Government urged to back 'business booster' network for SMEs in arts and culture industries

Alys Key
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Dancers from the English National Ballet
Business Secretary Greg Clark addressing the second anniversary celebration of the Creative Industries Federation at the Design Museum, London, in January (Source: Andy Paradise/Creative Industries Federation)

Creative industries in the UK are rallying around the idea of a ‘business booster’ network for creative startups and small businesses.

The network would provide advice to SMEs on the issues of intellectual property (IP), financial support, and exports. The proposal was put forward in response to the government’s industrial strategy consultation by the Creative Industries Federation, a national body for the arts, cultural education and creative industries.

John Kampfner, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said: "The ‘business booster’ network is a plan to offer a simple one-stop shop for startups and emerging businesses on everything they need to know in the crucial, often risky, early stages of their development.”

Creative businesses have on average 3.3 staff, which means SMEs cannot always access relevant expertise, according to the Federation and its members. It says that this missing area of knowledge is holding creative businesses back from growth opportunities.

Kampfner added: “The venture capital and investor community has traditionally struggled to ‘get’ the creative industries so an advice network might also help investors understand the potential in this sector.”

The report also highlighted the potential for more creative businesses to export into overseas markets to keep up with the UK’s international competitors.

Amanda Nevill, chief executive of the British Film Institute (BFI), said: “Selling Britain, and selling confidence in its people, goods and services, can be enormously enhanced through the relationships and trust built through cultural exchange.”

Other suggestions included establishing special enterprise zones for creative firms.

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