ECoC-SME: Actions for inducing SME growth and innovation via the ECoC event and legacy

The ECoC-SME project recognizes the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Programme as a yet under-utilised opportunity for cities and regions to develop existing and prospective local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) via their early engagement in the event. The project focusses on the mega-event’s potentials to trigger, strengthen and diversify local entrepreneurship by encouraging their creative, ‘unconventionally’ cross-sectoral cooperations, clustering and networking, as well as their internationalisation.

Project website:

Lead partner: University of Eastern Finland

Duration: Start: 01/08/2019, End: 31/08/2022

Main funder: Interreg Europe

Contact person: Osvaldas Stripeikis,, +37068097611

Co-organisers: Vytautas Magnus University Centre for Entreprise Practices – Municipality of Timisoara – Materahub Creative and Cultural Industries – Municipality of Rijeka – Municipality of Leeuwarden – Inqubator Foundation


Project abstract:

The ECoC-SME will improve five Policy Instruments in the regions of the Partnership to promote a lasting positive impact of the European Capital of Culture on socioeconomic development. This is to be achieved by strengthening entrepreneurship and creative industries, creating jobs, supporting smart and sustainable growth. Through intensive and broad engagement of regional Stakeholder Groups, various types of local actors (municipalities, regional development agencies, chambers of commerce, universities, small businesses, ECoC management centres, etc.) will enhance their professional capacities by participating in the project’s Local Learning Labs, as well as create long-term co-operation networks.

ECoC-SME will push the partner regions to broaden their perspective and think beyond the obvious sectors such as tourism & ‘traditional’ cultural services.

The project will fill the gap in terms of lacking explicit guidelines by the European Capital of Culture Programme to future cultural capitals as regards SME development.