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£1.5 million boost for creative industries

Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop today joined creative industry leaders, researchers and academics at the University of St Andrews for the launch of a new business voucher scheme, as part of a £1.5 million drive to strengthen creative enterprise in Scotland.

Set up by the Institute for Capitalising on Creativity (ICC), led by the University of St Andrews, the new business voucher scheme offers vouchers worth £3,000 to small and medium enterprises to enable them to work with ICC researchers to build effectiveness in their industries. It forms part of a programme of work by the ICC including studentships, Knowledge Partnerships and student placements – all made possible by a £1.5 million funding grant awarded in 2008 by the Economic and Social Research Council.

John Harris, Professor Barbara Townley, Fiona Hyslop and Dr Louise Richardson

Left to right: John Harris – Chief Executive and Artistic Co-Director of Red Note, Professor Barbara Townley, Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Dr Louise Richardson.
Photograph: Alan Richardson.

The Minister launched the scheme by presenting the first business voucher to an emerging Scottish music ensemble, Red Note. Red Note is a Glasgow-based performing ensemble founded in 2008 by Scottish cellist Robert Irvine and composer John Harris and drawn from the pool of Scottish new music expertise. The group tours Scotland regularly and works to develop and showcase the work of new composers and build audiences for new music in Scotland.

Chief Executive and artistic co-Director of Red Note, John Harris said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be the first recipients of a business voucher through ICC. The opportunity for us to access independent expertise from the ICC to research issues of direct relevance to the growth of our business will enable us to develop a far more effective marketing and communications strategy than we would otherwise be able to.”

Scotland has a world leading creative industries sector which supports around 63,000 jobs, generates an annual turnover of £5.2 billion and, over the past decade, has grown more quickly than the Scottish economy as a whole.

During the current economic downturn it is more important than ever that Scotland creates an environment in which the creative industries can build on that success and capitalise on new market opportunities as they emerge.

The Business Voucher Scheme is designed to help creative enterprises flourish by improving the competitive abilities of micro businesses, arts organisations and recent start-ups.

The ICC funding will allow creative enterprises to engage in research in areas including:

  • Designs for project management systems,
  • Strategies for marketing and promotion,
  • Developing product designs,
  • Devising training strategies and
  • Building capacity for business growth.

Minister for Culture and External affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“As I told the European Culture Council recently, the creative industries are a thriving sector of the Scottish economy with tremendous potential for growth.  This Government is creating the right conditions for the sector to flourish and to contribute to the economic recovery.

“This new scheme is a welcome boost for fledgling businesses who can benefit greatly from access to relevant research expertise to help them grow.”

The Minister was joined at the launch by Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews Dr Louise Richardson and Professor Barbara Townley, Director of the Institute for Capitalising on Creativity, who said:

“These funding schemes provide a great opportunity to increase interaction between academia and the creative industries, and as researchers we’re excited to be building on Scotland’s undoubted success across the whole range of creative industries.”

Notes to News Editors

Creative industries are those which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent. They include industries that have the potential to create wealth and jobs through the development, production and exploitation of intellectual property. The sector is made up of 13 distinct industries – advertising, architecture, art and antiques, crafts, design, designer fashion, film, interactive leisure software, music, performing arts, publishing, software and computer services, TV and radio.

The Institute for Capitalising on Creativity is a unique consortium of Scottish universities. Established in 2006 the partnership links researchers across creative disciplines and focuses on industry Research and Knowledge Transfer, Postgraduate Education and Networking between public bodies, creative enterprises and academics.

The Business Voucher Scheme is funded by a £1.5 million Economic and Social Research Council Capacity Building Cluster Award, which also supports 15 studentships, seven Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and student placements.

Any SME or other creative organisation can apply for the business voucher scheme if it:

  • is based in Scotland
  • employs less than 250 people and
  • in the last accounting period, had a balance sheet of less than £37 million or annual turnover of less than £43 million

More details on the funding schemes, including the Business Voucher application form, can be found on the ICC website: www.capitalisingoncreativity.ac.uk

For details of the Red Note music ensemble go to: www.rednoteensemble.com


Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Emma Shea, Communications Manager, on 01334 462 109 or email Emma.Shea@st-andrews.ac.uk

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