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Flanders DC boosts the ‘return on creativity’ of the creative industry

Creative minds bursting with ideas continuously question and reinvent themselves and do not shy away from experimenting. Turning creativity into an economically profitable business is far from easy, though. That’s why Flanders DC aims to support creative entrepreneurs from their early beginnings all the way to international growth. “A strong and thriving creative industry makes our entire economy smarter and more competitive,” says Carlo Vuijlsteke, senior project manager at Flanders DC and coordinator of the Districts of Creativity Network.

Flanders District of Creativity – Flanders DC for short – supports, promotes and connects creative entrepreneurs. Its overarching goal is to help the creative industry in Flanders flourish, which in turn benefits society as a whole.

The ‘Yes, together we can’ attitude at Flanders DC

“Together, we can:

  • open doors for creative entrepreneurs – by showcasing their work in Flanders as well as abroad;
  • work across sectoral boundaries – the creative industry is a driver of innovation in numerous other sectors;
  • help the creative industry flourish – because a thriving creative industry makes our entire economy smarter and more competitive.”

Guide, inform and inspire

Carlo Vuijlsteke: “The creative industry in Flanders consists of twelve subsectors, from art and literature to fashion, design, new media and gaming. These employ more than 170,000 people and generate EUR 12.5 billion in added value. At Flanders DC, we support every phase of creative entrepreneurship. Since we are not a member organization, Flanders DC is not a cluster in the strict sense of the word. However, we do offer similar support and build bridges between entrepreneurs.”

Through guides, tools, seminars and workshops, Flanders DC provides information about business topics ranging from start-up formalities to financing possibilities, marketing and PR, R&D and production, intellectual property, employment and business growth in Flanders or abroad. In addition, entrepreneurs can request one-on-one support. In that case, Flanders DC calls in its own consultants, along with the right experts within its network.

Flanders’ creative industry employs more than 170,000 people and generates no less than EUR 12.5 billion in added value.

Carlo Vuijlsteke
Senior project manager at Flanders DC and coordinator of the Districts of Creativity Network

Boosting internationalization

Carlo: "Because the local market in Flanders is small, internationalization is a must for many creatives seeking to build profitable businesses. That’s why we actively promote Flanders’ creative sector internationally, focusing on fashion, design and gaming in particular. We participate in international trade fairs, such as Gamescom in Cologne and the Salone del Mobile in Milan.”

“Alternatively,” Carlo continues, “we take local entrepreneurs to creative hotspots abroad, from South Korea and Japan to Germany and the US. We always draw up a detailed program so that local entrepreneurs can quickly and efficiently connect with potential distributors, agents, sales channels, media players, PR agencies and so on.”

Flanders DC is part of the Districts of Creativity Network, a worldwide system of stakeholders with similar objectives. In addition to setting up support programs for companies, knowledge is actively exchanged between the different organizations themselves.

We actively promote our creative companies abroad, focusing particularly on fashion, design and gaming.

Carlo Vuijlsteke
Senior project manager at Flanders DC and coordinator of the Districts of Creativity Network

Innovation through cross-pollination

Carlo: “Creative entrepreneurs develop not only services and objects, but also symbolic added value. The emotions or experiences behind products or services are becoming increasingly important. That’s why Flanders DC invests heavily in projects that boost cross-pollination between the creative industry and more traditional sectors, such as manufacturing or healthcare.”

The reason is twofold. On one hand, the creative sector is an important driver of innovation in other industries. On the other hand, cross-pollination leads to innovation within the creative sector itself. “Of course, Flanders’ twelve creative subsectors also look beyond their borders for ways to innovate,” Carlo adds. “Think of how the boundaries between the communication sector, the audiovisual industry and new media are currently blurring. Or, consider fashion designers, product designers and software developers working together to create wearable technologies.”

Creativity is difficult to delocalize, giving our region a distinctive element.

Carlo Vuijlsteke
Senior project manager at Flanders DC and coordinator of the Districts of Creativity Network

"Creativity is essentially all about breaking existing patterns of thought,” Carlo concludes. "Creative entrepreneurs dare to think outside of the box, placing them at cradle of new solutions to the needs of today and tomorrow. Moreover, creativity is difficult to delocalize and gives our region a distinctive element. In short, a thriving creative sector makes our entire economy smarter and more competitive.”

ID Flanders DC

  • Founded in: 2004
  • Services: support for business development, consolidation, market intelligence, partner search, funding, legislative and normative compliance, government interaction, internationalization, and more.

16 September 2019

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