Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme

Creative Spark is a five year initiative to support international university and institutional partnerships to develop enterprise skills and creative economy across seven countries in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan), South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia) and Ukraine through UK support. 

In order to support higher education reform and respond to unemployment rates in these seven countries, we will use the UK’s experience to help develop enterprise education. This way we will support over 10,000 students and young entrepreneurs in the first year of the programme.  

The programme has three key elements:

  1. Development of partnerships between universities and creative institutions in the UK and those in programme countries in order to support enterprise education and establish enterprise centres.
  2. Delivering enterprise skills training packages to students and creative entrepreneurs, ranging from pitching ideas and starting a business, to protecting intellectual property and securing credit lines.
  3. Delivering an English learning programme with a range of digital learning content including learning platforms, online courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) focused on English for entrepreneurship.

Programme aims

The expected impact is that creative enterprises make a greater contribution to sustainable and inclusive growth in programme countries with support of the UK.

The expected outcomes are:

  • to improve participants' awareness, entrepreneurship and English skills so that they are able to innovate and grow their business to support the development of creative economies
  • to improve collaborative working between partners in the UK and programme countries for developing sustainable enterprise skills education systems and enterprise hubs.

Baseline Research

The programme is informed by the research conducted in the UK and programme countries on Creative Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education.

The report identifies national policies, existing models, good practices, as well as the sector barriers and opportunities in each country. You can download the research results brief and UK University links to find out more.

Programme Publication

Please download the programme publication which provides details on the “Driving Creative Enterprise” baseline research and the Creative Spark programme aims.

'Gender Equality and Empowerment in the Creative and Cultural Industries' Report

In 2017 the British Council commissioned a research to carry out a study of the position of women and girls within the creative and cultural industries (CCIs) in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine. The research was funded by the UK Government's Conflict Stabilisation and Security Fund as part of a wider programme of support to the creative industries managed by the British Council.

Download the research findings to learn more about this topic.

Definition of Creative Industries

Defining the ‘creative industry’ presents an ongoing challenge due to the nature of the sector that encompasses a broad array. For the purposes of this programme, the broader Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) definition will be used as the one most in line with UK sector bodies and government policy.  

DCMS defined the creative industries in 2001 as ‘those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent which have a potential for job and wealth creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property’. The definition separates the industry into 30 ‘creative occupations’ based on the Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC) codes, split into nine creative groups. These creative groups and the occupations that sit within them are: 

  • Advertising and Marketing: marketing and sales directors, advertising and public relations directors, public relations professionals, advertising accounts managers and creative directors, and marketing associate professionals
  • Architecture: architects, town planning officers, chartered architectural technologists, and architectural and town planning technicians 
  • Crafts: smiths and forge workers, weavers and knitters, glass and ceramics makers, decorators and finishers, furniture makers and other craft woodworkers, other skilled trades not elsewhere classified
  • Design (product, graphic and fashion design): graphic designers and product, clothing and related designers
  • Film, TV, video, radio and photography: arts officers, producers and directors and photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
  • IT, software and computer services: information technology and telecommunications directors, IT business analysts, architects and systems designers, programmers and software development professionals, web design and development professionals
  • Publishing: journalists, newspaper and periodical editors and authors, writers and translators
  • Museums, galleries and libraries: librarians and archivists and curators
  • Music, performing and visual arts: artists, actors, entertainers and presenters, dancers and choreographers, and musicians.

Creative Spark Partnership Fund

The partnership fund supports the design and delivery of activities that support the development of enterprise education in programme countries. This will contribute to the reduction of unemployment by strengthening the creative industries in these countries.

Partnerships aim to address the following themes:

  • Skills development for students and young creative entrepreneurs 
  • Supporting new business activation and incubation 
  • Knowledge exchange