Creative Estonia to help creative-minded people in countryside
What do these people who prefer to live in the countryside but are not occupied in agriculture? How do they earn their living? Creative Estonia was curious and discovered a problem – there are lot of creative- minded people who are lacking some skills to turn their hobbies into businesses.
So, with the help of our partners and European Regional Fund we started a project “Creative Estonia+Regions” and for four years we had a splendid and inspiring time working with different stakeholders all over Estonia.
Club nights to get acquainted with each other, InnoLabs to find new ideas, TeamLabs to develop ideas and meet mentors, seminars to improve skills, Creative Industries Academies and study trips to broaden the horizons of leaders and provide solutions to local problems – more than 1,300 people attended more than 60 events in our ten counties and 600 companies benefited from our project. 80 companies completed the PESA virtual development program and 30 participated in the PESA+ export program.
We found a lot of people with an entrepreneurial spirit who needed only a small impetus and encouragement to further develop their business and some new skills to go to a foreign market with their products.
Special attention was paid to the local creative centers. We developed new ideas and shared experiences and new methodologies. Starting a business is not as easy as starting a company in Estonia. The stronger the local creative centers, the stronger the economy.
We experienced and understood that local leaders can contribute to the development of the region. A small island Hiiumaa laid the foundation for its creative economy development plan Creative Hiiumaa, where cooperation between the creative industries and tourism is central. Tapa rural municipality made a significant contribution to the program so that entrepreneurs could participate in it, Järva County intertwined creative industries with county business development activities, Ida-Viru Creative Economy Center expanded to the Russian-speaking border-city Narva, where incubation center Object was opened. These steps are small but significant in such a tiny country as Estonia is with its 1,3 million inhabitants.
However, it is important that creative entrepreneurship in rural areas continues to strengthen and that resources are found to support and encourage it. After all, it is about the well-being of more than one person or family.