A new service called ‘Creative Entrepreneurs,’ an online platform for the creative sector, is due to be launched by the government, according to MP Ed Vaizey. The portal will provide a single hub for the creative sector, where if you’re running a start-up you can go and find all the tools you need to help your business grow, including routes to skills and finance and links to initiatives like Creative Nation.
Ed Vaizey joked about holding a written copy of his speech and the lack of graphics despite being Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy as he took the stage at Creative England’s innovation event at Google in London today, but stressed how remarkable it is that he has managed to stay connected to the event on his journey here via Twitter.
Vaizey praised the creative sector in the UK, which contributes around 5% of jobs and leads the way with UK exports, to which it contributes about 9%. The creative economy is growing three times faster than the UK economy as a whole, and thanks to a range of specialist organisations such as Innovate UK, the Arts Council, the British Film Institute and UKTI, Vaizey believes the government has fostered a climate in the UK where people can invest and grow this sector. In fact, the three largest movie franchises, Bond, Harry Potter and Star Wars, are UK exports.
However, rather than resting on its laurels, Vaizey’s department is keen to extend the support available to the creative sector. Next month will see the publication of a new digital strategy to support culture in the UK, art and design and music have been kept in the curriculum until 14, and arts GCSEs are being reformed to encourage creativity from early on.
In addition, Vaizey claimed to be “acutely aware” of the need for financial support for the creative industries, referencing the tax credits given to the film industry. Tax relief is also being extended to the games industry, theatres and orchestras. There is also the Enterprise Investment Scheme to help creative start-ups get financed.
Speaking about the technology sector in the UK, the minister praised the Tech City programme, which he conceded he had been initially sceptical of. The government has also established Tech North in Manchester, as well as other tech hubs around the country, which provide support to the fastest growing tech companies and an online business course. Elsewhere in the UK there are also video games and media hubs.
Fast-moving SMEs are important to the growth of the UK economy. Following on from a government promise to allocate £1 in every £3 of government procurement spend to SMEs, Vaizey said the uptake of SME spend has been good so far, and that big business teaming up with disruptive start-ups can bring significant innovation to the sector.