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The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and social enterprise Cause4 have opened applications for the 2017/18 Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs Scheme.

Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs is a business incubator which offers enterprise training, mentoring and funding support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the performing arts and creative industries. The scheme helps ambitious entrepreneurs launch their business idea or grow an existing start-up/enterprise to create a sustainable business.

The scheme is run in partnership with Cause4 and offers an intensive 12‐month programme (September – September). Over the course of the year, participants have access to:

  • Personalised training: to help develop a business plan, set up a company and gain access to funding and investment.
  • Mentoring and coaching: an average of 30 hours of tailored, one-to-one support provided by scheme leaders and a range of external experts. Current mentors include professionals from the Culture Capital Exchange, Artichoke, the BBC and the City of London Corporation (including the Barbican Centre).
  • Office space: access to central London office space, including free Wi-Fi and use of utilities and kitchen space. Entrepreneurs are entitled to approx. 20 hours of office access per week.
  • Networks: access to citywide professional networks including organisations such as Deutsche Bank and City of London Corporation, along with introductions to start-up growth networks, including UnLtd.
  • Training: an average of 80 hours of seminars and workshops on core entrepreneurial management skills, such as business planning/company structure, digital development, sales, marketing, building teams, leadership, finance and pitching.
  • Events: an average of 15 special events per year, including regular evening talks and a range of networking events featuring prominent figures from the entrepreneurial world and creative industries.
  • Funding advice and support: including the opportunity to pitch to select investors, funders and supporters at an organised pitch event towards the end of the 12 months.

The Creative Entrepreneurs scheme was devised by Professor Helena Gaunt, vice principal for innovation at the Guildhall School, in partnership with Cause4founded by Guildhall alumna and fellow Michelle Wright. Since 2013, it has involved over 30 creative entrepreneurs, over 90% of whom remain operational in the creative industries. Successes from past years have included Drum WorksDocklands Sinfonia, Soundcastle, and Turn of Phrase.

‘Our Creative Entrepreneurs scheme has grown from strength to strength, demonstrating so many ways in which practitioners in the performing arts can build sustainable business and make a difference,’ said Professor Gaunt. ‘I’m delighted that this is now becoming such a hotbed of fresh thinking and initiative, determination and business savvy. The environment, the community of creative entrepreneurs, and the down-to-earth practical approach open doors to success.’

‘In uncertain economic and political times the role of the performing artist is ever changing,’ said Michelle Wright, CEO of Cause4. ‘We now need not only to embrace portfolio careers but also to be skilled entrepreneurs, commercially minded with the ability to make ideas a reality.

‘This is why the Creative Entrepreneurs scheme is so important. Whilst sensitive to the needs of performing artists it also prepares musicians and actors for the commercial reality of today’s careers.’

An open day on 3 May will give potential applicants the opportunity to hear from scheme leaders and alumni, and meet with both established and aspiring entrepreneurs currently working in the creative industries.

The deadline for the 2017/2018 applications is 5pm on 6 July. The fee for the course is £3,100 with concession rates available for those who have graduated from a degree programme accredited by the Guildhall School.

www.gsmd.ac.uk/creativeentrepreneurs


Katy Wright – News editor