Dezeen Magazine

Lack of recognition for entrepreneurial designers is "a huge lost opportunity"

Business news: UK creatives such as architect Zaha Hadid and designer Thomas Heatherwick are not given the recognition they deserve as business pioneers, according to the founder of a new website to help creative startups.

Carolyn Dailey, who this week launches the Creative Entrepreneurs online resource, said she had the idea after noticing that tech entrepreneurs get far more attention than creative businesses, even though the latter are worth far more to the UK economy.

"I noticed all the talk about startups but wondered why it was rarely about creative ones, even though the UK's £80-billion creative sector is the UK's fastest growing sector," Dailey said.

Dailey has now signed up Hadid as an ambassador to the project along with fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, Rohan Silva – founder of creative workspace Second Home – and musician Jamal Edwards.

Heatherwick has also supported the initiative, saying: "I wish I had this 20 years ago when I started my business."

"The fact that no one thinks of Zaha Hadid as an entrepreneur is a huge lost opportunity," she said. "For whatever reason there's a feeling that having an interest in business might damage someone's creative credibility. That's a real waste."

Architects and designers often start out with passion and talent but little in the way of business training or advice, Dailey said. "We want to fix that," she said. "Our aim is to inspire the next generation of creative people to start their own business."

The UK government is backing Creative Entrepreneurs, which launches on Wednesday evening at 10 Downing Street, the residence of prime minister David Cameron.

"The government is very supportive," said Dailey, who is founder of creative brand-building agency The Dailey Partnership. "It thinks the creative industries are important. It's our second biggest business sector after financial services."

Creative Enterprise website launch
The Creative Entrepreneurs website will provide links to business resources as well as publishing case studies and advice from industry figures

A government report last year found that the creative industries are worth £76.9 billion per year to the UK, with design the fastest-growing sector.

However Dailey said the sector was being hampered by lack of business skills.

"Creative people tend to get into their ventures through their passion and talent," she said. "They don't tend to get into their ventures because they've had a great business idea that's going to make a lot of money. So they don't tend to run across business training or advice and, frankly, they tend not to be very interested in that."

Dailey, who was formerly managing director of Time Warner International and was in 2015 named as one of the 1,000 most influential people in London, added that there was a bias in the media, which likes to portray figures like Hadid and Hindmarch as creative leaders while ignoring their business success.

"They'd rather talk about the creative output than the business side," she said. "I had an experience where I wanted to get some interest from the business section [of a national newspaper] but when they heard the word 'creativity' they said I should talk to the arts section."

She added: "In the creative industries there's a lot of conversation about learning skills to be an employee, about freelancing or about helping individual talent get an agent and things like that, but there's very little conversation about entrepreneurship and starting your own business. We want to close that gap."

The perception that creativity and business are incompatible is preventing talented people from realising their potential, Dailey said. "Think of all the people who think they have to get a day job and treat their creative passion as a hobby and are never able to do it full time. That's a real waste."

The website will provide links to business resources as well as publishing case studies about successful creatives and advice from industry figures.

"It's very difficult to get anywhere without the support of those who have the knowledge and understanding to help you take the next step," said Zaha Hadid. "Great things come from the inventiveness and abilities of those who are creative working with the support of an experienced team who know about running a successful business.

Hadid added: "Creative Entrepreneurs offers just that, to get you started at the very beginning.”

Anya Hindmarch said: "I am so happy to support this important initiative. I was lucky to have the advice from a family of entrepreneurs; this offers all that and more."