Cultural Entrepreneurship Hubs: bidding goodbye to the “starving artist”
People working in the cultural and creative sector often lack business know-how. To remedy this, the Goethe-Institut has joined forces with Munich University’s Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (SCE) to promote a spirit of entrepreneurship among artists and cultural professionals. It is currently based in three Cultural Entrepreneurship Hubs in Greece, Indonesia and South Africa to open up business prospects for creative professionals.
Whether in design, music or literature, many artists see innovation as a top priority and seek to use their work to challenge society or to create new artistic provision outside the mainstream. To earn a living, however, cultural and creative professionals must also follow business principles - something that is very alien to many of them.
Art and business are not mutually exclusive
Over recent years, the cultural and creative industries around the world have become a dynamic sector of the economy. Most companies in the sector are microbusinesses, and while profits tend to be low in some sub-markets, other sectors – such as the software and games industry – are commercially highly successful.
German politicians value the creative industries because the help to make Germany more innovative and competitive but also for their contribution to social cohesion against a backdrop of digitalisation and globalisation.
Opening up new prospects through entrepreneurship
Cultural and creative professionals often lack the commercial and economic know-how to sell their work and ideas profitably. The Goethe-Institut is therefore collaborating with Munich University’s Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (SCE) to develop the entrepreneurial skills of cultural and creative professionals and enable them to market their products more effectively and to access or create new markets.
With financial support from the German Federal Foreign Office, three Cultural Entrepreneurship Hubs have been set up in Greece, Indonesia and South Africa. The Hubs will enable cultural and creative sector professionals to acquire entrepreneurship skills and help them start their own business.
There are no “lone wolves” here. As project coordinator Dr Johann-Jakob Wulf of the Goethe-Institut explains, “We offer artists wishing to start their own business the opportunity of networking nationally and internationally, particularly with the creative sector in Germany, and of developing their own ideas into a larger vision.”
Networking, training, cooperation
The three Hubs have already become popular points of contact for creative professionals. Each is completely different, reflecting the differing art and culture scene in Jakarta, Johannesburg and Thessaloniki.
For the Goethe-Institut, these Hubs are an important way of strengthening the cultural sector, developing artists’ skills and networking young professionals with institutions both in Germany and worldwide. Above all, the Hubs aim to bring culture and the private sector closer together. “These sectors are being increasingly considered separately,” says Dr Johann-Jakob Wulf; “We want to create ways of linking them more effectively.” Many creative and cultural artists will want to use these structures to get new inspiration, to access new markets and to create new business opportunities for their work.
Do you work in the cultural and creative industries? Or are you considering starting a business in this sector? What has been your experience? Would you advise others to make a career in the arts or cultural industries? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.