Creve’s digital business services bolster the creative industries

A picture of an autumnal forest viewed from above. A textual Creve logo superimposed in the middle of the image.

Creve is actively involved in various digital services and endeavors that seek to increase the prosperity of the creative industries. This story presents four of the currently most central digital business services that are organized by (or in cooperation with) Creve.

1. The Portobello People network of CI incubators

Portobello People is a Nordic-Baltic creative industry (CI) incubator network that holds monthly meetings. Creve is one of the network’s three main organizers. The purpose of the Portobello People network is to advance international CI services and operations and build preconditions for sustainable cooperation.

Besides Creve, the main organizers of the network are the CI incubator Klump (part of the art and culture center Subtopia) from Sweden and NDPC – The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture, an organization that aids cross-border cultural and creative projects between Nordic and Baltic EU countries, Iceland, Norway, and Russia.

A collaborative effort to advocate for creative art enterprises

Martin Q Larsson, composer and the director of the Klump incubator, sees the network as an important link between CI incubators. He says that meeting with the Portobello People network is like meeting old friends, and a welcome exception to official receptions that all the network participants already attend on a regular basis.

– I believe it is absolutely necessary to reach out to my colleagues in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Running a culture incubator is kind of a weird profession, which is very much in between culture and business, with the sense that you don’t belong in either world. And speaking to the other people who live in the same world – your actual colleagues – is very beneficial, both from a professional and psychological perspective, Martin says.

As a result of the Portobello People cooperation, Klump and Creve have begun organizing regular joint webinars and other collaborations. There is also a mutual wish to start more entrepreneurial projects together when international travel becomes an option again.

– The Portobello People network is a fantastic possibility for the entrepreneurs of our incubators, as the people from the other incubators are now my friends, and starting an international career is only a phone call away, says Martin Q Larsson.

Martin also stresses the political importance of having a unified community of CI professionals advocating for the well-being of creative art businesses.

– It is much more impactful if we can all join hands and tell our politicians and officials what we – the culture incubators of the Nordic and Baltic countries – think, do, what we need and why we need it.

An informal network of like-minded colleagues

Dace Resele, the Head of NDPC Secretariat, agrees that the Portobello People network fills the previous need for an informal platform for sharing ideas. She is please with how the network allows for free communication without a strict or official protocol.

– Through the network, I have received valuable advice about experts and topics for activities that NDPC is implementing. I like the way we can learn from each other’s experiences. The participants have enjoyed sharing their thoughts and helping each other succeed, Dace says.

Dace also thinks that Portobello People has been an efficient way to spread the word about events, open calls, and other activities.

– The network has certainly benefited us in the form of new contacts, as well as new approaches to problem solving and inspiration for future projects.

2. Virtual PUB offers opportunities for informal networking

A header image for Creve's Virtual PUB. Text superimposed on a background picture of a restaurant.

During autumn 2020, Creve introduced some new virtual events for entrepreneurs. In collaboration with HUB Turku, Creve launched Virtual PUB – a series of casual events and encounters for entrepreneurs at the Virtual HUB co-working space in Remo.

Virtual PUB consists of casual lunch meetings for entrepreneurs organized every Friday at 11 AM – 2 PM and international Afterwork for Fun -events held on every other Thursday from 18 to 20 PM.

Entrepreneurship and business specialist Leena Janhila from Creve says that while there is a wide selection of structured entrepreneurial events and training programs in Finland, there has been a lack of online events where people can socialize and exchange ideas in a more laid-back manner.

– The goal of Virtual PUB is to increase opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect with their peers. This is especially important now that people are largely working from home, without the presence of a familiar work community, Janhila says.

Afterwork for Fun – free discussion on matters that are otherwise overlooked

The Afterwork for Fun event series was launched in October 2020 as a collaboration between Creve, Fast Track Music Export Accelerator (Music Finland)Music WorX Accelerator (Kreativ Gesellschaft from Hamburg) and Kieku Records, a Finnish record company based in Berlin.

The Afterwork events are targeted to people working in the cultural and creative industries, who are looking for opportunities for P2P networking and discussions of taboo subjects, e.g. mental health, sexism, or addiction, that usually cannot be discussed during other work-related encounters. Each event also features a guest speaker.

A screen shot of a Virtual PUB event featuring multiple people using remote video communications.
A screen shot of an Afterwork for Fun meeting held in October 2020. Photo: Leena Janhila.

Jonas Verwijnen from Kieku Records has been responsible for hosting the afterwork events. Jonas has prior experience in virtual event management and is glad to have found a suitable online space for creative art professionals to spend time with their colleagues.

– I think the Virtual HUB is a great home for these kinds of casual interactions. In Kieku, we are passionate about free information, and we have been looking for this kind of afterwork event for a long time, Joonas says.

Claudia Wondratschke from Hamburg’s Music WorX Accelerator sees the Afterwork events as a great opportunity to network with other music industry professionals.

– The afterwork events are a really nice way for us to connect on a more international level with likeminded teams of music business people from other countries. I think it’s great that we now have this place where we can meet and interact in a more relaxed and recreational way with each other, Claudia says.

You can read more about the Virtual PUB events here.

3. Group advising sessions promote collaboration between entrepreneurs 

The free Creve app is the easiest way to access Creve’s services, including the group advising sessions. Photo: Juuso Mäntykivi.

Creve organizes weekly group advising sessions and workshops for entrepreneurs on Zoom. The sessions help participants with the practical aspects of entrepreneurship, such as funding and utilizing creative skills in business. There are also occasional “speed dating” sessions designed for entrepreneurs to network with one another.

Every year, the group advising workshops are carried out by an array of creative industry professionals, artists, and funding experts from Finland and Sweden. In the future, the workshops will also feature experts more broadly via Creve’s international network.

The goal of the group advising sessions is to share knowledge and good practices between entrepreneurs. Conversations between the participants are therefore emphasized during the sessions. Business services must be more than just consultation – entrepreneurs benefit greatly from establishing strong networks and finding mutual solutions with one another.

The group advising sessions are held alternately in Finnish and in English

The weekly sessions are held in turns in Finnish and in English; every other session will be held in English. At each session, an expert sets up the theme and a specialist from Creve facilitates the conversation.

– The entrepreneurs have been especially pleased with the congenial and relaxed tone of the sessions. According to feedback, most participants have found it easy to engage in conversation during the sessions, says Markus Suomi from Creve.

Suomi also says that while entrepreneurs have been actively participating during the group sessions, the organizers will continue working on new ways to encourage discussion.

Download the Creve app and join the sessions!

The workshops are free and open to anyone interested. However, a prior sign-up is recommended so that the organizers and funding providers can keep track on the number of participants. Signing up also ensures that you will be kept updated on any possible changes to the events. You can sign up for the sessions here.

The easiest way to participate is to download Creve’s application to your phone and to click the Creve Zoom box inside the app. The Creve app is available for download on Google Play and at the AppStore. You can read more about the app here.

4. Creve collaborating with other creative industry projects: EDUCRO

The logos of the EDUCRO project and its funding partner CBC against a black background.

Creve also collaborates with other projects to improve the quality and availability of digital entrepreneurship and business services. One of the case examples of this during the past year has been Creve’s cooperation with EDUCRO – a project that brings together travel and culture organizations from Finland and St. Petersburg.

EDUCRO is organized by LAB University of Applied Sciences, Humak, and Institute for Cultural Programs (ICP) from St. Petersburg. The goal of the project is to bring together institutions and organizations from both sides of the Finnish-Russian border and to establish new forms of creative partnership between the participating organizations. The EDUCRO project also encourages students to attend the project’s events.

EDUCRO currently has an ongoing training program for travel and culture organizations in Finland and Russia. During autumn 2020, the program has consisted of workshops that have delved into digital event production and future trends, specifically from the perspective of the travel and culture industries.

A person painting while wearing virtual reality glasses and a raincoat
During the last quarter of 2020, the EDUCRO training program has explored digital event planning and new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR). Photo: Billetto Editorial / Unsplash.

The concept for the training program was benchmarked from Creve

EDUCRO project manager Olga Bogdanova from LAB University of Applied Sciences says that the layout of the training program was benchmarked from Creve’s digital events.

– We adopted practices related to the structure of the educational modules and the format of the events. We also received some recommendations regarding the program’s visiting speakers or coaches, Olga says.

The EDUCRO project was supposed to include physical interactions, but the outbreak of the pandemic forced a change of plans. Planned visits to cultural institutions in Southwest Finland had to be omitted in favor of digital solutions.

– In the beginning, when we collided with Covid, we could only organize online events. In the beginning of the EDUCRO project, I visited Creve’s events and we organized our first online event in collaboration with Creve and two of LAB’s projects, Olga says.

In retrospect, benchmarking Creve’s practices for the training program has been an astute choice, as Creve’s business services were already operating entirely digitally long before the pandemic.

The EDUCRO training program will continue until the end of summer 2021. If you or your organization are interested in enhancing your international network, as well as gain new ideas and skills that will become increasingly useful in the future, please join the program! More information about the program contents and registration can be found on the EDUCRO project website.


Contact details

If you have questions about Creve’s digital business services, please contact:


Leena Janhila

Entrepreneurship and business specialist


+358 400 349 397