The value of creative businesses is an important part of the global economy, providing jobs for almost two million people in the UK alone. Nesta and the British Council saw an opportunity to encourage creative entrepreneurs to thrive in countries where the creative industries are less understood. We wanted to bring existing content from the Creative Enterprise Toolkit to life, inspire creatives to pursue their business ideas, provide new opportunities for industry leaders, and strengthen both local and global creative networks.
After a period of research, we redesigned an existing British Council learning programme in order for it to generate longer lasting impact for participants and the wider creative community. The aim was to design and support the implementation of this programme in such a way where we would eventually step back and allow it to be locally led. CEP is replicable but adaptable, with a delivery model that draws on local expertise.
We helped British Council teams around the world to identify and recruit their own associates. And through the train-the-trainer component, supported by UK-based associates, the associates were inducted into the CEP learning content and ethos. Despite changes to delivery due to Covid-19, there are associates working in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Uganda and Ukraine.
We embarked on a global roll out and responded to a variety of challenges in different regions. Between November 2016 and February 2020, 24 associates were recruited and workshops took place in 25 countries to more than 1,800 creative entrepreneurs. Over the years, we have captured some stories from the dynamic participants.
In the most recent evaluation from across the global programme, just over 90% of participants reported an increase in confidence following the programme; they felt more confident about their business’s future, in their ability to run their business, and in ability to define and communicate their business’ unique selling point.
Six months after the workshop, 80% of participants had stayed in contact with fellow alumni, dropping to 72% at 12 months. Emerging evidence suggests that participants who collaborate with one another sustain these relationships too, with 56% of participants at six months, with this figure only falling by 1 percentage point twelve months on.
The style of workshop was sometimes not what the associates were used to. Occasionally associates were tempted to revert to a 'teacher' to 'student' model, which is not the learn-by-doing approach this programme is trying to cultivate. Nevertheless, 100% of associates agreed or strongly agreed that they have made valuable new contacts as a result of their role with CEP.
The Creative Enterprise Toolkit was first published in 2007. It’s a practical resource to help creative people to plan, communicate and launch a business.
You can purchase the publication via the Nesta Shopify store. It is also available as a free PDF download and has been translated into 12 languages.