The Opening of the MTG Centre in Chiswick

The UK has a long and successful history of trading with all parts of the world and its creative industries are a huge success story, delivering over £17.9bn of exports in 2013 or approximately 8.7% of all UK exports (Source: Government Statistics, June 2015). The growth strategy developed by the UK government and industry aims to double UK creative exports by 2020.

2. THE UK IS AN ORIGINATOR AND AMPLIFIER OF GLOBAL TRENDSThe UK has a unique combination of strengths in media, culture and education which enable it to create and transmit trends and influence. The UK was ranked number one on the 2012 Soft Power rankings, produced by Monocle magazine and the Institute for Government. It was ranked third by the 2014 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index which records the value of the positive perceptions consumers worldwide have of individual countries.

London has been named the most influential city in the world on for its combination of “efficiency and access to capital and information” as well as its concentration of media, culture and business power. In addition, London was ranked number one in the 2012 Creative City Index compiled by the Australia-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation.

The UK is seen by trend forecasters as a key market; if trends do not take root in the UK, they are unlikely to be considered truly global.


UK creativity is defined by its openness to outside ways of thinking and collaborations. There are an estimated 1.2bn people on the planet either speaking or learning to speak English, and the UK has both a long history of international trading and a vibrant, stable multi-cultural population. These factors make the country well-equipped to work with foreign traditions and partners, and underpin the UK’s accessibility to overseas clients and investors.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates the UK accounts for almost a quarter of all inward investment across the European Union, far higher than any other country.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UK was estimated to have passed the £1trillion mark in 2014 with FDI inflows into the UK growing by 50 per cent during that year, according to preliminary OECD estimates, compared to a global decline of 11 per cent. The World Bank ranks the UK fifth globally for ease of doing business.

The creative industries and ICT category attracted 486 FDI projects in 2014-5, underlining the UK’s role as the inward investment capital of Europe.

There are also specific financial incentives to invest in the UK’s creative sector. For example, there are tax reliefs which allow productions to access a rebate of up to 25% of qualifying expenditure in the film, high-end television and animation sectors. In direct relation to this, the government is also matching industry funding into the skills of the workforce through the Skills Investment Fund. This approach has greatly benefited the British film industry, with inward investment directly contributing £10 billion to the UK economy over the last 10 years and encouraging some of the global television industry’s most exciting programmes, such as Game of Thrones, to head to the UK.


According to the World University rankings produced by Times Higher Education and Thomson Reuters, the UK has seven out of the top 50 universities in the world, with London considered by PwC the global capital of higher education.

Its creative and performance education system is much imitated.The UK has a network of admired art schools; architecture is taught at more than 40 UK centres and the country was an early leader in developing dedicated digital design and games development courses. The UK is ranked second globally for industry-university collaboration.

The creative industries have also worked with Creative Skillset, the industry body, to assess and accredit the courses best suited to preparing young talent for a career in the creative industries, with the best awarded the Creative Skillset Tick.


The UK is an innovation-driven economy: between 2000 and 2009, more than 60% of productivity growth came from innovation. From fashion to film, architecture to advertising, UK creatives have a well-earned reputation for challenging conventions and embracing the new with professionalism and flair.

London is the acknowledged tech start-up capital of europe with other start-up clusters in Cambridge, north west England, and Scotland. You can find a visualisation of the UK’s creative economy, provided by Nesta, here.

The 2012 Olympics provided a global showcase of breakthrough designs, collaborations and materials applied in everything from the Olympic torch and cauldron to the environmentally sustainable sporting venues.