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Creative Sector Growth Programme

Calling creative businesses in the West of England who are at very early and growth stages.

Watershed (on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority) is delivering the Creative Sector Growth Programme, a training programme which can offer you business training, peer to peer support and mentoring.

Over the past 10 years Watershed has developed creative technology ideas into businesses through the work of the Pervasive Media Studio and this new programme has been developed specifically for creative companies in the West of England, to cater for their needs and aims.

What the programme offers:

  • A targeted training programme for companies who are in the early stages of development or at the growth stage – run by Gill Wildman, Mark Leaver and Briony Phillips with specialist experts in areas such as leadership, governance, expanding into new markets, sustainability, finance and investment, as well as thinking about resilience for the future.
  • A supportive programme of peer to peer support where you learn from each other and think about the previous weeks training together.
  • A series of inspiring talks from experienced founders
  • A possible £3k of professional sector specific expertise (mentoring, coaching and/or consultancy) depending on the size of your company.

You can apply now if you are:

  • A creative business or sole trader based in the West of England
  • You can demonstrate ambition to growth and create resilience over the next 3 years
  • You can commit to our training and peer to peer support sessions

We encourage applications from sole traders/companies with founders that are underrepresented in the creative and culture sector; for example if you are from a community that experiences racism, or you are a disabled person (as defined by the Equalities Act in 2010), or you did not go to University or you had free school meals as a child. 

About the team:

Gill Wildman's background is in innovation, strategic design and bringing new products and services to market. She has consulted for corporate clients such as BBC, Nokia, Microsoft, Oculus and many others, and brings this experience plus a design-led approach to business development. She has worked at the UK Design Council developing new work around design and startups. She has designed and taught new programmes with some great students at Hyper Island, Carnegie Mellon University, Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee.

Mark Leaver is an independent consultant concentrating on the development of projects combining creative media and digital technologies, with a specific focus on making strategic connections to international markets. A senior manager and producer with 25+ years experience across the creative and media industries, working in both commercial business and public sector, two key themes have categorised his career: the combination of content and emerging digital technologies; and the connection of creative business to international markets. 

Briony Phillips: Working across innovation, education, nutrition, open data, and network development, Briony is a strategic thinker, experienced facilitator, and effective project manager. Over the past 16 years she has worked across the globe in roles including management consultancy at Deloitte, and running the Open Data Challenge Series for the Open Data Institute and Nesta. She currently works at Rocketmakers, where she is responsible for marketing and scaleup projects (designed to support the community of fast-growth companies locally) and works with TechSPARK to deliver the Investment Activator Programme.

How to apply:

Applications for the next programme beginning in Jan 2022 are now open – more details are here. Complete the application form linked below and email to creativegrowth@westofengland-ca.gov.uk by Mon 29 Nov at 12:00.

Access support:

We are committed to being open and accessible to everyone.

Some people may find there are barriers to accessing this grant, if you experience or expect any barrier with making your application and would like more information or a copy of our guidance, please contact us at creativegrowth@westofengland-ca.gov.uk

Download the application form

Closing Date: Monday, 29 November 2021 - 12:00