Creative Hub

Guest article: UNCTAD Expert Meeting & Fachkonferenz der Kreativwirtschaft

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  • Suli Gela web
    Gela Suli
    Founder & CEO Creative Caucasus

Across Boundaries: Swiss-Georgian Cooperation in Creative Industries

When I received an email invitation to attend a creative industry experts meeting hosted by UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) in Geneva, I didn't have to think too long to say yes. For one, the agenda of the conference seemed very interesting with topical panels and great speakers. Also, a hundred or so delegates from various countries expected to participate in the conference, thus giving me an extra incentive to network with international colleagues.

But the fact that the offer came from Creative Hub, whose international advisory board I have recently joined, was the most decisive factor to say yes. Our organizations, the Tbilisi, Georgia based Creative Caucasus and the Bern, Switzerland based Creative Hub have been active members of the Creative Business Network that unites 70 plus organizations from all around the world. They all work diligently to identify, mentor, and select, through national startup competitions, the very best creative entrepreneurs and startups who would then represent their countries in Creative Business Cup Global Finals held annually in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I also decided to take advantage of my schedule to attend a Berlin symposium on creative industries, two days after Geneva. While the Geneva meeting aimed at setting up a framework for creative industries development within individual countries as well as for creating closest possible cooperation amongst widest possible geographic areas, the Berlin symposium promised an in-depth analysis of ongoing and changing narratives about creative industries.

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UNCTAD Expert Meeting (Geneva)

The UNCTAD meeting in Geneva turned out to be as advertised - a great mix of creative industry experts and practitioners representing various governmental agencies, the private sector and academia. Inside the famed Palais de Nations at United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), four industry panels focused on most important topics that creative economies face globally: current and emerging trends for creative industries; case studies focused on individual countries' best policy strategies; data collection & analysis commensurate with rapidly developing digital economies; and lastly, importance of creative industries as vehicles of value creation that drive national trade and investment forward.

I enjoyed the last panel the most, perhaps because of two of its panelists, leaders of Creative Business Network from Denmark (Rasmus Tscherning) and Creative Hub Switzerland (Regula Staub), who spoke in very practical terms about how their organizations' work contribute to their respective national economies as well as to the international trade. What I also appreciated about the conference was its UN type setting with country name-tags in front of the delegates and attendees; I was seated, proudly, behind the GEORGIA tag along with Elene Toidze, my colleague from Creative Georgia. Lastly, it was the opportunity to interact with many likeminded colleagues and plant the seeds for future collaborations during the lunch that served modest sandwiches (which, given the recent budget cuts at the UN, was understandable).

Fachkonferenz der Kreativwirtschaft (Berlin)

After a ride on a train called NightJet, covering 1,100 kilometers overnight, Berlin after Geneva was a quick and thrilling shift in scenery. Named appropriately: Making Sense in a Changing World: Narratives for Value Creation in the Creative Economies, the Berlin symposium featured prominent speakers, ranging from high level officials from the Federal Ministry of Economy to well-known academics. Most of the presentations were in German, yet I was able to listen to simultaneous English translation and follow closely very active Q and A sessions. The crown jewel of the symposium, however, was the presentation of Francesca Bria, a UN Senior Adviser on Digital Cities, who spoke convincingly and excitedly about the Barcelona model on data sovereignty.

Shortly before my departure for Georgia, Creative Hub organized another interesting meeting, this time in Basel. We met a promising game developer from Zurich, someone who had received coaching and mentorship support from Creative Hub and is presently looking for a seed investment as well as experienced international partners. We went through his presentation point by point and identified a couple of matches that could meet his needs. Overall, this was a very fruitful ending of my trip that, in my opinion, established a firm basis for future collaborations with Creative Hub.


Since 2015, Creative Caucasus has been in the forefront of developing creative entrepreneurial ecosystem in Georgia and the entire Caucasus region. 

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