These bright and successful entrepreneurs from the different creative sectors are the winners of the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur (YCE) Award and a part of the YCE network. Managed by the British Council, these are the only awards in India that give recognition to creative entrepreneurship across the creative industries including Design, Music, Fashion, Communication, Visual Arts, Screen, Interactive, Performing Arts and Publishing.
“International recognition to independent publishing was important to me and it helped to stand apart in the domestic market too.” defines Nishad Deshmukh, YCE Publishing 2008
The YCE award programme goes beyond simply recognising the achievements of these entrepreneurs. It provides them a platform to begin a dialogue with their UK counterparts. The winners go on a study tour of their respective industry in the UK. It allows them to learn, imbibe and grow through inputs from both their UK and international peers. They also attend relevant trade events that helps widen their perspective.
“The most important part of the program to me was the “Edinburgh Fringe Fest” and the meetings therein which opened up the possibilities of new formats of performing arts and collaborations. Post YCE, at evam, we have created two new properties – one which explores a new format for a play and another which is a platform to create the next generation art-entrepreneurs – YCE has helped us redefine our boundaries!” says Sunil Vishnu of evam Entertainment and YCE Performing Arts 2009.
For Prathibha Sastry, founder of South Movie Scene Magazine, winning YCE Screen Award 2008 opened new doors for her. She has had the opportunity to go to Lithuania and will soon be visiting Poland for a film festival.
The aim of the program is to recognise the impact of entrepreneurship within the creative industries on the wider economy. According to DCMS, creative industries are defined as those having their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. Globally, creative industries are estimated to account for more than 7 per cent of the world’s gross GDP*. UK has pioneered in recognising their contribution and as a percentage of GDP; it has the largest creative industries sector in the world.** UK creativity is hugely influential across the world, with a reputation for innovation, edgy brilliance and entrepreneurial spirit. In 2008, it comprised an estimated 157,400 businesses and employed just under two million people.#
The Indian economy also has a strong potential for growth by investing in creative enterprises but there is a definite absence of opportunities that provide international exposure and learning for creative entrepreneurs in India.
“The program has given me the ability to imagine myself as a global entrepreneur and Phonethics as an organisation shares the aspirations and challenges faced by similar start-ups around the world“, says Saurabh Gupta, Founder & CEO, Phonethics, winner of the YCE Communications award in 2009. Saurabh went on to attend the C&binet forum on Nurturing Creative Content in the Digital Age. C&binet is a not-for-profit network created by the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) to foster international dialogue about the creative economy focusing on access to finance for creative industries, new business models for online content, developing talent and securing creative rights.
British Council has been developing a powerful professional network between creative entrepreneurs in India and the UK since 2005. Connected with the India YCE awards is the International Young Creative Entrepreneur (IYCE) programme which celebrates the achievements of entrepreneurs at an international level. Through an interconnected network, the awards aim to put the spotlight firmly on creative entrepreneurship.
“The trip was a huge eye opener. Had I approached all the people I met for appointments individually, it would have taken me years to meet them. British Council insured that we met the best of the best.” says Rajat Tuli, YCE Design Award 2009.
Recently British Council supported the participation of fashion entrepreneurs including Savio Jon, Shilpa Chavan, Anuj Sharma and Varun Sardana in a fashion show hosted at the Alchemy Festival in UK. Varun has now signed up with Blow PR, a fashion PR agency based in the UK.
The awards and subsequent cross sector networking opportunities have led to much more than exchange of ideas. Alex Fleetwood, Founder Hide&Seek and winner of the UK YCE Performing Arts award is currently working with Amitesh Grover & theatre artists in the UK and Delhi to curate and produce a dual location Sandpit, an evening of social games and playful experiences.
Debu Bhattacharya, Theme Entertainment / Infinity Films, the YCE Screen 2007, has signed a MoU with Sheffield Doc Fest to provide an international launch pad for Indian documentary projects. It also includes development of a fund to boost production and development of the documentary film industry in India.
Box Item: Entries for the YCE awards in Interactive, Screen, Fashion, Design, Performing Arts, Communications and Publishing sectors are open till 10 July. Winners will be announced at a gala award ceremony in early September. For further details log on to: http://www.britishcouncil.org.in/yce
*. World Bank Urban development needs creativity: How creative industries affect urban areas.
Development Outreach, November 2003.
**. OECD Factbook 2007 – Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics, 2007.
#. Creative Industries Economic Estimates Statistical Bulletin 2010, DCMS.