Lecture 1. Entrepreneurship and culture: How does it work?
What is entrepreneurship and how is it connected with culture and creative industries?

We'll start off with a very brief assignment. Think of three main associations you get when you look at the notion of 'culture'.

We are sure to see among your answers such words as: arts, talent, ideas, heritage, pleasant way to spend your time.

Many continue to see the culture as a high-end and non-material area. So to say something of an accessory to such serious things in the state as, let's say, economy.

However, ideas, talents and individual artistic visions more and more often are providing the basis for the creation of different products and services. For instance, a person with artistic talents creates illustrations, then gets his like-minded friends together and founds his/her design studio. A fashion designer launches his/her own brand. A theatre company of actors plays for the audiences by selling them tickets to their shows directly.

All of the above constitutes examples of artistic and creative expression serving as an impetus to generate additional value and new jobs. It is in exactly this way that we can define cultural and creative industries.

The table below will get everything clear as to which sectors contribute to and form cultural and creative industries.

Here you will find traditional dimensions like book publishing, art galleries, music as well as more technology-driven sectors like IT, media and video game production.

Cultural and creative industries in Ukraine cover more than 3% jobs and generate around 4% GDP. That is not that little, don't you think? It is three times less than agriculture but twice as big as, for instance, construction.

The contribution of cultural and creative industries to the global GDP is 4.5%. According to forecasts by specialists, the average annual growth rate of the indicator will be around 10%. This is faster than the growth rates of such sectors like industry and services.

Thus, this statistics prove culture and creativity to be not only lofty matters. It is also about money and contribution to the economy and business.

So, let us review again, what entrepreneurship constitutes.

Entrepreneurship is an ability and readiness to develop business and manage it in a systematic way to generate revenues.

Architectural bureau, music studio, online media, video production, textile workshop, film festival, advertising agency and a TV channel – all these are the possible formats to organise your creative business and to manage your entrepreneurial activities. The main factor here is the targeted approach to generating revenue with the help of artistic ideas and creativity.

Some organisations also deal with arts and implement creative ideas but do not focus on revenue generation as a goal: for instance, state and civil society organisations, as well as social business. These are not the examples of creative entrepreneurship.

However, it is important to note that we come have ever more mixed models. For example, a museum could receive partial funding from the state. Yet the museum has its own cafe and a souvenir ship and has regular private events – all as the means to generate additional revenue for the organisation. These revenues are spent to cover the operational costs and to implement additional projects. And yes, indeed, this is also an example of creative entrepreneurship.

With that said, what should we do with a designer or a digital start-up that work to sustain themselves? Are they creative entrepreneurs? Yes, because their primary operations are based on ideas and their creativity, they provide their clients with services and generate their own revenues.

What types of entrepreneurship are there in the field of creative industries?

1. Cultural or creative entrepreneurship. Here we talk about organisation of operations aimed primarily at production or reproduction, promotion, distribution and/or commercialisation of goods, services and operations of cultural and artistic nature or such that is connected with cultural or historical heritage.


- IZONE – an art space hosting different educational events, exhibitions of national and international artists, festival projects etc. Furthermore, IZONE manages and organises events; the space cooperates with different festivals. They are generating revenues by subletting its premises, offering catering, co-working space and running a small cafe.

- Cultural Project – an organisation dealing with alternative education and offering a wide range of on-line and off-line formats, be it lectures, academic courses, workshops and study trips.

2. Social entrepreneurship aimed at positive social change. Entrepreneurs predominantly found different start-ups to solve ecological, social and cultural challenges. Such business orientation of theirs demonstrates the respective level of awareness, alertness and responsibility towards the society. Quite often projects can attract many volunteers, and sometimes are entirely comprised of volunteer teams and communities.


- Urban Space – a community restaurant that uses its business proceeds to fund different social urban projects.

- Kurazh Bazar – a flea market in VDNG in Kyiv, that regularly allocates funds from its proceeds to support charities.

3. Art-Entrepreneurship is closely interconnected with two areas:

  • Curatorship is a non-material type of cultural production, and a practice that can be defined as an artistic one. Curator is the one who forms the concept – holistic and unified one, as well as works with it (him/herself or together with artists/an institution) so that it would be communicable for the audiences. It is the curator who answers all the questions for the media and deals with the project post-implementation processes, like participates in discussions and writing articles for the catalogue. Curator's work is about both writing texts for his/her own project where he/she formulates the main ideas, and implanting the main vectors for further display and exhibit analysis. That means that everything connected with exhibition image creation, its values for the audiences and meaning generation is the work of a curator.

  • Art Management is what allows for the ideas created by a curator or artist to be implemented and for the processes that ought to be successfully completed within the set deadlines to be controlled. The art manager's work also involves completion of set operational goals, dealing with logistics (managing, for instance, transportation of art works), communication regarding rent issues, finding all necessary elements for production work, working with printing companies, finding advertising agencies etc.

Here is an example:

One of the types of art management is running a gallery. Monetising gallery operation can be done in a number of ways, by means of:

  • selling the art works on display (predominantly in the form of gallery commission);

  • charged entrance fees for exhibitions and other events;

  • subletting the gallery space;

  • hosting auctions;

  • provision of consulting services;

  • rendering services in art expert analysis;

  • selling books and other media, provision of publishing, design and other services.

4. Cultural Activism is yet another form of social activities. Through artistic practices (theatre, music, exhibitions, literary nights etc.) activists present their alternative social and political visions of our world. They solve socially important issues, bring about social change and raise the level of culture and awareness.


- Congress of Cultural Activists – they create and support projects that facilitate change in the country and in the world. Namely, the Congress organises different events in the area of culture and art, partners many other organisations in local projects, work with cultural policies, manage cultural projects, deal with interdepartmental cooperation etc. It is a 100% non-commercial organisation funded through grants, sponsorship assistance and crowdfunding platform Spilnokosht.

Organisation "Dyvovyzhni" – operates throughout Ukraine. Having started with voluntary initiative and activities on scaling up and improving sites, today the team is busy implementing socially important projects having to do with engaging society in the work for social change. The organisation is sponsored through grants and donations.

5. Institutional activity is always present with certain cultural institutes – organisations with specific missions aimed at preservation, interpretation and spread of cultural, scientific and ecological knowledge, as well as facilitation of efforts to inform and educate citizens in issues related to cultural, historic, scientific subjects and the ones linked to environmental causes. Cultural institutes funded by the state just like the other similar institutions are dependent on the political system and are connected thereto.


- PinchukArtCentre – an international modern art centre and an open platform for artists and audiences alike. PinchukArtCentre organises exhibitions by leading international and Ukrainian artists and supports different other cultural and art-related initiatives.

- Mystetskyi Arsenal – a public organisation with the exhibition spaces where large-scale Ukrainian art exhibitions take place.

- British Council Ukraine – an international organisation of the United Kingdom aimed at strengthening cultural relations between different countries. British Council Ukraine is working on the development of international cooperation in line with the following directions: theatre and dance, cinema, modern fine arts and music.


Share with friends