What is the creative economy?

The creative economy is defined as a set of art, culture, design and innovation industries, and the economic contribution of those industries within a geographic region. A unique set of industries defines each local creative economy, reflecting the culture, traditions and heritage of that place.

Upstart Co-Lab identified 145 industries that states and regions across the U.S. use to define their local creative economy, and grouped these industries into five categories to describe the inclusive creative economy for the benefit of impact investors:

Ethical Fashion Companies producing clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories that proactively address industry challenges related to labor, environmental impact, governance and/or preservation of cultural heritage.

Sustainable Food Producers and providers of food and beverage products and experiences that proactively address and raise consumer awareness of resource conservation, preservation of cultural heritage and/or access to healthy food.

Social Impact Media Companies that leverage the power of communication, storytelling and technology to drive positive social outcomes at scale, give a platform to under-represented voices and/or build a diverse workforce.

Other Creative Businesses Includes online creator platforms and creative software tools, disruptive visual art platforms, immersive experiences, inclusive toy and game designers, and other businesses in art, design, culture and heritage industries that drive social impact.

Creative Places Real estate projects that are affordable, target creatives or businesses in the creative economy, and benefit their neighbors, such as affordable workspace for artists and creative economy businesses.

To learn more about the creative economy, please find Upstart Co-Lab’s original research here.