3rd CREACT4MED Annual Conference and Med CCI Hub brought together over 100 experts and mentors from the Southern Mediterranean and beyond

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  • 3rd CREACT4MED Annual Conference and Med CCI Hub brought together over 100 experts and mentors from the Southern Mediterranean and beyond

The 3rd Annual Conference and 2nd Med CCI Hub of CREACT4MED, Navigating the Waves of Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship, was held on the 30th and 31st January 2024, online via the dynamic Airmeet platform, bringing together over 100 experts, entrepreneurs, mentors, and trainers in the cultural and creative ecosystem in the Mediterranean. This year’s conference, co-organised by the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association, the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in collaboration with Culture Funding Watch, featured panels on innovative ideas on creativity’s social and economic role, job creation, and disenablers of the sector, as well as best practices that have been successfully piloted in the region. We also heard from the CREACT4MED entrepreneurs, who are over half way through the implementation of their subgrants, to hear about their progress and how they benefited from the support provided by the project.

The conference opened on the 30th with welcoming remarks from CREACT4MED Director, and President and Founder of the Euro-Mediterranean Economists’ Association (EMEA), Prof. Rym Ayadi, the Managing Director of the European Institute of the Mediterranean -IEMED, Roger Albinyana, and EMEA’s Senior Project Manager and Coordinator of the CREACT4MED project, Maria Ruiz de Cossío. Opening the conference Prof. Ayadi underlined that “creativity is the vibrant thread weaving through the rich fabric of our cultures, the catalyst in our quest for innovation and the heartbeat of our collective wellbeing. It is where the richness of diversity meets the excitement of creating a better future empowering us , as individuals to not only envision a world of boundless possibilities but to co create it and build it together.”

The keynote, Prof. Pierluigi Sacco, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Chiete-Pescara and Senior Advisor to the OECD Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions, and Cities, kicked us off discussing how to unlock the potential of the cultural and creative industries in the Southern Mediterranean by explaining key examples from around the world where the CCI are experiencing a boom! He put a particular focus on the success of CCI in South Korea and suggested how the Southern Mediterranean could learn from their practices.

The session moved on to the CREACT4MED Team at EMEA, moderated by Maria Ruiz de Cossío,: Kirsty Fairhurst, Communications and Research Officer, Yeganeh Forouheshfar, Senior Researcher, and Christine de Visser, Project Manager, to explain the progress, achievements and upcoming activities under the project. Then, we heard from the entrepreneurs themselves on their progress and future plans: Abo Obaida Alazem, CEO of Duma Toys, Sherazade Amous, CEO of Klink Tunisie, Hala Shakshir, Founder and Director, Askadar for Culture and Arts, Bilal Zahalan, CEO of Tourific , Ban Zainab, Founder of Puppets World for Development of Children – عالم الدمى and Wafae Zaoui CEO of Billi Yadi – بِاُلْيَدِ .

Wrapping up morning session Dr. Yeganeh Forouheshfar, Senior Researcher at Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association – EMEA, moderated the panel session on Creative Economies: Strategies for Job Creation in Arts and Culture. We heard from, Rola Fayyad, CEO of ViaVii , Ahmed Amine Azouzi, Managing Director at Pencils Consulting and Ahmed F. ELFARRA, UNIDO. They discussed job creation in cultural and creative economies, touching on digitalisation, skills and decent work.

Then, in the afternoon, the Med CCI Hub sprung into action with 3 parallel sessions on best practices: cultural entrepreneurship, ecosystem enablement, and regional cooperation. Following that, 14 spin table sessions were held, hosted by different institutions such as BSOs, finance providers, and training organisations. In each session, they explained the opportunities they offer to entrepreneurs and MSMEs, allowing for an interactive discussion with the participants.

The second day opened with a panel event on the key theme of “The Art of Progress: A Dialogue on Creativity as a Cross-Cutting Theme to Social, Economic, and Environmental Change”. The session started with an opening speech by Rym Ayadi on the transformative power of creativity, followed with by insightful discussion, moderated by Kirsty Fairhurst, Communications and Research Officer at Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association – EMEA, with the panellists:

SALVADOR SIMÓ ALGADO, Adjunct Director of the Mental Health Chair, Universitat de Vic – Universitat Central de Catalunya, Giulia Maria Ferraresi, Social and Civil Affairs Project Analyst at the Union for the Mediterranean, Matthias Röder, Co-founder at the Sonophilia Foundation and ✨Theo Edmonds, Culture Futurist, CU Denver’s Imaginator Academy.

Following that, the interactive panel session Breaking Barriers: Addressing Disenablers in the Cultural and Creative Industries took place with Leila Talhoui, Founder, Kif-Kif Bledi, Mai Salama, Co-founder Creative Industry Summit, BRAHIM EL MAZNED, Founding Director, Visa For Music and Chaymaa Ramzy, Executive Director of Shelter Art Space. The session was moderated by ouafa belgacem Culture Funding Watch!

Closing the conference, Project Coordinator, Maria Ruiz highlighted that the event and Med CCI Hub drives collaboration among the cultural and creative industries in the Southern Mediterranean and pushes the community towards meaningful progress in the sector, as well as highlighting key challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs in the region.

The event finished with the final Med CCI Hub session where 1-1 mentoring sessions were held between experts and entrepreneurs.

Keep up to date with all CREACT4MED news on our website, social media, and continue the inspiring conversations over on the CREACT4MED platform.

CREACT4MED is a project funded by the EU through the EuropeAid Programme, which aims to strengthen businesses with the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs). It seeks to support entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs, create jobs, and foster sustainable economic growth in the Southern Mediterranean, with a particular focus on young people and women.

It is led by Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA) (Coordinator), with the partners Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED), European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), Union of Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises (BUSINESSMED), Redstart Tunisia, Confédération méditerranéenne pour le développement (MED Confederation), Beyond Group, Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta (LUMSA Università), Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen (AFAEMME), Positive Agenda Advisory, and Womenpreneur.

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