The creative industries can have great economic and social benefit, improving wellbeing and prosperity by making a locality a more attractive place to live, work and play.
A flourishing creative economy can also bring in footfall and revenue from tourism as visitors spend in local businesses.
The bulk of both the night-time and creative industry sectors are SMEs and micro-businesses, often with local supply chains. CLES’s work has shown that these sectors reinvest a greater proportion of their turnover into local areas (through local employees and their own supply chains) than larger corporations. However, there are pitfalls to avoid in developing the creative economy. Rising demand often leads to rising land values and property-led regeneration. Care must be taken that creative economy initiatives are conducted with sensitivity to the local market.
Community Interest Companies (CICs) are designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good. Supporting the development of CICs within the creative economy can boost the sector and local community, while minimising the threat of potential pitfalls.
Case study – Baltic Creative CIC
Baltic Creative is a social enterprise, founded to support the growth of the creative and digital sectors in the Liverpool City Region. The business now holds £7m in asset-locked properties and lets out affordable workspace to creative and digital businesses, investing in its tenants and the sector. The CIC model means that all decisions taken by Baltic Creative are made by a voluntary board representing the interests of the local creative and digital sector, rather than those of distant shareholders.
Case study – Make CIC
Make is a creative-led organisation that provides a hub for small businesses and makers to develop projects and ideas. The organisation has a strong commitment to the Liverpool City Region, and to removing barriers for people to participate in the creative economy – converting hobbyists into sustainable businesses and providing affordable workspaces across the region. Make first established itself in 2012 in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool, until recently a deprived and mostly derelict area. Now, it is a thriving hub with start-ups, clubs, bars and restaurants, resurrected by a growing colony of local creatives and entrepreneurs. Make have also established themselves in the North Liverpool Docks and a new venture in Hamilton Square, Birkenhead.