A guide featuring some of the best-known names in the West Midlands’ creative, cultural and digital sectors has been launched to help start-ups.

Business Link in the West Midlands teamed up with business adviser and author David Parrish to produce the 48-page publication to provide companies with expert information and contacts while promoting some of the region’s leading firms outside the region.

Starting with a section on “developing your idea,” the guide takes readers through setting up a business and making the most of opportunities, including advice with strategic planning, protecting intellectual property, promoting your firm and financial management.

It also looks at recruiting the right people, developing skills and tackling legal issues.

Lara Ratnaraja, Business Link sector development director, said she was delighted at the outcome.

She said: “The creative, cultural and digital industries currently generate £6.6billion for the West Midlands’ economy and this equates to over 12 per cent of our Gross Value Added – it’s a major industry and one that is growing faster than the more traditional sectors we have been reliant on.

“What is ironic is that the rest of the world sees our region as a real influencer in the international creative scene, yet we don’t actually realise how good and successful we can be.

“This is something we are looking to change and the latest guide will go some way to achieving this.”

Business Link pointed to digital media as leading growth in the sector.

“We have worked with some fabulous companies and some of these are featured in the publication, including 383 Project, the graphic design agency responsible for the design on Sprite cans and Birmingham’s Walk of Stars, and Gas Street Works, the multi-award winning digital media specialist, and the internationally-acclaimed Stan’s Cafe,” said Ms Ratnaraja.

Lisa Meyer and Jenny Moore – founders of music, arts and promotion specialists Capsule – are the final case study to be featured.

“They have enjoyed tremendous success for hosting music events with a difference and even saw their Supersonic festival win international festival of the year in Plan B Magazine,” said Ms Ratnaraja.

“Off the back of their success they now have their own record label.”

She added: “This is just a quick snapshot of the talent we have available in the region.”

David Parrish, author of the book T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity, was commissioned to write the guide.

He said: “Creative entrepreneurs are a unique breed and this publication recognises that. It speaks to them in their language and provides useful information on some of the issues facing emerging companies – all are great with ideas, but the practicalities of running your own business sometimes fall out of the picture.”

Business Link West Midlands is working with over 500 firms across the region, providing support in strategic planning, marketing, business planning, skills and intellectual property.

Ms Ratnaraja said: “We have a real opportunity to be an international centre of excellence and it is now time for everyone involved in the sector to stand up and shout about what we do and how we do it.”

* For a copy of the Creative, Cultural and Digital guide, call 0845 113 1234 or email Business Link at info@businesslinkwm.co.uk