Education, Entrepreneurship and Creative Economies: The Connection to Sustainable Economic Growth.

(Berlin, ICD House; March 4rd, 2014)

The Event was organized by Leon Welters & Davide Salvaneschi
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On the 4th March 2014, a selection of ICD interns attended and contributed to a compelling panel discussion organised by Leon Welters (Program Director; Cultural Diplomacy and The Global Economy). The event was devised to initiate debate amongst the attendees to consider issues related to education, entrepreneurship, creative economies and how these can be inextricably connected to the viability of sustainable economic growth.

The opening topic aimed to examine people’s attitudes towards educational investment occurring within an increasingly globalised and interdependent world, and to also consider the challenges and ramifications that arise with such investments. The question prompted an absorbing discussion that exhibited differing points of views and perspectives with the audience utilising examples of personal experience at local, national and international levels to substantiate their thoughts. The advantages of readily accessible education were comprehensively expressed with contributing audience members asserting that the opportunity for individuals to gain better prospects in their professional careers was of vital importance. However, these points were counterbalanced with the implicit implications that can arise with such investment strategies: primarily, the migration of educated young individuals to more economically prosperous countries once they have acquired a certain level of education and thus leaving their native nations with a distinct lack of talented individuals which will affect future economic prosperities (also known as ‘Brain Drain’ or ‘Human Capital Flight’) were highlighted as being problematic.

Various examples were used to highlight and illustrate the stark contrasts in educational investment in different areas of the world; particularly the comparison of the US and Europe demonstrated the high levels of personal debt that an individual can become burdened with for merely wishing to better their future in the US, whereas in the social democratic welfare states of certain areas of Europe, education can be accessed without sustaining significant financial liabilities.

A concluding remark to this area of discussion conveyed the opinion that the actual issue was not the leaving of the individual to study abroad initially; rather, the main concern was that the individual was not returning home to enter employment. In light of this, there must be incentives offered by the native nation for their citizens to return and contribute to their developing economies. It must be stressed that the overriding sentiment of the audience expressed the viewpoint that education, talent and experience are the foundation and furthermore, the key to the development of any society.

The second element of the discussion was to examine the impact of entrepreneurship as a result of the economic crisis and how this can contribute to sustainable economic growth; in essence, how the crisis has perhaps acted as a catalyst for the emergence of ‘creative economies’.

A change in the thought process and the personal desires of the individual was proposed by a participant in the audience; as individuals, are we ready to transform from the ‘old way’ of thinking; this being the gaining of a permanent employment position and feeling content, or alternatively, are we ready to experience an alternative way of life, a different approach, to take responsibility for our own ‘unconventional’ and diverse careers?

A secondary point analysed the concept of whether university provides you with the necessary tools to succeed in the employment market. A variety of responses were delivered which voiced individuals fears of not feeling sufficiently equipped for employment – of course it was noted that there are transferrable skills that you can obtain from university, however it was acknowledged there is a huge chasm between the practical and the academic world.

This discussion was an opportunity for a multicultural group of people to assemble and exchange opinions in a dynamic manner: it was emphasised that each individual has the potential to branch out and diversify if they have determination and drive; the escalation of creative economies dispels the notion that you have to dedicate your life to one sole occupation.