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Scotland's Cultural Enterprise Office share their incredible expertise

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by Startacus Admin

During our previous Startup Cities Months (in Bristol and Belfast) there was quite a significant focus on the tech industry and the opinion that tech startups will form the future backbone of these cities economies. Can you tell us a little about the growth of cultural enterprises in Glasgow and how this has the potential to affect the city?

Creative Clyde Tech companies have the potential to contribute to Glasgow’s growth. Investment is being made to create clusters and pockets of tech businesses in the city, an example being Digital Enterprise Glasgow within the Creative Clyde riverside community of media, tech and creative businesses.

Investment in the city’s digital infrastructure through its status as Britain’s first Future City supported by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board and its free open air Wi-Fi network contribute to Glasgow Digital’s ambition for Glasgow to ‘be a world leading digital city by 2017’. So, the future for tech startups in the city is strong despite Dundee and Edinburgh being more visible as Scottish tech startup cities; the former being the home of Scotland’s games industry and the latter housing incubators such as CodeBase and Tech Cube.

Glasgow is a very social city. So, meeting face to face, whether for business or pleasure, is at the fore and fuels social innovation in the city. This is somewhere tech startups are making an impact and is evident through hacks such as Culture Hack Scotland and Open Glasgow’s Future Hacks on public safety, energy, health and transport. Hacks are a good example of the multitude of happenings in the city that pull the diverse creative businesses communities together. The social element knits together Glaswegians who want to invest in and challenge the negative perceptions of a city they are proud to be a part of.

The impact of music, performance and the visual arts, all with a strong social element has supported the considerable growth and international recognition of the city through the decades. These sectors are firmly rooted in the city with venues, festivals such as Celtic Connections, networks and initiatives providing multiple platforms to attract, showcase and retain startups. UNESCO City of Music and Glasgow School of Art have generated a significant number of Scotland’s leading contemporary artists, including three recent Turner Prize winners and three of the four 2014 nominees.

Reflecting on the city’s tech and music scenes, the points at which they crossover provide fertile ground for innovation and startups. Those in the music industry with a wealth of knowledge about their sector and markets are diversifying and investigating alternative distribution models for digital content through tech startups.

There is a slowly declining notion that when people talk about "Startups" what they really mean is "New Tech Ventures". Do you think that other creative startups can sometimes be overlooked in terms of investment opportunities, media coverage and perceived importance?Fashion Foundry

Confusion around use of the term startup applying solely to new tech companies has existed previously, but this is diminishing. We support micro-businesses and cultural practitioners across the creative industries and we are aware of the challenges each sector has with factors such as investment, media and coverage. Factors influencing these challenges are numerous, not solely due to investors and the media having a preference for tech startups.

We piloted Fashion Foundry, a new business incubator and talent hub supporting 10 fashion and textile participants in Scotland. Some of the participants we supported with maximising their creative and business potential and tackling those business needs and challenges. In addition the programme of industry events available to the wider Scottish fashion and textiles network addressed topics such as approaching buyers, manufacturing and exporting. We developed considerable knowledge about how we can continue to support fashion and textile designers through Fashion Foundry.

Last week Anthony from Bad Idea said that the 3 worst things about Glasgow are; its negative reputation, poverty and poor health in some areas, would you agree with his assessment?Ice Cream Architecture

As a previous client, we are pleased to hear that Anthony’s business has grown. His statement may be true to a certain extent but some creative entrepreneurs are working to help in these areas through their involvement in community projects and collaborating directly with the community. Some great examples of organisations are Velocity Glasgow and Action Barras Calton. A few of our clients that are working with Glasgow’s communities include Pidgin PerfectIce Cream Architecture and Recoat Design.

Anthony also said that the people, the access to support, and the social life were the three best things which we would agree with. The social element brings people together to breakdown the negative reputation and working towards improving it.

The Commonwealth Games are bound to have a profound effect on the city, not just this summer but for many years to come. What do you hope will be the lasting legacy of the games?

Glasgow is about place and people fundamentally. People are proud to be based in Glasgow and that is the case for businesses starting up in the city who are supported by their fellow creative entrepreneurs, networks, and organisations like us. The Commonwealth Games has provided opportunities for many Glasgow based creative businesses through contracts to provide services to Glasgow 2014, contributing to Festival 2014 or the Scotland wide programme Culture 2014 programme and involvement in community projects.

The legacy these opportunities will have on the creative sector is increased confidence from gaining an international profile, realising jobs and projects, collaboration, an increase in knowledge, skills, experience and enhanced sense of belonging. Of course we hope all this activity will attract more startups to Glasgow. ...People Make Glasgow.

A huge thanks to the Cultural Enterprise Office for all of this amazing information!   Be sure to check out their website for loads more essential information and check out some of the other things we have featured so far in our Glasgow startup month!  August is our Manchester Startup Month, if you fancy getting involved then drop us an email to 

If you have a great idea, project or startup don't forget to add it to our Collaboration Space where you can receive support from other self starters and investors. 

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Published on: 29th July 2014

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