The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has committed US$1.8 Million to support the development of the region’s creative industries. The bank’s Board recently approved the injection into the institution’s Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF), a multi-donor endowment, established in 2017 to encourage innovation, job creation and improved enterprise sustainability within the sector.
According to Daniel Best, CDB’s Director of Projects “We are pleased to support this initiative. Given the challenges faced by our creatives, this fund will continue to fill a prevailing void by providing resources to create an enabling environment for the sector. We anticipate support for trade and export facilitation, marketing and distribution, human resource development and research as well the development of legal and policy frameworks in our 19 Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).”
Globally, the creative economy is recognised as a growth sector and a meaningful contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), having the capacity to spur innovation and knowledge transfer across all sectors of the economy. It is a critical sector to foster inclusive development, possessing both commercial and cultural value, while presenting opportunities for human imagination and spreading important social and cultural values.
Commenting on CIIF, Lisa Harding, the Bank’s Acting Head, Private Sector Division, added that “Caribbean cultural entrepreneurs, Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), and Business Support Organisations (BSOs), which support the Creative Industries will benefit from grants and capacity building aid to increase competitiveness and improve data intelligence and analysis as we continue to construct programmes to enhance the creative economy.” Beneficiary MSMEs and other eligible entities are expected to contribute a minimum of 10% of project costs in cash and or in-kind.
CIIF, which is governed by a cross-section of regional organisations and administered by CDB, has since inception financed approximately USD 1.2 million in a variety of initiatives spanning music production, distribution, sales and events, audiovisual, film, animation and gaming, festivals and carnivals, fashion, and contemporary design through non-reimbursable grants.
Of note, was the piloting of a dedicated CIIF Haiti programme that served 90 direct beneficiaries through the implementation of three Accelerator partnership grants; the development of a Community of Practice model to increase collaborative learning and sharing between creative stakeholders; the development of online resources, toolkits and learning materials and over USD 100,000 in prize grants built into Accelerators.
The bank’s continued investment in the fund is expected to lead to increased contribution by the Creative Industry sector to economic outputs and foreign exchange earnings by improving the enabling environment, enhancing data collection and reporting, and improving the competitiveness of beneficiary MSMEs. This will build social resilience by ensuring no one is left behind and contribute to economic resilience for inclusive growth.