Coventry and Warwickshire is experiencing a significant growth of creative businesses following the implementation of its creative clusters programme.
Creative industries contribute £1.1 billion in gross value added (GVA) in Coventry and Warwickshire and are growing around 6.5 per cent annually.
The area has a global reputation for its ‘Silicon Spa’ games cluster based around Leamington, Warwick and Southam, and ten per cent of staff from the UK’s gaming industry work in Coventry and Warwickshire.
The games sector generates over £188 million in GVA for the region and around 2,000 people are currently employed in the industry in Coventry and Warwickshire.
These figures are among the reasons why Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) is the fastest-growing LEP for economic growth, productivity and GVA per head.
Sarah Windrum, board director at the CWLEP and CEO of Leamington-based technology group The Emerald Group, is also chair of the CWLEP Digital Creative Business Group which was launched last year to empower businesses in the creative sectors to help the public sector provide the conditions for their industries to thrive.
She said it is important creative industries themselves continue to play a role in their own future.
“Our Digital Creative Business Group includes a wide range of businesses that fit the DCMS definition of ‘creative’. It is this diversity among individual industries which stimulates economic growth and this is particularly pertinent in Coventry and Warwickshire,” she said.
“Creative industries are experiencing higher growth rates than the rest of the economy and they are at low risk of automation which is why we were keen to support and strengthen our businesses here.
“In Coventry and Warwickshire, we have seen our games sector thrive and as the LEP, we have gathered data on how best to continue to provide ideal conditions for that sector and other digital and creative businesses.
“By working together across the public and private sectors to deliver our creative clusters programme, we provide the perfect focal point for businesses to come together and collaboratively implement their own key strategies and build on the fantastic work by individual companies throughout the area.”
Sarah believes Coventry and Warwickshire’s success is partly due to adopting the three-year ‘Blueprint for Growth: Strengthening the Games Sector’ which was commissioned by games trade body Ukie and CWLEP to use games ‘as a gateway’ to engage with the wider creative businesses as well as the CWLEP’s Strategic Economic Plan which focused on developing digital and creative skills.
She added: “Developing creative clusters not only promotes the area’s highly-skilled staff in this constantly evolving and growing industry but has a major impact on economic growth.
“The clusters are developing by focusing on quality and creativity and helping businesses whether they are an SME or have a world-wide reputation to thrive and flourish.
“Maintaining the competitiveness of our creative industries is key to continuing to experience higher growth rates than other sectors as well as sustaining economic growth.”
Caption: Sarah Windrum, CWLEP board director and CEO of The Emerald Group in Leamington