Nesta: creative businesses in UK need more investment

A paucity of investment opportunities could prevent the UK’s creative businesses from competing on the world stage, according to research published by the National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts this week.

The report – Creating Value: How the UK can invest in creative businesses – warns that the country could miss out on opportunities to develop ‘world-beating’ companies if they are not supported at an early stage.

According to Nesta, only a small number of private investment funds are available and creative businesses are often labelled as ‘different’ and consequently less commercial than other small businesses. It also argues that there is a lack of coherence between different public sector initiatives that are designed to help the creative sector.

‘The key problem is not the number of schemes, but the fact that they fail to link together. We are in need of a more coherent national strategy that also reaches regional policy-makers to maximise the potential of the creative sector,’ says Nesta research manager Michael Harris.

The six-month research builds on a previous study into private investors’ perceptions of creative businesses (DW 19 February 2004).

The earlier results uncovered a reluctance to invest in ‘lifestyle’ businesses that often fail to demonstrate a route to commercial success.

Nesta operates a number of programmes aimed at spurring growth and investment in the creative industries, including the Small/Medium/Large collaboration with the Design Business Association (DW 10 March).

This week the organisation added 14 awardees to its Creative Pioneer programme, each receiving £35 000 from a £3m investment fund.

Creative Industries facts • Sector grew by 6 per cent annually from 1997-2002, twice the growth rate of the economy

• 120 000 companies employ 1.9 million people

• Export value of £11.5bn in 2002 (Source: Department of Trade and Industry)

Latest articles