Cr8net 24th April 2013 – REVIEW

Cr8net 2013

Cr8net is a one-day conference for the creative industries, bringing together industry practitioners, policy makers and businesses. This year, Cr8net will be held at the innovative Village Underground (in ‘Tech City’) on 24th April 2013.

One of the keynote speakers will be Ed Vaizey MP (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries) who will be joined by Alison Wenham (CEO, Association of Independent Music) and Eze Vidra (Head of Google Campus) amongst others. Cr8net delegates come from across the country and some from further afield.  Cr8net is now an essential date in the diary for a creative and cultural ‘state of the industry’ discussion.

Cre8net 2013

speakers included:

Ed Vaizey MP (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries)
– Eze Vidra (Google, Head of ‘Campus’)
Alison Wenham (CEO, Association of Independent Music)
Charlotte Higgins (Chief Arts Writer, The Guardian)
Pauline Tambling (CEO, Creative and Cultural Skills)
Rashid Kasirye (Founder of LinkUp TV)
David Parrish (Author of ‘T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the   Business of Creativity’)
Andrew Senior (Creative economy expert)
Mary-Alice Stack (Director, ArtCo/Arts Council England)
Fabio Santos (Artistic Director, Phakarma)
Nancy Groves (The Guardian Culture Professionals Network)
Charmaine Hayden (Founder, Face 4 Music/ graduate of CIDA’s Digital Women’s Club)
Frances Brindle (Director, Strategic Marketing and Communications, British Library)

“Cr8net is our flagship yearly conference which we have crafted to suit CEO’s, Politicians, Directors, Senior Management, and all decision makers in the Creative Industries”

Toks Majek-Akisanya, CEO, CIDA

Cr8net is the brainchild of CIDA, the Cultural Industries Development Agency, the leading specialist support organisation for the grassroots creative and cultural sector in London.

REVIEW by Dieneke Ferguson.

This was the first year that I attended Cr8net and I was very much looking forward to it.

In addition to keynote speakers there were two panel debates as well as three breakout sessions in the afternoon. For further information see


The keynote speaker in the morning was Frances Brindle, Director of Strategic Marketing and communications of the British Library.

She explained the role of the IP centre in the British Library in specific to assist small businesses. In collaboration with support agencies the IP Centre runs seminars with themes that are of interest to small businesses, most of them which are free. They don’t deliver workshops but they contribute staff. They also have an Intellectual property lawyer that comes in once a week and can be consulted once a week.

For further information see here


Panel session at Cre8net 2013

Panel session at Cre8net 2013

The panel consisted of Andrew Senior, Auro Foxcroft, Eze Vidra – head of Google Campus, Charmaine Hayden and  Rashid Kasirye. The topics discussed by the panel included the following:

What is most important for an Enterpreneur to be successful. The following were mentioned:



Self discipline

Salesmanship. – Listen to the customers . Convince the investor it is going to work

Tenacity – make good ideas come to life.

Flexibility – listing to people and to your gut feeling.


Ability to recognise and express what makes you different

Understanding finance and business – monetising ideas



When asked about key aspects of growth, the importance of a mentor was mentioned by many of the panelists.

The Enterpreneur needs to take risk although more driven by passion. You need to build on your experience

Infrastructure of your business is very important

The importance of a mentor was also mentioned. .



Mary-Alice Stack (Art Co/ArTs Council England) in the funding session at Cre8net 2013

Mary-Alice Stack (Art Co/ArTs Council England) in the funding session at Cre8net 2013

Of the breakout sessions I decided to attend the Funding session chaired by Mary-Alice Stack (Art Co/ArTs Council England)

The theme looked at what the emerging options are for creative and cultural businesses and the agencies that support them. This was a very interesting sessions, and many options were mentioned to secure funding. Several programmes were mentioned

Creative Industries Finance programme, Arts Council

This pilot programme tests out demand for small loans instead of grants in some cases. Underlying this is that the Arts Council felt that grant funding is not sustainable. One of objectives is testing out demand and effectiveness – also in response to the attitude of banks.  The Arts Council works in partnership with specialised enterprise agencies to see whether the proposition is viable. The Arts Council  runs the risk. That way a lending history can be established to use to lobby government  etc.  Particularly important is the link with support. They are still in the Pilot phase and have only been going for 1 year so far. The Arts Council is keen to expand nationally. Loans are between £5,000-£25,000. Loans don’t need to be secured.  The question is whether this would get you to next level over the next 1-3 years.  The programme aims to create  an evidence base. 10% interest, which is hhigher than elsewhere. It is perceived to be the lender of last resort.  ElSBC running it.  Interest goes back in the pot and is payable monthly. The programme is also looking at the ability to repay. Could be for profit or not-for- profit. It can’t be used it to pay off debt, but it can be use it for people.

Further information:

Arts Council

East London Small Business Centre

Startup Loan Scheme

This is a government initiative, but it is not available to all businesses. You have to be less than 1 year trading and less than 30 yrs.

Available £2,500. It is run nationally and includes mentoring.

Further information:
Start-up Loans


This is an interesting alternative to get up front money. Spreading the risk, there are quite a number of platforms.

Sponsorship format

For instance there is the sponsorship format such as sponsored swims etc. Here people invest emotionally. You feel good about it. It is also the collective approach of making it happen. The feel good approach. It is easier to get money for a project rather than the company. So are you a project-based enterprise, or a business doing many projects.

Award-based campaigns

This is merchandise-based and there is a tangible reward. The investor has no right to the content but is pledging support.

Platform share based – Crowdcube and seeders

This is new and there are two categories of investor. Either say, or no say. Due diligence of the investor, ie can an investor trust that the plan is followed. It is an unregulated market. No regulatory framework as yet. You take a gamble as an investor. Make sure your business idea is protected as it is out in the open.

More creative businesses are testing this out.

Peer to Peer lending

This bypasses the banks and you can invest yourself direct. Buzzbank funding circle – you can post an opportunity. So you might get lower loans and competitive rates.

The platform also takes a cut. It is a community investment environment, but it is risk capital.

You have to define whether your business is life style – no money, or real business. Important what your ambition is, should be more than yourself.

You can also create a company around a business opportunity.

Some issues to consider

Sometimes it is to your advantage to describe yourself as a startup. You might have a track record, but you are changing your structure.

Key what do you need the money for? Often it is a cash issue. This is very real, clear and simple to overcome.

Be clear about your challenges of growing your business. You need a business plan so that someone else understands what you want to do.

Cre8net 2013

Cre8net 2013


The afternoon panel session discussed how to develop the next generation of artists, how to monetize one’s ideas, and the all importance of access to finance. It was also stressed that it is important to invest in the future of creative industries and that investment is needed.

The question was also asked whether you can teach entrepreneurship.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communication and Creative Industries, MP

Ed Vaizey at Cre8net 2013

Ed Vaizey at Cre8net 2013

The day finished by Ed Speaker who emphasized the importance of the Tech City. Key aspects of a creative industry he saw as being:

–          Importance of Techcity to attract investors

–          Digital infrastructure, broadband and mobile companies

–          Skills and education, IT Curriculum and continue to invest in the skills training agency, Skillset

–          Access to finance and tax breaks

When I asked him about what the link is between the link between the digital and creative sector he replied that there is a seemless link between arts and technology.

But it seems to me that they still have a way to go to enable those working in the design sector to monetise their ideas for their benefit and that of the sector.

And that ended an interesting day, in a great place. Looking forward to the next one.

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