Project Details

Title: Regional Policy Improvement for Financially Sustainable Creative Incubator Units
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: €2,377,106.39
ERDF contribution: €1,882,592.28

Lead partner

Dundee and Angus College
Old Glamis Road
DD3 8LE, Dundee

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Veronica Lynch
      Phone: +44 1382 834847
      Fax: +44 1382 834877

Project summary

Incubator units for creative industries business start ups provide much needed space and act as vital support mechanisms and catalysts for the development of entrepreneurship and innovation in this sector right across the EU.


The creative industries (e.g. Advertising, Textiles, Fashion, Television & Radio, Photo Imaging, Graphic Design and Interactive Media, Publishing, Animation, Computer Games, Film and Commercials Production and Post Production) provide significant employment opportunities, and are now recognised as one of “Europe’s most dynamic sectors” (EU green paper: Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries”), with strong potential to contribute to growth and job creation.


However, most survive only with some Regional Authority funding or subsidy and, with the current public funding cutbacks, many are now facing serious threats to their financial survival and ability to realise their full potential as a force for change and economic development.

While much research in previously funded projects has focussed on the role and value of specific activities undertaken within creative incubator units, InCompass will focus exclusively on how they can become independently financially sustainable. Using a number of existing incubator units across the EU as the main study vehicle, the project will identify a number of existing good practices that are already providing levels of financial security and transfer them for collective adoption into, and improvement of, regional policy. The adoption into policy of the COMBINATIONS of these good practices will potentially offer "total financial sustainability solutions".


The consortium has 15 partners: 7 regional/local authorities, 3 universities and research institutes, 2 business parks with incubator units, 3 economic and regional growth agencies. All are directly involved in policy development. 9 member states are involved across 4 geographic areas.

All partners appreciate the full value of the project and all expect to both contribute to, and benefit from, the process of the exchange of experience and the opportunity for policy improvement across all regions.

The project involves a programme of: study visits and reports on good practice; thematic seminars to share the findings within the consortium; Regional Implementation Groups of stakeholders to assess the transferability of good practice and make regional policy recommendations.

The project will deliver the following outputs and results: minimum 12 case study visits; 10 thematic seminars; 12 Regional Implementation Plans with recommendations for policy improvements. Interpretation and translation will be provided as necessary to ensure that language is no barrier.

Dissemination of the results will be done via the project website, social media, e-newsletters, brochures and conferences - one of which will be the final conference at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels.

Project achievements

The ‘InCompass’ project was a partnership of 14 institutions across 12 European regions: Scotland, Spain, Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Slovakia, Italy, England, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary and Bulgaria. The aim of the project was to support increased self-sustainability of creative industries business incubator units. Led by Lead Partner Dundee and Angus College, the partners undertook a programme of research and analysis of innovative practices in this area across the EU, where a number of individual, innovative approaches that move incubators towards greater financial independence were seen. The effect of combining these individual approaches to collectively inform and stimulate collaborative development of local, regional, national and EU policy could have significant impact in the bid to help creative industries startups beat the recession and increase capacity across the EU.



After its approval in December 2011, the ‘InCompass’ project held its kickoff conference in Dundee, Scotland. At this meeting a Steering Group formed the working arrangements and guidelines of the programme. The methodology was for three workgroups to focus separately on the Commercial, Social and Tiers of Support identified in the case study visits and to produce reports on the transferability of theese into other regions. These 7 regional reports were externally verified by independent expert teams, through a series of thematic seminars to disseminate the findings throughout the whole project partnership. Partner regions utilised these reports to inform Regional Implementation Groups within the 12 regions for them to be further assessed and incorporated, where suitable, into the development of regional policy. The reports were created from study visits to Rotterdam, Milan, Malmo, Beja and Lisbon (Portugal), Patras (Greece), Aviles (Span), Medway and London (England).



In all cases project partners had the opportunity to identify and discuss examples of good practice and reports describing these, and their potential for transfer across regions, have been produced. The final conference took place on 18 November 14 in Brussels. The project has reached in excess of 48,597 people across 112 events, 7 regional reports, 6 newsletters along with the project website and social media activities. A total of 170 good practices were identified and these were prioritised to 16 best practices. A Good Practices Toolkit was created for policy makers to utilise within their own regions for determining which practices could be applied and transferred in their own regions. Across the partnership, 3 good practices were transferred during the life of the project.


In the case of many of the partner regions, there is sustainability of the Regional Implementation Groups beyond the project, but in addition to this, 3 new live projects emerged as a result of the interregional collaboration. In addition, a further 9 potential project concepts for the new Interreg Europe programme, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ are being developed.


Further information on the InCompass project and access to project resources can be found on the project website:


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Dundee and Angus College, Dundee UNITED KINGDOM Eastern Scotland +44 1382 834847
Cultural Municipal Foundation of Aviles City Council, Aviles SPAIN Principado de Asturias (+34) 985 510235
Delft University of Technology, OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment, Delft NETHERLANDS Zuid-Holland +31-15-278 7139
KTU Regional Science Park, Kaunas LITHUANIA Lietuva +370 37 300808
Municipality of the Capital of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava, Bratislava I SLOVAKIA Bratislavsky kraj +421 918 378 550
Western Greece Region, Patras GREECE Dytiki Ellada +30 2613613630
University of Patras, Rion (Patras) GREECE Dytiki Ellada +30 2610 960375
Dundee City Council, Dundee UNITED KINGDOM Eastern Scotland 0044 1382 434653
Milan Metropolitan City (previously Province of Milan), Milan ITALY Lombardia +39 02 7740 3282 / 6814;
BIC La Fucina, Sesto San Giovanni ITALY Lombardia +39 02 24126605
Medway Council, Chatham UNITED KINGDOM Kent 01634 338177
CIMBAL – Intermunicipal Community of Baixo Alentejo, Beja PORTUGAL Alentejo +351 210937907
Tillväxtverket, The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Stockholm SWEDEN Stockholm +468681 6620;
Pannon Business Network, Győr HUNGARY Nyugat-Dunantul +36 94 505 003
Sofia Municipality, Sofia BULGARIA Yugozapaden 00 359 2 93 77 286


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