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THE CONTEXT

In this period of extreme uncertainty, both in economic and social terms, we see a strong increase of the entrepreneurial spirit and the desire and need of young people to create new businesses. This pulse is also motivated by concrete market opportunities for new solutions and innovations in almost every field.

Within this challenging context, the Nausicaa Lab project aims to provide a concrete contribution to the constructive and creative efforts that young people are called to undertake in order to build their own future: our aim is to boost those creative energies, and to effectively contribute to the empowerment of talented Mediterranean youth, the revitalization of entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs and concrete opportunities for development and inclusive growth.

Our area of scope is the Mediterranean basin, a region experiencing extremely adverse social and economic conditions. As demonstrated by several studies, young people of this area are those who are more influenced by the crisis in terms of unemployment. As governments and international organisations are trying to provide solutions in order to support economic growth, entrepreneurs should be given the instruments to take a more active role both in their own communities and in the Mediterranean area as an whole.

Through the joint effort of Il Tamarindo, the Chamber of Commerce of Milan and many other  distinguished partners both in the North and the South of the Mediterranean sea, the Nausicaa Lab project will catalyse economic dynamism in this area through the creation of new, productive interactions between young Euro-Mediterranean entrepreneurs and the strengthening of existing ones.

Milan has been chosen as the venue of the price due to its leading role in the Euro-Mediterranean economy. The recognised importance of Milan as a meeting point between European and MENA enterprises, notably small and medium ones, led recently to the creation of Euro-Med Center by the Chamber of Commerce, whose main goal – the highly institutionalised support to Euro-Mediterranean entrepreneurs, both new and experienced ones – perfectly fits into the relevant project.

The areas on which the contest focuses belong to the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs). According to a research conducted by KEA [1] with the assistance of the European Union in 2011, the field of CCIs in Europe was participating already ten years ago for 2.6% to the whole European GDP with a total turnover of € 654 billion (2003), higher than that generated by the car manufacturing industry and by ICT manufacturers.

The problems of acknowledgement suffered by this sector find some of the critical reasons in the lack of awareness of the importance of the sector, and a lack of easiness in the opportunity to access to foreign markets for SMEs. The CCIs are important drivers for innovation, contribute to increasing and improving the tourism and to the development of the ICT sector, in the meanwhile favouring social cohesion. They play a key role in an experiential economy like the contemporary one which tends to favour those sectors that create emotional ties with users.

The Nausicaa lab project wants to work in this context as a megaphone for the visibility of an importance little recognized so far, and wants to provide for the lack of opportunities that small and medium enterprises encounter in accessing foreign markets.

We are the bridge that was missing towards the opportunity to insert into a new market for companies that proven to be successful in their own network.
 
 
THE 1ST EDITION

The Nausicaa Lab contest is a competition for young entrepreneurs aimed at fostering creativity and entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean basin.

Launched on November 2011, the 1st Nausicaa Lab contest was open to young people aged under 35 proposing a “cultural business idea” oriented at creating a start-up with a clear focus on culture and creativity in the Mediterranean region.

A selected jury composed by high level academics and professionals evaluated the best proposal. The winning team was awarded on March 2012 with 6 month of free access to The Hub incubator services in Milan and the participation to the start up session of the SMAU fair in Padua and in Milan (more information at www.nausicaalab.net).
The first edition was a pilot initiative, whose success had gathered the attention of relevant partners in the Milan area, such as the Chamber of Commerce of Milan, who will participate to the second edition of the Nausicaa Lab project as an active partner.
 
 
THE 2ND EDITION

The Nausicaa Lab project is a start up competition that gives access to a program of international mobility of 6 months to start-ups and young companies of the Mediterranean countries which intend to explore the potential of the city of Milan by setting there up a branch of their business.

It aims at helping young entrepreneurs to develop their businesses in a foreign country, conquer new markets, increase the economic impact of their start-up in the Mediterranean area and have access to the exciting innovation ecosystem of the Milan area.

The Nausicaa Lab competition is open to young entrepreneurs (under 35 years old) running a start up/ small company by no more than three years, based in a Mediterranean country, in the field of Cultural Creative Industries[2] (CCIs).

The team of the winning start-up will have access to a 6 month membership in Milan based incubator, as well as a free residence for two people in the city of Milan.

Il Tamarindo will implement the programme acting with the support of a strong network of partners in the Mediterranean area, of both technical and institutional partners.

The technical partners network:

On one side Il Tamarindo will rely on organisations that are part of the Entrepreneurship ecosystems that bring together incubators and accelerators based in the south Mediterranean area. Thanks to their strong network of start-ups, small companies and young entrepreneurs, those organizations will act as active partners in the implementation of the Nausicaa Lab project, by helping both in the promotion and in the selection process of applicants.

A few of them are already part of the Nausicaa Lab technical network as AltCity, an incubator for cultural and social entrepeneurs based in Beirut, Lebabon; Flat6Labs, and accelerator based in Egypt, Il Cairo created by Sawari Ventures and the American University in Cairo; and the media platform for young people in the MENA region Leaders of Tomorrow  – FOR9A, run by young people from across the Arab world in the following countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen.

The institutional partners network

On the other side, Il Tamarindo will involve the Italian and Mediterranean embassies and consulates, as well as their cultural institutes all over the region, to act as key facilitators in the circulation of Nausicaa Lab’s call for participants.

The competition will benefit from these actors pervasive and eminent communication channels, able to reach local, national and international organizations in the fields of education, entrepreneurship and culture.

These and the other partners will be provided by the organizers of the competition with informational material both in English and in Italian.

Embassies, consulates and cultural institutes will represent a remarkable insight on local innovation and entrepreneurship and will be kindly invited to suggest possible new partners aligned to the initiative.
 
 
THE PROPONENT AND THE TEAM

Nausicaa Lab is a project promoted by the Cultural Association “Il Tamarindo”.

“Il Tamarindo” was founded in 2009 by Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi together with the editorial board of the multilingual European cultural magazine “The Tamarind” (www.thetamarind.eu).

The association has as its main objective the diffusion and enhancement of the cultural debate among young people and students, to be achieved by means of the magazine and of other cultural activities such as symposia, seminars, debates and art competitions, with particular interest for the intercultural dialogue as a medium for mutual enrichment, renewed friendship and more profound understanding between different cultures.

The association is active member of The Round Table for youth of MILAN EXPO 2015; of the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform and is part of the Anna Lindh Foundation Network. It also has partnerships with different research centres in the field of intercultural dialogue of the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Project team:

Marina Calcagno Baldini – m.calcagno[at]iltamarindo.net

Giulia Rosso – g.rosso[at]iltamarindo.net

Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi – l.kihlgren[at]iltamarindo.net



[1] A Brussels-based consultancy firm specialized in culture, creativity, media and sports.


[2] The reference sectors belongs to the cultural industries (among others visual arts, performing arts, music, cinema, new media and video games, publishing, radio and tv) and the creative industries (among others architecture, design, advertising). In absence of a shared definition, we have adopted the distinction proposed by the EU Commission in the ‘Green Paper – Unlocking the Potential of the Cultural and Creative Industries’.