Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Annex A:  NESTA's Support for the Creative Industries

  In the last year NESTA has invested over £1 million in creative industries in the UK, helping to launch over 50 new businesses. NESTA's work in the creative industries revolves around four key areas:


    —  As part of its Creative Pioneer Programme, NESTA has created the Academy, an 11 month programme of training events. It starts with a four-week residential programme in two stages—the first looks at business idea exploration and the second at business building. This is followed by up to £35,000 of investment for the businesses with the strongest potential. The emphasis of the programme is not only on helping individual creative businesses grow, but also on influencing the image and profile of the sector as a progressive and sustainable driver of the UK economy. In the first year of the Academy, NESTA invested £365,000 in 13 companies, and within a year the companies had gone on to make £453,000.

    —  NESTA has worked with the Glasgow School of Art, The Lighthouse and Scottish Institute for Enterprise on "Insight Out", offering business training and start-up funds for recent creative industries graduates. This model is now being rolled out across the UK's nations and regions, with six up and running by 2007. Insight Out Learning is developing online materials for undergraduate programmes that will be rolled out across Scotland this year, followed by the rest of the UK.

    —  NESTA is funding a number of action research projects to learn more about how to inculcate entrepreneurial thinking into children and young people.

    —  With the Art, Design and Media Subject Centre of the Higher Education Academy, and a wide range of other partners, NESTA is undertaking research to explore how higher education institutions can enhance the entrepreneurial potential of their art, design and media students.

Business and professional development

    —  For participants of the Academy, NESTA runs a professional development programme that responds to the particular needs of early stage creative businesses.

    —  NESTA has created "small/medium/large" in conjunction with Pembridge Partners and the Design Business Association. In 2005 the programme took eight companies and fast-tracked them through a high growth period with the aim of maintaining their creativity and meeting other objectives such as an increase in turnover and stability. This project is being run again nationally this year.

    —  NESTA is helping to create networking opportunities between creative entrepreneurs, investors, sector specialists and business support agencies. A Creative Entrepreneurs Club was developed in Scotland with The Lighthouse, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Executive and others have since been launched in the West Midlands, Northern Ireland and Wales.

    —  "Pocket Shorts", developed in partnership with Short Circuits, is an opportunity for new filmmakers to experiment with mobile technologies. It offers eight individuals from the North West, North East and Yorkshire/Humberside regions up to £2,000 in production funding, a film industry mentor and support in distributing their new works. The winning shorts—either a one-minute film or four 15-second ones—for mobile phones and PDAs will also be showcased at key UK film festivals. The project was also rolled out in Scotland this year in partnership with Scottish Screen and Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

    —  "IdeaSmart" is a two year pilot project (2004-06) that provides early stage grant funding (up to £15k) and bespoke support to creative industry start-up companies in Scotland. It is run through the Lighthouse, working alongside a voluntary industry Panel and is funded by NESTA, Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Screen and Scottish Executive. The project collaborates and signposts to other relevant agencies like Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust, the Innovators Counselling Advisory Service for Scotland, Business Gateways, Cultural Enterprise Office, IdeasFactory and the Lighthouse Creative Entrepreneurs Club, to offer a cost-effective rounded delivery for clients' benefit.


    —  The Invention and Innovation programme aims to turn ground-breaking ideas into innovative products, services or techniques with commercial or social potential. It also prepares promising projects for further investment elsewhere. The programme consciously tailors its services to each and every business and provides mentoring and business management support. Through the programme NESTA invests in new creative businesses that have commercial and social potential. NESTA is the UK's biggest single source of early-stage seed funding, enabling the development of projects that might otherwise not get off the ground.

Creating a CI Platform

    —  NESTA co-chairs a Parliamentary forum on the Creative Industries, bringing together leading practitioners in the field with senior decision makers on policies and developments affecting the creative sector.

    —  NESTA held UK-wide seminar discussions with practitioners and policy-makers around the research into investment in the creative industries in 2005, and will do the same with its new research in 2006.


  NESTA has published research on barriers to finance facing new and young creative businesses, identifying a mismatch of expectations between investors and creative entrepreneurs.

    —  "Creating Value: How the UK can invest in new creative businesses". This research reveals the lack of private investment in the sector and the "patchwork" nature of business support and development services. It shows how the answer lies in a more coherent "landscape" of investment and support for new creative businesses, including a greater focus on the commercial potential of these businesses. (Published in April 2005.)

    —  "Creative industries business growth and development": NESTA's current research, to be published during the Creative Economy Programme, investigates business growth in the creative industries.

  To find out more about NESTA visit our website:

28 February 2006

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