Creative industries in the SME arena

20th February 2019

As London Fashion Week draws to a close, creative industries have come into sharp focus in the public eye. One in eight UK businesses fall within the creative industry category, collectively responsible for generating £92 billion to the UK economy. Within the UK, 81% of creative businesses reported that they aim to grow over the next three years. This sector is one of the fastest growing in the UK and presents a wide range of fantastic opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to help drive forward our private sector.

The economic contribution of these businesses has a greater impact than the UK’s automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined. This is what helps to make the creative industry the fastest growing pillar of the UK economy. Supporting this entrepreneurial spirit and growth is a key part of fostering a resilient and globally facing economy based upon the skill, talent and ideas that can be found throughout the UK.

The sector comprises businesses from nine creative industries including fashion and design, which makes up a large portion of the UK creative economy, contributing £66billon a year and employing over half a million people. A major strength of the UK fashion industry is the strong link between designers and retailers. The trends and innovations at the highest end find their way onto the British high street, creating a multi-billion pound industry.

Another huge part of this creative powerhouse comes from film and television, already a $3bn-a-year business – bigger than the pharmaceuticals industry now in the UK in terms of employment and the revenues generated. Britain has become one of the world’s movie centres and has become a destination of choice for Hollywood, with major studios making long-term commitments to the UK, such as the Star Wars franchise or Marvel’s Avengers movies.

Creative enterprises often face additional challenges to secure the investment that they require as finance routes such as EIS may not be the first port of call for many scaling creative companies. It is our job as an investment community to ensure they are supported in their ambition of growth and scaling. These businesses, much like those that are technology based, also find it more difficult to find funding due to a lack of asset-backing. IP rich companies often use alternative finance routes such as EIS that we at IW Capital help to provide to firms with huge potential to grow and scale.

It is undeniable that the growth in this sector has been significant; between 2010 and 2016 the economic contribution of the creative industries grew by over 44%. This growth is hugely encouraging and reflects the confidence entrepreneurs and businesses have in the UK as a great place to do business, now and in the years ahead.