thumbnail image

Who is the world’s best entrepreneur in the creative industries? We could find out in November when more than 40 teams of creative entrepreneurs from around the globe gather in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, for the final of the Creative Business Cup 2013. In only two years, it has become one of the most important global competitions for creative entrepreneurs, writes Marcus Lantz

4 min read

“Entrepreneurship is the prerequisite not only for new businesses, jobs and growth, but also to find new solutions to the large challenges that our societies face,” says Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, chief executive of Denmark’s Center for Cultural and Experience Economy, which organises the global Creative Business Cup competition.

“We have developed competition because we want to encourage the vast talent pool of creative entrepreneurs around the world to address the challenges of tomorrow.”

The Creative Business Cup began as a competition for creative entrepreneurs from Denmark. But Tscherning and his team asked themselves the questions that they had asked many woeful entrepreneurs in the creative industries: “What is your potential to grow and scale?”

It turned out there was global demand from entrepreneurs within the creative industries for combining creative skills and entrepreneurial spirit with business development.

We want to encourage the vast talent pool of creative entrepreneurs around the world to address the challenges of tomorrow

In 2012, the competition achieved global recognition, not least because of support from the Kauffmann Foundation and Global Entrepreneurship Week. According to Jonathan Ortmanns, Global Entrepreneurship Week president and one of the jurors in the 2012 final, the Creative Business Cup has become the leading competition within its field for an obvious reason.

“Few startups succeed without original thought and new ways of looking at things, and nowhere do we see that more than in the creative industries,” he says. “Having the Creative Business Cup during the Global Entrepreneurship Week reminds the world that creativity and innovation are at the heart of entrepreneurship.”

During this spring and summer, countries all around the world will hold national Creative Business Cup competitions to determine who will be represented at the final in Copenhagen.

“There is a great change underway in the mindset of young creative entrepreneurs all over the world, who are merging passion with profits. No matter what they do, they want to find a way to monetise their passion,” says Dhakshinamoorthy “Dash” Balakrishnan, the organiser of Creative Business Cup Malaysia and one of the jurors for the Copenhagen final.

“The creative industry is a key industry where infusing entrepreneurial inspiration can truly impact the world. In the past, people in creative domains have not focused on making money; rather the contrary. This trend is now slowly changing and competitions like the Creative Business Cup are great catalysts,” he says.

“The Creative Business Cup unleashes the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. Think global. Ensure that the problem your venture wants to solve is real and that people will pay for it. Ensure it can be scaled to other markets. Keep it simple and elegant. Simplicity wins.”

Anu Perttunen, programme director at Finland’s Creative Industries Network, emphasises that Finnish entrepreneurship has already proved its ability to create export value and cites entertainment media company Rovio, which developed the widely popular Angry Birds smartphone game.

Rovio is just one example of a company adapting to the constant flux of the creative industries in which new services and products appear on almost a day-to-day basis. “Step outside your own comfort zone, be open-minded, be ready to learn new things, have fun, have passion for what you do, think big,” she says.

Dutch entrepreneur Marieke Jonker, 29, is last year’s global winner of the 2012 Creative Business Cup. Her project, We Want Cinema, which brings the cinema into people’s living rooms, has evolved with the help of business professionals.

“My best advice for any creative entrepreneur fighting to make it to Copenhagen is to stick with your initial idea and constantly challenge the business concept,” she says.

Mark Marich, executive vice president of Global Entrepreneurship Week, adds: “Entrepreneurship is not a zero-sum game where someone wins and someone loses. If we work together to promote entrepreneurial growth in all our countries, we improve lives everywhere and create a more prosperous and innovative world.

“There is a fading, but still common, perception that to be an entrepreneur you have to go to business school and create exhaustive business plans. What the Creative Business Cup does is remind the world that creativity and innovation are at the heart of entrepreneurship.”