The future is bright for enterprises in the South Eastern Creative Corridor according to industry experts. Wicklow County Campus saw a packed auditorium for the South Eastern Creative Corridor (SECC) Symposium last week as industry experts and entrepreneurs came together to explore opportunities. An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices in the local authorities in Wicklow, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Wexford, the SECC aims to support the development and growth of enterprises operating within or providing products and services to the creative audio visual sector. The year-long initiative, which was kick-started at the event, offers enterprise owners an intensive programme of business development including training, mentoring, networking and access to finance. The objective is to assist participating businesses to increase sales, improve profitability, explore new markets and take full advantage of the opportunities in the sector. Funding for the initiative, which is led by the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, is provided by Enterprise Ireland under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs competitive fund and it is expected that the outcomes of the programme will include job creation as well as the development of a sustainable creative industry cluster in the region. The Symposium in Wicklow County Campus facilitated discussion between enterprises and key industry stakeholders on the trends and opportunities for business growth in the creative audio visual sector and related sectors. Delegates heard from a variety of speakers including Paul Young, CEO of Cartoon Saloon, Naomi Moore, CEO of Windmill Lane Recording, Sarah Dillon, Executive with the Irish Film Board, Jim Duggan MD of Screen Scene and Siun Ni Raghallaigh, CEO of Ardmore Studios, after which they had an opportunity to network and to learn more about the programme content from the programme co-ordinators, The Entrepreneurs Academy. Speaking about the opportunities in the sector, Siun Ni Raghallaigh highlighted the exponential growth in the demand for content, and the impact technology has had on how content is both created and consumed. Jim Duggan emphasised that the key to success in a creative business was to achieve the right balance in the skills of the company directors between technology, creativity and finance. In addition he pointed out that it is critical to have clear goals and ambitions for the business, in particular in relation to trading internationally. Both Paul Young and Naomi Moore identified animation and VFX as key growth areas in the audio visual sector, with the potential to establish sustainable, scalable businesses and create jobs in the region. The speakers agreed that the industry is continuously evolving, and that businesses need to stay competitive by keeping ahead of industry trends and developments, and by ensuring that their business and management skills were kept up to date. Concluding the event, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr Bryan Doyle gave voice to the sense of optimism and opportunity generated by the symposium saying “It is clear that the vision for an internationally recognised audio visual industry cluster has real potential, whether you are on the creative or production side, or whether you are supplying the increasingly specialised needs of the sector, the audio visual and film sector in this region is one that has huge potential to grow, generating world class enterprises and creating jobs in the region.” The Creative Corridor business development programme commences on 7th December 2016 with a Regional Boot Camp in Kilkenny, focused on Goal Setting. This will be followed by a series of training workshops and accountability boards to be held in each County. The programme will culminate with an Audio Visual Summit in December 2017. More information is available at www.creativecorridor.ie or by contacting your Local Enterprise Office.