CINet Newsletter
Issue 1 - January 2014
Dear ReadersFirst, we would like to wish you all the best for 2014. We are starting this New Year with the launch of the first issue of the CINet newsletter. It includes a brief presentation of the CINet Project. This research initiative carried out under the auspices of the Leonardo da Vinci Programme, and framed in the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. This issue also features the activities that took place in the first meeting of the CINet consortium, an introduction of each organisation participating in the project, and testimonials from some CINet members. It also includes the first dissemination activities undertaken by CINet participants.
Please feel free to suggest any ideas you may have on reading our newsletter.

  • The CINet Project: A primer
  • CINet First Meeting
  • CINet Participants
  • Testimonials from CINet Partners
  • CINet at the European Business Angels Week
  • CINet Research

The CINet Project: A primerThe Creative Industry Network of Entrepreneurs (or CINet) is a research project on innovation and creative entrepreneurship approved last September 2013 by the European Commission within the Lifelong Learning Programme, Leonardo da Vinci. The project was launched last November 2013, and has a two-year length.
CINet aims to improve business skills for creative entrepreneurs and enhance the potential for business creation in the creative industries. It will impact on the entrepreneurship and vocational training cultures of Southern EU countries.
To do so, CINet:
  • will capture the transferable elements from an learning environment established within an innovative creative industry cluster in the UK;
  • will transfer lessons from the learning environment established – including learning mechanisms, approaches to management and networking competencies;
  • will support the development of a creative entrepreneurship network in four European countries: Portugal, Spain, Romania and Greece;
  • will improve business skills for young creative potential entrepreneurs within the network; and
  • will promote creative business competencies for local and regional innovation and growth.
Three universities and research centres from Portugal, Spain and Greece participate in this project. They are collaborating with researchers and market players (such as crowd funding institutions, business angels, government institutions) from the UK, Portugal, Romania and France. The Universidade Aberta, from Portugal, is the project’s coordinator.

CINet First MeetingCoinciding with the launch of the CINet project last November 2013, a kick-off meeting was held in Lisbon, Portugal, on the 14th and 15th November.
The meeting was organised by theUniversidade Aberta, and it allowed the partners to: present their work packages; constructively discuss the key competencies and attributes of a successful creative entrepreneurship network; and worked out an action plan for the next project steps.

CINet ParticipantsThe CINetwork partnership is composed of the following institutions:
  • Universidade Aberta (Portugal) is the project’s coordinator institution. With headquarters in Lisbon, this university is the referent and the unique public e-learning higher education in Portugal.
  • UKWON is the United Kingdom’s Work Organisation Network. Gathering institutions, practitioners and individuals, it encourages new ways of organising work that lead to sustainable competitiveness and a high quality of working life.  
  • Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain) has been the first virtual university in Europe, and it has become an internationally recognised online university. Located in Barcelona, is fully committed to meet lifelong learning needs of people from all over the world. It gathers a community of over 60,000 students.  
  • Kentro Erevnon Panepistimiou Pireos (University of Piraeus Research Centre, or UPRC) is the Research Centre of the University of Piraeus, in Greece. Located within the Athens urban area, the centre provides technological support to basic and applied research.  
  • Association for Education and Sustainable Development (Romania) is an organisation that promotes lifelong learning in order to enhance active citizenship, social cohesion and employment at the district of Calarasi.  
  • DNA Cascais (Portugal) is an Entrepreneurship Agency, promoted by the Municipality, to develop the local Entrepreneur Ecosystem and foster young and social entrepreneurs in Cascais. 
  • Media Deals Association (France) is a pan-European investment network bringing together business angels and innovative entrepreneurs on early-stage digital and media companies.

Testimonials from CINet Partners José Porfírio is CINet's Project Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Universidade Aberta's Social Sciences and Management Department. He said: 'By joining institutions with the characteristics of those that are partners of CINet project, and putting together landmarks like Entrepreneurship, Creative Industries, Distance Learning, and Networking, I believe that this project shows the necessary ingredients to become a must within Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation set of projects approved by the European Commission for the next two years, becoming an inspiration for other future entrepreneurial projects within EU'.

 Peter Totterdill, Joint Chief Executive of UKWON, said: 'CINet offers a unique opportunity to understand how creative businesses can achieve collaborative advantage, building communities based on shared learning and on collective responses to common problems and opportunities'.

Inma Rodríguez-Ardura, Associate Professor of Marketing at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, said: 'CINet is a terrific project, which can have a very positive impact on entrepreneurial activities in Southern EU countries'.

Josep Hassid is a Professor of Economics at UPRC. It is his opinion that: 'Creative industries may develop into growth areas in many countries. Opportunities, Talent and Interest may be present but what is frequently missing is devising appropriate schemes for facilitating new creative entrepreneurs starting their businesses and running them efficiently. Transfer of innovation and good practices may become a driver of crucial importance. The new CINet project is expected to contribute significantly to this aim!'.

Andreea Panaitescu, Project Manager at Association for Education and Sustainable Development
, stated: 'Great people are working on this project, so I am sure that the results will be remarkable'.

Marco Fernandes, Executive Director at DNA Cascais, affirmed: 'Actually, cities, regions and countries compete, above all, based in talent, creativity and innovation skills. But all this ingredients must be followed by the capacity to create and implement sustainable and competitive businesses. That´s critical and that´s where CINet can make the difference. With CINet creative European entrepreneurs will have new tools and a learning platform to improve their implementation skills and to create more impacting projects, based in sustainable business models and good practices already tested in UK. We believe that CINet will have a strong impact and contribution to foster creative entrepreneurship in the southern Europe countries directly involved'.
Louis Solomou, EU Policy Consultant at Media Deals, said: 'Cultural and Creative Industries have great growth potentials in the current economic juncture, however, they require the necessary ecosystem within which to develop, and the entrepreneurs within this ecosystem do not often have access to training and other bridges through which to communicate cross country and industry'.

CINet at the European Business Angels WeekOn the 20th of November 2013, Louis Solomou, EU Policy Consultant at Media Deals, presented CINet during the European Business Angels Week events in Brussels. The presentation was made in front of numerous EU policy makers, stakeholders and investors with involvement extending beyond Cultural and Creative Industries.
During his presentation, Louis Solomou highlighted the growth-enhancing, border -breaking and cross-industries-bridging potentials of the CINet for Cultural and Creative Industries. In fact, through this initiative, the entrepreneurs of the Cultural and Creative Industries can become more competitive and adapting to the digital, Internet and globalized environment, as well as, boost their communication capacity with professionals from other regions and countries, and even other industries, like private investors. Several private investors positively responded to the last remark in anticipation of the CINet first graduate. They believe that such initiatives reduce the perceived riskiness of the Cultural and Creative Industries, as well as, facilitate the flow of private funds into an industry that was heavily depended on public money. It is because of this dependence to public money that the Cultural and Creative Industries endured a disproportionately greater impact from the crisis in the Eurozone countries that are up against a fiscal credit crunch. The CINet hopes to achieve the necessary bottom-up systemic changes in these countries and regions to ameliorate this impact and to a certain degree facilitate their exit from this unfortunate situation.
Through the discussion a number of recommendations come from the audience. The CINet should aim at equipping the entrepreneurs in these industries with entrepreneurial and investment readiness skills, adapted to the specificities of the Cultural and Creative Industries. These specificities include things like, the need to adapt their business models to the digital and Internet environment, to the pro-type nature of their products and services, and to the intangible nature of their assets. The training should try to adapt to the education and work background of these entrepreneurs as well. This will help the entrepreneur incorporate their newly acquired skills to the existing ones.
In the future, as the CINet work progresses, Media Deals intents to further utilize its extensive network of investors and Cultural and Creative Industry professionals to further raise awareness of the initiative. In these awareness events, Media Deals also gathers the comments, or, questions associated with specific aspects of the initiative. This information acts as early feedback to the outcome of the initiative that will help CINet become a true answer to the demands of the markets.

CINet ResearchA research paper related to the CINet project, and entitled ‘Modelling entrepreneurs’ use of business support services: evidence from Barcelona’, has been presented at the First UOC International Research Symposium. The event took place in Barcelona on the 18th December 2013. Three participants in the CINet project, Gisela Ammetller-Montes, Inma Rodríguez-Ardura and Josep Lladós-Masllorens, prepared the paper, which was presented by Gisela Ammetller-Montes.

This paper offers an integrative model about those services oriented to support entrepreneurial initiatives. By contrast with conventional perspectives from the entrepreneurship field, mainly drawn from a resource-based view, it proposes a two-fold approach to design services for new business creation: by considering the role of resources within the start-up’s reach (internal and external); and by incorporating a behavioral and decision-making approach. On the basis of the suggested decision-making framework, a multi-stage model is developed and tested by means of a representative sample of entrepreneurs linked to a local development agency in Barcelona. The results show that the adoption and use of support services for new business creation is a complex and reflexive process, triggered by the entrepreneur’s internal forces. The entrepreneur searches for information throughout the process and, with assistance from internal teams and external networks, evaluates the choices of business-support services. The findings offer relevant implications and recommendations for business incubators and institutions.

A website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn groups coming soon!

This project has been funded with support from the European Comission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Comission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

With the support of the Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation Project of the European Union.