Financially sustainable creative incubations units
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5 · Nov 12 | Sofia Municipality, Bulgaria

On 5 November 2012 Sofia Municipality held its first InCompass Regional Implementation Group meeting. The composition of the RIG had been comprehensively planned beforehand, so that the right people were approached and eventually included in the process of the InCompass implementation. Eighteen experts and municipal officials managed to attend this initial presentation of the project and its goals, among which: representatives of Sofia Municipality, Sofia Development Association, Observatory of Cultural Economics, Foundation for Urban Projects and Research, Sofia Foundation for Culture and Art, various universities, etc.
Image - PictureNon other than the Sofia Municipality project manager - Dr. Todor Chobanov, Sofia Deputy mayor on education and culture, welcomed the stakeholders. In his speech he strongly emphasised upon the crucial role, which the creative industries play in Bulgarian economy and admitted that they are often been given the cold shoulder from politicians. Dr. Chobanov expressed his hopes that the InCompass initiative’s implications on a local level could provide necessary impulse towards achieving general recognition of the vital role and influence of creative incubators in the process of ensuring creative industries’ protection and development.
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In the course of the following informal talks on the state-of-the-art situation in various creative sectors, some common issues were put forward by the participants, mainly in respect to the local creative incubators’ insufficient experience, the lack of any substantial legislative base and scarce political interest. Through sharing their experience from different creative fields the present experts carried out an initial benchmarking, regarding the need for more diversified financial resources and sustainability examples.

At this point the stakeholders were introduced to the core structure and main activities of the InCompass initiative, the invaluable access to proven good examples from across Europe for better financial independence of incubator units. After learning in detail about the philosophy behind the RIG and its responsibilities, the present showed eagerness and enthusiasm towards making the most out of the opportunity, which the InCompass project provides.
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In that regard, the experts willingly accepted to take part in fulfilling the tough task of helping the struggling creative entrepreneurs keep their heads above water, engage various partners, appeal to target audiences, etc. Thus, the newly-initialized RIG members agreed to perform a thorough and critical screening of the InCompass Study Visit reports and to evaluate the practicality and viability of the mapped good solutions against the national legislation, political specifics and social peculiarities. Conclusions and recommendations are to be submitted by the RIG participants during the next 5 stakeholder meetings and eventually compiled into a uniform local Implementation Plan.
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InCompass Project is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development fund through the INTERREG IVC programme