Speaking at the launch of the Creativity Industries Innovation Fund in Limavady today the Minister said: “The creative industries sector is a very important sector of the economy and has the potential to generate very significant and long lasting economic benefits for Northern Ireland.
“In terms of the economic value, it is estimated that around 34,600, or 4.7% of the working population, is employed in the creative sector which is growing at a faster rate than the economy in general.
“By investing in the development of talents and skills of our people we will improve our competitive position in national and international markets and reap the benefits in our communities. The drive to develop new markets, and in particular to encourage an outward-looking, global perspective, underpins all.”
The creative sector is diverse and includes advertising, architecture and design consultancies, film and television companies, computer and video games development, music labels and book and magazine publishers, theatre, opera and dance companies and live music promoters, and craft-makers, visual artists and designer-makers.
The Minister continued: “One of the goals of the Programme for Government is to grow the creative sector by up to 15% by 2011. The opportunities are there to meet this target with the help of new technologies and the development of new markets, that did not exist a few years ago, opening up for creative entrepreneurs.”
The Minister said that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure had developed the Creative Industries Strategic Action Plan in consultation with key stakeholders and is working closely with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and Invest NI on the way ahead for the sector.