Northern support for creative businesses, by Mandy Barker
In the past couple of weeks, Sail has attended a Creatathon – an initiative put together by Creative Fuse in Newcastle. The Createathon is an intensive two day workshop which brings together talented postgraduate students to work with you to drive innovation and build resilience in your business. It gives you chance to reflect on your organisation and talk through current challenges and opportunities. The event is EU funded, and ran by Newcastle Business School lecturers Mo O’Toole, Fiona Whitehurst, Paul Richter and Anna Steel.
On day one, I worked with post MA students Donny and Jade to give an overview of Sail Creative, and we spent a full day really narrowing down focus for the business. It gave me the opportunity to run ideas and challenges past the business students and gain feedback. We used a process similar that I use at with clients at Sail to clarify their business direction and market opportunities.The workshop helped by providing the opportunity to spend a full two days on the business, and further refine the vision for Sail. Jade and Donny listened, and gave valuable insights and knowledge throughout, and then went away to work on an action plan for Sail Creative. They then had to present a Pecha Kucha style presentation (Pecha Kucha-20 images, 20 seconds each, keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, often powers multiple-speaker events), and the most innovative and concise presentation won £200 (a great incentive for the students).Jade did an outstanding and creative presentation, and deservedly won the £200! It was an excellent collaboration that I really recommend to other businesses, getting an objective viewpoint from knowledgeable students was invaluable.
It also gave me the opportunity to meet some exciting businesses that are also trying to challenge the status quo. Including a forest school, and family tailored cultural events organisation Chalk. It was refreshing to be around like minded people, and know that support networks are out there along with funding pots for those doing innovative, creative work. The Createathon gave me a comprehensive action plan going forward as a collective based studio. Initiatives such as Create Fuse like this that champion start up creative businesses and give this type of support are invaluable. Getting the action plan written by an objective party has provided me with a comprehensive plan going forward, with tangible goals. It is also a great opportunity for the students to analyse a real working business, and put their knowledge to the test. It helps them (and the business) develop whilst opening up potential collaboration opportunities with the businesses they work with.