Wednesday 12 June 2019


The British Council’s Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme, now in its second year, will fund 12 new international partnerships – bringing the grand total to 50.

These partnerships have been formed between higher education and creative institutions in the UK and: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Each partnership will be awared a grant of up to £40,000 to develop projects that will provide thousands of young people with enterprise skills and build cultural ties. 

Creative Spark supports the creative sectors and the next generation with the ability to develop business ideas. The UN has previously recognised the creative economy as being one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy. Those benefitting from the scheme are principally university students, graduates and young entrepreneurs.

Richard Everitt, Director Education and Society, Wider Europe, British Council said:   

“Over 100 applications came from UK universities and it shows a real appetite for Creative Spark in the UK. With 50 partnerships already underway we have one third of UK universities now involved with the programme to equip thousands of young people with the skills required to start businesses and reduce unemployment.”

The programme focuses on three areas to give young people improved access to international networks, markets and resources:

1.Development of partnerships between universities and creative institutions in the UK and their equivalents in programme countries – this year all 90 partner organisations involved in the programme will come together at the University of Oxford (UK) to share expertise, learnings and further develop their projects.

2.Delivering enterprise skills packages to students, graduates and creative entrepreneurs, ranging from pitching ideas and starting a business, to protecting intellectual property and securing financial support – everyone involved will be able to participate in an online ‘enterprise pitch competition’ across the programmes countries with UK based professional development courses.

3.Delivering an English Learning Programme with a range of new digital language learning content. This will include online learning packs on the English Channel platform, online courses and new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) focused on English for entrepreneurship and English Clubs.

In 2018-19, the British Council funded 38 partnerships which has led to 500 new business ideas under development. 

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Trade Envoy for Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, said:

“It is very exciting to see the growth of the British Council’s Creative Spark programme in its first year, and its critical role in developing enterprise skills in Ukraine, Central Asia, and the South Caucasus.  With the involvement of more than 100 institutions in year two, I am sure the programme will continue to help forge future business links with the UK’’

Notes to Editor

For further information, please contact:  Alison Langley, British Council press office: / +44 (0)20 3285 3659

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.