St’Art Invest is an investment fund for creative sme’s in Wallonia and Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
St’art is an Invest fund in Wallonia and Brussels. It has been created in 2009 through the collaboration of the Walloon region and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. The aim is to support the development of the creative economy by enhancing the solvability and the growth of the creative SMEs. It has indeed been noticed that cultural and creative industries often have difficulties finding financial resources. During decades, the sector was minimized due to its low-rentable activities, insecure jobs and unpredictable market.
Since 2014, a Brussels regional investment company (Finance.Brussels) has joined Wallonia and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation as shareholder of the fund.
The fund operates in the form of loans and the acquisition of equity. Regardless of the type of funding, St’art restricts its interventions to 50% of the entity’s funding requirement. St’art focuses on small and medium-sized companies, including non profit-making entities in the field of CCIs.
St’art also works in close collaboration with public authorities and regional investment companies in order to highlight the potential and specific characteristics of the CCIs sector. Further information available on http://www.start-invest.be.

Resources needed

St’art is a 37 million euros capital fund. The team working for the fund is composed by a director, 2 financial analysts and 2 project officers.

Evidence of success

Since 2010, St’art has invested in 43 businesses for a total amount of 9 million euros with only a 10% failure rate.
St’art also managed to bring together three different governance bodies. With cultural competence in the hands of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and economic competence in the hands of regions (Wallonia und Brussels), create and rule a common fund is an efficient way to address all CCIs in the French-speaking Belgium.

Difficulties encountered

*Dealing with the different levels of governance (Wallonia, Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the Brussels-Capital Region).
*Unclear delimitation of activities between St’Art and Wallimage (investment fund in the audiovisual sector only).

Potential for learning or transfer

Such a specific investment fund for ICCs is a great financial leverage for the sector still considered risky by investors. The fund itself is thereby a good practice to be transferred. The fund also works for a better recognition of the ICCs sector in collaboration with public and private partners. It is indeed important to raise awareness of the potentialities of the CCIs sectors among the financial stakeholders. E.g. “How and why to invest in CCIs?” was a training programme initiated by St’art and designed specifically for investors, accountants, company auditors and banks in the Wallonia European Creative District framework.

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Project
Main institution
St'Art Invest
Location
Prov. Antwerpen, Belgium (Belgique-België)
Start Date
May 2009
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

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Good Practices being followed by

Angelina Todorova

Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria