How Entrepreneurs in the Creative Industries are Transforming the Global Economy
In Creative Economy Entrepreneurs, Alice and Tom—widely recognized as leaders in creative economic development and the global creative industries—share both their own stories and stories from around the globe, showing you how to spark the success of creative economy ecosystems in your region. Creative Economy Entrepreneurs: From Startup to Success is the first accessible in-depth introduction to the entrepreneurs shaping the 21st century.
Creative Economy Entrepreneurs is coming to Amazon and Kindle in paperback Fall 2018. Sign up here for our mailing list to find out when preorders are available.
Want to know more about the book's origins? Read on...
A New Approach for Creatives
2011 was a tough year for creatives. The Great Recession was three years on, and things were tight for everyone. But creative entrepreneurs, who were still narrowly understood as “artists,” were especially bad off.
They didn’t neatly check the “tech startup,” box so they were brushed off by startup support organizations. Yet they weren’t artists; they were artists-turned-techies. The local arts council wasn’t their scene. They were disruptors building startups with global appeal and relevance, yet living hand to mouth. They had pitched their ideas to investors, accelerators, and pitch competitions—only to be denied, dismissed, and discounted.
Until they came to us.
It’s not that we “got it” right from the start. Honestly, we didn’t have all the answers for the creative entrepreneurs who came to us in 2011 and 2012. But we didn’t brush them off, and we didn’t turn them away. We did our best to provide useful information, connections, tools. We told each one of them: “You are on to something...hang in there.”
We knew there was a sea change happening, and we were positioned to see this change unfold. So what were we going to do about it?
Combining a spark for creativity with a keen grasp of profit margins and a social conscience, creative entrepreneurs turn the fruits of intellectual property and imaginative experience-building into sustainable business models.
And if you ignore them, underestimate them, or just don’t know what to do when you meet them, you risk missing out on new jobs, new technologies, economic resilience, expanded educational opportunities for regional youth, and a connection between your local cultural identity and cutting-edge global markets.
The Creative Economy Is Big Business
Want numbers? Here are some numbers:
- In 2013, global creative and cultural industries churned out revenues over $2.2 trillion, according to UNESCO. That’s more than the entire telecom industry.
- The creative economy (conservatively) provides 27 million jobs in the US.
- US. creative exports reached $142 billion in 2012, more than aerospace or agriculture. Plenty of soybeans, but even more songs.
- Globally, demand for creative products and services will rise along with incomes and standards of living. The creative economy enjoys 8.8% average annual growth.
- Globally, according to UNESCO, the creative industries grew throughout the Great Recession despite downturns in manufacturing, construction, and high tech.
- Creativity isn’t just for major players. Lower-GDP countries sport a better-than-average creative growth rate of 12.1%.
- If the creative economy were its own nation, its GDP would be bigger than India’s, bigger than Russia’s, bigger than Canada’s.
- Global exports of creative goods and services total $646 billion.
The creative economy runs the gamut from advertising to educational technology, video games to opera, fashion to film. Alongside mainstays like publishing and architecture, you’ll find new media and creative tech upstarts using 3D printing and augmented reality. Notable entrepreneurial successes in the creative economy include Etsy, Netflix, Entertainment Arts (EA), Pixar, Adobe, and Flickr. Wherever you have creative ideas becoming creative products and experiences, you have the creative economy.
At Creative Startups, we meet a lot creative entrepreneurs. Our accelerator is the only one in the world focused exclusively on founders with professional or academic backgrounds in creative disciplines. Every day brings new excitement as we check in with our 167 alumni, study the positive effects of the over $20 million USD in new revenue they’ve generated, and meet the people taking up the 410+ new jobs they’ve produced.
Whether they’re 3D printing pinball machine modifications in suburban New Mexico, revolutionizing culinary trends in Kuwait, or designing garments that help people with implanted medical devices live with less pain and more style, the entrepreneurs we work with are redefining possibilities across industries and geographies.
By bringing our accelerators and other programs to regions around the world, we’ve helped spread awareness of creative entrepreneurs and their economy-boosting prowess.
But we wanted to do more. We’ve been at many business mixers, and we’re frustrated with the knowledge that creative entrepreneurs are continually overlooked. We want to see more people doing the critical work of introducing creative entrepreneurs to policymakers and civic stakeholders, connecting creative founders to investors, spelling out the importance of fostering local and global creative economies in terms that earnest, forward-thinking developers can understand.
This is hard work, made harder by our noisy world. Though a lot of invaluable information is out there, we longed for a single authoritative and inspiring text. A book people could read on their flight home, neither pamphlet nor tome. Something unique, a cross between a cheatsheet and a celebration, an entertaining and accessible all-in-one guide, grounded in real-world data and practical advice.
We couldn’t find what we wanted. So we wrote it.
A World of Stories
From late 2016 to early 2018, we scoured the globe for dynamic stories of creative entrepreneurship success.
We tapped into our combined 25 years of experience launching and supporting creative companies to offer the first in-depth study of creative industries entrepreneurs and provide a lively exploration of approaches to nurturing their success.
The result is Creative Economy Entrepreneurs: From Startup To Success, forthcoming in October. Over the next several weeks, we’ll use this space to talk about the book’s origins: the process of writing and designing it, the conversations and lineages it’s a part of, and highlighting some of our favorite stories.
We can’t wait to show off our hard work! We hope this space will pique your curiosity and serve as a gateway into the book, and we’re eager to hear from you and start conversations about the book’s ideas and explorations.
Tomorrow’s Economy Today
Creative entrepreneurs aren’t navel-gazing artists throwing warehouse parties and scrambling after arts grants: they’re visionary entrepreneurs breathing life into various facets of their regional economies. They’re shattering barriers for women and minorities, and they’re changing the rules for local economies to capitalize on creative heritage and spread technological innovation.
In these uncertain times, the instinct to create and think differently is our best hope for navigating our increasingly complex economic ecosystem.
Creative entrepreneurs have always been around, but now is their time. So don’t risk losing their handshakes. Don’t risk losing out on the regional economic opportunities their success can bring. Join us as we introduce Creative Economy Entrepreneurs, and get ready to meet the future.
A must-read for politicians and practitioners alike!
— Bernd Fesel, Director, European Creative Business Network, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Coming Fall 2018 in paperback and Kindle to Amazon! Want to make sure you get your copy of the book? Join the mailing list to be notified when preorders are available!