Growth & Jobs | Business skills: A barrier to growth in creative industries - study
A study conducted by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the British Council has revealed that business skills is a barrier to growth and sustainability by culture and creative industries (CCI) entrepreneurs in Jamaica.
The research was conducted by international consulting firm Nordicity, which undertook fieldwork in Jamaica in January 2020. The methodology included round-table meetings, focus group discussions, key informant interviews and consultation and capacity development with stakeholders from government, institutions, and the private sector. The research was analysed through a framework devised for the cultural and creative industries, comprising infrastructure, skills, finance, markets, data and information, and creation and production.
According to Nordicity, the survey included over 550 CCI stakeholders reflecting a workforce of creative business owners, artists, freelancers and workers from across the country. The survey also exhibited a small majority of females (61 per cent of respondents), and a mix of age groups, with over one-third of respondents under the age of 35, and over one-fifth of respondents over the age of 54. The visual arts, performing arts, design and music sectors were highly represented in the survey, followed by advertising and marketing, gifts and crafts, literature and publishing, film, festivals/fairs and feasts, cultural heritage, television and broadcast, digital media and fashion.
The most significant opportunity for achieving growth and increased revenues identified by survey respondents was improving market development and sales (31 per cent of respondents). Improving sector skills was considered the next most significant opportunity, including business skills (21 per cent), creative and technical skills (16 per cent), improving knowledge of intellectual property and copyright (eight per cent), and digital skills (seven per cent). Meanwhile, increasing international exports was considered the greatest opportunity by 13 per cent of respondents. Other opportunities considered by five per cent of respondents included making more of Jamaica’s national brand globally and developing local markets and local supply chains.
The consultations pointed to discoverability, digital skills, and data as crucial development areas for the sector. The biggest priority was considered to be digital marketing and distribution, identified by nearly half of survey respondents (43 per cent).
“The British Council is delighted to have supported Jamaica’s first mapping exercise of their creative and cultural industries, which confirms the centrality of certain sectors, like the celebrated music scene, and reveals huge potential in new areas such as the film industry.” said Pablo Rosselló de las Casas, director of arts for the British Council in the Americas. “We hope to continue working with the Jamaican Government in the development of interventions and projects to further support the sector’s growth and internationalisation, while emphasising the need for evidence of this kind to guide any policies. The British Council’s Creative Economy team has been working in this area for over 15 years, identifying and championing creative entrepreneurship, and supporting governments across the world (in the Americas, in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil) expand their cultural policies’ remit, to include economic and trade development.”
Deputy CEO at the JBDC, Harold Davis, says the findings are critical to the agency’s thrust in the development of the CCI in Jamaica. “Since inception in 2001, we have consistently maintained a keen interest in the CCI, especially given that the agency was mandated to manage the Things Jamaican retail store chain, which provides market access for entrepreneurs within the gift and craft sector. Our Incubator & Resource Centre, which places heavy emphasis on product development, was also a strategic addition to our extensive suite of services ‘from concept to market’,” he said.
The JBDC and the British Council are recommending the following measures for sustainability:
1. Advance CCI policy and sector coordination: Building a strong institutional infrastructure through policy and sector coordination requires good data, sound policy positions, and the ability to speak with one voice to government representatives.
2. Research, measure and advocate on behalf of the CCIs: Develop a more robust system to account for, and measure the performance of, the cultural and creative industries.
3. Support CCI sectors through interventions: Interventions to support CCI sectors in Jamaica should be holistic in addressing challenges and leveraging opportunities. These include a funding and financing plan, capacity building, as well as international partnerships.