12.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

DARE Stories: Raul Romero and Yakera

Welcome to DARE Stories – a new series hosted by xPlot in collaboration with creators all over the world. Here, we let creative entrepreneurs tell their story – of daring, of innovating, and building their own. First out: Raul Romero and his Yakera.
During our annual event, we asked you to tell us your stories; of your creative challenges, ideas, and successes. In collaboration with DARE Clan, this storytelling series introduces creative entrepreneurs from around the world, telling us the impact and change they bring about, all in their own words.

Raul Romero is the founder of Yakera, a crowdfunding platform that allows people in the developing world to tell their stories and receive support directly into their bank accounts using blockchain technology. He is an international student at Kenyon College, where he pursues an International Studies degree.

This is Raul's DARE Story.


––––––––––––––

I was only 17 when I left Venezuela. I got on a plane, packed with a suitcase and a scholarship, with the uncertainty of the crisis rumbling in the background as I embarked on an unexpected path to high school – and then college – in the United States. As I have been away from home, the situation has only worsened. The small business that provided my family with the means to make ends meet was forced to close a couple of years ago, amidst mass migration that rendered most of the homes next to our cheese shop empty.

Economic mismanagement has led to hyperinflation and a massive decline on Venezuela's living conditions.

While I pursued my education and thought about my academics, with a roof over my head and meals in the cafeteria, Venezuelans lost 24 pounds on average, forced to eat less by the increasingly high food prices.

Despite the conditions, the regime would not let any aid into the country. Trucks with US-sponsored aid were consumed by flames at the border, prevented from entering the country by a regime that sought to monopolize and politicize the distribution of food in the nation.

Venezuela had deeply changed. I felt powerless as my family suffered, only able to provide help with the little money I was making as a student worker. 

Photo: Yakera.

That’s when it came to me. I had witnessed the power of crowdfunding in the US. Communities coming together and people donating a few dollars for a cause they felt connected to. However, existing crowdfunding platforms only served the United States and a few European countries, constraining those in Venezuela, Latin America, and the developing world from accessing a community of help. I spent a few minutes putting a flyer together and calling a few friends for a meeting in one of my college’s classrooms on a Thursday night. We spent a night discussing what to do, and figuring out one fundamental question:

How do we deliver support to people in Venezuela and the rest of the world when international regulations and government restrictions make it so hard to send money across borders?

The answer was a Mexico City-based fintech startup: Airtm. We partnered with Airtm and launched Yakera, a blockchain-based crowdfunding platform that allows individuals to tell their stories and receive immediate support directly in their bank accounts. Once a person decides to retrieve their funds from Yakera, via Airtm, they are matched with an individual who is seeking to exchange Venezuelan Bolivars for US dollars – all while Airtm holds the funds in escrow, ensuring individuals receive money directly in their bank accounts.

Read more about Yakera on yakera.net.


Humanitarian aid, though almost non-existent within Venezuela’s borders, has been historically perceived in the world as a kilo of flour or rice, without too much questioning on the long-term effects in the local economy and in individual agency. Let’s set the example of the kilo of flour. If an aid organization gives an individual a kilo of flour, they are (often wrongly) determining that a person’s priority is one kilo of flour, while running inefficient supply chains that do not contribute to the long-term development of countries by competing with local producers and markets. In the same example, a government agency would buy a kilo of flour from a company, pay for shipping costs, contract extensive personnel on the ground, and determine a plan to distribute the flour in a neighborhood, paying for additional transportation and operating costs in the country. 

In Yakera, we make humanitarian aid delivery more efficient. Individuals tell their stories, receive contributions, withdraw them in their local bank account, and then have the freedom and agency to decide how and where to purchase the things they need, prioritizing their own needs over anything else.

Dignity and agency are the principles that sustain Yakera. People know how to best meet their needs; better than we do, often purchasing goods and services from other small businesses in their communities, creating a loop of prosperity in the country. 


In a year and a half, we have built a platform that enables these transactions to take place. We started with a pilot in Venezuela, working with a local organization to find individuals willing to tell their stories. As we told a couple of community leaders the word got around: several dozen started messaging Yakera from several parts of the country and even from Colombia. Refugees seeking immediate support for healthcare expenses, small businesses trying to buy sewing machines, industrial coffee grinders, or a mixer for cakes, and people looking to cover their tuition expenses. The impact of these technological innovations can extend beyond Venezuela. That’s why we’ve reinvisioned the product while we prepare for expansion and releasing new features. 

Daring to change every day, working hard day and night to make this happen and mobilizing a team and resources to enable Yakera has allowed me to put in practice what I carried in my suitcase: dreams, grit, and resilience to innovate and disrupt industries and wrongly-unchallenged principles. 
–––––––––––––––––

This article is written by Raul Romero, in collaboration with DARE Clan and xPlot.
To read more about Romero and Yakera, please visit their website: https://www.yakera.net/

We had the pleasure of having Raul with us at our annual event, Crossing Borders. Watch below to view his segment of the evening, talking about daring, entrepreneurship, and Yakera.

16.9.21
|
Anneli Xie

DARE Stories: Bringing Back Public Spaces with Aaron Greiner of CultureHouse

In this week's DARE Story, Aaron Greiner – Founder and Director of CultureHouse – tells us how the pandemic has caused the disappearance of public spaces; as well as a solution to bring them back.

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9.9.21
|
Anneli Xie

DARE Stories: Upcycling plastic waste into healthy food with Nathalie Berezina of Norbite

Welcome back to DARE Stories – the series in which we invite your favorite entrepreneurs to tell their own story. This week, Nathalie Berezina – Founder and CEO of Norbite – tells us about finding innovative solutions to solve world problems.

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31.8.21
|
Anneli Xie

Calling all Creative Entrepreneurs:Join the GovTech Challenge!

Open call for creative entrepreneurs, startups and smaller IT companies. Pitch your most innovative idea for a digital match-making platform in this collaborative GovTech PubSec challenge from Creative Business Network and the City of Copenhagen.

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30.8.21
|
Anneli Xie

Nature, craftsmanship, and sustainability in focus at UFA 2021

The finalists of the 2021 Unicorn Fashion Awards offer glimpses into the future of fashion. With designers spread across the globe, craftsmanship, innovation, and nature keep them united.

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12.8.21
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Jonathan Wintoft

#RRCrossingBorders - Elin Beckman

What drives Elin Beckman forward is the enormous pleasure of playing music and making a dance floor happen “DJ:ing for Crossing Borders was such a pleasure and honor and I really loved the initiative."

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9.8.21
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Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders: New Ways of Play – Innovating with Phlay

An interactive media technology that changes how we act, think, and feel about branded content, Phlay engages audiences in an innovative way. During this week’s episode of Recap & Rewind, we revisit Mario Amura – Phlay’s Founder’s – presentation.

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5.8.21
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Anneli Xie

A Green Revolution with Plastic-Digesting Larvae – This is Norbite

The life of a plastic bag is glorious by no means. Used for an average of 12 minutes, the plastic may take up to 1000 years to decompose. But factor in 100 wax moth larvae and a plastic bag is digested in 24h. Too good to be true? Nope. Meet Norbite.

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3.8.21
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Anneli Xie

Daring, Adventurous, Radical, and Eccentric: Welcome to UFA 2021

Hosted by DARE Clan and ERA-KI, the Unicorn Fashion Awards seeks to find and promote emerging fashion designers to an international platform through a 4-12 month long accelerator program. Let's dive deeper into the UFA process.

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29.7.21
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Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders: A Psychological Approach to Creativity

Getting out of a creative rut can be overwhelming. How can psychology help us harness our brain's energy? In this episode of Recap and Rewind – a look back at our annual event, Crossing Borders – we let psychologist Pär Säthil tell us the answer.

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26.7.21
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Anneli Xie

DARE Stories: New psychology for a daring artistic life with Pär Säthil

How can psychology help foster creativity? How do we kick-start our creative processes? In this week's DARE Story, Pär Säthil – writer, psychologist, and former musician – tells us all about the intersection of psychology, creativity, and bravery.

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22.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

This is TAI and SafariSeat – the Swedish start-up ranking no.3 in the world

During #BRIGHT21, 80+ countries competed in the Creative Business Cup to be crowned the best creative entrepreneurs in the world. TAI/SafariSeat – representing Sweden – claimed the bronze, ranking them the third best start-up in the world!

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20.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders – New Ways of Storytelling with Natural Pengu

During this episode of Recap and Rewind – a look back at our annual event, Crossing Borders – we catch up with Markku Lorentz of Natural Pengu to talk storytelling, heroes, Dungeons & Dragons, and the power of the internet.

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19.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

DARE Stories: Changing Lives, Changing Culture – Kamal Aubakirov and 360 Mentors

In this episode of DARE Stories, Kamal Aubakirov tells the story of 360 Mentors: an educational organization changing the lives of youth in Kazakhstan by helping them prepare for college.

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15.7.21
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Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders – What is FemTech? And why should we care, anyway?

On this episode of Recap & Rewind: FemTech and its importance in the modern entrepreneurship ecosystem. How do we render a new social reality of services, products, and design to support women’s health? And what really is FemTech, anyway?

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5.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders: Social Infrastructure and the Importance of Third Places

Welcome to Recap and Rewind – a look back at our annual event, Crossing Borders. First out is a discussion on urban design and the importance of creating third places – all through a lens of community, creativity, and CultureHouse.

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30.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

#BRIGHT21: SafariSeat in the Global Finals of the CBC!

SafariSeat, the winners of Creative Business Cup Sweden 2020, are one of the top six creative start-ups in the WORLD! Today, June 30th, they're making their final pitch in the Global Finals of the Creative Business Cup, held virtually at #BRIGHT21.

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28.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

#BRIGHT21: Footprint Level®, Smart Fashion – and much more!

#BRIGHT21 is a three-day virtual event running from 28 June – 30 June that will change your perspective on entrepreneurship and creativity. Join us to talk fashion and see Footprint Level® – winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden – take on the world!

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25.6.21
|
Jonathan Wintoft

Onwards and Upwards: the xPlot Journey Continues

The Crossing Borders event showed us the endless possibilities stemming from the Cultural and Creative Industries. This summer, we’re picking up on loose ends and tying it all together.

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21.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

The future is BRIGHT – and so is Smart Fashion

In a week – on June 28th to 30th, 2021 – Creative Business Network is hosting their annual conference, #BRIGHT21. Of course, xPlot is joining in on the fun! On June 30th, tune in to hear our thoughts on the future of the fashion industry.

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10.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

Crossing Borders, Taking Risks: All We Learned About Hybrid Events

On the 19th of May, we did something we’d never done before – we hosted a full-blown, international, hybrid event. Thank you to all who came! We had a blast and we hope you did too. Here’s what we learned.

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30.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Building Climate Resilience Through Communication with Footprint Level®

How do we build a climate resilient future amidst our ongoing climate catastrophe? We talk to Footprint Level® – the winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden 2021 – to see how their company contributes to the greater good of our climate, world, and us.

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20.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

...and the winner is: Footprint Level!

After an intense and enthralling final of the 2021 Swedish Creative Business Cup, Footprint Level – under the lead of Mats Huss – emerged as the winner!

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18.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

...and finally, meet the finalists!

TONIGHT, during our annual get-together, we present the winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden! Curious to hear more? Meet this year’s jury and our impressive top two finalists!

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18.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Markku Lorentz and Pengu Studios

What kind of hero would you like to become? In Natural Pengu, Markku Lorentz explores the concept of cooperative storytelling of real-life, albeit virtual, humans, crossing the borders between life online and life offline. But how? Let's see..

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15.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Haruna Katayama, FemTech Analyst

How do we render a new social reality of sex? Why is it important? Meet Haruna Katayama, FemTech Analyst, on her journey to democratize sexual pleasure and to normalize women’s sexual health.

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14.5.21
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Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: DARE CLAN and Riccardo Aimerito

DARE means courage, bravery, and risk. To Riccardo Aimerito, DARE is also an acronym for DYNAMIC, ADVENTUROUS, RADICAL, ECCENTRIC. How do we revolutionize the Cultural and Creative Industries through these four principles? Time to meet the Dare Clan.

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12.5.21
|
Jonathan Wintoft

Meet our DJ: Elin Beckman

Crossing borders and breaking the glass ceiling; on May 19th, we bring you Elin Beckman, DJ Extraordinaire! Read more about Elin Beckman; and most importantly – get ready to get grooving.

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12.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Mario Amura and Phlay

Internationally acclaimed cinematographer and photographer Mario Amura is crossing borders in many ways. Most recently, by delving into the world of rhythmic-visual performativity and human-computer interaction. Let’s take a look!

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3.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Pär Säthil – The Brave Creative

Creativity and psychology might benefit more from each other than we think. On May 19th, xPlot welcomes Pär Säthil, psychologist, writer, and former musician, to speak about how psychology has the power to unlock creative action.

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30.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: gener8tor and its Motown Musician Accelerator

On the Swedish CBC Finals on the 19th of May, xPlot welcomes Chelsea Linder from gener8tor and Suai Kee from gener8tor’s Motown Musician Accelerator, to speak about the creative economy and the music industry in the United States and globally. 

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23.4.21
|
Jonathan Wintoft

Calling all creative entrepreneurs: Join the Creative Business Academy!

The winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden does not only get to represent Sweden at the Global CBC Finals in June, but also snatches a spot in an exclusive training program for creative entrepreneurs: the Creative Business Academy!

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22.4.21
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Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Aaron Greiner – Founder and Director of CultureHouse

On the Swedish CBC Finals on the 19th of May, xPlot welcomes Aaron Greiner, founder and director of CultureHouse, to speak about the importance of social infrastructure and how free pop-up community spaces can make a lasting impact.

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19.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

A mask start-up shows its face: Mymic wins the Swiss Creative Business Cup!

The Creative Business Cup is currently in full bloom, sprouting new and exciting innovations from all over the world. As part of an international network of 80+ countries, xPlot helped pick the winner in Switzerland last week. Let's check them out!

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12.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

5 Reasons to Apply to the Creative Business Cup!

Time to put your thoughts into action – here’s five reasons YOU should apply to the Creative Business Cup!

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8.4.21
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Anneli Xie

Expert Input on the Elements of Entrepreneurship Ecosystems: A Chat with Dr. Jasna Pocek

At xPlot, we believe in the collective power of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. But what is an entrepreneurship ecosystem, really? We ask researcher and scholar Dr. Jasna Pocek to explain and elaborate.

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20.3.21
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Anneli Xie

The StoryTourist Story: From the Creative Business Cup to a Successful International Enterprise

In 2019, Johanna Forsman and Andreas Jansson of StoryTourist won the Swedish Creative Business Cup. At the Global CBC, they championed their category. We talk with Forsman to talk CBC, StoryTourist, and the importance of cultural entrepreneurship.

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16.3.21
|
Anneli Xie

10 years, 10 webinars: Happy birthday, Klump!

Start the week fresh with inspiration – enjoy daily visits to Klump cultural incubator to learn and discuss cultural entrepreneurship with knowledgeable guests and passionate speakers. The webinars are informal, informative, and completely free!

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10.3.21
|
Anneli Xie

Applications to the 2021 Creative Business Cup are now OPEN!

Dreaming of growing your creative endeavors? Thinking about starting your own business? Ready for the opportunity of a lifetime? Join the annual Creative Business Cup and turn your thoughts into action! We are here to guide you along the way.

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5.3.21
|
Anneli Xie

Social Learning Enhances Entrepreneurial Education

How can entrepreneurial education benefit from social learning; and what really is social learning? In an academic study of one of xPlot's previous ventures – Barcamper – we may find the answers to our questions.

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23.2.21
|
Anneli Xie

Welcome to the creARTive Sessions!

On March 4th, 2021, The creARTive Sessions begin! Aiming to promote and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience amongst entrepreneurs within the Cultural and Creative Sector, this is a digital series you do not want to miss.

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8.2.21
|
Anneli Xie

xPlot & creARTive are joining Folk & Kultur 2021!

Reset and recharge; let’s have some fun! On February 10–12, 2021, you can join xPlot at the fourth annual – and first digital – Folk och Kultur! 250 activities packed into three days of fun and festivities; and best of all, it’s completely free!

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18.1.21
|
Katarina Scott

69 different fundings you can apply for during 2021!

Do you need to finance a project in 2021? Navigating the Creative & Cultural industries for funding just got a bit easier.

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8.1.21
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Anneli Xie

From Barcamper to TIME Magazine: Kirill Noskov on Growing IAMRUNBOX

Even during a tumultuous year of COVID lock-downs and economic uncertainty, Kirill Noskov – founder and CEO of the backpack company IAMRUNBOX – has achieved momentous success.

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24.11.20
|
Lars Mattiasson

Join our innovative educational program - Creative Business Academy

xPlot and Creative Business Network launch an international educational program for the Creative Industries.

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5.10.20
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Hossein Lavi

Lunds kommun och Lundasupport bjuder in till webinar!

Välkommen att delta vid ett interaktivt event om finansiering och ekonomi i det nya normala. Oavsett om du driver en startup eller ett etablerat företag så hjälper vi dig att reda ut begreppen och se möjligheterna.

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28.2.20
|
Lars Mattiasson

What can entrepreneurs learn from athletes about sustainable development?

In order to create the companies of the future, entrepreneurs need to learn about personal sustainability. For this reason, we’ve invited four top athletes to join the Swedish final of the Creative Business Cup.

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21.1.20
|
Elinor Valfridsson

5 reasons why you should apply for Creative Business Cup 2020

Gather your thoughts and sharpen your pens, because the applications for CBC (Creative Business Cup) are open!

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9.1.20
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Lars Mattiasson

Apply to the Creative Business Cup!

We can help you take your business idea to the world together with investors, business coaches and a massive international network!

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3.12.19
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Elinor Valfridsson

What is Creative Business Network and what’s xPlot got to do with it?

To support the entrepreneurs in our network, we’ve, therefore, joined forces with Creative Business Network, a global organization whose main focus is to support startups in the creative industry.

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30.10.19
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Hossein Lavi

Be Here Then - an xPlot story is borne.

Ever wondered how the old train station looked like or how the main city square was used 200 years ago? In October, one of our startups who made it to xPlot's national finals during 2018 launched their time machine app in the city of Lund in Sweden.

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30.9.19
|
Nida Aslam

Nida from Pakistan collaborates with xPlot in opening a new Creative Business Network in Pakistan.

I have always believed that good design and creativity can help solve the most complex problems in the world.

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10.9.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

The Brewhouse Award 2019.

Compete for SEK 20,000, business coaching, marketing, mentoring and other profits that will bring you to fruition.

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5.9.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

Incubators for culture & creative industries join forces in a national organization.

Sweden's incubators for culture and creative industries gathered at Brewhouse's cultural factory to form a new association for incubators within the culture and creative sector.

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19.6.19
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Lars Mattiasson

Creative Business Cup Global Finals in Copenhagen July 1-2.

Creative Business Cup National Competitions are organized in more than 70 countries, sending winners annually to the Global Finals in Copenhagen. ​

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5.6.19
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Lars Mattiasson

Winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden sharpens her pitch before the Global Finals in Copenhagen.

Johanna Forsman, co-founder of Story Tourist takes part in the Baltic-Nordic Bootcamp June 4-5 in Helsinki.

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10.5.19
|
Hossein Lavi

And the winner is…Story Tourist!

We are happy to announce the winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden. Next step for Story Tourist is the global finals in Copenhagen the 1-2 of July.

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2.5.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

From a film festival to a multimedia opportunity valley.

The story about a small Italian village that became a leading film and multimedia hub. On the 8th of May, you will hear the full story from Luca Tesauro, CEO of Giffoni Innovation Hub

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29.4.19
|
Hossein Lavi

Meet our exciting finalists!

Fierce competition and strong inflow of applications made it really hard for the jury to evaluate and choose the finalists for the 8th of May in Lund.

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25.4.19
|
Hossein Lavi

Many thanks to all the startups who applied to Creative Business Cup Sweden 2019.

Next, the finals 8th of May at Mejeriet in Lund.

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27.3.19
|
Hossein Lavi

Do you want to speed up your access into an international market?

Apply today to the Creative Business Cup Sweden and check if your idea has the potential to succeed globally.

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15.3.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

Here we are, with *great news* for you!

On the 4th of April in Stockholm, the Sweden Demo Day will take place!

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