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Long Live “Creative London”


{mosimage}Creative Industries is worth over £21bn to the London economy employing over 500,000 people. The LDA are focusing strongly on this sector to ensure maximum growth is achieved. The LFF interviewed Michael J E Frye CBE, BS, MIES, FRAeS, FRSA, CIBSE (Comp) current Chairman of the LDA’s Creative London and Board member to the LDA.

LFF: Could you just please provide a brief overview of your previous Creative Industries experience to our readers.

Michael Frye: Certainly. I have a served on a host of various public and charitable bodies but the main areas for Creative Industries are as follows. I was chief executive of Concord Lighting International where the company took the lead in the design area. We invested in the film industry via Working Titles which was responsible for the production of Four Weddings and a Funeral, I was Chairman of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures 1991-93 and was Vice-President from 1990 until 2002.  I invested in the start-up of the City Screen cinema chain.  I was involved in a fashion boutique for six months.  I consequently have some experience of the creative industry, the opportunities that exist as well as the threats that are present.

LFF: Could you please explain what is Creative London?

{mosimage}MF: There is tremendous growth potential for the Creative Industries within London but only if we can unblock and realise the potential for all the players in the sector. The engine has to run smoothly and with the industry being dominated by SME’s there will always be problems with the launch of any product, access to finance, affordable, flexible property, training and back up, marketing data and seed capital. Intellectual property issues are also a big issue and Creative London aims to help each and every creative business within London realise their potential.

LFF: But how will that actually materialise for the 500,000 employees in London’s Creative Industries/

MF: One of the major barriers to business entry for the creative industries is seed capital. Within the next 10 years we have set ourselves the target to raise £50m in seed capital. This is what the companies of London really need along with information channels that are easy to access and understand.

LFF: It is currently purported that the Business Support Network offering services to the clothing and fashion industry within London is in excess of over 300 companies. If this is true it will make dissemination of information difficult for any company within the fashion sector.

MF: It is not for the LDA to intervene directly in BSO’s, unless we are asked to.  Then, of course, we would. Rationalisation has to be a key and this is exactly what helped with the film industry in London where a rationalisation took place and Film London was created and the LDA, through Creative London, provided a great deal of support.  Like wise the rationalisation of the clothing and textile industry might want some LDA  support. Another example is the Visit London collaboration which has been highly successfully and was supported by the LDA and the Mayor’s office.

If you look at your own organisation the LDA have financed LFF over the last two years and have just granted an additional two years funding

LFF: Thank you very much!

MF: You’re welcome…but only because the LFF surpassed your output targets. The portal for the fashion industry is www.fashioncapital.co.uk, again financed by the LDA, and this will help centralise generic and information regarding clothing and textiles in an easy to access format. Rationalisation will occur over time…it is survival of the fittest!  We are not about giving handouts but we are about pump-priming sustainable and viable business.

LFF: Finally did you enjoy your chocolates from one of our designers Anna Wellman.

MF: I am currently trying to get fit however I did enjoy them!

LFF: Thank you for your time and good luck with the launch of Creative London.

MF: You’re welcome. Thank you.

See the Press Release here.

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