National funding for the North’s creative industries has been a “good start, but it is not enough”, according to a new report by The Growth Company.
The organisation has issued its first report examining the future of the creative economy in the North of England, with a focus on Greater Manchester.
While the report praises the resilience and innovation of the sector throughout the pandemic, it highlights the challenges ahead – and what a lack of investment in the creative industries would mean for Greater Manchester’s creative sector SMEs and wider business ecosystem.
According to the Creative UK Group, the North West of England’s creative sector alone has lost £900m and seen a 13.2 per cent decline in gross value added (GVA) due to the pandemic.
The North West has the highest creative cluster outside of London, with Greater Manchester home to 19,000 digital, creative and tech companies.
The report includes research from the successful Creative Leaders Festival, which took place for the second consecutive year in May, attracting more than 600 registrations from creative businesses in the North.
More than 30 industry leaders with links to high-profile trade bodies and associations, including Creative England, Channel 4 and the Northern Ballet, have contributed their insights.
The report focusses on six creative subsectors, highlighting challenges to overcome such as diversity and digital confidence and opportunities for growth.
MediaCityUK, in Salford, is identified as “having the potential to accelerate the region’s recovery”, boosted by the BBC’s recent announcement to increase the number of staff beyond 3,500.
GC Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company, also runs two successful programmes specifically for the creative industries sector – Creative Scale-Up and Creative Accelerator, funded by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport and delivered on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
The programmes have helped hundreds of companies to grow and gain investment, and without further funding could cease once registration for the latest rounds are full.
Since completing the Creative Scale-Up programme, streaming video platform company Paus has secured more than £1m of investment and showcases more than 2,000 filmmakers worldwide.
The Hub has also pledged its support for the Creative UK Group’s #WeareCreative campaign, which encourages creative people and businesses to lobby MPs and government officials on social media.
Head of Digital, Creative and Tech Sector Support at the Hub, Sarah Novotny, said: “Greater Manchester and the North of England’s creative industries are world class and prior to the pandemic the industries were growing four times faster than the rest of the economy.
“We want to continue to support the creative sector and keep running our highly successful business support programmes. But we can’t do this without continued investment.
“The past year has been incredibly challenging but our region is known for its resilience, diversity and creativity.
“These traits will not only be the basis of our recovery but will also be the foundation of establishing our creative sector businesses as global thought leaders.
“It has been a privilege to help the creative sector adapt, collaborate and innovate and we hope we will be able to continue this support.”
The report is available to download from: https://www.businessgrowthhub.com/creative-industries-report
Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit www.businessgrowthhub.com for more information about the organisation’s extensive range of services.