lisbon tramTo Lisbon, a beautiful city.

I was speaking at the British Council organised European Creative Hubs Forum. This event drew managers of creative hubs (both physical and geographical) from UK and across Europe, sharing best practice, looking at network opportunities and building a manifesto for future collaborative actions.

Presenting as part of a session on public funding (and following a blizzard of complexity on EU programmes) I concentrated on what the hubs were able to sell in to the public sector, their value add, in short: access, insight, delivery & profile.

Pertinent given the previous presentations I also added a caveat that the hubs should not bend too far to access public funding and should ensure that it would deliver rather than drain resource – maybe obvious advice but often ignored.

Outside of the ECHF I met with a series of Portuguese start ups, reflecting a vibrant emerging digital ecosystem in the city – driven by a series of economic & social factors allied to education provision (110k students in a city of c.1M) and a supportive city government.

This ecosystem was demonstrated in a visit to Beta-i at their new building – a 9 floor ex-post office building which they will fill with incubation spaces, initially to house their regular Lisbon Challenge accelerator. I first met Beta-i a couple of years back and their rapid expansion reflects both municipal support and commercial potential.

And as ever in Portugal, more fabulously simple but delicious food & great wine (and stay @memmoalfama).

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