Creative Enterprise Initiative
Many incredible ideas took solid form in our local Prosperity Council; a collaboration of leaders who addressed, among other things, our quality of life. One such idea that is quickly connecting our creative community is the Creative Enterprise Initiative. As Heather Sinclair, the Chief Enabling Officer, puts it, "One of the key pillars that contributes to community sustainability is Cultural Vitality. We're working throughout Waterloo Region to ensure Cultural Vitality has the best possible environment in which to thrive."
A New View
Determined to enliven the fabric of the communities that we live in, Heather and all who join her are determined to help make Waterloo Region one of the most attractive places to live, work, play and stay by enabling the creative sector. Creativity is often spawned spontaneously, sometimes from the most unlikely sources. Imagine looking down from the sky upon our region at night without hydro. It's big and it's dark, except for thousands of tiny bright lights that sporadically flare up then disappear. Heather plans to increase the intensity and longevity of those tiny bright lights by connecting idea people, creative thinkers and active doers. It's a fresh community template that encourages and connects innovation in any form, offering fertile ground for expanding ideas. Not to merely think outside the box but to say, "What box?"
We live in the innovation age. The rewards are many for those who are willing and able to take risks and laugh at failure; important attitudes that bring healthy change to community. The melding of seemingly unrelated people generates unexpected benefits to the community, most of which will not become obvious until they start communicating. But first we must identify them, drawing from all sectors, and put them in the same room. Creative Enterprise presents the opportunity to grow the creative economy; drawing from the traditional arts as well as thinkers from science, business, cuisine ... you name it. There's an exciting new home here.
"It's like a whole new ecosystem", explains Heather. "The interplay of various, seemingly disparate parts with a common strategy encourages innovation everywhere and links it all. It's about the whole creative economy, not just arts and culture. The filter is disappearing; the dialogue is changing about truly investing in the creative sector rather than doling out periodic grants. Local governments have come to the table to commit funds and now the private sector is stepping up to contribute. Efforts are also well underway to obtain Federal and Provincial financial support. Not merely giving money to people with a dream, but funding those with a clear plan. We monitor and work with them; set benchmarks and help them succeed."
The paradigm is shifting as more people understand the idea, appreciate the value of the creative sector and move to embrace it as a significant cog contributing to the future prosperity of our region. With such a fabric in place and fully functional, there will be less people passing through and more of them compelled to join this spirit of inclusive innovation.