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World-wide the Creative economy is growing stronger than nearly any other and is an essential component of a modern knowledge economy. UNCTAD have stated that the global market for creative goods has more than doubled from 2002 to 2015 to $509 Bn, and despite the financial crisis, trade in Creative goods had an average growth rate exceeding 7%. Similarly, global trade in Creative services has grown to 18.9% of all traded services by 2015.


Total exports


Total Sales (2016)


Value of the Sector (2016)


 Industries: 384 Craft, 1769 Cultural, 2730 Creative Industries

What is the ‘creative sector’?

The creative sector is broadly defined as ‘Occupations and industries centred on creativity, for the production and distribution of original goods and services. It includes businesses such as architecture, designers, publishers and software developers. In total, 12 sub-segments make up the creative sector. In our region we see its composition in broadly three areas: Craft, Culture and Creative.

WDC involvement

For over a decade the WDC has led the region in the development of its creative economy. The aim has been to create a globally recognised sector which contributes directly and indirectly to the growth of the region. We have told the story of this sector to the world in the Creative West publication which clearly outlined for the first time the potential of the sector. This has been followed up by numerous initiatives with regional and national partners which have grown the regions Creative economy (see Fig1 – regional growth 2010-2016). These include:

  • €4.4 M of EU CE projects- Delivering a regional SME platform for Creatives
  • The Spot-Lit program to establish a Regional Literary Tourism sector
  • €2 M+ of support to develop a regional Film & AV production fund, WRAP
  • A creative micro loans facility to kick start development in the CE
  • Driving the DBEI REP strategic objective to grow the sector in the West
  • An unparalleled body of analysis and insight into the regional sector
  • €2.7M REDF funding for a unique Creative Industries Hub

The Difference

In 2008 the WDC commissioned the Creative West, report which showed the region’s CE value as €534 M in terms of turnover and 11,000 direct employees. In 2017 the (see Fig 1 and Fig 2) a more recent overview undertaken by NUIG showed that the sector direct employment had grown by 11.7% and its value was now €729 M. This replicates the global trend of growth despite the financial downturn. Through our engagement with almost 400 creative SME’s in the region (many receiving direct supports), and connecting them with hundreds more globally, together we have developed new goods and services and secured or created employment in the CE.

The Future

To date the Regions creative economy has grown significantly and the WDC is proud to play a part in the efforts to support this. We have worked with regional and national partners (e.g. NUIG, Design and Craft council, IFB, TG4, ÚnaG, The Arts council, Creative Ireland etc), to establish an unparalleled ability to identify and deliver growth to the region’s creative economy. Under our most recent strategy , we are committed to continuing to deliver on this agenda of leadership for our Creative economy. Through collaborating strengths such as Creativity, Culture and tourism we intend to identify new products, and through innovation and sustainable efforts we intend to develop opportunities in emerging areas such as Digital realisation, Design and Smart utilisations.