CREATIVE BEACONS

NATIONAL GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE

THE WHITE ROOM 2009

INTRODUCTION

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 17 21 23 24 27 29

THE CREATIVE ECONOMY CREATIVE BRITAIN THE GUIDE WHO IS IT FOR?

GOOD PRACTICE REGIONAL REPORTS

ASSESSMENT CRITERIA NATIONAL GOOD PRACTICE

‣ Information, Diagnostic & Brokerage (IDB) ‣ Business Growth Services

CONTENTS

‣ Partnerships ‣ Marketing

‣ Industry Knowledge ‣ Data Management

‣ Web 2.0 Technologies EXTERNAL PRODUCTS & SERVICES

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INTRODUCTION

This guide aims to raise awareness of the good practice of creative business support that exists in Business Links across English Regions. Inso-doing, the consultation process has consolidated a network of Business Links, Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), Trade Associations and Regional Cluster Organisations (RCOs). It has enabled and developed links between these and other specialist providers across the regions. The research for this guide has assessed the effectiveness of business support available to the Creative and Digital Industries (CDI) and has begun the process of dissemination across the network. This terrain is dynamic and the support provided to it needs to reflect changing markets, new technologies and new skills that will be needed to keep the UK at the forefront of global creative and digital production. Business support needs to be both consistent and innovative if it is to keep pace with the challenges of growing business in the creative economy. This guide will be updated regularly and thereby provide the basis for the continued improvement of regional services through the Beacons network. This Good Practice Guide has been developed in cooperation with Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and Business Link providers across eight English Regions. It looks at the ways that Business Links, working in partnership with the RDAs and others, have developed a set of tools that service the needs of this rapidly transforming sector.

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THE CREATIVE ECONOMY

The Creative and Digital Industries are a real success story for the UK. They have travelled from the margins to the centre of the policy debate and have attracted talent and investment from across the UK and beyond. They are seen by many as the vanguard for a new economy based on the exploitation of intellectual property, innovation, the development of new markets and new business models. The CDI are driving regional economies across the UK with London providing a gateway to increasingly important global markets. In addition to this, the regions are opening up new markets across the world and contributing towards the international position of the UK as a whole. The CDI are a significant source of employment when safeguarding and increasing the number of jobs is an important objective. The CDI drive economic, social and cultural wealth, when growing investment together with social and cultural cohesion has never been more important. Cultural consumption is a source of enjoyment, it can increase pride in an area and enhance community cohesion. Regional cultural production is therefore a vital asset not only to that region but also to the national economy and international competitiveness. Together Business Links and the RDAs can accelerate the growth and spread the benefits of a vibrant CDI sector, however, the challenges inherent in this task are considerable. Technological change is challenging and changing business models in the CDI means that business support needs to keep pace to remain relevant. Around the UK, Business Links understand the importance of this sector and its inherent challenges. These challenges, like the sectors themselves, are different in each region. Many have had different historical development paths; different areas of expertise and strength; different levels of investment and support, and are at different points on their development curve. The CDI are however central to the economic well-being of all the Beacons Regions and the solutions developed by Business Link, in partnership with others, show that the level of Business Support is equal to the challenges inherent in the sector.

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CREATIVE BRITAIN

Creative Britain: New Talents for a New Economy (2008) sets out 26 commitments that outline how the Government will take action to support the creative industries. It is the delivery of Commitment 13 that forms the basis of this guide. Commitment 13 states that: The RDAs [will] develop a network of business support leads for the creative industries to ensure the best services are delivered to the creative economy. RDAs in the South West, South East, North West, North East and West Midlands will ensure that they maximise the impact of business support for the creative industries by: ‣ raising awareness to ensure that the sector knows what is available and how to access it ‣ forging links with specialised providers and mentors ‣ developing and disseminating best practice in meeting the needs of the sector ‣ assessing the effectiveness of support for the creative industries by collecting and analysing data

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THE GUIDE

This guide has been developed to share good practice across a network of RDAs and Business Links. It aims to help accelerate enterprise and economic growth by identifying and sharing good practice in business support for the CDI. The core themes running throughout this document are partnership, collaboration and ‘enterprise’. It is people working in partnership across the public and private sector that will make a lasting difference to the performance of the industry in the UK. RDAs and Business Links together with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), realise the potential of this sector to the regions and the wider economy. They have been working to develop their service to this sector and now, for the first time, have come together to identify and share good practice between themselves in order to accelerate the improvement of their services to creative enterprises across the UK. This guide captures this good practice, enabling it to be shared across a national network of Business Links. The sharing of this practice will support the continued development of the Business Link CDI service and benefit creative enterprises. It will also enhance sharing of information between Business Links, Sector Skills Councils, Trade Associations and cluster organisations across the UK. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all in the CDI nor in the business support mechanisms that support it. The Information Diagnostic and Brokerage (IDB) service adopted by all Business Links is working well, but is only as good as the knowledge of the market in which creative business operate, and the service that is provided by partners. By adopting good practice from across the regions, Business Links and the CDI will share the benefit and reap the rewards of a continually improving service. This guide will live online and will be adapted periodically to enable Business Links to continuously improve their service over time.

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WHO IS IT FOR?

This guide has been developed in partnership with Business Links and RDAs across the UK. It was developed during the latter end of 2008 and early part of 2009. It is primarily for use by Business Links, RDAs and other regional and local partnerships who provide support for the CDI: those agencies who design, develop and deliver services to businesses in the CDI. It shows what can be achieved by business support agencies and what can be expected as a level of service by partners and creative businesses alike. During the research for this guide input has been sought and given from Sector Skills Councils, Trade Associations, Regional Cluster Organisations, Local Economic Development Agencies and creative enterprises large and small. This guide may prove useful for them when engaging with the sector and with regional Business Links. The research for this guide demonstrated that business support services are clearly best delivered in partnership between Business Links and intermediary agencies; sector specialists who are closer to the market, can demonstrate real demand and help deliver specialist solutions. It demonstrates what can be achieved when organisations that recognise mutual strengths form strong partnerships and develop working relationships that successfully deliver. Where a good service is being provided we need to share how and why this works in that region; showing others how their service may be constantly improved. Where a new service is developing, it helps partners identify approaches that may enhance their service without reinventing the wheel.

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GOOD PRACTICE

As business development adjusts to meet the challenges of new markets and new ways of working, this guide shows how others have met those challenges and adapted their service to meet the needs of this challenging sector. This Good Practice Guide presents 16 examples of good practice from regional Business Links as they exist in 2009. These examples have been drawn from Business Links at different stages of their contracts; that have different regional priorities and provide services for different sub-sectors in their regions. All regions are showing significant levels of innovation within a framework provided by the Solutions 4 Business portfolio of products. They are developing services under different budgetary constraints and therefore have to be creative with their use of time and resources. Some regions have a specialist service for the sector, others do not. Some regions face considerable geographic challenges whilst others face unique cultural, social and demographic issues not at all common in other regions. They are all different but face common challenges and have sought to address these creatively. To that end, many regions have worked with external partners to develop new products and services that have worked well and should be considered as the service to the sector is developed. To help continue to forge links with specialist providers we have included 11 further examples of good products and services that have been developed by external partners. The adoption of some of these services could enhance the development of regional services.

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REGIONAL REPORTS

This guide has been supplemented by seven regional reports that analyse the service being provided by Business Link in that region. These reports contain a detailed analysis of the regional context in which these services are being delivered. They look at the historical context of the industry in that region, taking particular note of regional priorities, industry strengths, the maturity and critical mass of the sector in that region. Business registrations have been mapped against the penetration of service by Business Link service in that region so that geographical gaps and opportunities can be clearly identified. Front and back end services have been reviewed and elements of good practice and specific learning opportunities between regions have been identified. These point to improved working relationships with Sector Skills Councils and other specialist providers. Specific case studies and Learning Opportunities are mapped out in the regional reports.

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ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

When assessing the merits of inclusion in this report, the primary beneficiaries always need to be creative enterprises - the direct and indirect benefits brought to bear by this service to improve their business. All examples of good practice need to demonstrate this. There are however other aspects of a service that will provide indirect benefit to business but that will directly benefit Business Link, the sector as a whole or the health of the regional economy. Where appropriate these have also been included. When developing this guide these questions guided our assessment criteria: ‣ Is there a direct benefit to Business? ‣ Is there a direct or indirect benefit to Business and a direct benefit to Business Link; ‣ Is there a direct or indirect benefit to Business and a direct benefit to the Creative Sector; and ‣ Is there a direct or indirect benefit to Business and a direct benefit to the The Region. Models of good practice fall into 7 categories: ‣ Information, Diagnostic & Brokerage (IDB) ‣ Business Growth Services ‣ Partnerships ‣ Industry Knowledge ‣ Marketing ‣ Data Management ‣ Web 2.0 Technologies

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NATIONAL GOOD PRACTICE

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INFORMATION, DIAGNOSTIC AND BROKERAGE

The Information, Diagnostic and Brokerage (IDB) service is the key platform used by every Business Link to provide a consistent and independent signposting service which ensures that businesses are able to access the support that they need with just one call. IDB provides the mechanism for Business Links to be a “one stop shop” for business support. This service is ubiquitous across all the Business Links and provides an effective mechanism to inform, diagnose, and where appropriate, broker in services to businesses. Using this system, companies can access a wide range of support including general advice, news on events, workshops, newsletters, web and phone information as well as sign posting and brokerage for specific needs. The adoption of the IDB process has provided a much needed simplification for the myriad of business support services available. The use of one well informed gateway, with advisers who have appropriate knowledge and the ability to signpost/broker to a large number of other providers, ensures that confusion is reduced and high levels of customer satisfaction are achieved. The IDB service is consistent across the Business Link network. Gateway advisers are provided with training to ensure that they not only understand the regional context but are aware of local priorities and services that may provide help for business. A particular example of good practice was noted in the West Midlands where specialist creative advisers were part of the gateway team. They not only provided advice to gateway callers but also provided support to brokers. Supplier databases are held by each Business Link and provide a starting point for brokerage. Quality is assured through the screening process which checks that insurances are in place as well as requesting and verifying client references. Whilst no system is perfect, IDB works well and with the recent integration of the Train 2 Gain (T2G) service, ensures that confusion is reduced and businesses can get the help that they need.

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GOOD PRACTICE - Individual Coaching and Mentoring for High Growth Companies In the North West individual coaches are available to businesses with a turnover of £0.5m or more. This in-depth support is provided on a 1-to-1 or 1-to-many basis. This addresses the universal demand of sector specific coaching and mentoring using experienced industry expertise or specialists from other sectors. Unlike other schemes based on a more traditional ‘high-growth’ model, the threshold is low enough to include many creative businesses who, though small, have the ability to grow fast. EXAMPLE IN BLNW and in the Business Links in the SW In the South West, the Coaching For High Growth S4B product is being developed to incorporate elements of "The Bridge Process", which provided deeper diagnostic support to companies at the higher end of the turnover range, including some Creative and Digital businesses. The programme will use European and South West RDA funds to expand access to  deeper diagnostic services through Business Link to growth businesses with lower turnover. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Accelerates growth of businesses ‣ Provides a more intensive and stronger relationship with clients ‣ Good feedback from Creative Businesses ‣ Creates an appetite for learning and business growth ‣ Low entry threshold of greater benefit to Creative Businesses

BUSINESS GROWTH SERVICES

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GOOD PRACTICE - Leadership and Management Training Demand for high level leadership and management training is always present in sector research. It has occasionally been supplied by regional cluster organisations, Trade Associations and SSCs but has rarely been funded by Business Links into the CDI. High-quality and bespoke leadership and management training enables clients who may not have undertaken any formal business training to master the demands of growing a business successfully. EXAMPLE IN BLWM and BLNW BLWM - Provision of £1,000 towards Director development training for companies employing 5 people or more. BLNW - Integration of Train 2 Gain with Skillset. £1000 towards Director development for companies employing 5 people or more. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Enhances growth potential of businesses ‣ Targets a ubiquitous need of creative sector businesses ‣ Potential to demonstrate long lasting value to clients/sector ‣ Creates an appetite for learning and business growth in the company

BUSINESS GROWTH SERVICES

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GOOD PRACTICE - Single Access Point for Finance A single access point for finance provides a ‘first stop shop’ for creative businesses or projects. Through a rigorous filtering process it will help businesses to identify the appropriate public or private sector finance opportunities. Clarity at this stage helps individuals and companies secure a relationship with the business support agencies and saves time and money for start-ups and mature business. EXAMPLE IN BLNE Co-located with BLNE the Regional Investment Centre offers a clearing house for investment funds and provides BLNE clients with an assisted application process. 90% of applications receive appropriate funding. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Improves success rate of funding applications ‣ Guidance provides better understanding of funding options ‣ Needs detailed Business Plan to access funds ‣ Enhances viability of business ‣ Develops understanding of investment finance and relationships with funders and investors

BUSINESS GROWTH SERVICES

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GOOD PRACTICE - Business Support Voucher Schemes A number of Business Links and RDAs have tried Voucher Schemes but have found them difficult to commit to over the long-term. Voucher schemes target those who wish to grow their business and invest time and money into improvement. They introduce market values into the business support process and provide access to specialist support purchased with those vouchers. EXAMPLE IN BL EAST and the Business Links in the SW The BL East Voucher Scheme is phased and allows clients access to a choice of high value specialist services. Phase One provides £130 and Phase Two £70 to procure one-to-one advice from a range of providers including enterprise agencies, accountants, and lawyers etc. The Business Links in the SW are developing a voucher scheme to encourage innovation. Targeted at all sectors this scheme encourages businesses to grow quicker and faster by allocating them specialist advice and guidance to develop an in-depth business plan and then issuing vouchers (up to a maximum of £5K) for the business to spend with consultants / agencies to provide them with expert help. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Reduces financial barrier to consultancy ‣ Demonstrates value of services ‣ Gets clients used to paying for key support ‣ Needs detailed Business Plan to access funds ‣ Introduces market values

BUSINESS GROWTH SERVICES

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GOOD PRACTICE - Formal Partnership Agreements Research for this guide has shown that effective business support to the CDI is greatly enhanced when delivered in partnership with other, intermediary agencies. This may be with SSCs, Arts Councils, RCOs or local Economic Development Agencies (EDAs). As well as providing an opportunity to improve sector knowledge and reputation, these partnerships increase referrals, deal flow, and industry reputation for Business Links. Whilst partnerships are all about the people that make them work, the quality of the Memorandums Of Understanding (MOUs) or Service Level Agreements (SLAs) used to formalise relationships with partners are critical. EXAMPLE in BLNE and BLWM BLNE has a common MOU with all its partner organisations that includes a Statement of Intent, an Operational Guide and a formal Referral System between organisations that increases the efficiency of both parties and smoothes the service to businesses. Organisations often have joint client meetings and case conferences. BLWM has an MOU with Screen WM particularly focused around 4iP. This has formalised the relationship and

PARTNERSHIPS

encompasses a referral and business support alignment across all their delivery mechanisms, including 4iP Film and TV and their cultural funding. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Provides a stronger and clearer relationship with key organisations ‣ Improves sector profile and reach ‣ Significantly improves the potential for referrals ‣ Establishes formalised Collaborative Services

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GOOD PRACTICE - Shared Resource Partnerships No partnership agreement is effective unless it is active and dynamic. Partners sharing resources can drive efficiencies for agencies and save time and resources for clients. At its best it can effectively provide a mobile ‘onestop-shop’ for business support in the region and lead to more integrated products and services. EXAMPLE IN BLNE, BL YORKSHIRE AND BLNW BLNE has hot-desks at the Arts Council England (ACE), the Regional Screen Agency, Digital Development Agency and sub-sector support agencies. This enables Business Link to have a high profile within the partners’ organisations and regular access to partner staff. It enables them ‘be closer to the ground’ across particular subsectors. BL YORKSHIRE ‘Buddy up’ with specialist sector organisations to provide better insight, access and outcomes for business in those particular sectors.

PARTNERSHIPS

BLNW - Train to Gain (T2G) is now delivered through RDAs and delivery is being streamlined with BLs.  Accordingly, work is underway to merge information systems and manage business support and skills brokerage to avoid duplicative discussions with businesses. In the NW integration of T2G services with joint client meetings and case conferences has enabled access to basic and higher-level T2G funding.   KEY BENEFITS ‣ Makes advisers more visible ‣ Adds credibility to service and enhances reputation of BL ‣ Strengthens relationships with key partners ‣ Helps to prevent duplication and thereby improves service to creative enterprises

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GOOD PRACTICE - Supporting, Sponsoring or Delivering Industry Events in Partnership Strategic development and delivery of an industry events programme is critical to developing services, the sector and the Business Link brand. It could involve sponsorship, co-development and delivery through to speaking or BL presence at seminars, workshops and conferences. EXAMPLE IN most regions but especially Business Links in the SW and BL YORKSHIRE Business Links in the SW supported a Creative Sector Summit run by the South West RDA. It involved 300 organisations and provided them with the opportunity to share thinking and knowledge on the sector. BL YORKSHIRE Enterprise Shows address a lack of enterprise culture in the region. They target pre and new start businesses and provide encouragement into enterprise and effective marketing opportunities for creative companies. They attracted significant attendance from a number of key national target groups including BME groups, women and long-term unemployed.

PARTNERSHIPS

KEY BENEFITS ‣ Community Outreach and capacity development ‣ Visibility and reputation of Business Link can be considerably enhanced ‣ Support and Maintain partner relationships ‣ Inform provision of support

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GOOD PRACTICE - Key Location Centres Since the Business Link service was regionalised, geographic and transportation issues can be a challenge. A significant part of the Business Link service is delivered face-to-face and this is the key to providing an in-depth, quality service either as a stand alone initiative or in partnership with others, Key Location Centres provide visible local access points for pre, new start and established businesses across some of the larger, inaccessible regions. EXAMPLE IN BLSE AND BL EAST The Enterprise Gateway Network is a joint initiative developed by SEEDA and delivered by the South East Business Link providers. These operate across the region in 10 enterprise gateway zones. BL East works at a local level across 14 key location centres in the East of England region and in close partnership with EDAs and sub-sector agencies. KEY BENEFITS

PARTNERSHIPS

‣ Provides known access points to a Business Link adviser ‣ Helps to overcome wider geographic remit of each Business Link ‣ Builds Partnership with intermediary agencies ‣ Provides better access for creative businesses in rural locations

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GOOD PRACTICE - Systematic Sector Market Research Regional economies and clusters can gain competitive advantage through the development and exploitation of good market research. Because of the small and micro nature of many creative businesses, access to this information is often denied to all but the best resourced companies. Systematic market research not only improves the knowledge of Business Link, especially its brokers and advisors, but also shares competitive advantage across the network of CDI companies in the region. EXAMPLE IN BLNW AND BLWM BLNW Sector Knowledge Hub - Strategic development of a knowledge hub through sub-sector leads and active

INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE

recruitment of specialist advisors. This is supplemented by industry master classes and sector profiles provided by sector specialists. BLWM Sector Knowledge Exchange - BLWM offer a sector knowledge exchange with and for partners. Their input and outputs enable BLWM to maximise their distributed delivery model. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Provides clients with advisers who have worked in the sector and understand how it/they operate(s) ‣ Extends contacts held by advisers, which can be shared throughout Business Link ‣ Instils confidence in clients and boosts reputation of Business Link service in the sector ‣ Used well it could improve regional competitiveness

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GOOD PRACTICE - Sector Profiles and Case Studies Branded sector profiles and case studies have proved an effective form of re-positioning of the Business Link brand, creating alliances with the sector and specialist providers. These profiles can help more generalist advisors gain contextual industry understanding whilst also raising the profile for services in other sectors and markets. EXAMPLE IN BLNW AND BLWM BLNW contracted with a regional online trade journal to produce case studies and sector mapping reports for the CDI in the region.

INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE

BLWM produced a guide to the CDI that acted as a marketing tool for Business Link, the guide has a promotional value for businesses featured and can also be used as a reference tool on a series of key business themes. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the sector ‣ Branded reference tool demonstrates what Business Link can do for clients ‣ Widens audience for marketing of Business Link Services ‣ Reference tool for businesses

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GOOD PRACTICE - Branding and Sector Marketing Business Link brand guidelines can prove limiting when trying to reach a design literate market. Although frustrated by these guidelines, some regional Business Links have developed a more ‘creative interpretation’ to better communicate with the sector. EXAMPLE IN BLWM and BLNE BLWM has for some years co-ordinated a regular advertorial column in their local newspaper, providing a promotional platform for both Business Link and the sector. BLNE has ‘localised’ their branding by using images associated with the region and a unique colour scheme. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Reinforces commitment to and understanding of the sector ‣ Promotes sector to the wider business community ‣ Appeals to a ‘design savvy’ sector ‣ Extends Business Link ‘brand reach’

MARKETING

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GOOD PRACTICE - Open Access Data Data collection and management is not a primary concern to brokers or partner agencies in the field. However, having an open system that allows partners agencies to incorporate their data enables BL to build up a bigger, and more robust evidence base. The use of this system also saves time and avoids duplication of services by allowing BL advisers to access up to the minute data on businesses, and to identify who has and hasn’t previously been contacted. EXAMPLE in BLWM and BLNW Here sharing between BL and T2G provides significant added value to both organisations and to business. At BLWM, in addition to BLWM staff, their management information system can be accessed by RDA staff, the Learning & Skills Council (LSC) and other stakeholders. Any partner (Enterprise Agencies, sector agencies etc.)

DATA MANAGEMENT

who are delivering BLWM services have access to update and provide a full company / intervention history as part of the Distributed Delivery Model. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Fully open access will allow for a much wider reach for data collection but care must be taken to ensure that this data is valid ‣ Sharing of information in this way builds trust and better relationship with key agencies ‣ Non-duplication for businesses ‣ More accurate GVA

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GOOD PRACTICE - Using Data as a ‘Strategic Asset’ Given the diverse range of businesses operating within it, the CDI can prove difficult to neatly classify within databases. Comprehensive sets of data on the sector are often in shortly supply, and therefore can be seen as an asset in organisations with access to reliable data. Most BLs use SIC codes that fall within the 13 DCMS subsectors to define the CDI (some 2003 and some 2007), which many find restrictive and not necessarily based on industry demand or regional profile. In addition, the broad inclusion of SIC codes such as ‘74.20 Architectural and engineering activities and related technical consultancy’ or ‘52.48 Other retail sale in specialised stores’, mean that many non-creative businesses are included in the identification of the sector - leading to misrepresentation. EXAMPLE in BLNW BLNW introduced a system that actively and regularly interrogates Yell.com & Thompson directories and

DATA MANAGEMENT

incorporates this with Experian Mosaic and Commercial Delphi profiling to create a more granular description of businesses. KEY BENEFITS ‣ The comprehensive and reliable data available through the BLNW Management Information allows them to use data as a ‘strategic asset’, enabling them to re-sell sector intelligence to other agencies and commercial concerns ‣ The ‘on the ground’ approach is a far more intuitive approach to categorisation that allows Business Link to build team capacity based on projected demand

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GOOD PRACTICE - Using data to enhance internal intelligence Robust CDI Management Information can be a powerful internal asset, but if it cannot readily be accessed its value remains untapped. In some organisations, reports can only be produced by ‘gatekeepers’ - members of MI teams. By opening up report access and creation, broker/advisers are given the tools to analyse the sector in real-time. This allows them to provide an authoritative ‘benchmark’ of the industry when working with clients. EXAMPLE IN BLWM and BLNW BLWM data management system allows for the production of a wide range of reports through an internal ‘Data Mart’. This helps to improve the team’s knowledge of the sector and the work of other colleagues. BLNW has taught all its brokers how to use an in-house dashboard system that outlines themes, geography and

DATA MANAGEMENT

sectors and conducts real time dynamic data processing that allows them to produce their own reports. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Gives adviser/brokers tools to analyse data in real-time ‣ Allows advisers to create their own reports reduces the time required to acquire this knowledge ‣ Combines advisers ‘on-the-ground’ knowledge of the sector with the data, provides intelligence

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GOOD PRACTICE - Research, Development and Adoption of Web 2.0 Technologies Utilisation of Web 2.0 technologies will have major implications for the Business Link service for CDI. The sector are early adopters of new technologies and their application. Failure to understand how Web 2.0 is affecting the market could be critical to the advice given. Whilst some Business Links are not allowed to access MySpace, Facebook or Twitter, others are actively pursuing forward planning research, development and adoption strategies. EXAMPLE IN the Business Links in the SW The Business Links in the SW have created a dedicated ‘Generation Y’ team whose role is to explore and develop the possibilities in new technologies. They have already implemented the use of WebEx technology to facilitate online meetings and events, and the creation of audio and video content that can be used to publish guides in a Business Link YouTube channel, in a blog or through podcasts. They have also started using automated text messaging to remind pre-start clients about events/meetings. This development has already been successful and the approach is being rolled out to local colleges in order to understand the communication practices of the next generation of entrepreneurs. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Ensures visibility of Business Link across newly emerging platforms ‣ Improves access to a new generation of creative entrepreneurs ‣ Demonstrates Business Link’s awareness of shifting business approaches/models

WEB 2.0 TECHNOLOGIES

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GOOD PRACTICE - Online Advisors Physical access to clients can be difficult now that Business Links are working on a much larger geographical patch and at higher levels of penetration. A number of Business Links are seeking to overcome this issue through the use of Web 2.0 technologies and are looking at the possibilities of improved website capabilities including online advice and archiving of all events; video and web conferencing; text messaging; and social media, blogging and other Web 2.0 opportunities. EXAMPLE IN BL EAST BL East is looking to expand into video conferencing and web meetings, and provide an ‘Online Adviser’ service which is especially useful for their more rural clients, and will enable a much smaller team to cover the entire region and maintain a parity of support across all clients. The online adviser will also help to better direct clients and reduce the time required to address their needs. This widening of access might be of particular interest when combined with the notion of ‘sector specialists’ in a small and dispersed team. In addition to this improved resource efficiency, the use of new technologies also has certain environmental benefits that can be promoted and will fit well into regional drives towards a low carbon society. KEY BENEFITS ‣ Creates parity of service across the region ‣ Provides more instant access for clients ‣ Reduces environmental impact of service, reducing travel costs and time

WEB 2.0 TECHNOLOGIES

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EXTERNAL PRODUCTS & SERVICES

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EXTERNAL PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Throughout the consultation Business Link has demonstrated a wide range of approaches that tackle a significant number of the issues facing creative sector businesses. In order for Business Link to further develop their approach and to adapt to the needs of the CDI it is useful to look at other processes, programmes and procedures that exist outside of the existing Business Link products and services. The next section of the Creative Beacons Guide presents some examples of products and services developed by sector specialists working across the creative economy who have developed strong methods of engagement based on effective partnership with Business Link. Sector Skills Councils are the government backed industry bodies assigned to deliver national and regional skills strategies for individual sectors of the economy. Skillset – creative media: TV, film, radio, interactive (web & online) games and publishing; Skillfast – fashion, textiles and manufacturing; e-skills UK – digital and IT; and CCSkills – creative and cultural: arts, design, advertising, architecture, music and craft. Each SSC will have a regional strategy and action plan and in some cases regional teams. It is advised that BL makes the appropriate contacts available to see what arrangements are in place for each region. In some regions e.g. NW and SW, there are alliances in place between all four creative SSCs,thus providing a one-stop-shop to access an integrated regional skills strategy. Key areas of connectivity with BL include: 1. Train to Gain Skillset, Skillfast and CCSkills all have Train to Gain compacts (contracts with LSC on how best to deliver T2G for their sector) Skillset’s launched in March 2009 with CCSkills and Skillfast launching in Summer 2009. e-skills UK are not planning to develop a specific Train to Gain compact for their sector.

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EXTERNAL PRODUCTS & SERVICES

2. Information on Job Profiles, sector based Business Models and intelligence on current skills issues.  SSCs provide a range of information detailing the different types of businesses, job profiles and current skills issues for their wide and disparate sectors. For example, you can research the different types of businesses that are working in the Games Industry (developers, publishers, consoles) and then within that the different occupations that are crucial to their success (for example in a games developer business – artists and story liners are as important as computer programmers).  BL can utilise this information to enhance their understanding of the creative industries – it can be used as part of new starters to BL inductions or as primary research into forming a local BL service strategy. 3. Approved Training Providers. Some SSCs offer an approval service to quality assure training providers – this can provide BL an industry approved sign-posting service when training is identified as a key issue within business support. In some cases this will include links to National Skills Academies as with CCSkills and their academy based in Thurrock, or Skillset’s network of media academies (www.skillset.org/academynetwork). Business Assessment Ltd (www.businessassessmentltd.com) is a new venture from Pembridge Partners LLP (www.pembridge.net).  Pembridge Partners have been advising SME media tech businesses on growth advice and funding since 2002. Their expertise has come from the experience of partners successfully building and selling their businesses. In 2004 they launched a telephone based assessment tool called Vital Statistics. Vital Statistics operated throughout the UK and focussed on providing a health check for a business, identifying those with investment potential.

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Their new service Mahout is online and provides a suite of questions reports tools and recommendations, which eliminates information black holes, illuminates key aspects of the business, and removes real and imaginary obstacles to growth for SMEs. Mahout enables owners and directors to unlock business potential and take their business to the next level. It allows them to succeed, and sleep better at night, because it puts owners and directors back in control by filling in the missing dials on the dashboard. This drives business growth, cuts costs and achieves success. The Clore Leadership Programme (www.cloreleadership.org) is an initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation (www.cloreduffield.org.uk) which aims to strengthen leadership across a wide range of cultural activities. This includes the visual and performing arts, film, heritage, museums, libraries and archives, creative industries and cultural policy and administration. They offer Fellowships and Short Courses for individual leaders, and training for members of Boards of Directors of cultural organisations. Almost all the CDI support and cluster organisations across the UK offer e-newsletters for their subscribers that provide a range of information such as sector news, events, workspaces, training, funding, commissions and opportunities, and jobs. There are many of these in each region, a few examples of which include Creative Capital (www.creative-capital.org.uk) in London, Creative Launchpad (www.creativelaunchpad.co.uk) in the Midlands and CREATIVETimes (www.creativetimes.co.uk) in the North West. Headspace (www.myheadspace.org) is a virtual network and resource developed by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and aimed at small and medium sized creative enterprises. It provides a toolkit for business development and support, and is a place to store work and communicate with other creatives in the region.

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The Toolkit (www.thetoolkit.net) by the Creative Industries Development Service (www.cids.co.uk) and Community Arts Northwest (www.can.uk.com) is a website for individuals and groups who are developing creative enterprises and community arts projects in Manchester. It contains up-to-date information on organisations, networks, training and funding that can help to make a project or business a success. Funder Finder (www.funderfinder.org.uk) and J4B Grants (www.j4bgrants.co.uk) are two examples of funding search engines that allow users to narrow down specific grants/funds that may be able to help support their organisation or business. However, access to these sites can be costly so a number of CDI support providers, such as the Cultural Industries Development Agency (CIDA) in East London (www.cida.co.uk), provide a physical resource centre that allows clients to come and access such websites for free. In order to develop the growth of the ‘Boho Zone’ in Middlesborough, the Digital City programme (www.thedigitalcity.org) in the North East has developed a ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Mentoring’ project that provides dedicated support to local creative businesses, specifically helping them to grow through mentoring with successful industry leaders, business professionals and digital entrepreneurs. They utilise the people who have “been there, done it, and continue to do so” providing one-to-one access to computer games veterans with over twenty years experience in every area of the industry. Feature film producers; music professionals, Web 2.0 pioneers; special effects experts, multimedia entrepreneurs tapped into a worldwide network of museums. They also provide access to lawyers, accountants, HR professionals, venture capitalists and business strategists who work in digital media and technologies. This approach ensures the mentoring is current, in-depth and informed.

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Own-It (University of the Arts London), Own-It North (Northwest Vision and Media / ONE) and Law for the Arts (Queen Mary University of London) - www.own-it.org and www.advicecentre.law.qmul.ac.uk/arts/index.html respectively - all provide free legal advice to creative businesses to help them deal with the complex copyright, intellectual property and protection related issues. They also provides access to fully qualified intellectual property solicitors. Own-It holds regular events across the country that gives Business Link advisers access to a wider number of creative businesses and specialist providers. It also allows brokers and Business Links to increase and maintain their ‘knowledge hubs’ in an area of business which is often key to the success of creative businesses. Creative Advantage (www.merseysideacme.com/displaypage.asp?page=148), developed by Merseyside ACME (www.merseysideacme.com) in conjunction with creative business advisor David Parrish (www.davidparrish.com) in 2003, is a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Training Workshop aimed at the CDI. The purpose of the Creative Advantage programme is to help creative industry businesses to identify their training and learning needs, which are required to ensure successful implementation of their business strategy. The programme is intended to provide a gateway to training courses and providers rather than as a total training course in itself. Nevertheless, the structure of the workshop provides participants with a grounding in the principles of business strategy that underpin business development. David Parrish has also produced a free e-book called ‘T-Shirts and Suits: A guide to the business of creativity’ which provides a range of useful advice and case studies for people starting their own creative business. This has been further developed into a pre-start toolkit, called ‘Designing your creative business’, which allows those thinking of starting a business to work through some of the basic business principles before embarking on their project.

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Creative Beacons | National Good Practice Guide

Written by: The White Room Creative Economy Consultants (www.thewhiteroomcec.com)

Project commissioned by: South West RDA (www.southwestrda.org.uk) DCMS - Department for Culture Media and Sport (www.culture.gov.uk) BIS - Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (www.bis.gov.uk)

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