evidence of success
The project has been evaluated by an external company measuring both qualitative and quantitative outputs and effects based on interviews and questionnaires. 36 % of the respondents declare that the project will improve their growth potential, 46 % that it already has. The success of the project can to some extent be explained by the communication method in recruiting participants and by the efforts to improve framework conditions and the commitment of local government.
Local entrepreneurs are motivated more by creative development and less by growth ambitions. Another challenge is that municipalities compete and have focus on their “own” companies. Both barriers have to be handled in the communication strategy. Teachers need hands-on experience themselves.
Potential for learning or transfer
The project could be interesting for other regions with similar challenges and the following practices and lessons learned could be relevant transferring:
1) The recruitment method for creative entrepreneurs with less focus on economic growth.
2) The communication to municipalities emphasizing the positive effects in each municipality.
3) Teachers should have hands-on experience as entrepreneurs themselves.
4) Differentiation of courses and possibly other offers are needed both in relation to skills and ambition level.
Transfer of the project experience has also taken place to a large degree in Denmark, and the project management has given presentations in different geographical areas of Denmark.
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