Thought Leadership

Derry City Council appoints Creativebrief for Cape Town initiative

Tom Holmes writes about Derry City Council appointing Creativebrief for Cape Town initiative

Tom Holmes

Founder & Chairman


Ahead of becoming the inaugural UK City of Culture 2013, Derry City Council has appointed Creativebrief to facilitate connections and increase participation in trade, cultural and heritage initiatives in Cape Town.

To coincide with the Derry Clipper crew arrival in Cape Town, as part of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2011, Creativebrief founder Tom Holmes will accompany Derry’s business development team to South Africa, arranging meetings from Monday 26th to Friday 30th September, with leading individuals from across Cape Town’s digital, creative and academic communities.

Tom Holmes, Founder & Chairman of Creativebrief, comments: ’we are delighted to be working with Derry/Londonderry on this vital initiative, bringing our international experience and connections, in this case within South Africa to provide the foundation for the delegate team to build real business connections with the leaders of the creative and digital industries in South Africa.

‘It is through our work with international brands and creative services providers that we have built up these broad relationships over the last few years and with which we can assist organisations such as Derry/Londonderry’.

Derry~Londonderry to visit Cape Town

The major lead-in event to the City of Culture programme in 2013 is the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Derry~Londonderry is sponsor one of the participating boats and host of the return leg of the race on a stopover in the city in July 2012.

The Clipper race has an international profile reaching 550 million people in 175 countries. It has a total PR value of $265 million. The race involves 10 City Sponsored boats racing 40,000 miles over 330 days of sailing with stopovers in 14 ports. On each stopover there is a week of opportunity to host trade missions, business meetings, contacts between politicians/dignitaries and generally position and sell the sponsor cities.

Derry City Council are leading activities to sponsor the boat and hold profile raising events in each stopover port in partnership with a stakeholder group comprising Derry City Council, Ilex, Chamber of Commerce, Invest NI, Tourism Ireland, Culture Company and University of Ulster. This is a unique opportunity for the SME sector locally to maximise existing and new trade and cultural links with selected stopover ports.

International Objectives

UK City of Culture 2013 has appointed Creativebrief to make international connections to increase participation in trade, cultural and heritage initiatives for the city.

These include,

  • To establish trade connections to assist with creating business opportunities for the digital and life science sectors and international tourism providers,
  • To establish cultural connections to assist with creating relationships with cultural providers for Clipper homecoming festival in 2012 and City of Culture 2013,
  • To explore links with our university in the City and other education centers in Northern Ireland,
  • To establish City to City connections to encourage an ongoing relationship with the city.
  • To raise awareness among key audiences to assist with telling the city’s new story.

Cape Town Focus

Within the Clipper race itinerary, Cape Town has been identified one of the prime locations for mutually beneficial economic relationships to be developed.

It is at this location that Creativebrief will create, organise and manage the programme of establishing economic relationships.

South Africa is a unique market, offering a combination of well-developed first world economic infrastructure, with a vibrant and emerging economy. It is a natural gateway, not only to its market of 47 million inhabitants but also to the entire Southern African market of 185 million. S. Africa has with the most advanced, broad based economy on the continent and an industrial sector and infrastructure more typical of first world economies.

S. Africa is an ideal export market for N. Ireland companies. There is a similar well developed banking and legal system to the UK, a familiar business culture where English is the main business language and a time difference of never more than 2 hours.

In global terms South Africa offers a unique and compelling package: the stability of a developed country, the opportunities of a vibrant emerging market, and a cultural climate that fosters growth. There is a recognized Diaspora population in Cape Town and political linkages exist and continue in respect of shared efforts to promote peace and reconciliation.

Matt Peachey, Investment Officer, Derry~Londonderry indicated that connections had already been made with South Africa in relation to regeneration and it was felt the Cape Town visit by Clipper 11-12 presented an immediate opportunity to build upon these.

“As the first UK City of Culture 2013, creative industries and cultural development is high on the city agenda and Cape Town has vibrant examples of success in this area. Derry~Londonderry are looking to connect with digital companies who are interested in creating links in the UK and being part of future trade delegations to NI and region for 2012 and 2013. We’ve also a strong tourism opportunity for visitors to NI during 2012 and 2013 and our Diaspora connections in the region are also growing. The commercial platform offered by Clipper for business development is an opportunity we want to make the most of”.


Claire Lundy is Derry’s Communications and Marketing Manager – Claire is Managing the Overall Clipper Round the World 2011-12 for Derry~Londonderry and responsible for securing Derry’s first involvement in the race.

Matt Peachey is Investment & Enterprise Officer at Derry City Council. Matt’s role is to work with national bodies and business to attract and retain foreign direct investment to Derry and develop specific enterprise development projects to create economic growth in new and existing business sectors. Matt previously worked in England where after working in financial services he previously gained experience facilitating inward investment, entrepreneurship, business partnerships, and working on physical and community regeneration projects.

Mark Nagurski is Derry’s Digital Champion, tasked with developing and promoting the digital content sectors in Derry and the North-West, with a specific emphasis on fostering the growing entrepreneurial community in the city. A regular columnist, occasional blogger and frequent event organiser he has an extensive background in business development and has help found several businesses in marketing and digital media.

The Race

The Clipper Race celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and was created by British sailing legend, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world. Since the first edition in 1996 almost 3,000 people have taken advantage of the opportunity to race across oceans in a challenge unlike any other.

When the starting gun went off for the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race the fleet of sleek, stripped down 68-foot yachts embarked on a full circumnavigation of the globe.

It’s the only race in the world where the organisers supply the fleet of ten identical, 68-foot, stripped down racing yachts – each sponsored by a city, a region or a country – and man them with ten fully trained skippers, employed to lead the crews safely around the planet.

It’s the only race in the world where taxi drivers rub shoulders with chief executives, vicars mix with housewives, students work alongside bankers, nurses work with vets and doctors team up with rugby players.

The race track is 40,000 miles long and it will take eleven months to complete the circumnavigation. The race is divided in to a series of eight legs and crews can decide to race one of them, select a combination of legs or sign up to become a round the world crew member and complete the full circumnavigation.

There are 15 individual races in total and, just like in Formula 1, points are awarded at the end of each race, building towards a championship total. It means that you can put a poor result behind you and head to the start of the next race with the possibility of gaining maximum points as you lead the field in.

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