Population and the Creative Economy

October was an incredible month! One week ago, a passionate steering committee and I were launching the pilot Berkshire Leadership Summit for women in the nonprofit theater. Two weeks ago, the Berkshire Initiative for Growth Report was released.

The Berkshire Leadership Summit was a powerful moment for the creative economy, particularly because it examined barriers women face when applying to and securing top artistic or management positions at American and Canadian theater companies.

The Berkshire Initiative for Growth Report release was also an important moment for the creative economy, although not overtly so. The report, which 1Berkshire commissioned me to write and design, provides historical context for Berkshire County's population decline and outlines 18 critical recommendations that, when implemented by all, will help recruit and retain more young people to the region.

But what does this have to do with the creative economy?

Turns out, the creative economy is a significant source of jobs for young adults.

In 2013, the highest concentration of young professionals between the ages of 20 and 34 in the national workforce was in arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations according to the Department for Professional Employees (DPE).

In 2016, this creative occupational group had the second highest concentration of young professionals in the national workforce, just a hair behind life and social sciences. These creative industries continue to attract young talent.

But it’s not simply the case that jobs in the creative economy are filled by young adults. Employers want young employees with creative skills.

According to the World Economic Forum's Global Challenge Insight Report The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution published in January 2016, creativity was cited as the third most important skill needed by 2020 as well as a core skill set in the Arts and Design sector as well as Architecture & Engineering and Computer & Mathematics.

The Berkshire economy is bolstered by the creative industries, from cultural nonprofits and creative manufacturers to small creative businesses and independent artists. If the national DPE statistic applies even somewhat to Berkshire County’s creative economy, that would mean that hundreds of creative jobs in the region are occupied by young adults today. Berkshire County’s creative sector is in a fantastic position to support the movement of young professionals to the area.

Download a copy of the report and find out what you can do to attract and keep more young adults in the Berkshires.

Business Launch 101: It Takes A Village

Yesterday, I officially launched my creative economy and project management consulting business. Despite the anxiety and fear that comes with any good business launch, the website and, more importantly, my message were received with overwhelming positivity and support!

 
 

Starting a new business is not for the faint of heart. It takes work, dedication, perseverance, and passion to move from a good idea to a great venture. And, as many seasoned mentors will tell you, if you aren't downright scared you aren't doing it right.

Fear may come from putting your assets on the line or sacrificing the financial security of a full time job with a company that's not your own. In my case, however, I was afraid of...myself.

I had been working as an independent consultant for 7 months before it ever occurred to me that I was developing a new business. A business implies that it has something valuable to offer, and I simply lacked the confidence to believe I possessed skills that others, particularly people I don't know, would want to pay for. Selling has never been my strong suit, and soliciting my own services was something I pushed further down the to-do list.

Seasoned mentors will also tell you that making mistakes is par for the course, but remember: being fearful is not a mistake; it's an opportunity.

In my case, however, I was afraid of...myself.

Instead of letting fear get the best of me, I enlisted the help of fellow business mentor Jesse Freidin to guide me through the process, but we didn't work together to build a website. He helped me think and write about myself with conviction and clarity. I wasn't a failure because, as a business consultant, I needed my own business consultant. I am finding success because I reached out for support. And without my friends, colleagues, and partner cheering me along and encouraging this venture, my launch might not have been as successful.

Fear is inevitable, but what you do with that fear can greatly influence your chances for success. Look for support wherever you can, take advantage of the resources around you, and don't be afraid to toot your own horn!