Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Creative industries are showing way forward for more traditional sectors

After hot-footing it north west yesterday morning it didn't take long to realise there's excitement in the air of a creative nature.

Not from the Derry-Londonderry City of Culture celebrations – although they are indeed creating a lot of excitement at the moment – but from the CultureTECH festival which runs until Sunday.

Now you may think a festival is a bit of a jolly for a business journalist, an opinion which wouldn't be dented by a quick look at the CultureTECH website which promises "a big, messy, exciting and fun-packed week".

Certainly there's a great deal of fun to be had at the event but at the core is a deep seam of business which lies behind a sector of industry which is becoming more and more important in Northern Ireland.

It's a celebration of the best Northern Ireland has to offer in digital technology, media, music and art, four things which traditional business people might consider "a bit flouncy".

But with more than 20,000 people turning up from all corners of the world, it's clear that the creative industries here hold a fair bit of clout.

That's especially true if you consider that amongst the visitors will be a number of high-rolling venture capitalists with cash to spend and an eye on a good business idea.

It's no secret how successful Northern Ireland has been in attracting the likes of HBO and Universal to these shores but it's also true that we have a wealth of home-grown firms ready to make it big.

Take Dog Ears, a children's media company based in the north west which produces everything from books to television programmes to apps to events.

It's only one of a wealth of new firms popping up in the creative industries, ones which are making the more traditional sectors in Northern Ireland look like the biggest flouncers of all.

They'll all be on show over the next few days at CultureTECH and will make for one of the more interesting business events you could imagine.

Plenty of others are big and messy but it would be difficult to think of many which have been descirbed as exciting and fun-filled.