Content Creation Enterprises to grow jobs in the South Eastern Creative Corridor

Local Enterprise Offices announce the creation of 86 new jobs over the next three years by AV micro enterprises in the region as Oscar winning directors, actors, industry professionals and participants attend the finale of the South Eastern Creative Corridor initiative - The Big Picture Conference.

All eyes were on the Local Enterprise Office’s South Eastern Creative Corridor (SECC) in Wicklow today as this innovative initiative came to completion. Headed by LEO Wicklow and funded under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs targeting start-ups and entrepreneurs in the audio-visual industry, the SECC showcased and celebrated the success of the participants at “The Big Picture” closing conference in The Druid’s Glen Hotel & Golf Resort.

Delegates at The Big Picture Conference enjoyed high profile speakers, presentations and an industry expert panel discussion led by Noel Davidson, The Entrepreneurs Academy. John P Gleeson, Partner, Global Head of Media, Grant Thornton, who has been credited with financing and producing over 100 projects on IMDB, spoke about the commercial and investment aspects of the industry and the international media marketplace. Cathal Gaffney, CEO, Brown Bag Films and Oscar nominee, touched-on his own success story and discussed the importance of creating value in content. Russell Boland, OPG Global Lead for Emerging Markets & EMEA Lead of New Business Acquisitions, Google, described how technology is impacting content creation, how it is consumed, distributed and monetized and the opportunities/challenges for content creators as a result. Peter Baxter, MD of Createschool spoke candidly about his experience as a participant of the South Eastern Creative Corridor initiative and the impact it has had on his business to date.

78 businesses participated in The Creative Corridor across Waterford, Wicklow, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Tipperary. The majority of these were either sole traders or micro enterprises, with 53 male led and 25 female led, most of who have been in operation for less than 5 years. The majority of the programme participants are in the broad film/video/production sector and most participants were involved in the broader media, AV or communications sectors prior to establishing their current AV business.

The overall objective of the SECC initiative was to assist new and existing enterprises operating within the broad AV sector, to grow and develop, to trade internationally and to create employment in the region.

Under a competitive process during the programme, fifteen businesses secured funding from the Local Enterprise Offices, with 86 new jobs to be created by these over the next three years. Fourteen innovative training and networking events took place throughout the year across the region, which included nineteen high profile industry expert speakers. Over one hundred mentoring hours were delivered to partipants and a database, specifically for the AV industry, has been established to further support the industry going forward.

Speaking at the event, Sheelagh Daly, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow said, “We are absolutely delighted with the success of South Eastern Creative Corridor and it has been a privilege to work with the participants over the past twelve months. We have had tremendous support from key industry figures, including the eminent panel at today’s conference, all of whom believe in the potential of the Content Creation sector for Ireland’s economy. As an initial, substantive outcome of the project, there are now almost 80 AV businesses in the region that have been, and continue to access the supports offered by their Local Enterprise Offices.”

“Creative people traditionally may not have paid as much attention to the harder business skills as to the development of their creativities” said Michael Brougham, Regional Director at Enterprise Ireland. “This programme afforded participants the opportunity to place more focus on the commercial aspects of their businesses. Based on participant feedback and mentoring reports, it was apparent that many participants on the SECC initiative had particular challenges in relation to business planning and sales and marketing, which can cause difficulty in terms of creating a work pipeline, thus threatening overall business sustainability. Issues like this were addressed throughout the programme and it is hoped that participants will continue to build on key learnings and continue to engage with regional supports and networks going forward. To hear that 86 jobs will be created as a result of The South Eastern Creative Corridor is a testament to its success.”

Laura Way, founder of Bodecii Film in Wexford and a participant of the initiative said, “Participating in this programme was extremely useful in getting me to view my business as a whole and not just project by project as I had been doing. The programme gave me the opportunity to recognize what, where and when I can delegate to service providers, rather than trying to do everything myself. As a direct result of completing the programme, I have become far more proactive in terms of seeking work, I have renovated my business premises for clients and am planning more long term goals and strategies so my business can grow."

Within Ireland, the importance of the AV sector in employment terms is reflected in the fact that the sector employs over 6,000 individuals full-time and generates over €0.5 billion for the Irish economy. The potential offered by, and importance of, the creative sector has been recognised at a Governmental level in Ireland; one of the 5 Pillars of the Government’s 2016-2022 Creative Ireland plan is enabling Ireland to become a Centre of Excellence in Media Production. As stated within that plan, the key focus must be on Ireland’s potential to be a global leader in film production, TV drama, documentary, children’s storytelling, and animation for the screen. Moreover, one of the 10 key initiatives within the plan is to ensure that there is an industry-wide, long-term strategy, for Ireland as a global hub for the production of Film, TV Drama, and Animation.

The contract for this year long initiative was delivered by The Entrepreneurs Academy.

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