Project Details

Title: INNOvating entrepreneurship policies in the CRAFTS sector
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2012 - 31st Dec 2014


Total budget: €2,230,494.00
ERDF contribution: €1,741,237.30

Lead partner

Municipality of Florence
Piazza della Signoria
50122, Florence

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Lucia De Siervo
      Phone: +39 055 3283547
      Fax: +39 055 3283768

Project summary

The project idea started from the need of several European cities of art and UNESCO World Heritage to explore the values that make up the identity of a sustainable city and in particular, to strengthen entrepreneurship policies in the field of artistic and contemporary crafts (ACC).

The promotion of succesful entrepreneurship and sound business environment for SMEs has always been a major concern for the EU. SMEs are the main source of jobs in Europe and make a major contribution to the growth of the employment. In the ACC sector they have an important economic impact to local & regional economies of the partner territories.

The overall objective of the project is to promote entrepreneurship and business creation in the ACC sector by improving the effectiveness of regional and local development policies through sharing and exchanging experience and good practices. The project proposal builds on existing experience and networks developed by the partners at their

local/regional level and previous cooperation projects. The partnership of the project is composed by: Municipality of Florence as LP; National Association of Italian Municipalities–Tuscany; National Institute of Arts and Crafts (France); Public Foundation The Legacy of al-Andalus; Bistrita Municipality; Regional Association of Municipalities “Central Stara Planina”; Municipality of Burgas; Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona; Budapest Entreprise Agency; Aalto University School of Art and Design-University of Vaasa; Municipality of Riga; Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency; Craft Council Ireland; Municipality of Reims; Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The partnership of INNOCRAFTS includes local authorities and bodies representing cities of art and/or UNESCO World Heritage Sites, worldwide recognized for their unique and very rich cultural, architectural and artistic heritage and assets, that have a potential impact on creative and cultural industries if promoted appropriately.

The project, thanks to its EU-wide and well balanced partnership with 7 partners coming from 6 new MS, aims to assure a relevant added-value at European level thus actively contributing to reduce regional / local disparities in Europe. The interregional cooperation will provide the opportunity to learn from successful policy actions implemented by local /regional authorities and relevant stakeholders in the field of ACC comparing different policy experience to improve and enhance local policy measures and plans.

The expected results of INNOCRAFTS focus on the sub-theme “Entrepreneurship and SMEs” aiming to exchange experiences in common policy issues concerning the ACC sector: identification and promotion of effective business models, improvement of business support services (business incubators & business parks), access to innovation and financial assistance to SMEs (through non-grant intruments), SMEs internationalisation and support and promotion of young and female entrepreneurs.

Project achievements

Innocrafts has been a European platform, the first in Europe, able to select, describe and document the good practices, best examples, and the most interesting innovations in terms of local and regional policies implemented in the area of artistic crafts. More than 60 good practices have been presented during the project meetings, 24 of which selected for the proven impacts at local and regional level and ten transferred or potentially transferable. The Final conference "Crafts Connections and Talks New Challenges for the Competitiveness and Globalization" was held in Florence at Palagio di Parte Guelfa on 28th of October 2014.The conference aimed at resuming and give visibility to what has emerged after 3 years of interregional collaboration among partners and stakeholders. The works of the final conference have been a clear opportunity to discuss together on many topics and issues and what will fit in the local policy and interventions.

The project partners have implemented an intensive transfer of experiences, knowledge and know-how on jointly selected best practices and approaches in the four following areas:

• Business models and business support services, including business incubators and business parks and other related facilities;

• Access to innovation design and financial assistance to SMEs;

• SMEs internationalisation, professional networking and information exchange;

• Promotion of entrepreneurship among specific target groups such as young and female entrepreneurs.

The “International Charter of Artistic Craftsmanship”, signed and promoted in the frame of the INNOCRAFTS project and similar platforms in the art and crafts sector, has supported a more systematic use of design as a tool for user-centred and market-driven innovation. In addition, the project drew attention on the need to stimulate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt market-ready information and skilled work forces.

Moreover, Art&Craft SMEs have shown strong geographical concentration in clusters.The existence of strong networks of customers, wholesalers, and middlemen, who may already have embraced the Internet, would likely stimulate the diffusion of new technologies within the cluster through imitation, motivation, and pressure.

Five keys recommendations have been designed to help to exploit the possibilities of the Art&Craft sector to grow:

1. product development and innovation;

2. education, training and technical assistance;

3. access to market;

4. advocacy and institutional building;

5. access to finance;

The contents of each recommendation are available in the final publication produced by the project.



Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Municipality of Florence, Florence ITALY Toscana +39 055 3283547;
National Association of Italian Municipalities Tuscany, Florence ITALY Toscana +39 055 2477490
National Institute of Arts and Crafts, Paris FRANCE Île de France +33 1 55 78 85 94
Public Foundation The Legacy of al-Andalus, Granada SPAIN Andalucía +34 958 222257
Bistrita Municipality, Bistriţa ROMANIA Nord-Vest +
Regional Association of Municipalities “Central Stara Planina”, Gabrovo BULGARIA Severen tsentralen + 359 66 804 613
Burgas Municipality, Burgas BULGARIA Yugoiztochen + 359 56  907 273
Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona, Barcelona SPAIN Cataluña 0034 934169504
Aalto University School of Art and Design, Aalto FINLAND Etelä-Suomi +358 6 357 6330
Riga City Council - Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Riga LATVIA Latvija +37 1 67026816
Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency, Vilnius LITHUANIA Lietuva 00 3705 212 77 23
Reims City Council, Reims FRANCE Champagne-Ardenne +33 (0) 3 26 77 87 67
Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Kilkenny IRELAND Southern and Eastern +353 56 7761804
Budapest Enterprise Agency, Budapest HUNGARY Kozep-Magyarorszag +36-1/269-6869
Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bratislava SLOVAKIA Bratislavsky kraj +421 2 5443 3272
Participating unit: Western Finland Design Centre Muova, VAASA FINLAND Länsi-Suomi +358 207 663 300


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