Business and Innovation Summit on March 1, 2023

On Wednesday, March 1, the University for the Creative Arts hosted the inaugural Business & Innovation Summit, and the launch of the Creative Industries Network (CIN). The event brought together some of the region's outstanding creative businesses, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders.

Over 100 creative businesses participated in the event, joining leading keynote speakers and panellists, including Pinewood Studios Group, Molzi (Brainlabs Digital), and Surrey County Council. They discussed important issues and opportunities to drive regional economic development and creative industries' growth.

Download the full programme here.


UCA’s Creative Growth Business & Innovation Summit opened with the ‘Growth’ chapter – to demonstrate the breadth of creative innovation taking place in Surrey and the South East, next steps for future growth and how this can support local businesses.

  • Molzi Growth Story

    Chris Mole, Founder of Molzi - Retail Media and Marketplaces.

    Chis Mole, founder of the online marketplace Molzi, discussed the beginnings of creating the Farnham based lifestyle business start-up in 2017, giving an insight into a unique growth story that led to its acquisition by Brainlabs digtial in 2021. Chris highlighted the importance of embracing constant change when scaling-up, and having a shared vision to tackle the main pain points of running a fast growth business. He believes that the foundation to achievement is embedded in company culture - defined by ambition, determination, and transparency.

  • A Pinewood Group Perspective

    Jens Christensen, Post Production Director at Pinewood Group

    Jens talked through the ‘Pinewood Group Perspective’ showcasing a wealth of history from both the Pinewood and Shepperton Studios – with over 90’s years of creative film making and exciting plans for future expansion within its world-class facilities. The presentation also acknowledged the key apprenticeship opportunities currently available across the business, including partnerships with the British Film Institute, National Film School Scholarships, institutional visits and Pinewood Futures Festival career events.

The Grow panel discussion was facilitated by Professor Terry Perk, and included discussion amongst local authorities and LEPs including; Catherine Knight, Economic Development Manager, Waverley Borough Council, Daniel Murray, Head of Economy and Growth, Surrey County Council, Peter Glanville, CEO of Farnham Maltings and Julie Kapsalis, Coast to Capital LEP Board member

The Creative Industries Network (CIN) and support program launch

The CIN Surrey Network aims to support and enhance the local creative industries by facilitating connections between regional businesses, stakeholders, and researchers. By sharing common growth challenges, the CIN opens new pathways for regional investment and offers exclusive events and workshops. Participants have the opportunity to establish and build critical relationships, share best practices, and support future developments alongside a diverse group of creative industry professionals.

Sign up to join the CIN network at this link.

The breakout session began with a brief presentation that summarized the Createch World Café, setting the context for a growth-oriented business value proposition that integrated sustainability and Industry 4.0 technologies.

The session focused on four key areas of discussion:

  1. Growth and investment challenges within the Southeast regional area
  2. Identifying the skill needs and gaps within the creative sectors
  3. Collaboration between academic, business, local, and central governments
  4. Sustainability in the broadest sense, including ethics and the topic of net-zero.


Digital start-ups, film and TV studios, artistic producers, and entertainment companies discussed The Future of Production and The Talent of the Future in the Creative, Digital, Film, TV, and Production cluster.

Participants shared their insights and suggested areas for development, including skill-specific learning activities, a re-evaluation of knowledge and role responsibilities, and course content that reflects the current real-life working practices of the film industry and making use of available facilities.

Skills gaps were identified as critical to growth, particularly in the following five areas: Art Department and Games Engines, Coding and Engineering, Asset Building and Optimization, Senior Team and Business Development, and Film and Games Cultures Integration.

A poll on film production asked, "What are the skills future talent in 2030 need for film production?" Key responses included Critical Thinking, Storytelling, Flexibility, and Digital Problem Solving.

The session concluded with a brainstorming session to suggest initiatives to improve efficiency within the film industry in terms of production and future talent.

The Creative Business, Regional Skills, and Talent Development breakout session provided an overview of the possibilities and challenges faced in the workforce training and development sector of the creative industry. The session aimed to address the skills gap needs and retain creative talent in Surrey.

Jo Nolan, Managing Director of Screen South and the Chair of Kent & Medway Skills Guild for Creative, Digital, and Media, provided an overview of the UK's creative industries landscape. The creative industries sector has seen job growth three times the national average. In 2018, it contributed £111.7bn to the UK economy, a 42.3% increase in real terms since 2010 (DCMS, 2020). The session also highlighted that the talent pool in London continues to move eastward into the Thames areas and towards the coast in the South due to the recent revitalization of the network of support advocating for the creative industries.

The session then featured an engaging presentation by Rob Gibson, Local Skills Improvement Project (LSIP) Manager at Surrey Chambers of Commerce. He covered the local skills infrastructure and accessible technical education.

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