Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CREA Report Summary

Project ID: 644988
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CREA (Network of summer academies for the improvement of entrepreneurship in innovative sectors)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-02-29

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

CREA is a network of European Summer Academies focusing on Entrepreneurship driven by ICT and Creativity. The Academic and business prospective converge in CREA through a partnership among European Universities, Incubators, Regional Development Agencies and Business Support initiatives. This union makes the CREA Network something unique in its kind, and gives to university students the opportunity as a Summer Academy to benefit from knowledge and experience gathered from all over Europe.

CREA is a project financed by Horizon2020, the European Programme for research and innovation. The main objective of CREA is to create a European Model of Summer Academies with a strong focus on ICT and Creativity as competitive leverages for the birth of new innovative business start-ups. The goal is therefore to make youngsters and students aware of these topics and to encourage the development of new business ideas by promoting cross-fertilization between Creativity and ICT. The project aims to develop dedicated training services and mentoring and to promote the creation of a European wide Network of universities, incubators and development agencies for long-term collaboration and continuous dialogue with investors and business angels.
At the CREA Summer Academies and Business Contest, students will be part of an (early stage) start-up team and they will work on their business idea, combining knowledge and experience from creativity, business theory and technology. Summer Academies have been designed for students selected by an expert jury that evaluate applications on F6S platform and a Skype interview. The aim of the selection process is to discover talented students and support them in their first start-up adventure.

Politecnico di Milano - Design Department (supported by Fondazione Politecnico) is the lead partner of the CREA project that involves a network of 9 institutions from 8 European countries:
• ESN Italy Erasmus Student Network - Italy
• BWCON Innovation Cluster for ICT and Media of Baden Württemberg - Germany
• University of the Aegean - Greece
• University of Northumbria at Newcastle - UK
• HKU - University of the Arts, Utrecht - Netherlands
• Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana
• Urban Region and University of Ljubljana - Slovenia
• Tallinn Business Incubator – Estonia

The mail goals of CREA are:
- To turn ideas into business models;
- To select and support talented students, who have a real interest in becoming entrepreneurs by combining creativity with ICT, and who are ready to start an innovative venture
- To combine a training program with an early stage experience of work on developing a business idea.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

CREA is unique because it has combined the set up of innovative training activities with an action research process. Besides cross-fertilization between creativity, entrepreneurship and ICT, internationalization and networking are two other very important objectives of CREA project. Indeed, CREA aims to act as a laboratory to test the possibility of enlarging the network of institutions participating in the Summer Academies in order to increase the involved competences and the awareness and knowledge on creating new business models focus on the three pillars: Creativity, ICT and Entrepreneurship. To achieve this goal, the Consortium performed a benchmarking research. We identified over 50 programmes in Europe and US relevant for Entrepreneurship; 15 best practices have been analysed and compared with the CREA Educational Model in order to develop a unique and innovative Didactic Framework able to distinguish CREA with a real value proposition for the target groups.

CREA Summer Academies structure
The common elements among which each partner has developed the local program are the following:
1- Practice-based approach: all theory should directly support the development of the business plan and put into practice through team work, mentoring and coaching, leading by example through field trips and expert feedback.
2- Duration: Two-weeks course, 60 hours in total
3 – Time: Taking place in June, July, August, September (avoiding overlapping and covering the whole summer period in order to fit with the different needs of students and different academic calendars of the different countries).
4- Structure:
Week 1: introduction, team building, initial idea and business plan development
theory on business building blocks, theory on specialty subjects, team work and putting the knowledge and skills gained into practice
Week 2: further idea and business plan development, pitch training, closing with selection for prototyping phase, theory on pitching, team work, expert feedback and putting the knowledge and skills gained into practice. Social events play a key networking role for the duration of the course.
5- Mix of teaching method used: lectures, keynotes, workshops, labs, team working sessions, consultancy (individual or group), game, mentoring / coaching, best practices.

After the Summer Academy: the two best teams from each national Summer Academies proceed to the ICT Business Idea Contest, part of which is prototyping their project through online mentoring.

Summer Academies 2015 approach

Facts and Figures
300.000 students reached with the communication strategy (social media – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin – events, mailing)
700 interested applicants on F6S platform
300 finalized applications
130 participants
6 Summer Academies
60 teams with early stage sturt-up ideas
11 teams @ CREA ICT Business Idea Contest

Call for application
The call, published on the CREA website ( and on, was open to students and PhD candidates enrolled in a European university (until one year after the degree) and to the Post Doc working in a European university.

Training programs
Students participating in the CREA Summer Academy go through three main steps: from SUMMER ACADEMY (among a call for application and a first phase of selection) to the MENTORING AND PROTOTYPING phase (after the two weeks of training) and finally the ICT BUSINESS IDEA CONTEST.

Each Summer Academy addresses in its course the principles of entrepreneurship and creativity, as well as the use of ICT and technologies in a practice-based manner.

The two weeks of training programmes held in 2015 were the following:

• Newcastle (UK) 15th - 28th June;
• Utrecht (Netherlands) 6th - 17th July;
• Ljubljana (Slovenia) 12th - 22th July;
The intensive training was held on the Faculty of Computer and Information Science at Ljubljana University
• Tallinn (Estonia) 17th - 28th August;
• Lake Constance (Germany) 7th- 18th Sept.;
The Summer Academy in Constance took place from the 7th-18th September 2015 at the premises of the University of Applied Science in Constance. Overall, 20 lectures, speakers and coaches were involved during the two weeks program.
• Lake Como (Italy) 14th - 27th September.
The Summer Academy in Italy took place the 14th-25th September at the Lake Como Campus of Politecnico di Milano.

A set of tools has been adopted from all the summer academies:
- business model generation (and business model canvas)
- value proposition canvas
- user journey canvas
A set of innovative tools has been developed during the CREA project and tested in the first edition of some Summer Academies.

Mentoring and Prototyping
After the two weeks of training the teams from all over the Summer Academies have joined the web place developed by POLIMI to manage the on-distance mentoring activity. So, students of the CREA Summer Academies have received the access data and at the dedicated page of the CREA website, they had login to Moodle and they had available the course of their Summer Academy, being already subscribed. (see D 4.7)

CREA International Business Idea Contest @ ICT2015 (Lisbon, 22nd October 2015)
Finally the best ideas selected from the Summer Academy participate to the CREA International Business Idea Contest and pitch their project in front of investors. Winning participants have the chance to be introduced to incubators all over Europe.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The general impact of the first edition of CREA Summer Academies is the following:
- 300.000 students reached with the communication strategy (social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – events, mailing)
- 700 interested applicants on F6S platform
- 318 finalized applications
- Nationality: applications were of students coming from 43 nationality
- They were studying in 23 countries
- They were enrolled in 68 Universities

On February 19 was launched the second edition of the call to apply to the seven free summer academies of the CREA project.

Until May 17, 2016 will be able for the students to apply to one of 7 Summer Academy planned for 2016: Newcastle (United Kingdom) June 20-July 1; Utrecht (Netherlands) July 4 to 15; Syros island (Greece) July 11 to 22; Ljubljana (Slovenia) July 19 to 29; Tallinn (Estonia) 16 to 27 August; Lake Constance (Germany) August 29 to September 9; Ostuni (Italy) September 5 to 16.

1- The creation of a European wide system of Summer Academies for university and last year high school students
CREA project has directly involved:
- 6 European cities (Newcastle, Ljubljana, Utrecht, Tallinn, Constance, Como),
- 6 Universities (Politecnico di Milano, HKU, University of Aegean, Ljubljana University, University of Lake Constance, Northumbria University),
- 2 Incubators (Tallinn Business Incubator and POLI Hub)
- 2 Local Development Agencies (RRA LUR and bwcon) in its first edition. However, the network is
But if we consider the participants CREA has indirectly involved 44 Universities in Europe and with the ICT Business Idea Contest other 3 Incubators: Ljubljana University Incubator (Slovenia), Dutch Game Garden (The Netherlands), Ekkinisi-Lab Business, Accelerator of the Federation of Greek Enterprises (Greece).

Several meetings in High Schools have been realized from ESN in 2015: 6.000 students have been reached and they met a first overview of the topics and the three pillars of CREA (creativity, ICT, entrepreneurship).

2- The creation of a European System of Summer Academies: the expectation and the feedbacks from the students

Thanks to the In Depth Research report and compared the expectation of participants with the feedback collected among the Satisfaction survey the Consortium has evaluated the general structure of the summer academies in order to improve the format for the second edition.

The overall conclusions are:

Strong points:
- General positive satisfaction
- Synergies among teachers in the three fields (ICT, Creativity and Management)
- Motivation of participants was very high
- Social events have supported engagement, motivation and networking
- Improve the international exchange of teachers
- Increase meetings with testimonials (entrepreneurs and start-uppers)

To be investigated:
- Individual application: with or without an idea?
- If at the end of the 2 weeks only 2 teams are selected the others can’t be really engaged in the mentoring even if they have this service for free. Evaluate to move the selection very close to the CREA event
- Period of Summer Academy: not overlapping among the summer academies
- Think about a continuous system of communication and engagement in events and opportunities even after the Summer Academy (connection with other European projects and programme: Erasmus for Entrepreneurs, FACE, My-WAY, Welcome and in general with Startup Europe).

3- The summer academies have been action oriented
The practice-base approach adopted from the Summer Academies has a positive impact on the teambuilding activity and consequently on the start-up ideas presented at the ICT Business Idea Contest.
MUSA is one of the most successful best practice case for the first edition of CREA. Musa won the 2nd place at the ICT Business Idea Contest and after the event they started a positive collaboration with POLI Hub and the Ljubljana Incubator. They will start in May a 3 months Incubation Program @ POLI Hub with the plan to apply to Erasmus for Entrepreneurs for 3 months of Erasmus at Ljubljana.

4- A Summer Academy more in 2016: Syros Island Summer Academy
In 2016 a new summer academy was included in the CREA panel of opportunities.

5 – Matchmaking among Universities – Incubators – Local Agencies - Investors
The commitment of CREA is high, indeed, meeting with possible investors, partners and sponsors have been set up during the CREA Business Idea Contest (but not only).
At the first edition of CREA ICT Business Idea Contest were present 15 investors and experts from the following 8 countries: Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Netherland, Portugal, UK, Greece, Estonia

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top