The EU’s Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS) have the potential to be a truly transformational sector:
Collectively the CCS provide over 4% of EU GDP, represent just under 4% of the total workforce and are growing at 3.5% per year. In some major cities – such as Berlin and London – the sector is in double figures for GDP and jobs, and its growth outstrips most areas of the economy. Plus in some relatively rural regions, from northern Portugal to central Denmark, the CCS are being supported for their direct economic value but also for the spillover effects they generate to sectors such as tourism, manufacturing and science.
Indeed, being at the crossroads between arts, business and technology, the cultural and creative sectors find themselves in a strategic position to trigger innovation and spillovers in other sectors. Further developing the entrepreneurial and innovation potential is vital for them in order to further grow and to adapt to a constantly evolving technological and financial environment. The decreases in public funding, the challenges of globalisation, the opportunities of digitisation or the increasing empowerment of audiences have already pushed the cultural and creative sectors to test new approaches and to explore new business models. These innovative approaches can be powerful drivers for the strengthening of cultural diversity and for the development of entrepreneurship, as well as for growth, jobs or social inclusion.
The European Commission recognises the role of the CCS and the potential they bring, which is reflected in the EU funding programmes. The Creative Europe programme supports activities such as networking, development of new business models and capacity-building. A dedicated loan guarantee facility will be launched in 2016. The COSME programme targets SMEs, with support for internationalisation, innovation and clustering. Plus the structural funds continue to support CCS activities – for infrastructure, skills, clustering, social and market development.
This is also based on a recognition that we can and must do better – in backing our creative talent to innovate, invent and generate the ideas and business models that will give our economy a competitive edge. To do this requires a coherent and targeted approach – by building an innovation friendly ecosystem to ensure we meet the needs of a sector which, through digitalisation and the dramatic growth of the freelance economy, is going through a period of immense change and considerable uncertainty.
While the sector shares many of the characteristics of other sectors in terms of access to talent, markets, skills and finance, other factors, which render the cultural and creative sector unique, call for sector-specific approaches. For instance, the small scale nature of business of the sector presents some real challenges (niche support requires careful design; mainstream financial instruments are not tailor-made to fit the profile and needs of the sector). On the other hand, the distinctive profile of the sector also presents strategic opportunities. The enabling conditions need to be adapted for CCS in order to benefit a wider set of knowledge-intensive and innovation dependent businesses.
If we are to develop effective enabling conditions for the CCS to flourish, it is important to explore a number of questions targeting the innovation potential and entrepreneurial challenges of the sector. The following and more will shape our discussion going forward:
Q1. ENTREPRENEURSHIP: How to best open up opportunities in the CCS and support creative talent to develop the entrepreneurship and management skills it needs to prosper? What works? What doesn’t work?
Q2. INNOVATION: How new and emerging business models are changing the ways CCS operate, stimulating cultural entrepreneurship and innovation potential of enterprises? What are the most innovative measures to promote entrepreneurship and new business models in the cultural and creative sectors?
Q3. ROLE OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES: How support to innovation and entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative sectors by public authorities at local, regional, national and EU level can best respond to the changing needs of the sector? What works? What doesn’t work?
The Brainstorming Session on developing the entrepreneurial and innovation potential of the cultural and creative sector took place on 25-26 February 2016 in Berlin/Germany. It was attended by representatives from many various fields (architecture, audio-visual, cultural heritage, cultural participation in urban planning, cultural policy making, digital media, education, festivals, music, performing arts, visual arts, youth etc.), but also coming from different types of organisations (art associations, creative business associations, CCS enterprises, higher education institutes, museums, national public bodies, NGOs, research institutes, etc.). You can find the agendahere and the list of participants here.
Following the presentation and debate with policy makers in Brussels the group decided to condense the full brain storming report to a short guide to address upcoming challenges, innovative topics and future governance in policies for CCS.
The document includes proposals for new analysis and new actions.
You can download it here.
The Dialogue Meeting took place on 26 April 2016 in Brussels/Belgium. It was the occasion for the participants to meet representatives of the European Commission and exchange with them about the topic of entrepreneurship and innovation in the CCS.