The main purpose of the Ecapital Culture – Adriatic Start-up School project is the economic development of cultural tourism in the Adriatic–Ionian Macro Region, throughout the creativity and resourcefulness of young people who want to set up a business.

The project ECAPITAL CULTURE – Adriatic Start up School takes inspiration from ECAPITAL – Business Plan Competition, which since 17 years promotes the creation of innovative enterprises in the Marche region (Italy), involving young university students in the launch of business projects. More than 100 enterprises were born thanks to this project, involving more than 500 young workers.

Ecapital Culture is a training path oriented to the development of innovative start-up working in the cultural tourism field and aimed to enhance the cultural heritage of the Adriatic-Ionian Macro Region. The primary objective of the project is to create the conditions so that the young people, making use of their skills and their creativity, can achieve their own business idea. The project represents a real opportunity to develop the economy of this area and to increase professional employment with start-up creation.

The third edition of the project, promoted and financed by the Marche Foundation, Marche Region, Marche Chamber of Commerce, Marche Polytechnic University and the Municipality of Ancona, is a great opportunity for young future entrepreneurs, who will have the opportunity to attend the School in Ancona for 2 months (from the 6th of May 2019 to the 28th of June 2019); enrolment in the School (for all students) and permanence in Ancona (for non-Marche students) will be totally free, thanks to the scholarships made available by the Marche Foundation and the project partners.

The call for ideas is addressed to 20 young people, especially from the 8 countries of the Adriatic-Ionian Macro Region (including Adriatic Regions in Italy and excluding people coming from the Marche region in Italy, who will be object of a different dedicated Call).

The Calls will be open from the 15th of January 2019 to the 17th of March 2019 while the training will take place at the Mole Vanvitelliana, Ancona from 6th of May to 28th of June 2019.

The selected candidates will attend a 8-weeks training course, aimed at developing the skills for the realization of a Business Plan in the cultural field and the creation of a start-up for the enhancement of the cultural heritage of the Adriatic-Ionian Macro Region area. The training course includes lectures, workshops, case histories and studios on the following areas: development and implementation of the business plan, enhancement techniques for a start-up project, cultural planning and launching a start-up. Tutors will be available to participants on a daily basis to support the development of their business idea, search for data and information and the planning process. For all participants assistance in identifying potential financial partners for the realization of the business projects is also provided.

For detailed information on how to apply check the website and read carefully the presentation brochure attached.



The Heads of Government of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Member States met in Zagreb on 3-4 December 2018 for their annual Summit - the top political event in the framework of the Initiative. Under the guidance of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, they discussed current challenges the region is facing in the context of the topic “Building Security, Boosting Economy, Enabling Prosperity”.
In this context, Heads of Government had the chance to single out their countries’ individual concerns and approaches, but also the necessary common actions aimed at cohesion and solidarity among them while addressing open issues. In a time of crucial challenges such as the migration crisis, tensions in the Balkans, risks for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a Member State, it was important to "leave the emotions behind and work together for a brighter future”, as expressed by several speakers. Indeed, the problem faced by Italy with the migrants using the Mediterranean route, and also of the Balkans with the routes crossing it, the breaking of the norms and principles of international law regarding Ukraine, but also the brain drain, climate change and so on, were all mentioned as issues requesting a joint approach trough "regional cooperation".

AII Secretary General, Amb. Giovanni Castellaneta was also invited to participate to the meeting as representative of a regional organization, clearly sharing the same objectives as the Central European Initiative, namely to facilitate the integration process and to promote economic growth and prosperity in the region through concrete cooperation activities. In this regard, AII SG highlighted how there is  room for synergies  and for exchanging information and experiences between our intergovernmental / multilateral initiatives, especially on new issues like migration and unaccompanied children, starting with a process of bottom-up involvement of representatives of Civil Society (Municipalities, Universities, Chambers of Commerce) that the AII has always promoted. He further acknowledged the appointment of Sen. Roberto Antonione as new Secretary General of the CEI-Executive Secretariat as of 1 January 2019 and wished him a successful mandate. Amb. Castellaneta also thanked the outgoing CEI Secretary General Amb. Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri for the excellent work carried out during his two mandates.

The gathering also witnessed the adoption of the revised CEI Guidelines and Rules of Procedure and endorsed the Interim Implementation Report 2018 of the CEI Plan of Action 2018-2020.
The meeting concluded with the formal transfer of the CEI Presidency to Italy, to be effective as of 1 January 2019. Represented by the Minister of Regional Affairs and Autonomies, Erika Stefani, Italy reiterated its further commitment and announced some of the priorities of its Presidency, i.e. connectivity, good governance and the rule of law, intercultural cooperation,  science diplomacy. 


Background Paper


AII Secretary General Amb. Castellaneta – CEI Summit Statement

The AII Round Table on Blue Growth/Maritime Cooperation took place in Budva on November 3, organized by the AII Montenegrin Chairmanship in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Directorate for fisheries) of Montenegro.

The event has been very successful, bringing together experts coming from AII participating countries together with local representatives, and mainly focused on “Small-scale coastal traditional fisheries - challenges and opportunities for local community development through the link of fisheries and tourism”.

According to the regulations of the AII Round Tables overhauled in 2015, the results of the Round Table have been transferred to the 8th Thematic Steering Groups on Blue Growth, which was held back to back with the AII Round Table.

Please find here the Agenda of the event.

The Training Workshop on Creative and Cultural industries in the EUSAIR area - “Adriatic Start-up School” model, organized by the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce in collaboration with Durres Chamber of Commerce, took place on November 21 in Tirana, at Tirana International Conference Centre.

The main aim of the initiative was to support the dialogue in the field of culture by identifying issues of common interest and sharing excellence and best practices to support artistic entrepreneurship, creative start-ups and contemporary art festivals in the EUSAIR Area.

The opening session saw the participation of relevant institutional actors, including Amb. Fabio Pigliapoco, Senior Advisor of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative, who highlighted the importance of such Initiative and the support given by the AII Permanent Secretariat to disseminate and promote the project “E-capital – Start-up school”, which has great potential to develop competitive and innovative creative and cultural industries, benefiting a wide range of stakeholders in the Adriatic Ionian Region. 

A better knowledge of the opportunities offered, together with a reinforced dialogue in the field of culture by identifying issues of common interest and sharing excellence and best practises to support artistic entrepreneurship, creative start-ups and contemporary art festivals, would indeed enable decision and policy-makers to propose better tools for the encouragement of job creation and employment.

The event was attended by more than 70 professionals and students, mainly from Agricultural University of Tirana and Elbasan University, as well as participants from Italy and representatives of the European Institutions.Please find here the final agenda of the event.

The Training workshop took place within a two-day Forum on EU Policies and EU Territorial Cooperation Opportunities focused on Technology, Innovation and Youth in the Adriatic-Ionian area, in the framework of the AI-NURECC initiative. Ms Vana Vojinović, Director of Directorate for Regional and other International Initiatives -Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro – took the floor in the first morning session named “Macro-Regional Strategies: between the Present and the Future of the European Policies” (agenda) describing the state of play and initiatives taken up by the Montenegrin Chairmanship of the Adriatic Ionian Initiative.

For further information, please visit the AIC Forum website:

The 1st Joint Conference of the Fora of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce, Cities and Universities: “ROOTS and PATHS - Past, Present and Future for the Adriatic-Ionian Region” took place from the 16th until the 18th of October in Split (Croatia) in the framework of the AI-NURECC initiative. It aims to represent an important step forward in building and consolidating the relationships between civil society, local, regional, national and European institutions.

The Conference brought together more than 120 Institutions from the 3 civil society networks in the Adriatic-Ionian Region – Chambers of Commerce, Cities and Universities – with the aim of strengthening connectivity networks and creating greater prosperity in the Region, through work on areas of mutual interest identified in the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR).

Large participation was also registered at the Thematic Workgroups, held in the afternoon of the second day: delegates of economic bodies, universities and municipal administrations were divided into the seven Workgroups on Blue Growth, Connecting the Region, Environmental Quality and Agriculture, Sustainable Tourism, in line with the EUSAIR pillars, in addition with Women’s Entrepreneurship , Social Challenges and Economic Analysis, consistent with the cross-cutting priorities of the Strategy.

The Adriatic-Ionian Initiative Permanent Secretariat, given the role of “Advocate of Civil Society” the AII has assumed since the endorsement of the EUSAIR Strategy, attended the event.
Ambassador Pigliapoco, Senior Advisor of the AII-PS, after thanking for the invitation on the side of the AII Montenegrin Chairmanship, expressed his appreciation for the full commitment of AII Chambers of Commerce, Cities and Universities to play a crucial role in the implementation of the EUSAIR Strategy. He further stressed the AII role as “Advocate of Civil Society Organizations” within the macroregional process, especially by opening Round Tables to the participation of stakeholders and civil society as well as by coordinating and cooperating with the three Fora (Cities, Chambers, Universities) in line with the subsidiarity principle, which is at the core of the EUSAIR. He also assured that the Permanent Secretariat will continue to be pivotal in its traditional connecting role between Governments, regional actors and civil society Fora and networks that have been, up to today, essential in the preparation and implementation phase of the macroregional mechanism and will continue to be the same all throughout the year of the Montenegrin Chairmanship.

For more information regarding the Conference, please check the following website: