All around the world, the 'creative economy' is talked about as an important and growing part of the global economy. Governments and creative sectors across the world are increasingly recognising the importance of the creative economy as a generator of jobs, wealth and cultural engagement. The UK has been a leader in the development of this agenda, not just as a driver of the economy but also promoting social inclusion, diversity and development.  The creative industries contribute over £84 billion pounds to the UK economy, employ 2.9 million people (9% of all jobs in the UK) and exported nearly £20 billion of services in 2014. 

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport includes the following industries in its definition of the creative economy: Advertising and marketing; Architecture; Crafts; Product design, graphic design and fashion design; Film, TV, video, radio and photography; IT, software and computer services; Publishing; Museums, galleries and libraries; Music, performing arts and visual arts

The British Council in Egypt launched its creative economy programme in February 2016 to develop collaborations between the UK and Egypt in the field of creative industries. This three-year initiative will work with the Egyptian government, industry organisations, and businesses to support entrepreneurship, increase employment and grow demand for Egyptian creative products. 

Our programme focus

  • Capacity building through education: we will focus on activities that build institutional capacity in both the formal and informal education sectors which work with individual creative entrepreneurs. 
  • Information Management: the programme will work with local and international partners on mapping Egypt’s creative economy, building an accessible database of knowledge which will inform policy- and decision-making  
  • Policy Dialogue:Joint work with the Government of Egypt to raise awareness of the importance of the creative industries to a national economy and support policy-making in Egypt
  • Accessible resource bank: we will develop an Arabic-language resource bank to support people working in the creative economy
  • Exchanging knowledge and expertise: creating a forum for discussion, information exchange, and action-planning between Egyptian and UK government bodies, cultural organisations, networks of entrepreneurs and educators


RiseUp Summit

We are delighted to be a key enabling partner for the creative economy strand of the RiseUp Summit 2016, which will take place from 9-11 December at the Greek Campus and AUC Tahrir Campus in Downtown Cairo. This year RiseUp is all about the ‘fusion’ of capital, technology and creativity to unlock an unlimited source of energy ready to power the enterprise culture into the future. We’re bringing some of the UK’s top strategists, educators and creatives to Cairo to find out what’s going on in Egypt, share their experience and take away the knowledge that local and regional entrepreneurs are building a sustainable economic future. And with over 5000 young entrepreneurs attending, this is the perfect place to do that. 

Formal launch of our creative economy programme

In February 2016 we formally launched our creative economy programme with a panel discussion hosted at the Creative Egypt initiative. Studio Emad Eddin founder Ahmed El Attar led a lively discussion on the challenges of being a creative entrepreneur and the support needed to make a business succeed. The panelists were: Azza Fahmy, internationally-renowned jewellery designer and business woman, Hisham Basha, Business Development Expert at the Industrial Modernisation Centre and Project Coordinator at Creative Egypt;  Beatrice Pembroke, Director Creative Economy, British Council; and Sonja Dahl, Senior Programme Manager Innovation Skills at Nesta. After the discussion the audience shared their experiences, comments and ideas to bring an exciting evening to a close. 


Study tour to the UK

In March 2016 a group of dynamic stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem visited London and Liverpool to hear about the UK’s strengths in the creative economy, particularly around the development of creative cities and creative hubs, share Egypt’s experience and to look for opportunities for future collaborations . The visit encouraged discussion on possible government-to-government collaboration and raised awareness of the increasing importance of the creative sector to the creation of jobs and the generation of wealth. Participants in the study tour were from the Industrial Modernisation Centre, RiseUp, Drosos Foundation, Media & More and Studio Emad Eddin. The group now act in an advisory capacity helping us develop our creative economy programme for the future. 



In May 2016 we hosted the first in a series of creative economy roundtable discussions. This one looked at the creative economy in general and brought together government bodies, cultural organisations, entrepreneurs and educators to discuss the wider issues around the creative industries and the support they need. Future roundtables will discuss the challenges facing young designers (December), the specific needs of young fashion designers (March) and a forum on creative cities (May). 


Cultural Skills research

In 2015-16, our Cultural Skills Unit conducted research to acquire greater understanding of the skills needs in the cultural sector in Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.  You can read the findings in Arabic and English


Creative cities

As part of our information-sharing role, we have commissioned Progrss to write a series of articles about UK cities and their approaches to creativity and the creative industries. Between August 2016 and April 2017 they will be publishing articles about Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester and Belfast. Finds links below to the articles already published. All articles will soon be available in Arabic.

In parallel to the work we have done in Egypt, colleagues in the UK and India have created some fascinating new content in ‘art tours’ of various UK cities, looking at interesting and exciting work companies and artists are doing in those cities. Find links below to the cities already visited. 

Training creative entrepreneurs

In October 2015 UK consultant Alison Derrig trained a group young creative entrepreneurs using the Nesta creative enterprise toolkit. The toolkit helped them think more deeply about their approach to business and how they could make it more sustainable. The entrepreneurs came from a variety of creative areas, including music, jewellery design, crafts and event management. In February 2016 we also delivered a workshop to build a group of Egyptian trainers who will use the Nesta creative enterprise toolkit in Arabic to train more young creative entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. 



The British Council has commissioned a series of publications on the creative economy, which can all be found here.  

The Introduction to the Creative Economy Guide and Mapping the Creative Industries are both available in several languages, including Arabic. 

We have been partnering with the UK's innovation agency Nesta to deliver their Creative Enterprise programme worldwide. These are creative and practical tools which simply, but critically, offer a useful framework for developing, testing and turning business ideas into tangible and long term enterprises.  You can download them for free in Arabic or English.  

The Creative HubKit is a free toolkit for people looking to set up a hub. It is made up of best practice examples, helpful experiences and tried and tested approaches from some of the most successful hubs in the UK and Europe. Download your copy of the Creative HubKit toolkit.

Creative Hacks. What are they? We asked Joeli Brearley from CultureCode and FutureEverything to produce a guide to help you concoct the perfect hack. Download The Art of Hacking guide

For more information about the creative industries in the UK, have a look at the links below:

External links