Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

SME support ecosystems for Cultural and Creative Sectors




Back in business: SME support ecosystems for cultural and creative sectors 

25-26 February 2021 Remote participation  

Co-hosted by Flanders, Belgium

‌‌What is the issue?

Cultural and creative sectors (CCS) are important in their own right in terms of their economic footprint and employment. They also spur innovation across the economy, as well as contribute to numerous other channels for positive social impact. They are among the hardest hit by social distancing measures. Policies to support firms and workers through the crisis can be ill-adapted to the non-traditional business models and forms of employment in the sector. Beyond the immediate supports, policies can also leverage the economic and social impacts of culture in their broader recovery packages and efforts to transform local economies. To do so there is a need to:

  • Upscale the innovation capacity within CCS and support innovation cross-overs with other sectors
  • Address digital gaps to help emerge new business opportunities
  •  Improve CCS access to finance
  • Integrate cultural and creative setors into broader regional and local recovery strategies.

This webinar, orgaised in cooperation with the Flanders Department of Culture, Youth and Media, Belgium, will discuss the latest evidence on effective ways to adapt business supports to the needs of CCS and learn from innovative practices around the world.


Video Highlights:



Case Study- La Manufacture by Pascal Keiser, President, La Manufacture

Case Study- Innovative partnership scheme PPT presentation by Stef Vonk, Flanders, Belgium

Emilia-Romagna Region strategy to foster innovation in the cultural and creative sectors by Francesca Imparato, Art-ER, Italy

Heftboom (micro credits for culture) by Maarten Quaghebeur Cultuurloket, Belgium and Piet Callens, Flanders, Heftboom, Belgium

Flanders Cultural and Creative Sectors Strategy by Rita De Graeve, Department of Culture, Youth and Media, Flanders, Belgium

The case of Kosice by Michal Hladky, Creative Industries Kosice, Slovak Republic

Colombia Orange Development Zones by Adriana González Hassig, Vice Ministry of Creativity and Orange Economy, Ministry of Culture, Colombia

Carolina Textile District by Sara Chester, Carolina Textile District, United States


Spotlight Session: Book publishing 

25 February 2021 Remote participation

In collaboration with Flanders Literature

What is the issue?


The crisis is hitting the publishing sector and putting at great risk many smaller enterprises and creative professionals, with wider social and economic impacts on the regions where they operate. With bookshops having been closed or with limited sales opportunities, the global book publishers market experienced a significant decline only partially compensated by increased online sales in 2020. The cancellation or postponement of book fairs has affected new book releases and deals for future production with an impact on future revenues of authors, illustrators and publishers. The crisis has amplified pre-existing challenges and may pose threats for the future development of the sector in terms of talent development, diversity of authors or more inclusive content to represent and reach broader audiences. New approaches are also needed to address income and educational barriers as well as bridge digital gaps to ensure access by diverse groups to knowledge and books.

This Spotlight session, co-organised with Flanders Literature, aims to distil lessons from the past and identify concrete instruments to build a more resilient, diverse and inclusive book publishing sector for the future.






Access the agenda





Selected speakers

Martin Dawnson
Head of Unit
CNECT MEDIA, European Commission

Rita De Graeve

Senior policy advisor
Department of Culture, Youth and Media, Flanders – Belgium

Bernd Fesel
European Creative Business Network

Allison Gardner
Glasgow Film

Jan Jambon
Minister-President of Flanders, Belgium

Peter Jenkins
Global Network for early years bookgifting

Laure Kaltenbach
Creative Tech

Pascal Keiser
La Manufacture

Michiel Kolman
Chair Inclusive Publishing
International Publishers Association (IPA)

Michela Magas
Industry Commons Foundation

Catherine Magnant
Head of Unit
Culture Policy
European Commission

Karen Maguire
Head of Division
Local Employment, Skills and Social Innovation

Elena Malakhatka
KTH Live-in-Lab
VR Scientific Festival

Chris Michaels
Director of Digital
Communications and Technology,
the National Gallery, UK

Prof. Doug Noonan
O’Neill School,
Indiana University and Purdue University

Anette Novak
Director General
Swedish Media Council

Elena Pasoli
Exhibition Manager
Bologna Children's Book Fair

Pier Luigi Sacco
Senior Advisor
Culture and Local Development

Josh Siepel
Senior Lecturer
University of Sussex
Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre

Maciej Szymanowicz 
Policy Officer
Creative Europe MEDIA Unit,
European Commission

Ekaterina Travkina
Culture, Creative Industries and Local Development

Morten Visby
European Council of Associations of Literary Translators

Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning
Founder and CEO
Creative Business Network