This festival of creativity, whose development phase is under way, was picked-up-and-run-with by Whetstone from a consulting brief from Westminster City Council. The Council had applied a windfall Business Rates rebate under Labour to a Creative Sector support programme, recognizing that some 9% of the UK creative workforce was in Westminster. The support programme gave outstanding results – largely from bursary programmes sending small businesses to trade markets with preparation and support from sector bodies such as the BPI and PACT. How could the impact be sustained?
Whetstone, which has earned its target equity, worked on all the business development aspects of this question once the Council made it clear that an enterprise solution was possible and would be welcomed by them. Tom Harvey MBE, previously CEO of Northern Film and Media and a former CEO of the Edinburgh International Television Festival, was attracted as founding CEO, suggesting that the pitch of a ‘festival of creativity’ would work as a way of creating over time a marketplace for creative sector segments that usually operate in siloes to get the best out of each other. Third party investors were attracted (including significant former shareholders of Screen Digest, the global media markets intelligence publisher) and the team is targeting mid 2014 as the launch date for the first Soho Create.