During the last decade, there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of artistic and creative processes as catalysers of innovation, something particularly noted in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that intersect in many fields with artistic processes. However, as stressed by the Digital Agenda for Europe, Europe continues to “under-use the creativity of SMEs”. To tackle this, in 2016 the EC launched ‘STARTS’ initiative (Science, Technology and
the ARTS) under Horizon 2020.

RegionArts partners are convinced of the need of integrating arts in ITC for SME innovation and competitiveness. As regional authorities, business development agencies and creative clusters, they have been working on promoting these cross-overs for the last years. But it is not an easy task. Most policies available are conceived for an information and knowledge age (even for an industrial age) that is no longer predominant. Support offer is still fragmented. Public support programmes are too rigid and there is a lack for occasions for collaboration and outreach. There is also a need for a common language: existing initiatives often start from creative sector and reach out to ICT, or vice versa, i.e. both parties are not involved as equal partners.

Our objective is to improve the implementation of Structural Funds/other funds in partner regions, through adapting or designing 1 support scheme in each region for the promotion of collaborations between artists and ICT companies. Consequently, through the improved support scheme, we will promote around 140 new collaborations in total (around 20 per region), 20% of the beneficiary SMEs introducing an innovation by 2022.