Support to coworking spaces
Based on scoping studies Mideast Creatives has developed a grant-making policy for coworking spaces and beehives in the region. So far grants have been provided to coworking spaces in Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Tunisia and Morocco. These grants aim to create or maintain community spaces where creative entrepreneurs can jointly procure projects, exchange ideas and access services, and support and use technology that can aid their growth individually and as a collective. The sizes of these communities vary from hundreds to thousands of community members per space. They foster a young generation who will collaborate beyond ideological, cultural, political and religious boundaries. These spaces stimulate fresh social cohesion by providing an open space for everyone to connect, express themselves and create and collaborate regardless of all differences. Also, the spaces have a clear economic impact: they help projects grow into sustainable businesses that create jobs and they promote entrepreneurship among youth so that they see entrepreneurship as a serious option as opposed to getting a job from the state.
In 2014 a regional six-day intensive capacity-building training was organised in Cairo for more than 30 managers of coworking spaces from the entire region to generate knowledge exchange and the exchange of best practices. Mentors, trainers and experts from throughout the region gave expert courses on marketing, space operations, finance, business planning, crowdfunding, digital security and design thinking. A first discussion was begun on how to create a regional network of these spaces.
Business trainings for the creative sector
Mideast Creatives has developed a business training programme for entrepreneurs within the cultural and media sector. Together with local partners, we have developed a tailor-made training curriculum with topics such as intellectual property, business modelling, marketing and team building. Currently the business training track consists of several training events, which are called Disrupt!/ events. Each Disrupt!/ event is a competitive three-day workshop bringing together creative entrepreneurs starting out within a specific sub-sector of the creative industry, for example the music, animation, film or media sectors. During the events, front running artists, journalists, activists, designers, software programmers, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, storytellers, animators and media professionals will be encouraged to work on their business plans with the support of experienced local trainers, mentors and investors. Eventually, they will be able to tackle more innovative and dynamic business modelling techniques for the future so they can remain independent. On the last day of the training, teams of participants pitch
their business plan to a jury of experienced entrepreneurs and investors within the sector.
Support for crowdfunding platform to improve access to finance
Mideast Creatives has supported the creation of the crowdfunding platform Zoomaal.Through the platform creative entrepreneurs are stimulated to set up a marketing campaign to reach a wider audience and think about sustainability beyond donor funding. The Zoomaal management received support by Mideast Creatives to set up this platform. Through the Zoomaal platform, projects and organisations in the fields of film, music, animation, women’s empowerment and social change were financially supported by their local communities and could develop further to create change in their societies. Projects included art festivals, projects for Syrian refugees, alternative cinemas, bands, movies, cartoons and even libraries.