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South East Creative Economy Network

The South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN) works to accelerate growth in the digital, creative and cultural sector. It is a working partnership between local authorities, creative businesses and education bodies across the South East LEP area.

SECEN is an open network. Anyone working within the sector has the opportunity to join and attend meetings. If you are interested in becoming a part of SECEN, please contact Alex Riley on

Overcoming barriers to growth

The cultural and creative industries sector contributed a GVA of £111.7bn to the UK economy in 2018, a 42.3% increase in real terms since 2010; and of that creative industries contributed £32.3bn to the UK economy which was a 21.9% increase in real terms since 2010. In the last five years, the creative industries GVA has grown 37% in an average year, and the number of creative businesses introducing a new product is around 20% compared with only 9% for non-creative sector firms.

The South East has over 15,000 creative businesses, accounting for 9.6% of total businesses in the SELEP region. SECEN will ensure that the region continues to attract, retain and grow its creative sector, in particular the contribution that freelancers and self-employed practitioners make to the creative economy, as a vital part of the region’s creative eco-system.

SECEN identifies barriers to growth and implements practical and scalable initiatives to overcome barriers to growth by aligning the efforts of businesses, education providers, strategic organisations and local authorities to ensure that SECEN will lead one of Europe’s most diverse, integrated and productive creative regions.

SECEN has developed a vision for this sector within the SELEP area.

Statement of Intent

Supporting and growing creative people and places across the South East
Download the SECEN Statement of Intent

Workspace development

With space at such a premium and living costs so high and with advances in digital connectivity and the gig economy there is a question over whether the next generation of creative talent needs to be based in London. SECEN is developing a work space strategy to ensure that fit for purpose workspace is available SELEP-wide to enable scaling up and fostering of creative enterprise zones based on existing creative hubs.

SELEP’s Creative Sector Support Fund Projects

The Catalyst for Culture Programme is a new partnership between established performing arts institutions of national and international standing in the SELEP region, providing live and on-line theatre experiences for audiences throughout Kent, Medway, Thurrock, Southend, East Sussex, South Essex and Essex during the Covid crisis, and supporting the creative, production and technical workforce, artists & freelancers across the SELEP region.

Find out more

The SELEP Creative Open Workspace Masterplan and Prospectus project drives growth, innovation and prosperity by supporting the workspace needs of one of the fastest growing sectors – the creative industries.

Find out more

The project will create an innovative new immersive visitor experience driven by world class art, which aims to build the volume and value of visitors to the South East.

Find out more

Thames Estuary Production Corridor

SECEN is working with the GLA (Greater London Authority) to support the concept of a Thames Estuary Production Corridor facilitating complementary creative business clusters and facilities to ensure the opportunities for the creative sector are fully developed and contribute to ongoing creative business growth. The development of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor will ensure that the UK can continue to be a centre for creative productivity. It will position London and the South East as a world leader for the creative industries on a scale never seen before, creating a landmark corridor along the estuary, powering skills opportunities and new jobs.

The Thames Estuary Production Corridor have now published their Case for Investment which shows the corridor has the potential to create 50,000 jobs and generate £3.7bn for the UK economy, becoming the UK’s largest concentration of creative production.

This goes a step further in setting out how the potential of the corridor will be delivered. 

Thames Estuary Production Corridor: Case for Investment


The Thames Estuary Production Corridor Partners are delighted to announce the support of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and Envoy and will be working closely with the Thames Estuary Growth Board and Envoy to develop our ambitious programme for culture and good growth in the Estuary.

Everyone living, working or playing in the Estuary has a role to play to continue to deliver the Thames Estuary Production Corridor action plan: read the Case for Investment full report or the Vision to Action summary document to learn more.

An Industrial Vision To Create A World-Class Location For Creative Industries


Thames Estuary Production Corridor: From Vision to Action

SECEN Working Group Terms of Reference

8th December 2021

17th November 2021

8th September 2021

21st July 2021

19th May 2021

31st March 2021

27th January 2021

18th November 2020

16th September 2020

15th July 2020

12th February 2020
Minutes – 12th February 2020