On 18 December 2023, we celebrated the successful completion of the first phase of our Undertaking Business in Culture (UBIC) project's entrepreneurship workshop. This pivotal three-month phase brought together 20 talented and dedicated cultural entrepreneurs from Africa and Europe who have demonstrated not only their passion for innovation but also their commitment to personal and professional growth. The entrepreneurship workshop aimed to foster creativity, nurture innovative thinking and equip each participant with the skills and knowledge needed to embark on their entrepreneurial ventures. We are delighted that we have achieved these objectives and more. 

Building capacity for entrepreneurs in the cultural heritage sector

Organizers ICCROM and Fondazione Scuola dei beni e delle attività culturali had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable transformation of each participant over the course of the workshop. From the initial stages of idea generation to the development of comprehensive business plans, the dedication and enthusiasm displayed by all participants was nothing short of inspiring. The collaborative spirit and exchange of ideas made the workshop a dynamic and enriching experience for everyone involved. 

The learning was guided by ten subject matter experts and industry experts who generously shared their knowledge and experiences. Their insights have been invaluable, providing the participants with a broader perspective and real-world advice that will undoubtedly contribute to their future success. 

Alessandra Vittorini, Director of the Fondazione, expressed her satisfaction with the first phase and pledged commitment to the second phase. She stated, “As we embark on the next phase of this journey, let us embody the spirit of cultural entrepreneurship. Together, let's continue to build bridges, awaken creativity and shape a future where culture and heritage are not only preserved but also flourish as dynamic forces driving progress”. 

The upcoming phase, scheduled for the first semester of 2024, includes an in-person workshop in Mozambique and a study tour in Italy. 

ICCROM Director-General Webber Ndoro said that “ This workshop's influence goes beyond the virtual sessions, with participants positioned to make important contributions to the cultural and economic growth of their communities”. 

Building capacity for entrepreneurs in the cultural heritage sector

UBIC is a joint international project by ICCROM and the Fondazione, with technical and financial support from the Italian Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs in support of the ICCROM Youth.Heritage.Africa programme. The second phase, which begins in January 2024, will be held in partnership with the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF).

In closing, the Director of the Fondazione, Ms Vittorini and Director-General of ICCROM, Mr Ndoro, advised the participants to maintain the connections they’ve made and continue supporting each other. The entrepreneurial road can be difficult, but with the support of a strong network of like-minded individuals, the possibilities are limitless.