A second year of funding for Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme has been announced by the British Council

British Council launches funding for creative economy partnerships between the UK and Central Asia, South Caucasus and Ukraine  

A second year of funding for Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme has been announced by the British Council.   

Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme will fund 12 more international partnerships between universities and creative institutions, building on the 38 partnerships from the programme’s first year. Each partnership will receive a maximum of £40,000.   

The programme is a five-year initiative that gives UK institutions the chance to build international awareness of their expertise in enterprise skills and the creative economy, while supporting development across seven countries in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan), South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia) and Ukraine  

Creative Spark aims to support the creative sectors in these countries, while tackling a recognised skills gap between young people and their domestic economy. The main overseas beneficiaries are university students, graduates and young entrepreneurs.   

The UN has previously recognised the creative economy as being one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy. Between 2002 and 2015, the value of the global market for creative goods doubled from $208 billion to $509 billion, according to a UN report .The UK creative industries exported £27bn of services in 2016, the latest available year of data, and account for 3.12m jobs in the UK.  

The programme focuses on three areas to give young people improved access to international networks, markets and resources:  

  • Development of partnerships between universities and creative institutions in the UK and their equivalents in programme countries;  
  • Enterprise skill training for students and creative entrepreneurs - ranging from pitching ideas and starting a business, to protecting intellectual property and securing financial support  
  • Delivering a digital English language programme, including digital learning platforms, online courses and new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) focused on English for entrepreneurship  

In its first year 33 universities and creative institutions in the UK have already benefited from British Council Creative Spark funding. Projects underway include Henley Business School (University of Reading) working with partners in Georgia to set-up a creative incubator, enabling students to transform their ideas into business, and Northumbria University collaborating with the American University of Armenia to design 18 new start-ups and deliver consulting sessions, public lectures and workshops for young people and creative entrepreneurs.

Commenting on the launch, Richard Everitt, Director Education and Society, Wider Europe, British Council said:  

“Creative Spark aims to provide thousands of young people with enterprise skills and the ability to start their own business. This funding opportunity will strengthen educational and cultural ties between all countries involved.”  

Applications must be made by a UK-based higher education or creative institution. Organisations wishing to take part will need to produce bids with partners in the target countries. These can be local or national foundations, public bodies, non-governmental organisations like creative hubs and innovation centres.  

The British Council can provide advice on choosing partners via its relevant country teams. 

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