The Digital Publishing YCE Award: now in exotic locales
2014 marks the 10th year of the Digital Publishing Young Creative Entrepreneur awards by the British Arts Council. Typically it runs both domestically and in a few international locations like Russia, but this year they are ramping things up a bit.
According to the British Council’s website, the Young Creative Entrepreneurs award is an opportunity for ‘new pioneers in digital publishing, live music, culture, broadcast and fashion/design’. To qualify, you must be a relatively new business or not-for-profit organisation (between two and seven years experience) within the digital publishing sector (presumably if you are in one of the other eligible groups like fashion or music, then you don’t have to own a publishing company, but that’s what we’ll be focussing on in this particular blog). You also have to have a reasonable grasp of the English language.
Though the programme has been running in Russia for a few years, this year there are a few more countries that will be eligible – Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Malaysia, South Africa, Spain and the United Arab Emirates. This might have something to do with the coincidence that 2014, in addition to the award’s big 1-0, is also the UK-Russia Year of Culture (this hyperlink takes you to a Russian-language website).
But why the other countries? Some of them seem like rather scattered, random choices. I suspect that the British Arts Council has done some research into what countries are lacking in digital publishing innovation, in an attempt to rouse more startup or entrepreneurs out from the woodwork. Or maybe it’s just a great opportunity for the Brits to show off their shiny digital publishing sector.
Apart from the prestige and recognition that the winner will receive from the British Arts Council, there’s also a nifty prize. The ten entrepreneurs from each country (that is, one from each country) that are picked will be invited for a week long programme in April in the UK. This is aimed at showing the winners an insight of the UK’s swiftly growing digital publishing sector. They’ll also get total access to the London Book Fair where they will also present business ideas and network with like-minded professionals. Additionally, some physical tokens in further recognition of their supremacy: a gift certificate (5000 Rub) from the LitRes company, a 96 hour-long English course from the VKS-IH School, a gift certificate from “the Moscow book store” (The British Council website isn’t more specific than that), and an Amazon Kindle.
This is a good opportunity for these companies to dabble at international networking and get a free trip to London, but the activities lined up for the winners feel a bit too structured and forced. It almost looks like some kind of school trip – a short-term cultural exchange program, maybe. You’re definitely expected to participate in collaboration with UK companies for a few years after winning the award, so it’s an experience you aren’t likely to forget. If only we could figure out why they picked the countries they did.
If you believe you are eligible for this award and would like to apply, applications are available from your local British Council office and are due on March 1st, 2014, with winners announced on March 12th.