‘Digital Atlas’ for the Aegean
Comprehensive work carried out over the past year as part of the ‘Create in Izmir’ project, initiated by Izmir University of Economics (IEU) to support creative industries and entrepreneurship in the Aegean Region, has yielded results. A ‘digital atlas’ containing information about 10 thousand 99 companies engaged in various fields such as design, game development, software, television, and cinema was prepared after individually examining these companies. In the first phase, 270 companies were identified that can establish close relationships and collaborate on joint projects between the creative sectors and the manufacturing and tourism sectors. A special portal was created to bring these companies together on a digital platform. The portal, scheduled to be launched at the end of November, aims to realize new projects that will make the Aegean the focal point of creativity and contribute to employment.
The ‘Create in Izmir’ project, with a budget of 2.3 million euros, was implemented by Izmir University of Economics Creative Economy Research and Application Center (IUE+KREA) with the support of the European Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Technology. The Izmir Development Agency (IZKA), Izmir Foundation, and the Aegean Young Businessmen's Association (EGIAD) also contributed to the project, which will continue until April 2025. Selected among over 100 projects nationwide, the ‘Create in Izmir’ quickly became a large-scale effort encompassing the entire Aegean region.
A focus group meeting was held at the IzQ Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center with the participation of organizations shaping the formation of the ‘digital hub’, to evaluate the recent work carried out under Create in Izmir. The opening speech of the meeting was delivered by IEU Rector Prof. Dr. Yusuf Hakan Abacıoğlu and Vice Rector Prof. Dr. Aslı Ceylan Öner.
Expressing their belief in the powerful and transformative impact of cultural and creative industries on the economy, Rector Prof. Dr. Abacıoğlu said, “We are responsible for, and excited about a regional development project. We believe that we need to engage in work that will have stronger socio-economic contributions in the second century of our Republic. Create in Izmir is a very valuable and important project for both our city and our region in this regard. We are delighted to be part of such a valuable project as a university.” IEU Vice Rector Prof. Dr. Aslı Ceylan Öner emphasized that creative industries were described by the United Nations as the ‘transformative power of the world economy’. Prof. Dr. Öner noted that the Aegean region is visible with its character derived from historical depth and cultural richness and expressed that with the Create in Izmir project, this potential would be further revealed.
RECORDED THE DIGITAL IDENTITY
Providing detailed information about the project, IEU+KREA Director Dr. Sevay İpek Aydın said, “There are numerous companies in the Aegean engaged in creative sectors such as advertising, design, architecture, performing arts, and game development. We wanted to create synergy among these companies and establish a common ground for their joint projects. It was necessary to scan companies in the Aegean in general initially. We researched the areas in which companies work, their productivity, and creativity competency. We have recorded this information in a digital repository. It was a very useful study for recording the digital identity of the Aegean. Then, we thought about how to facilitate communication among companies operating in similar fields, how to bring them together through a portal.”
TRAININGS AND NEW BUSINESS MODELS
Dr. Aydın continued as follows: “Our portal, which will bring together majority of the companies that have not previously come together, will be ready with its initial version at the end of November. In this way, we will take the first step towards an effective and qualified collaboration among creative sectors. The digital atlas, containing data from 10 thousand 99 companies, will guide us on integrated projects that can be carried out with companies from various sectors. For example, if you have a company in the design field and want to collaborate with a company in photography, software, or even tourism, you will not have to think about extensively scanning companies in the Aegean. ‘Create in Izmir’ project is, of course, not limited to this. We will continue our journey with training for companies and research on new business models.”