Research and analysis

Turkey: UK GREAT festival of creativity meets Istanbul

Published 28 May 2014

0.1 Detail

Istanbul hosted the first “GREAT Festival of Creativity” from 20-22 May at The Seed, a stunning venue overlooking the blue waters of the Bosphorus. The objective was to use a new and ambitious cross-sectoral platform to promote the UK as the most creative nation on earth, and generate business opportunities, showcasing seven creative industries: education; technology; design; fashion; luxury; food and drink, and healthcare.

The might of UK creativity was underpinned and amplified by heavyweight private sector sponsorship from HSBC, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Jaguar Land Rover, De Montfort University and BBC Worldwide. At the Turkish end we secured support from Turkey’s largest private sector company, Koç, who sponsored a dinner for 60 on a historic Glasgow-built steamer. The Festival attracted 1500 guests, including 146 British and 333 Turkish companies. 42 companies formed three accompanying parallel healthcare, luxury and creative cities trade missions.

Quality of the core Festival events was superb. Participants could choose from 37 different sessions, with 122 speakers joining interactive discussions, master classes and panels. Presentations ranged from Framestore’s breathtaking account of how the film “Gravity” was created in a London studio to Raspberry Pi’s famous UK-manufactured $25 computer (now selling by the million) and De Montfort University’s award-winning invention, the artificial pancreas. British creative talent ranged from perfume guru Jo Malone through designer Mary Katrantzou and chef Tom Kitchin to Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide and Jaguar design chief Julian Thomson.

In parallel, trade mission members had programmes which spliced attendance at Festival sessions with site visits – organised with the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey – to major hospitals, retail centres and urban redevelopments and 1:1 business development discussions with Turkish partners and business surgeries on and off the Festival site. HSBC and other sponsors also brought their own clients, creating additional business opportunities.

The Rt Hon Earl Howe, Minister for Quality, Department of Health, represented HMG at the Festival, leading the trade delegation and launching a major UK 2014-15 GREAT Healthcare campaign in Turkey. The latter could generate more than £1.25bn of additional UK exports over the next five years from Turkey’s plans to build 30 Public Private Partnership (PPP) healthcare campuses worth $14 billion. Lord Howe met Turkish inward healthcare investors to the UK; GlaxoSmithKline’s local operation; and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who toured the Festival site.

0.2 Comment

Initial feedback from both Turkish and British participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Attendees admired the power of a single GREAT brand representing multiple UK stakeholders. We see potential for major business deals from the Festival. One major UK sponsor already wants to explore new GREAT Festival sponsorship in 2015-16. The Festival has created unprecedented awareness of the UK’s creative offering in Turkey’s fast-growing emerging market. 72 journalists from 34 different publications attended the Festival, generating – so far – 20 interviews.

We will now work with the GREAT Festival team in London as the concept continues to Hong Kong and Shanghai. But the concept works. That includes the fact that combining a GREAT Festival of Creativity with trade delegations and a single overarching UK brand can create maximum opportunities for business; generate resonance; and magnify UK impact as a global creative force.

0.3 Disclaimer

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