Talent Garden, a global network of campuses for digital learning, is part of Techfestival in a joint mission to democratise access to tech and digital learning in a polarised tech-industry. 

In spite of growing connectivity, many startups and entrepreneurs still find it a challenge to scale beyond their own community. Furthermore, our increasingly digital future presents the challenge of how to ensure that the youths of today have access to the necessary learning needed on the job markets of tomorrow. 

Talent Garden, a global network of co-working spaces and campuses for digital tech enthusiasts, is on a mission to minimise the digital skills gap and make talent grow. Since 2018, they’ve expanded their presence in Denmark, connecting the digital ecosystem here with their other 22 European offices. Inspired by the mission and drive at Techfestival, this year they are joining the conversation to gain new knowledge on the needs and wishes of Europe’s digital minds.

We spoke with Talent Garden Co-Founder & CEO Davide Dattoli (IT) and Country Director of Denmark and CSO at Talent Garden, Rasa Strumskyte (LT), about their hopes and motivations for teaming up with Techfestival:


You founded Talent Garden in 2011 in Italy, but have since expanded to 8 different countries. Why not just stay in Italy and nurture the digital ecosystem and startup scene there?

Davide: We’re in an era of opportunity, because a growing number of issues requires innovative and skilled solutions. But we’re also in a period of time where the competition is no longer across the street, it’s all over the world. And tech is still believed to be anchored in the US and China. By connecting multiple ecosystems within Europe, we can empower our members and give them the tools needed to lift the continent as a whole.

Rasa: Right now, it is really difficult for startups and entrepreneurs to grow beyond their home community. If a Danish country wants to scale to Austria, it will take a different language, different legal framework, different currency, different cultural aspects. Europe is very small, but each country is very unique when it comes to culture and lifestyle. It’s not as easy to go beyond your home community here as it is in the US. Our mission is to connect developed and developing digital ecosystems. 


In such a digital age, why not just create an online platform for tools sharing? 

Rasa: Working with technology or working in digital tech innovation ecosystem in general requires a lot of open eyes and ears. It’s a continuous process of learning new things. We have to constantly adapt, learn new things, and up-skill ourselves. Not on a yearly or monthly, but actually on a weekly basis. It is challenging, and so we want to help entrepreneurs and founders navigate the chaos.

Davide: The digital skills gap is becoming an increasing challenge, and we’re working to minimise it. Like Techfestival, we want to connect people in the physical space, because we believe that talent grows from ‘friction’ with others. 


What still needs to be done to make it easier for Europe’s digital ecosystems to grow?

Davide: Without a doubt, for the sake of our future economies, it’s necessary to create a unique market across Europe, where new talent and tech-innovators can easily move across borders to develop product and scale their careers. 

Rasa: There should be an active and proactive discussion going on how can we make it easier for Europe to be one. Whether Talent Garden or Techfestival, any of us can build activities and make joint ventures within the private sector. But there are many different regulations running in different markets. This is where the political discussion should take place. We should come together to find out how we can make a transparent set of shared regulations across Europe, so it’s actually easier for companies to run activities in different countries. And we’re excited to see Techfestival opening up these types of conversations.


How can the collaboration with Techfestival benefit your mission of creating a more united European digital ecosystem?

Davide: We highly appreciate the work that Techfestival is doing. Europe is still fragmented and young entrepreneurs are facing a lot of complexities. Techfestival is a platform helping the community to connect, and that is the same mission as ours, so of course we will support it. 

Rasa: We believe strongly in collaboration, and specifically when it comes to Techfestival, we have a joint mission and our visions overlap. It’s about humanity, it’s about humans and it’s a human-centred event. For us, it’s important to work and collaborate with those who are driven by the same mission, so that together we are stronger and we can create a better impact. We have a joint mission – so why not work together to create something unique and beautiful for the ecosystem.

You can meet Talent Garden at Techfestival, Thursday morning from 9am at their event Growth + Marketing Hacks: The Future is Paid.

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