The construction, automotive and transport sectors have a major part to play in the continued importance of creative industries in Coventry and Warwickshire, according to a business leader.
Sarah Windrum, Chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), highlighted the link-up between the three sectors and the creative industry in the area at the ‘Meet the Buyer: The Creative Boom’ event in Coventry, which attracted over 100 businesses from across the city.
The event was organised by the CWLEP Growth Hub and event sponsors the Belgrade Theatre in partnership with FinditinCW and Coventry City Council.
The Meet the Buyer event is part of the Coventry Creative Growth & Cultural Tourism Recovery Programme, which is funded by the Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund through the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Sarah said the digital and creative sector had been worth £1.1 billion to Coventry and Warwickshire pre-Covid and it was still an integral part of the area’s economy,
“Construction, automotive and transport are not often associated with the creative industry but they have a huge role to play,” she said.
“Drone mapping is being used on construction sites, particularly those that are difficult or dangerous to access, to carry out surveys and progress reports or provide updates on security.
“Creative industries are also pushing into manufacturing through digital twinning and re-creating real-world processes in virtual environments to help optimise day-to-day operations.
“Augmented reality (AR) is not just being used on the factory floor but also to engage with customers, which is a very exciting development.
“Coventry and Warwickshire is renowned across the globe for our automotive and transport excellence so we are also bringing these areas of expertise together through autonomous vehicles and Very Light Rail into the creative world.
“It is vital our region continues to build on the legacy of Coventry’s time as UK City of Culture especially as creativity is ranked as a top-five skill required by businesses and we have so much talent and knowledge here to provide a joined-up approach to developments of the future.”
Sarah was followed on to the stage at the Belgrade Theatre by Ian Harrabin, Managing Director of Complex Development Projects and Chairman of Historic Coventry Trust.
He spoke about the £30 million restoration and regeneration programme in Coventry’s cultural and heritage sectors to bring un-used buildings back to life including the Charterhouse and Drapers’ Hall as well as opportunities in the pipeline for SMEs and suppliers.
Matt Hadlington, Senior Business Engagement Manager at HS2, gave an update on the high-speed rail project and the need for creative services to tell the project’s story and Harriet Lucas, Business Services Procurement Manager at Coventry Building Society, highlighted the local supply chain opportunities that are available for the creative sector.
The presentations were followed by an opportunity to network and a Meet the Buyer session including Coventry Building Society, GF Tomlinson and Morgan Sindall.
Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said it had been great to bring together so many potential suppliers to the creative industry.
He said: “This was the first time we have held this kind of event as we build on the success of Coventry being UK City of Culture.
“It is amazing how many sectors that you don’t automatically associate with the creative sector can link-up and benefit each other.
“This was a great opportunity for organisers of creative projects and businesses in Coventry to meet potential suppliers which will be of mutual benefit and boost our economy.”
A new Creative, Cultural and Tourism Network on the region’s supply chain portal, FinditinCW, which has been funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund, was also launched to provide SMEs and freelancers with supply chain opportunities, news, events, jobs, a forum and a place to advertise creative goods, services and offers.