CREATIVE BUSINESSES NEED HELP GETTING GOOD FINANCE
The UK’s creative industries are an economic powerhouse. It is the fastest growing sector in the last decade and, in 2016, contributed £91.8bn to the economy – this is more than the automotive, life sciences, aerospace and oil and gas sectors combined. Access to finance is more important than ever if we are to sustain this growth.
As a national body representing the sector, the Creative Industries Federation supports creative enterprises to flourish across all sectors and sizes, from those working in film and theatre to gaming and animation. Accessing external finance can form a key part of the journey. This is, however, not a simple task and from talking to creative organisations, businesses and freelancers we have identified some common challenges in accessing finance:
Looking for finance is hard work when you are small.
Some 95% of creative enterprises are micros – that is to say, they employ fewer than 10 people. In fact, the average creative firm is made up of three people and 47% of creative workers are self-employed. Without a dedicated person looking after the organisation’s finance needs, or the time to investigate available funding options, many small creative firms and freelancers find it difficult to navigate the finance landscape.
Finding the right match can be tricky.
One of the great strengths of the creative industries is its diversity. The sector is a mix of commercial businesses and non-profits, working in more than a dozen different industries and operating myriad business models and organisational forms. Each creative enterprise will also be driven by different levels of growth, ambition, risk appetite, and how ready they are to take on the demands of external finance. In all, this can make finding the right match, finance-wise, a tricky business.
'Creative' can be confusing.
Creative industries often face a common challenge in communicating their core business proposition, especially if the finance providers and investors are unfamiliar with the creative industries. Language (jargon!) and understanding the value of creativity, arts and culture can form barriers. For many creative people, understanding how taking on external finance may affect their ownership and control over the creative process and outputs is also an area of concern.
These are the top three issues we have identified talking to our members - but there are many more that creative enterprises face. However, we have also seen how accessing external finance has helped many creative enterprises to fulfil their potential, which is why we want to encourage others to explore whether this is the right path for them.
This is why the Creative Industries Federation has prioritised Entrepreneurship and Growth and will be speaking at the International Business Festival, on the 27 June, 3.45pm - 4.15pm, to share insights on how creative enterprises can find the right finance for them.
So, if you are a creative business or freelancer thinking about accessing external finance, come join us. We look forward to hearing your stories about what works, what doesn’t and what more can be done to support your creative ambitions.
* Navigating the World of Creative Industries Funding and Finance, Knowledge Hub, June 27, Charlotte Chung shares insight and advice on how creative enterprises can find the right support.
Charlotte Chung is deputy head of policy and research for the Creative
Industries Federation, the national membership organisation for all
the UK’s creative industries, cultural education and arts. To join or
find out more, contact [email protected]