The state of the modern creative economy and creative industries

After a long quarantine caused by a pandemic, there can be no better time to assess the creative economy. In November 2020, the UN adopted a resolution proclaiming 2021 as “The International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.” Creative industries are crucial to the sustainable development agenda. They stimulate innovation and diversification, are an important factor in the growing sector of services, support entrepreneurship, and promote cultural diversity. The creative and cultural industries have also played an important role in mediation concerning the digital transformation that is taking place around the world. Today, as never before, we need creative thinking, innovation, solving problems and challenges of inequality and vulnerability that we face every day. 

Creative industries are the life force of the creative economy

These are advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, research and development, software, and much more. The creative economy certainly has the potential to support developing countries and countries with economies in transition in diversifying production and exports and ensuring sustainable development on a comprehensive and equitable basis. It is neither old nor new. If you read your publications on the Internet or go to a local cinema, read a book or listen to music on the way to work, you are consuming a creative product or service. People develop a concept and implement this work, then produce or publish it, and ideally get paid for it. This is in fact no different from other production processes, except that the main contribution comes from the original or intellectual property (IP) that is protected by copyright.

According to various estimates, the creative economy generates 3% of the world GDP. But it is probably worth much more when cultural value is added to its commercial profits. In the UK, for example, the creative industries made a record contribution to the economy in 2017 – £ 101.5 billion to the country’s treasury and grew almost twice compared with the economy since 2010. As a result, the creative economy is a powerful emerging economic sector, strengthened by digitalization and the boom in services. Experts say that its contribution will increase, and if we can use the key trends, we can live in a much more creative world in the future.

What is Generation Z for?

I recently read an interesting American study on the impact of the Z generation on food and the consumer industry in general. It shows that creativity affects not only the final product but also the management positions that are implemented in the company. 

Key insights from this study from the representatives of the Z generation:

  • 85% are convinced that business is more than just profit;
  • 73% consider it important that the goals of companies coincide with their own ideas and vision;
  • 83% reevaluates the values and saved money due to the pandemic;
  • 75% believe that their generation will be able to change the world and the economy as a whole.

The key principles of sustainability, inclusiveness, and diversity highlighted in the study have led to the emergence of new creative positions, such as:

  • Ethics lawyer – to solve social and environmental problems.
  • Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Development – to balance business effectively.
  • Chief Impact Officer. Interestingly, Prince Harry joined the startup BetterUp in this exact role. This position aims to provide “influence through action”.
  • Chief TikTok Manager – a position created specifically to attract a wide audience through a well-known social network. But there are many other interesting professions, which in my opinion, will have a positive impact on the development of the creative industry around the world.

Modern realities in Ukraine

  • The topic of the creative economy has reached the national level. Creating a competitive creative economy is a strategic goal of the National Economic Strategy until 2030.
  • The Ukrainian Startup Fund was established to stimulate innovation and support startups in the early stages.
  • The Joint initiative “Entrepreneurial University”, in turn, aims to increase the number of future innovative entrepreneurs.
  • Diia City. This is a unique, special legal regime for the IT industry, which has the aim to create the most powerful IT hub in Ukraine in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • The contribution of IT is already about 4% of GDP, while the Ministry of Finance is actively working to increase its share to 10% of GDP.
  • Just the day before yesterday, the President signed a decree on the establishment of the Presidential University of the Future, which should become an innovative educational space for training specialists in the latest technologies.
  • Next week, on June 8, the first meeting of the Council for the Development of the Creative Economy under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine will take place to discuss ways to develop the creative economy.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step 

Among the grant applicants, as well as the winners of the acceleration or grant programs of our Fund, we often meet projects in the creative industry: in the field of culture, music, architectural design, or creativity. We believe that such Ukrainian startups as Librarius, Artera, Erudito, Copra acoustic, and many others will soon be known globally.

Among the successful cases, there is the startup Djooky. It is a platform that gives artists access to a global community of investors, and investors the opportunity to trade a new class of assets. Their recent round of investment after receiving the grant was 10 million. Another startup, Creative Practice, helps make online education more accessible and the creative community of Ukraine even closer. Also this Friday, one of the startups that will make a pitch before the jury and is a candidate to get a grant from the USF is Delight. This is a project that creates an interactive book with elements of shadow theater. We are watching all their successes with great attention and hope to see even more representatives of the creative industries on our pitch scene in the future.

Pavlo Kartashov, director of the Ukrainian Startup Fund