Startup Europe Awards

Cultural tourism industry experts to discuss funding opportunities in tourism, culture and entrepreneurship in Valencia

  • The Ateneo Mercantil of Valencia hosted the CulturalDeTour MEET UP SPAIN “Opportunities to boost Cultural Tourism” on Monday 17 June.
  • The event sought to promote networking, collaboration and upcoming calls for European funding for projects and initiatives in the tourism, culture and entrepreneurship sectors.

The vice-president of the Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia, Ignacio Carrau, and the head of the Cultural Tourism Unit of Turisme Comunitat Valenciana, María Ruíz, inaugurated last Monday, 17th June, the MEET UP “Opportunities to boost Cultural Tourism”, an event that aimed to promote collaboration and funding opportunities for projects and initiatives in the cultural tourism sector. The meeting, organised by the Finnova Foundation, partner of the European project CulturalDeTour, which is funded with 200,000 euros by the Creative Europe programme, was held from 11:00 to 14:00 in the Sala Sorolla of the Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia (Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 18, 46002 Valencia, Spain) and could be followed both in person and online.

Around 10 speakers, leaders and experts in cultural tourism gathered at this meeting. After the official opening, in a first block the CEO of Finnova, Juanma Revuelta, and the Office Coordinator of Creative Europe in Spain, Mónica Comas, explained the existing funding opportunities related to tourism, culture and entrepreneurship. After that, a panel of speakers began, in which the managing director of the Fundación CV MARQ, Josep Alberto Cortés, the director of the Museum of Natural Sciences of Valencia, Begoña Poza Falset and the general director of Calma Ventures and associate professor of the UV, Juan Mª Sánchez Villar, presented their experiences within the ecosystem of cultural tourism, focusing on good practices and the opportunities it offers.

After that, the “Demoday CDT Acceleration Programme” was introduced, with the presentation of the CulturalDeTour project by the director of the EU Innovation Department at Envolve Entrepreneurship, Christina Skoubridou and the director of the Heritage+ programme at Arctur, Matevz Straus, who together with Finnova make up the project consortium. At the same time, the jury was introduced, which was later in charge of evaluating the SMEs that presented their innovative ideas. This jury was composed of the founder and CEO of Transformation Lighthouse d.o.o., Urška Jež, the COO and co-founder of Star Startups, Ralph Michaud, the operations director of Envolve Entrepreneurship, Maria Anagnostopoulos, the delegate of the Club Innovación y Empresa Ateneo Mercantil, Vicente Gomar, and the aforementioned general director of Calma Ventures, and associate professor of the UV, Juan Mª Sánchez Villar.

Eleven of the participants of the acceleration programme “CDTA”, made a “Pitch” presenting to the jury the entrepreneurial ideas that have accelerated thanks to the initiative.  The companies that participated in this block were Domačija Škvor (Slovenia), Naše Prigodbe (Slovenia), Archeolov (Slovenia), Soca Bio-Art (Spain), BauKunst (Spain), Visitas virtuales (Spain), Inma Maletas (Spain), Integra-T Experience (Spain), CultureHunters (Greece) and Ecomuseum Zagori (Greece), Cluedux (Spain).  Baunkust, an SME from Valencia, was awarded for its Pitch.

The winners of the Technovation Girls-CV Finnova Challenges also made a speech during this section of the meeting.

CulturalDeTour Accelerator Programme “CDT Boost”.

The MEET UP, is part of the cycle of national workshops designed by the CulturalDeTour project and which, in turn, are part of the resources offered by the CulturalDeTour Accelerator Programme (CDTA), one of the outstanding actions of this project. The 6-month acceleration initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity for sustainable cultural tourism businesses from Greece, Slovenia and Spain to gain valuable insights and develop essential skills, growing and expanding their businesses through digitisation, technology and sustainability using the Earth-Centered Design Methodology.

The CDTA Programme seeks to drive innovation, sustainability and business creation in the tourism sector through a design-driven process. To this end, it has selected 30 innovative teams, SMEs and early-stage sustainable cultural tourism enterprises based in Greece, Spain and Slovenia, operating within the cultural tourism sector, to grow and learn, expand their business, explore new models and improve sustainability practices.

About the CulturalDeTour project 

The project aims to use design-driven innovation and sustainability mainstreaming to drive collaboration and entrepreneurship in the cultural tourism sector, and to create a strong cross-sectoral and transnational innovation network to improve economic resilience during the recovery phase of COVID-19.

CulturalDeTour is the product of a unique collaboration between three heterogeneous but complementary partners from across the European Union: Envolve Entrepreneurship (Greece), Finnova (Spain) and Arctur (Slovenia).

Emphasising new business models, the programme will provide participants with the necessary competences to thrive in the sustainable cultural tourism industry.

About the Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia

The Ateneo Mercantil was founded on 23 March 1879 to ‘attend to the cultural needs and training needs, in their profession, of those employed in commerce’ – Its statutes were formalised in 1879. Quoting the II Marquis of Turia, who was President of the entity: ‘In the Athenaeum everything has been promoted, from the Trade Schools to the Stock Exchange, from the Chamber of Commerce to the university progress, from the Language Schools to the Trade Fairs, from the water transfer to the preservation of monuments, from the South Solution for the defence of the city to the work of the Port’. The Ateneo also gave birth to works as diverse as the Sociedad Valenciana de Tranvías, the first radio station in the city, the Madrid-Cuenca railway connection, the transfer of the Church of St. Catherine of Siena or the Valencian Association of Charity.

In 1960 the City Council of Valencia awarded the Ateneo with the Gold Medal of the city. In 1970, the Council of Ministers declared it a Public Utility Entity. The Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia continues to maintain its registered office at Plaza del Ayuntamiento number 18, in Valencia. It is currently chaired by Doña Carmen de Rosa Torner and has around four thousand members.