What We Need To Do To Stimulate Growth In The UK Creative Sector (Part 3 of 3)

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What Makes a Creative Start-Up Successful?

Small creative businesses are intensely inter-personal, so authenticity, and understanding how your business might be perceived is the key to success.

1. The founders need focus – to know what the business is doing, when it is slipping, and most importantly who can help.

2. They need resilience – an understanding and acceptance that they will always be on the edge.

3. They require great teamwork and a culture that allows teams to thrive – start-ups need people around with complimentary skills.

4. Start-ups need honest, open communications and the confidence to learn.

To achieve the above, start-ups need access to an open network of talent, external knowledge, advisors and clients.

Nurturing the Creative Ecology

Ecology is an appropriate description here – there are small and large entities, energy flows, clients and suppliers, a constant dynamic of change and adaptation, and a need for a suite of mechanisms – it’s debateable how effectively external agents can support a creative ecology, let alone create one, but it can grow naturally through facilitated and effective networks.

What is clear is that open networks; willing guides, brokers and helpers ; a wide range of interlinked activities ; a range of companies and the active engagement of education and public sector organisations all play a key role.

The role of Universities is to create the need for a business approach early, provide experience and stimulus to shape it, and also maintain better connections with alumni.

Start-ups are powered by individual energy, so external agents should recognise that learning and growth happen every day, and should therefore:

  • Promote good practice,
  • Reward innovation and achievement,
  • Re-frame “failure” as learning,
  • Provide easy, visible support when the individuals recognise the need,
  • Provide a talent pipeline for them to draw on.

Saying “there’s a lot of people starting up” – you might as well say “everyone’s gambling” – but the key is how many are rolling 6’s, and how do we measure their success?

There will be plenty of failures, but the strength of the South West ecology is becoming more apparent every day.