Friday 14 June 2019

The British Council’s Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme, now in its second year, will fund 12 new international partnerships – bringing the grand total to 50.

These partnerships have been formed between higher education and creative institutions in the UK and the countries of South Caucasus, Central Asia and Ukraine. Each partnership will be awarded up to £40,000 to develop projects that will provide thousands of young people with enterprise skills and build cultural ties between the UK and Azerbaijan.

Creative Spark aims to support the creative sectors and the next generation with the ability to develop business ideas. The UN has previously recognised the creative economy as being one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy. Those benefitting from the scheme are principally university students, graduates and young entrepreneurs. 

The programme focuses on three areas to give young people improved access to international networks, markets and resources:

  1. Development of partnerships between universities and creative institutions in the UK and their equivalents in programme countries – this year all 90 partner organisations involved in the programme will come together at the University of Oxford (UK) to share expertise, learnings and further develop their projects.
  2. Delivering enterprise skills packages to students, graduates and creative entrepreneurs, ranging from pitching ideas and starting a business, to protecting intellectual property and securing financial support – everyone involved will be able to participate in an online ‘enterprise pitch competition’ across the programmes countries with UK based professional development courses.
  3. Delivering an English Learning Programme with a range of new digital language learning content. This will include online learning packs on the English Channel platform, online courses and new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) focused on English for entrepreneurship and English Clubs.

In 2019-20, the British Council is funding three new international partnerships in Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan Partner(s) UK Partner(s)
  • Azerbaijan State University of Economics (UNEC)
  • University of Greenwich
  • ADA University
  • Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts
  • The University of Kent
  • Azerbaijan State University of Economics (UNEC)
  • Baku Music Academy (named after Uzeyir Hajibeyli)
  • University of York

In 2018-19, the British Council funded 38 partnerships which has led to 500 new business ideas under development. In Azerbaijan, partnerships underway include:

Azerbaijan Partner(s) UK Partner(s)
  • Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction
  • London South Bank University
  • Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction
  • University of Leicester
  • Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts
  • YARAT Contemporary Arts Space
  • University of Arts London (UAL)
  • Gradcore
  • Centre for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication
  • Newcastle University

Richard Everitt, Director Education and Society, Wider Europe, British Council comments: “We received almost 100 high quality applications and this demonstrates the real appetite for Creative Spark. In total we now have 50 partnerships underway and this will provide thousands of young people with skills required to start businesses and reduce unemployment.”

Notes to Editor

Please contact for more information:

Sevinj Aghazada│Creative Spark Programme Coordinator | British Council in Azerbaijan |

Creative Spark programme webpage:

About Creative Spark

Creative Spark is a five year initiative to support international university and institutional partnerships to develop enterprise skills and creative economy across seven countries in Central Asia, South Caucasus and Ukraine through UK support. In order to support higher education reform and respond to unemployment rates in these seven countries, we will use the UK’s experience to help develop enterprise education. This way we will support over 10,000 students and young entrepreneurs in the first year of the programme. 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

British Council is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

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