The financing of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) for regional development is to take focus at the fourth International Creative Exchange Caribbean (ICEC) investor and investment readiness conference to be held next month.
The conference, ICEC22 INVEST, scheduled to run from October 5-7, will be available online and is being staged by the Jamaica-based global CCI advocacy group South South Collective. It will feature presentations from leading global expert Ouafa Belgacem, chief executive officer (CEO) of Culture Funding Watch.
With statistics pointing to over 82 per cent of creative businesses in the "Global South" failing due to lack of capital, Belgacem during her trip to Jamaica will lead financiers from the Global South, creative practitioners and entrepreneurs on a journey of navigating the creative retail and investment spaces as they seek to overcome challenges associated with financing CCIs in countries of the Global South, and in particular small island developing states (SIDS). The Global South is often referred to as those countries largely categorised as poor, marginalised or having economies which are not yet fully developed.
Experts have long reasoned that with the creative industry generating billions in revenue and often making significant contributions to the global economy, every effort must be made to further the growth and development of its ecosystem. The industry according to UNESCO is projected to account for approximately 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) over the next few years. Though awaiting official data from an upcoming Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) economic impact assessment being done locally, the sector's contribution is currently estimated at six per cent of GDP.
Dr Deborah Hickling Gordon, cultural studies expert, said there are clear and present opportunities which could be tapped to fast-track the development of creative sectors in the Caribbean.
"Investment is needed to push-start a challenged pandemic-afflicted economy and lead the transformation of a new economic direction for the region.
"The creation of specialist financial products and services for creative workers as seen in financial institutions in global creative provinces; supporting the national/regional research agenda to close the data gaps that aid in financial decision-making; and increasing the 'creative literacy' of financiers â€” from sales and customer service personnel in banking halls to executives making strategic decisions are three clear paths towards a vibrant transformed, modern economy where finance and creativity thrive, complementarily," she told the Business Observer, underscoring the work of the conference as a catalyst in connecting financiers and creatives as they learn from global experts on how this can be possible or how its done in other parts of the Global South.
"It is in the interest of both the investment and creative communities that as many as possible will take advantage of the opportunity provided by the conference or in the small group workshops," she added.
Through private and face-to-face sessions at ICEC, Belgacem will engage dialogue with investors and cultural organisations around a number of topics including sustainable fund-raising and resource mobilisation for artists and for investors, utilising public assets to mobilise private investment and financing for the creative economy in emerging markets including digital platforms and open solicitation and co-creation processes.
The conference, tailored to offer a number of networking opportunities, financial sustainability workshops for artists, blockchain and Web 3 masterclasses for investors and creatives, will also facilitate global investor panels with speakers from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and southern Europe.
"ICEC22 INVEST is really is a platform for investors interested in cultural and creative sector market entry, strategic approaches to CCI investment and risk management in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Global South," shared Andrea King, South South committee member and conference partner.
She said that it was in building a platform for artistic and cultural practitioners and entrepreneurs to improve their investment readiness while capitalising on the growth of their businesses, that the sector could thrive and unleash its greatest potential which is also a major aim of the upcoming conference.
"The goal is to build the small business sector and take CCIs in the Global South from gig economies to sustainable industries," King stated.
ICEC22 Invest, an activity featured in the 2022 UNESCO Global Report, is designed to create a pipeline of investable artistic and cultural opportunities, bridging investor readiness and investment readiness. Deemed the first global convening of its kind for the Global South, the premier business- to-business event provides an investment destination for creatives, cultural entrepreneurs, and international investors, buyers and funders.