Another 20 creative companies have joined the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA’s) Creative Scale Up scheme – which provides online peer and mentoring support to help them respond to the impact of COVID-19.
The West of England Mayor Tim Bowles announced the cohort via video on social media – featuring a huge variety of businesses from the creative and cultural sector that the region is renowned for.
The second cohort of businesses are: Squarebird; Soap Creative; Noiser; Mangostone; Cirque Bijou; Invisible Circus; Moonraker; Village Design; Limbic Cinema; Moresoda; Factory Studios; Studio Diva; nymbl; Box 2 Media; Open Bionics; Funnel Music; Fleur of England; Uniquity; Motion Impossible and We Are The Collaborators.
Tim said: “I launched the Creative Scale Up programme to support our wonderful creative businesses to grow. In response to Covid-19 we’ve made crucial changes to the programme to ensure our creative sector gets the support it needs to survive and emerge stronger.
“The entrepreneurs and artists we’re working with have told us it’s reminding them they’re not alone but part of wider network of creative businesses. I know our latest participants will also find new ways of working together to survive and thrive, cementing the West of England as an excellent home for the creative industries.”
The scheme is already providing online peer and mentoring support to help businesses respond to the unique challenges presented by the pandemic, with business resilience being a key topic for the first group of 16 creative firms.
Carole Waller, co-director of Bath-based arts practice and gallery Waller and Wood, has gained valuable support from being part of the first cohort on the Creative Scale Up programme.
Carole said: “Creative Scale Up has been amazing for us – helping us to really focus on what’s next. It was very hard to stay focussed in the time of the pandemic but the flexibility of the programme meant we could ‘pivot’ within it.”
Rupert Howe, co-founder of Bristol-based Stornaway, said that the peer support network was a huge help with launching their new product in the middle of lockdown – a ground-breaking drag and drop production tool for interactive and immersive content.
Rupert added: “The Creative Scale Up peer mentoring programme was an invaluable community of practice. It was fantastic to meet and develop connections with the leaders of such an unusually wide range of creative businesses. We have developed a few ongoing relationships with our peers which we hope will continue to be mutually beneficial.
“As a result of the mentoring grant, we were able to find a world class mentor. Her insight and experience have helped us navigate the unknown waters of our early stage market. We hope that creative-focused investment opportunities continue to emerge as the scheme develops.”
Recruitment for the third round of the programme is open until 28 August, and offers support for firms across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire including:
£6,000 grant to spend on mentoring
- Dedicated peer support network
- Training tailored to the specific business development needs.
- Business development grants of up to £2,000.
The Creative Scale Up local steering board features local industry experts, all of whom are keen to support participants. It also draws on support available from national partners, including Creative England, Scale Up Institute, UK Business Angels Association and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
Creative businesses wishing to express an interest in joining the Creative Scale Up programme should email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application as soon as possible. The deadline to apply to be part of the next cohort is 28 August.
The Creative Scale Up programme is part of the West of England Combined Authority’s targeted business support programme to help kick-start the regional economy following the coronavirus outbreak. WECA’s wider economic development activity includes a range of business support, skills and employment initiatives. The Creative Scale Up programme, and other packages of support, can be accessed through WECA’s regional Growth Hub support offer which has been expanded to help businesses through Covid-19.
The Combined Authority’s focus is on rebuilding a strong regional economy, to enable long-term recovery for the West of England. The aim is to help businesses build their financial resilience, innovate and adopt best practice, and boost their productivity.
The first cohort of businesses to join the West of England Creative Scale Up programme were: Arcadia; Crack Industries; Luke Jerram; Trigger Stuff; Waller and Wood; Cognitive Paths; Knowle West Media Centre (The Factory); Complete Control; Limina Immersive; Auroch Digital; Wardrobe Theatre; Encounters Film Festival, Anagram, Visuable, Stornaway Productions and MAYK.
For more information on the Creative Scale Up programme, please visit: www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/business/creative-scale-up/.