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The Loeries Effect: how the celebration of creativity impacts Durban and surrounds
When the Loeries arrives in Durban it has a significant impact on the local economy. In purely fiscal terms economic impact was estimated at R169 million  in 2016, up by more than 44% on 2015 – and this figure excludes the Loeries Fringe Festival and partner and industry events. 
Andrew Human, CEO of The Loeries, describes Loeries Creative Week Durban as the biggest creative gathering in Africa and the Middle East across the brand communications industry, but says the ripple effect lasts much longer than a week and is felt throughout the Durban community.

“Some people think big events in Durban only impact the local beachfront. The reality is that the Durban ICC, hotels and restaurants are all reliant on their thousands of employees who live in the greater Durban community. Loeries Creative Week has a direct and lasting impact on the Durban economy, and by growing the local creative economy and educating the youth, Durban’s economy grows through new talent and new opportunities. We employ around 500 people directly during Loeries Creative Week, and create more than 380 local annual jobs with a total payroll of R35.8 million,” Human says. “For every person employed it impacts a whole community – family, grocers, taxis, clothing stores, and even the local spaza shop.”

Human points to the DStv Seminar of Creativity, one of the week’s highlights, because it brings international thought leaders to Durban. “Among the record 1,100 attendees last year were 75 disadvantaged KZN students who were granted free access to the seminar. Being put in front of that calibre of role model is an unparalleled experience for all of them,” Human says.

Interns from Durban institutions were employed for both the Loeries award judging and Creative Week, offering them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with local and international industry leaders. 

Equally meaningful to the people it touched were the Facebook Made On Mobile workshop for 30 high school students in KwaMashu, the Facebook Hack 4 Good workshop for 14 local tertiary students, and the Student Portfolio Day which gave 43 students from 11 institutions a rare opportunity to showcase their work in a bid to gain employment in the brand communication industry.  

There’s also the Creative Future Scholarship which offers full support to learners in KwaZulu-Natal with an annual value of over one million Rand. This year will be the 10th anniversary of the scholarship.

Carol Coetzee, CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission says the city welcomes the effect the Loeries has on building KZN’s position in the creative economy. “The Loeries understand the need for a sustainable impact on the local economy and have made efforts in leaving a legacy which they build on every year. As their presence here becomes a tradition, so our creative industry grows.”

Coetzee said she was relying on the local community to respond to the invitation to participate in the Loeries Fringe Festival and the I Heart Loeries Market. 

“The Loeries Fringe Festival featured more than 30 events in 2016 and we’re hoping even more locals will come forward this year. It’s a fantastic – and free – opportunity to showcase our own creative talent. There is also space for locals to apply for the I Heart Loeries Market, now an official Loeries Creative Week event. Last year it put 3,000 new visitors in front of local traders, and we had an increase of 200% in local black traders over 2015, making this another truly beneficial local event.” 

Aside from the impact of Loeries Creative Week on Durban and the greater community, winning a Loerie remains the highest accolade that can be awarded for creativity and innovation across Africa and the Middle East. Among this year’s more than 3,000 entries, 22 countries outside South Africa are participating. 

Phillip Sithole, Acting DCM, Head of Durban Tourism, says “The City of Durban is looking forward to being host city to one of the most powerful and influential creative gatherings in the brand communication industry. The re-staging of the Loerie Awards in Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal will be a major boost to the local economy, with a projected R170 million over the one-week period.”

He adds: “The award will certainly culminate into one of the best platforms to showcase the City’s rich diversity and natural beauty and also present the opportunity to uplift the local creative industry and empower the emerging talent in the City. We anticipate that the influx of the creative experts and leaders from the content will also increase the global advertising and filming opportunities for the destination marketing of the City.”

Loeries Creative Week runs 14 – 21 August and includes a day of MasterClasses on Thursday 17 August, the DStv Seminar of Creativity, and a Student Portfolio Day, on Friday 18 August, and many exclusive and private networking functions. It culminates in the awards ceremonies held on the Saturday and Sunday evenings, and the Channel O Party at the Durban ICC.

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