The Business of Creativity

This week I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture given by Caroline Norbury MBE, who is Chief Executive of Creative England.

This lecture was part of a series of public events hosted by the University of the West of England (UWE) Caroline set out her manifesto for better funding of creative projects and businesses. I very much warmed to her talk, as she clearly understood that the nub of the problem for creative businesses trying to raise funding is how to convince investors and lenders to put money into something that does not exist yet.

This problem is not unique to Creative Industries. I believe that at heart, all businesses are creative; they all require new ideas and innovation, to come forward and generate a competitive advantage. The problems faced by entrepreneurs are no different to the problems faced by those who raise funding for film, games, TV, and the digital media.

I was therefore delighted to hear Caroline talk about the perception of risk, the importance of Creative businesses being disruptive, the value placed upon IP (as this is the only tradable asset available for banks to offset their risk), and the part played by crowd-funding in this space.

Caroline went on to discuss Government’s stance on this; whilst their words portray encouragement for creative businesses to thrive (and indeed, they claim to have support for all new businesses), their financial contribution tells another story. There is very little direct government cash available to support these ventures.

However, Government has made it much easier for individuals who have money to invest in all sorts of new ideas to do so. The fact is that the current tax system provides a number of different ways that individuals can invest in new ventures whilst simultaneously obtaining attractive tax reliefs.

Caroline Norbury used as an example how Christopher Columbus approached Queen Isabella of Spain to fund his voyage to discover the Americas. Such seed capital brought vast riches to Spain, as similar global discoveries have for many European countries, and formed the basis of much of the wealth in Europe that exists today. I would expect that many of the start up investments in technology, health, media, energy and finance, that are taking place today will provide significant rewards for today’s adventurous investors.

With a lack of government funding but a significant set of tax relief incentives for investors, this makes angel investors, not the Government, Queen Isabellas of the modern day. Surely the way forward, for the modern-day Christopher Columbus,is still to follow in his footsteps, and to ensure their IP – having been suitably protected – is set out in front of their private Queen Isabellas in a way that demonstrates the projected wealth brought, not just to them, but to the community, the economy, and ultimately the country. Getting this right is a vital step, and it’s one the White Bruce can help perfect. For further help, give us a call.

Simon Bruce

Author Simon Bruce

Simon qualified as a Chartered accountant with BDO London in 1982 and then began a career taking in banking, manufacturing and international trading working in UK, Europe and Australia. He has worked with publicly quoted companies, family companies and start-ups.

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