Social Entrepreneurship And The Creative Sector

“Under any circumstances sociability is the greatest advantage in the struggle for life.” -Pyotr
Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

It is hard to think of a more natural pairing as between social entrepreneurship and the creative sector. Both stem from a drive within individuals and collectives to make  something for themselves, from their own vision, rather than simply take the world as they find it. Likewise both typically concern having a positive impact on society, although this is not to say that they cannot be profitable. What makes social entrepreneurship distinct from other forms of entrepreneurship, and makes art different from other activities is values that co-exists with or supersede profit. That could be expressing a message that the creator considers important, or simply the inherent value of the activity itself. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) defines social enterprise as follows: “any private activity conducted in the public interest, organised with an entrepreneurial strategy, but whose main purpose is not the maximisation of profits but the attainment of certain economic and social goals, and which has the capacity to bring innovative solutions to the problems of social exclusion and unemployment” (OECD, 2013).

Another shared quality between both of these sectors is the resilience displayed during COVID. People’s ability to attend public functions has had a serious negative impact on the creative sectors, in particular tourism, live music, theatre, and cinema. Likewise received wisdom from traditional businesses is that in financially difficult times people are unwilling to take the kind of risks involved in entrepreneurship. However research undertaken by the Diesis cooperative shows that in situations of economic downturn both social entrepreneurship projects and creative sectors contract less than other areas.

Moreover, we cannot afford to give up on either of these endeavours. Arts and social enterprise concern themselves with human capital, consisting in those very qualities that make life worthwhile, beauty, solidarity, creativity, recognition. Moreover if no action is taken a contraction of the cultural sector will only serve to further exclude those without money or connections from the industry. It is in the context of this pivotal time for the social and artistic sectors that IARS is undertaking our new project, CASYE- Cultural And Social Youth Entrepreneurship. The aim of this project is to provide young people, in particular those who have traditionally faced barriers entering the creative sectors, with the entrepreneurial skills to succeed in these sectors. Specifically, this project will create a robust framework for mentorship that will allow those with experience to pass on, test, and reinforce those skills among their mentees. Now more than ever, when centralized infrastructure and funding opportunities are under threat, is the time to empower young people with the tools and knowledge to pursue their own projects within the cultural sector.

If you would like more information about CASYE-Cultural And Social Youth Entrepreneurship please email


We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  


Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: +44(0) 7833 224442  


Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.