In response to the significant impact the pandemic has had on businesses and individuals working in the creative industries, the West of England Combined Authority has provided increased support to the creative sector, including a new business support programme and grant funding for the cultural and creative sectors.
This programme will support up to 120 creative businesses and freelancers across 2 cohorts to reformulate their operating and financial models, explore new business opportunities and review business plans in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The programme is aimed at businesses and freelancers across all sectors of the creative industries and all ownership types, with a focus on improving business resilience and supporting recovery.
The Creative Sector Growth Programme is a way of Creative businesses taking part in a programme that's regular, and helps them to look across the business, to explore what the potential is for them.
The people delivering the programme are all people who have creative sector business experience.
They've all grown companies, they've all delivered businesses.
“The WECA Programme provided access to funding for mentorship from a specialist consultant who we could choose ourselves.
“I found this amazing mentor who understood what my vision was, what the purpose was and had the experience in the industry.
“After the first meeting I think, I kind of sat down and was like 'Wow, this is what I needed now'.
It's a mentoring programme that allows the business to attract experienced individuals to work with them directly, and it's a peer network, it's a safe space where each of the founders can learn from others like them.
We want the people who are beavering away at creative ideas, or maybe have just started out.
For growing entrepreneurs, especially from black, ethnic minority or minoritised communities.
I really do think that the industry can't represent you, as much as you would like it to represent you.
So the best thing is for you to get involved.
I would particularly recommend that women in business apply to the Creative Sector Growth Programme because it seriously helps you to grow your network, your platform, the skills that you then have to grow your business in an under-represented industry.
I've never heard of a programme before that provides you with finance to find a mentor of your choosing. It was so important to us, and has made a massive difference.
One of the greatest aspects of the programme was the peer-to-peer knowledge exchange. So much best practice exchange happening there.
I think that what this actually offers, it offers an opportunity for people to create the content that they would like to see.
If you want to grow, whatever you're doing, as a freelancer, as a creative, as a business owner, and you want to accelerate - it's the perfect programme for you.
Ultimately, if you want to grow and you're in the creative industry, then the WECA programme is something to look at.
The Creative Sector Growth programme is a way creative businesses can get help to explore their potential.
The Creative Sector Growth Programme will offer creative SMEs and freelancers in the West of England access to sector specific support including:
The programme follows our Creative Scale Up pilot programme, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which supported over 50 creative businesses in the West of England.