February 2016

Why the creative economy is booming in Hampshire

The creative industries contribute £5 billion to the Hampshire economy. Creative industry employment is also growing faster than in any other sector. At first these statistics appear surprising, but on reflection some reasons for the creative boom become clearer. 20 years ago PCs were newcomers in offices and homes. Few people had internet access. Websites were hardly used by businesses. E-commerce was a fantasy. Most homes had access to just five TV channels and mobile phones were rare. Now, almost all businesses have a website (many include film and interactive content). Online sales on Black Friday 2015 exceeded £1 billion. Freeview offers over 60 channels and smart phones have become the key gateway to social media. This explosion in demand for creative content is global. UNESCO estimates trade in creative goods doubled between 2002 and 2011. Demand for design, the written word, images, film, sound and performance is being generated both by individuals with more to spend on leisure and businesses wishing to add value to products and promote brand identity. This demand has in turn opened an unprecedented accessible business opportunity. In the creative sector you don’t need much capital to set-up business. With skill, flare and a laptop you can start trading from home. Low startup costs are a key reason why creatives top many business incubation league tables. Since the 60s London has built a reputation as the world’s creative capital. However in order to escape escalating costs creative businesses have radiated along railways and motorways. The broadband facilitated trend towards homeworking has accelerated this process. Improving transport connectivity, relatively affordable accommodation and a high quality of life has made Hampshire a hotspot for creative industry growth. In October Hampshire Chamber of Commerce became the host organisation for Creative Network South. CNS is a group of creative businesses, universities and community organisations working to promote the interests of the creative industries in Hampshire. Over the coming months we will highlight local business success stories and explain work being done to make Hampshire a great place to build a creative enterprise.