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9 May 2024

The second phase of the Undertaking Business in Culture training program concluded with a study tour in Italy. This initiative, jointly organized by ICCROM and the Fondazione Scuola dei beni e delle attività culturali, is aimed at empowering and nurturing youth entrepreneurship in the cultural sector in Africa and Italy. 15 young entrepreneurs were selected from the 20 participants of the online training module to participate in an in-person experience, which took place partly in Maputo, Mozambique, and partly in Italy.

From April 14th to 24th, 2024, participants engaged in conferences, seminars, meetings, and study visits in Rome, Bologna, and Milan.

The experience commenced with the international conference Fostering Italy-Africa Relations: Enhancing Business and Cultural Exchange emphasizing the pivotal role of partnerships between Italy and Africa in cultural heritage management training and cultural entrepreneurship. The discussions underscored the importance of participatory and inclusive approaches involving local communities in cultural and entrepreneurial endeavors.

The tour featured a comprehensive itinerary of study visits to various Italian establishments. At LVenture Group in Rome, participants explored the interplay between the startup ecosystem and cultural dynamics, gaining insights into innovation and entrepreneurship support tools. The visit to Almacube, the startup incubator and accelerator at the University of Bologna, provided understanding of university support systems for entrepreneurship. Goppion Technology, renowned for museum exhibition management, offered insights into preventive conservation and advanced applied technologies. During visits to Cariplo Factory and BASE during Milan Design Week, participants immersed themselves in Milan’s vibrant ecosystem of innovation and creativity, learning about BASE’s role as a cultural catalyst and Cariplo Factory’s support for emerging and innovative businesses.
At Dock3 in Rome, participants explored emerging technologies and innovation. Through meetings with key stakeholders and participation in events like “Rome: Heritage from the Future,” they deepened their understanding of the impact of emerging technologies on various industries.

The tour concluded with a final workshop at ICCROM headquarters in Rome. In the theoretical session, participants delved into specific cultural heritage conservation topics, exploring connections to economics, sustainable development, and cultural policies. The practical session focused on crafting effective pitches.

The program featured participants pitching their projects to a jury comprising experts in entrepreneurship and innovation: Lidia Varbanova, experienced consultant in entrepreneurship and innovation; Paolo Ferri, associate professor at the University of Bologna; Nicola Sapio, head of Communication at Fondazione Scuola dei beni e delle attività culturali; José Luis Pederzoli, head of Strategic Planning Unit at ICCROM; and Chiara Trombetta, head of Media and Events at Startup Italia.
All participants distinguished themselves with their innovative projects spanning various sectors of the cultural industry, including fashion, museums, dance, performing arts, cinema, music, and sustainable tourism. The jury identified three particularly noteworthy projects.
Anne Kabare, from Kenya, presented Arti Dance Studio, an arts studio that aims to nurture and grow upcoming talent and aid in their growth within the creative industry by equipping them with necessary skills needed for their development. Ifeloju Olusanya, from Nigeria, introduced Jed, a platform that serves and supports the needs of tourists and customers by providing information and connections to all stakeholders within the heritage sector for travel, educational, management, and investment needs. Janet Kabugho, from Uganda, introduced Skills Centrum Rwenzori, an initiative focused on empowering rural women and youth with skills development opportunities in crafting and fashion, employment, and market opportunities to ensure their reach potential buyers for their products locally and globally.

The program significantly enhanced participants’ entrepreneurial skills, thanks to practical support and mentorship opportunities. These 13 young entrepreneurs are now better equipped to confidently face challenges and make significant contributions to cultural heritage conservation in their communities.
Beyond its direct impacts, the program tangibly promoted cultural exchanges between Italy and Africa, fostering balanced collaborations and deeper intercultural understanding. These are crucial steps toward enriching local ecosystems and promoting a global dialogue on entrepreneurship, cultural heritage, and emerging technologies.

In conclusion, the project has laid the groundwork for future initiatives aimed at promoting global collaboration and cultural exchange.