Six years after inception, Kingston Creative said it will continue to build out an ecosystem for creative entrepreneurs — assisting them to benefit from the far-reaching growth opportunities that can be leveraged from the global creative economy which is expected to inch closer to the trillion-dollar mark this year.
According to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report published in December 2021, "the creative economy is projected to reach a global valuation of $985 billion by 2023 and could represent 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) before 2030".
Speaking during a recent press conference and anniversary celebration event held recently, Karen Hutchinson, manager for the CreaTech programme, said that Kingston Creative, in assisting creatives, has through a number of partnerships and initiatives sought to build sustenance and increase contributions to their communities and the economy.
"We have offered training to over 1000 creatives and given seed funding of over $2 million to some 12 businesses. We have also assisted about 42 businesses to become incubated and accelerated while reaping increased financial benefits under our travel programme. This [while] having also conducted a number of business-to-business meetings and helping to list over 400 creative businesses on the Caribbean Creative Network," she stated.
"We have several programmes that are designed to build business and digital skills," Hutchinson also said, noting that the recent launch of the entity's Kulcha Connect app will further help to catapult the reach of local entities, allowing them to expand networks and to generate increased sales from markets overseas.
The CreaTech programme funded by a number of private and public sector partners is a three-year initiative developed to drive growth within the creative economy. It uses technology and creativity to access new business opportunities and to accelerate the export of creative products and services.
Now recognised as a tool for sustainable development, the contribution of Jamaica's cultural and creative industries currently accounts for about 5.2 per cent of GDP, generating revenues of $2.2 billion or just about US$14 million annually. It also employs about three per cent of the labour force.
Executive director of Kingston Creative Andrea Dempster Chung, touting six big wins for the organisation in the last few years, said that aside from its curating of cultural events which include culinary and art walk undertakings to change perceptions, creating a space for creative artists, delivering on training and development outcomes, and building out e-commerce and other technology solutions, the non-profit has also been big on delivering on its mandate of boosting the economic and social value for creative entrepreneurs.
Working closely with international funding agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Union, World Bank, among a number of other private and public sector partners to implement projects, the entity said it has over the years invested millions in building capacity for local creatives.
Receiving over $187 million in direct financial support from its first 50 partners, including the Jamaica Observer, Dempster Chung said plans were now being finalised to strengthen support in the coming years.
"We will continue to work with these partners as we continue to expand our footprint but there is still the need for new partners and organisations to get involved…as a result we will be moving to launch 100 creative innovators. This will be a network of individuals or companies that fund programmes to support the creative industry.
"We really believe that if organisations are going to mix their operations with a highly creative country it is also imperative that they support the arts and positive development of the cultural and creative economy," she said.
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