Launch of the ‘European Creative Industries Alliance’

22 MARCH 2012

On 27-28 February, some 300 policy-makers and practitioners gathered in Milan, Italy, for the official launch of the European Creative Industries Alliance during the Innovation Festival (IF). European Commission Vice-President Tajani was joined by high-level speakers from related initiatives in the discussions on how to better support creative industries in practice.

This event brought together for the first time the 28 partner organisations from 12 countries that build the core of the European Creative Industries Alliance. This new policy initiative is an open platform that combines policy learning with 8 concrete actions on innovation vouchers, better access to finance and cluster excellence & cooperation in order to develop and test better policies and tools for the creative industries. The initiative was set up by the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General with the objective to shape a community in Europe that actively supports creative industries as a driver for competitiveness, job creation and structural change. It aims to mobilise additional funding of at least €100 million for the creative industries.

The conference began with policy discussions highlighting the importance of creative industries and how these industries can better be supported in Europe. In his welcome address, European Commission Vice-President Tajani highlighted that “Creative industries offer great opportunities for broad cross-sectoral linkages with other sectors such as the ‘experience economy’ that builds on the interactions between creative industries, entertainment, leisure & sport, and tourism”. He then pressed the “red button” for the official start of the web portal of the European Creative Industries Alliance.

Vladimír Šucha, Director of Culture and Media at the European Commission’s Education and Culture Directorate-General, highlighted the great economic potential of creative industries for rebuilding Europe strengths. He stressed the need to preserve and promote cultural diversity, to address the challenge of the digital shift and to build up capacities to better support cultural and creative industries, such as by the Creative Europe Programme from 2014 onwards. “This is the only programme that contributes to the creation of a real European Cultural Space”, he highlighted.

In his speech (pdf), Reinhard Büscher, Head of the Support for Industrial Innovation Unit at the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General, presented the objectives and main building blocs of the European Creative Industries Alliance. He called for radically new approaches to facilitate cross-border linkages and to capitalise on all forms of innovation and creativity. He also informed about a new Call for proposals for European Creative Districts [deadline 04/05/2012], which would at later stage be integrated into the European Creative Industries Alliance.

The coordinators of the Policy Learning Platform of the European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA), Johanna van Antwerpen and Eva Olde Monnikhof from the Amsterdam Innovation Motor invited policy-makers from regional and national organisations to actively participate in ECIA and to respond to the open Call for the expression of interest for members of the Policy Learning Platform (deadline 29/03/2012). They expressed their intention to establish the ECIA Policy Learning Platform as on open platform for all regional, national and European initiatives aiming at promoting creative industries in Europe.

The discussions in the parallel workshop on cluster excellence & cooperation were dominated by the question of how to build trust, spill-overs and cross-sectoral linkages within creative industries and with other industries. Participants agreed that there is a need to develop and test better tools to achieve this. The coordinators Klaus Haasis and David Furmage of the two cluster partnerships of the European Creative Industries Alliance – ECCL and Cluster2020 – invited others to engage in their activities and to participate in Creative Camps and other planned events, which will address these issues.

Participants of the parallel workshop on access to finance stressed the need to increase the efficiency of the use existing funds and to channel them better towards helping creative industries companies in accessing finance. It was pointed out that venture capital is particularly crucial for high-growth potential companies in the creative industries. Participants agreed that SMEs are not necessarily always ready to access and receive financing form investors. Michela Michilli and Barbara Cruz from the two access to finance partnerships of the European Creative Industries Alliance – FAME and C-I factor – informed how they would work towards developing better support for entrepreneurs in the creative industries. The recommendation was made that creative SMEs need to focus on aspects of scalability, exit and the defendable competitive position of their business in order to access equity financing.

The emphasis of the parallel workshop on business support was on innovation voucher schemes that aim to facilitate cross-sectoral linkages by offering innovation vouchers to companies in traditional sectors to access creative services like design from the creative industries. Three of the four voucher schemes actions under the European Creative Industries Alliance – VINCI, FAD-INS, +INNOVA Creativity and 4CNW – have such a focus in their implementation approach. Participants stressed that voucher schemes should not be seen as a permanent funding instrument, but as an exploratory instrument to create new markets for services and more spill-over effects.

  • Full report: Europe-innova.eu
  • To view the programme, please click here. To read Reinhard Büscher’s speech on the European Creative Industries Alliance, please click here (pdf).
  • To view some video clips and interviews from the event, please click here.
  • For further background to the development of the initiative and studies and reports of the European Creative Industries Alliance, please click here.

Web portal ECIA
The web portal of the European Creative Industries Alliance was also launched at the event and has the webaddress: http://www.eciaplatform.eu.