Between 13- 15 February 2019, three team members of the North-West Regional Development Agency participated in a staff exchange in Vienna, organized by Austria Wirtsschaftservice (AWS).

The Agenda included:  

  • Austria Creative Industries Strategy – AWS and Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs  
  • Annual Creative Industries Reports - KAT Kreativwirtschaft   
  • Programmes for the Creative Industries – Vienna Business Agency and AWS  
  • Hubs as a tool for boosting creatives – AWS and Impact Hub  

Due to AWS’ role as a main player in the implementation of EU and National Funds in Austria, the National Creative Industries Strategy is well anchored in a strong institutional system where all public organisations collaborate on furthering the Austrian creative community. Since 2012, annual statistics produced by market intelligence companies for the KAT Kreativwirtschaft are closely monitored and through an annual forum, representatives of public and private organisations guide future investments based on real needs from the creative industries sector. Read on to know more about how the day unfolded.  

Mr. Bernd Zimmer, a representative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs, presented the structure of the current strategy launched in 2016. Structured on three main pillars – EMPOWERMENT – TRANSFORMATION – INNNOVATION, 22 measures were summed up within 4 main objectives targeting: innovation system, industry competitiveness, transformative effect and internationalization. Overall, the Creative Industries Strategy for Austria leads to the 2025 vision, where “creative industries are considered a key economic factor and driving force for Austria as a place of innovation”.   

AWS colleagues assisted the the Romanian team in deeply analyzing the Policy Busines Canvas of the incipient regional Romanian strategy, a very useful planning and design thinking exercise.     

On the second day the Romanian team together with AWS partners visited Kreativwirtschaft Austria (KAT), located within the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Austria, where the team explored the Annual Creative Industry Reports. This was a very useful experience in terms of benchmarking the main statistical indicators and quantifying the impact of the creative industries overall. In 2018, the 7th Report was issued, having a short English version available. An interesting fact about the creative industries in Austria is that 61% of the total of 42.241 companies acting in this field are single employees, including physical authorized person as legal status. Divided into nine wide economic sectors, it was interesting to analyze the grouping of the CCI, influenced also by the critical mass of the companies in the respective area.   

Through an integrated approach, KAT is providing only 4 people direct support in terms of services and information brochures to ICC companies, coaching programmes, innovation camps, competitions on best practice stories, exhibitions to main design related events in Austria and abroad and is constantly monitoring the impact of the programmes.    

Funded by Vienna Municipality, the programmes also target creative industries implemented by Wirtschaftsagentur, Viena Business Agency. These were presented by Ms. Ute Stadlbauer: and gave insight on: Pioneers Program for startUps, fashion new collections and „Creative to Market”, both of which are among the main instruments through which Vienna helps companies from the creative industries with grants. VIENNA CALLING, a newly launched programme for internationalization, mainly attracting foreign investments to Vienna, was presented in detail. Co-Creation Labs, training programmes, Festivals support are also available tools at the Vienna Business Agency.    

On the third day, the institutional tour continued back in AWS, where Ms. Karoline Berghuber presented the main programme financing innovation based projects either from creative industries or needing creative services, Impulse XS and XL. The day ended with the presence of Mr. Matthias Reisinger, Head of Creative Industries Department, who presented the history and role of the Impact Hub in Viena, as former CEO.   

Overall, these were three fruitful intensive days, bringing knowledge from Austria to Transylvania, to be valorized into the upcoming Regional Action Plan of the North-West Region, and served as good preparation for the Creative Industries Policy Round Table held in Cluj-Napoca on 19 March.