Encouraging entrepreneurs in the creative sector is vital to help safeguard and develop London as a key global hub for knowledge-based businesses, according to high profile celebrity and brand publicist Mark Borkowski.
Speaking at an event to mark the expansion of the gateway2investment (g2i) programme into new business sectors including the creative industries, he welcomed the investment-readiness support now being made available to London’s key innovators and entrepreneurs.
Mr Borkowski, founder and head of the eponymous celebrity and brand PR consultancy, said the Capital’s economy is highly dependent on its successful creative sector but could not afford to be complacent.
“It is important to provide support to entrepreneurs at a time when many of those coming into the workforce seem more risk averse, especially graduates leaving university with huge overdrafts and wondering how they will ever get on the housing ladder.
“Entrepreneurs have to have a maverick streak but can still benefit from support and guidance, especially in the creative sector which is so fragmented and competitive. It is important that the public sector responds and that schemes should be inclusive so that even those people who might naturally shy away are drawn in and take advantage of the resources on offer.
The creative sector – encompassing a wide range of businesses including the media, communications, arts and fashion industries – has been identified by the LDA as a priority sector for London because of its contribution to London’s economy. About four in every 10 creative jobs in the UK are based in London and it continues to be one of the fastest growing areas of the economy.
“London needs a creative environment which benefits from the cross fertilisation of ideas. Places such as Salford are showing that it is possible and London needs to respond by nurturing its young businesses to give them the best opportunity for success,” said Mr Borkowski.
Since its launch in September 2005, g2i has helped leverage more than £15 million of private sector investment into young companies showing high growth potential and has led to the development of a vibrant network of innovators and entrepreneurs. Backed by the London Development Agency (LDA), the programme focuses on supporting early stage businesses to overcome the difficulty of raising investments in the £50,000 to £3 million range.
It draws on the expertise and contacts of private sector companies that form the g2i consortium, led by Grant Thornton UK LLP, to help entrepreneurs and young companies build robust business propositions and gain access to the investment community.
Chris Mackman, the LDA’s Head of SME Finance and Premises, said: “The public sector impact on early stage financing is quite significant because many of the funds operating in this area are backed by public money. g2i fulfils a very important role in preparing businesses to get to the stage where they can attract investors with their ideas.”
The event to mark the £1.7 million expansion of the g2i programme was held at the Dali Universe at the County Hall Gallery on the South Bank, attracting an audience including private sector investment professionals, business advisers and funding experts.
“Young companies need to do everything they can to stand out as high quality investment propositions,” said Grant Thornton’s Ian Shields, manager of the g2i programme. “g2i not only helps companies prepare themselves for external scrutiny but also opens the door to the decision-makers who can provide the funding needed for them to go on to commercial success.
“It makes sense to broaden the remit to new areas because the g2i formula that has worked so well in the technology sector is equally as applicable in a range of businesses operating in diverse industries.”
More information about the g2i programme is available at www.g2i.org