Creative industries represent highly innovative companies with a great economic potential and are one of Europe’s most dynamic sectors, contributing around 3,3% to the EU GDP, with a high growth potential, and providing quality jobs to around 6,7 million people across EU-27 (European Competitiveness Report 2010). Beyond their direct contribution to GDP, the creative industries play an important role in many regions and are important drivers of economic and social innovation in many other sectors. Supporting the creative industries has therefore a broad economic impact and positive spill-over effects into many parts of the economy. This makes creative industries of strategic interest to promote competitiveness and innovation.
Barriers for full exploitation of the creative industries are:
- A heterogeneous industry characterised by mostly small and micro companies: whereas a large part of the companies lacks the capacity to grow and find adequate partners, other segments exist with a large potential for exports and for international partnerships.
- Lack of adequate innovation support and access to finance: although a number of both public and private initiatives exist already in Europe at regional and national level to support the creative industries, the general awareness on the great potential of creative industries is still relatively low in Europe. To reach the creative industries companies innovation support needs to be more customised and less bureaucratic.
- Lack of support to catalyze the spill-over effects of the creative industries on a wide range of economic and soical contexts: creative industries companies often work in local networks characterised by specific social values and contexts, therefore the potential interaction with other industries and international partners is hugely untapped.
Potential impact of the European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA) by 2015:
- A first and very important impact is to make policy makers across Europe better aware of the great potential of creative industries and to provide them with concrete proposals. In this respect, in can be expected that the master plans on “better practice” in support of creative industries as developed under the ECIA will have a large impact, in particular in view of better using Structural Funds in support of innovation. They will offer concrete advice on how to launch and implement new support measures in favour of creative industries, thus fostering mutual policy-learning in a very practical and effective manner.
- The concrete actions to be launched are of sufficient size and structure to have a large direct impact, both for the creative industries and in form of spill-over effect into other industries. The leading role of innovation agencies, investors and cluster organisation will ensure that the pilot actions meet real market needs and that results will be taken-up widely by public and private organisations. A leverage effect 5-10 is expected, based on experience from ongoing projects of the European Knowledge Intensive Service Innovation Platform.
- The ECIA will break new grounds in support of service innovation and help putting the interests of creative industries higher on the policy agenda. It will raise the awareness that Europe’s future lies in better valorising creativity and culture as key assets for competitiveness, innovation and growth and therefore strengthen the political commitment to better support creative industries and the use of creativity in general. A huge indirect impact from re-orienting innovation policies towards a better use of the creative potential in Europe may be expected. Altogether the target is to mobilise, directly or indirectly €100 M in addition for better support and exploitation of creative industries and the better use of creativity by other industries.
- Raise the capacity and awareness of the creative industries of how to grow, export and work with international partners, including how to better interact with other industries.
- Raise the level of excellence of creative industries clusters and their cooperation with clusters of other industries.
Without EU action, support of creative industries will remain fragmented and limited at regional and national level. EU support will allow for expertise to be shared in a more strategic way, new support instruments to be developed in a practical and effective manner, as well as accelerate uptake of new and better support measures including through Structural Funds. The initiative is expected to mobilise directly or indirectly €100 M in addition for better support and exploitation of creative industries and the better use of creativity by other sectors.
The European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA) was set up in December 2011, through an open call for proposals (2011 EIP/CIP work programme). This new policy initiative will run for three years ending in December 2014/January 2015.
ECIA brings together regional, national and European actors supporting creative industries to mobilise additional public and private funding in support of creative industries and to facilitate the spill-over effects into other industries and sectors.
It is composed of following building blocks:
- A policy learning platform aiming to elaborate better policies (concrete master plans) in support of creative industries in the fields of innovation support, incubation and access to finance, cluster excellence and cooperation.
- An information service and guidance for SMEs in liaison with the Enterprise Europe Network on relevant, existing and new programmes and initiatives. The public webportal of ECIA can be accessed by: http://www.howtogrow.eu/ecia/
- Concrete actions in the area of innovation support (through voucher schemes), access to finance, and cluster excellence & cooperation as public-private partnerships to explore and test better ways of supporting creative industries and their interaction with other industries.