Nesta pioneers do the business

February 13, 2004

Graduates of design, architecture, crafts, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing and television and radio courses are being exposed to business realities as part of a drive to improve investment in the creative industries.

The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts has just announced the first group to benefit from its graduate pioneer scheme.

The scheme, backed by more than £3 million from Nesta, gives support to graduates in the creative industries to help them learn about business principles and entrepreneurship.

Up to £35,000 is offered to help successful "pioneers" start new types of creative businesses and help them become savvy about their markets and learn how to appeal to investors.

Nesta is worried that despite a boom in UKcreative industries, investors too often write off creative businesses as emotional organisations that are too non-conformist to risk putting money into.

Research released by Nesta last week found there was some basis for investor concerns. It said many new creative businesses lacked robust business planning and solid management structures, and had little marketing expertise.

"Creative businesses are innovators, developing products and services for which there is not always a proven market," Nesta said.

"Despite the success of the sector in developing new markets, investment is not forthcoming. Entrepreneurs will struggle to access finance without a concerted effort to provide a loud, coherent and targeted voice.

"While some investor types are aware of barriers to investment for creative businesses, and are dedicated to finding ways to reach them, the sector is far too misunderstood and negatively stereotyped."

Hugo Manassei, Nesta's graduate pioneer director, said the UK could not employ all its creative graduates. "We're asking designers to solve this problem themselves by applying design in new ways. With all this expertise we hope to see them become the role models of the future, showing how creative industries can produce entrepreneurs who significantly contribute to the UK's economic growth," he said.

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