Support to cultural and creative industries, entrepreneurship and innovation
EU support for cultural and creative industries comes under the angle of their contribution to creativity and innovation, as analysis has shown that these industries have one of the greatest innovation potentials in the services field in the EU.
A major policy step for small and medium enterprises in the EU is marked with the Small Business Act for Europe (2008), the first comprehensive policy framework in the EU and its Member States for small and medium enterprises. It applies to all companies which are independent and have fewer than 250 employees, meaning 99 % of all European businesses, among which a significant number of companies operating in the cultural and creative sectors.
With a total budget of over € 3.6 billion for the period 2007-2014, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) is the EU funding instrument aimed at fostering the competitiveness of European firms, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. The programme has supported various activities related to creative industries through its initiatives on innovation, for instance, the Europe INNOVA and Pro INNO Europe®. One of the CIP’s key instruments for supporting SMEs is the Enterprise Europe Network, launched in 2008. Its creative industries sector group was established in 2010 with the aim of acting as a catalyst for further take-up of
innovative and commercial opportunities by the whole EU creative industry. Synergies are also possible with the ICT sector group (both on audiovisual production equipment and on digital content platforms), as well as the tourism and culture heritage sector group (role of art and creativity in enhancing tourism).
The Commission proposal for a new instrument for the period 2014-2020 – the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs - is currently under discussion in the context of the legislative process. It will offer opportunities to the SMEs operating in the cultural and creative sectors.
Against the background of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation (2009) the Commission took a specific focus on cultural and creative industries. Design as a driver for innovation was one line of action, which resulted in the launching of the European Design Innovation Initiative (2011) to exploit the full potential of design and enhance its role as a key discipline for bringing ideas to market by transforming them into user-friendly and appealing products, processes or services in the EU. Business support to cultural and creative industries took the shape of the European Creative Industry Alliance (2011), which aims to strengthen the role of creative industries as a catalyst of innovation and structural change by supporting the emergence of new industries that combine knowledge and creativity with modern technologies, in particular ICT.