Cape Town’s growing creative sector is highly entrepreneurial, skilled and proactive in attracting new business and economic activity. This is the message coming out of Creative Cape Town’s recent online survey, which was conducted through its local subscription base. The results underscore the strong entrepreneurial drive amongst creatives, with the vast majority – 90% – of survey participants, wanting more information on starting their own business. Creative Cape Town is a project of the Cape Town Partnership that seeks to promote a collaborative approach towards the development and encouragement of the creative industries in Cape Town’s local economy. Being a member of Creative Cape Town is free and voluntary.
Says Cape Town Partnership CEO, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana: “Cape Town has the potential to become a leading laboratory for innovation on the African continent. Creativity is so much a part of the Cape Town landscape already; shaping our public spaces, our streets, what we wear, how we work and where we spend time but I don’t believe we have tapped into the full economic potential of this sector yet.”
Over 350 respondents took part in the survey, a first of many future surveys set up to better understand the role of creatives in economic development. 67% of the participants were creatives, with the remainder being predominantly from supporting industries. The majority of respondents were women (64%) and the dominant age group (40%) in the sample was 25-34, with an even spread across the 18-54 age groups and just 7% being over 55 years old. 89% of the respondents are completing, or have completed, tertiary education and most wanted further education related to developing entrepreneurial and business skills and professional development courses.
50% of the people who took the survey said that they had worked abroad at some point—bringing valuable skills back to the country– and over half (54%) were looking to crowdsourcing initiatives to fund their creative endeavours, with others seeking private equity, grants and debt financing models to raise capital for projects.
86% of the respondents were looking for more networking events, with 71% of those surveyed noting that the benefit of networking lies in reaching new creative partners. A sentiment that reflects current trends towards ad hoc collaborative working structures and the need to have a trusted circle of skilled, professionals to build flexible teams.
The creative sector is a viable role player in the development of skills and innovation; a topic recently explored at the 3rd African Creative Economy Conference and the 4th Arterial Network Biennial Conference (6 – 10 October 2013).
Through surveys like this, Creative Cape Town hopes to underscore the value of partnership in knowledge gathering and economic development. The survey is very much still a “dipstick survey” and is not representative of the entire creative industry in Cape Town—it is more of a window into a specific group of people: who they are, what they are after, and how they want to reach their goals. As the survey expands, Creative Cape Town aims to connect into other knowledge banks being gathered by it’s partners at the Cape Craft and Design Inititiative, Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, and others.
An important aspect of developing the creative sector inclusively is to give voice and space to the upcoming stars that may otherwise battle to crack the creative niche. Cape Town Partnership has partnered with Creative Nestlings to support emerging creatives by showcasing their work and connecting them to opportunities and each other.
Adds Makalima-Ngewana; “With our World Design Capital year on the doorstep, we have a significant chance to link our creative sector into an international network of ideas and imagination.”
Download the creatively designed infographic of this survey by designer, Ivan Colic of Afrographique, here.
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