The creative entrepreneur


In the creative entrepreneur booklet we’re presenting ten characteristics in a way which enables a creative entrepreneur – working independently or with an advisor – to look at what they do and how they do it, and to think about ways in which they can further develop their skills.

What makes a Creative Entrepreneur?

The creative entrepreneur booklet describes ten characteristics which CIDA – the Creative Industries Development Agency in the UK – has identified in the successful creative entrepreneurs they work with. They have looked closely at each characteristic and analysed what it means, how they recognise it, and how they use it in their work.
In the successful entrepreneur booklet we’re presenting these characteristics in a way which enables a creative entrepreneur – working independently or with an advisor – to look at what they do and how they do it, and to think about ways in which they can further develop their skills.
This toolkit is particularly suited to creative entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business. They might be young people, but could equally be someone embarking on a second or third career. They may have different starting points but they are most likely to want to engage in enterprise for one of the following reasons, or for a combination of these reasons:

  • Because they want to earn a living from their creativity
  • Because they see an opportunity to develop their communities through their creativity
  • Because they believe they have an idea which is potentially scalable and profitable

How it Works

The skills which will assist the development of a creative entrepreneur are no different to those which will assist any entrepreneur. But there is a difference in what drives most of those who come to enterprise as a result of their creativity. In essence:

  • They are motivated by the work itself rather than by ‘being in business’
  • They are values rather than profit led
  • They create markets rather than respond to market need
  • They are conceptual thinkers

The Creative Entrepreneur Toolkit recognises these characteristics and creates a framework in which they can be successfully developed.

Here is an example of how an advisor working with a creative entrepreneur might use the toolkit:

Session 1 – introduction to the Toolkit

The advisor encourages the creative entrepreneur (CE) to talk through her/his business idea. Together they look at each characteristic and discuss its application to the business. The advisor’s role is to ensure that the CE understands the standard, elements and indicators for each characteristic.
In the first session the advisor works with the CE on an exercise Defining Values. provides helpful information to which the advisor might wish to refer.
Together the advisor and CE work through the elements and indicators of effective performance for Values-Led. For example, the second indicator for the element uses the values to underpin decision making is “You review your decisions to ensure that they align with your values”. The CE might respond “Yes, I do this. For example when I decided to take on this piece of work it was because I wanted to work with a company that believes in fair trade”.
There are three columns to the side of each indicator. Together, the advisor and the CE will decide which column most suits the CE’s response: whether it is a good indicator of effective performance; a satisfactory indicator; or whether the indicator needs some further development.
Good: the CE clearly understands what the standard and element means and has been able to provide an example (indicator) of how s/he puts it into action
Satisfactory: the CE appears to understand the standard and element but has not been able to provide an example for the indica¬tor of effective performance
To be developed: the CE does not fully understand the standard or element and needs help in relating them to her/his experience

Session 2 onwards
For each subsequent session the CE will consider two or three characteristics and prepare examples for the indicators of effective performance.
At the session the advisor and CE will work through each characteristic and look at the CE’s examples for the indicators of effective performance. Together they will agree whether the example shows a good understanding of the element, a satisfactory understanding, or whether they need to do more work on understanding the element and indicators.
When the advisor and CE have worked through the elements and decided which areas they want to develop further, they can then use the Action and Review form (at the end of the booklet) to help plan development.
Sessions continue as above until all the characteristics have been worked through and the advisor and CE have agreed an action plan.

Follow Up
The advisor and CE agree to meet after a period of time to monitor progress and review the indicators of effective performance