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Business supportAndy Burnham helps launch new Creative Scale-Up programme for Greater Manchester creative...

Andy Burnham helps launch new Creative Scale-Up programme for Greater Manchester creative businesses

Creative industry businesses in Greater Manchester have been given a welcome boost following the launch of an innovative new programme that will help them to scale-up and grow.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham joined the Director for Media and Creative Industries at the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), Robert Specterman-Green, this week (Thursday 16 January) at the launch of Creative Scale-Up – designed to support the region’s creative businesses get investment-ready and successfully scale-up.

With a vibrant community of more than 8,500 creative businesses, generating £1.4 billion of economic growth annually, Greater Manchester boasts one of the country’s leading creative clusters outside of London.

Creative Scale-Up – launched by the Growth Company and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and fully funded by DCMS – is providing bespoke business support, a first for this sector. The initiative is one of three UK widetwo-year pilots (the others being in the West of England and West Midlands).

The programme will be tackling gaps in investment and growth in the Creative sector, while empowering creative businesses to realise their full growth potential, providing the training and tools necessary to take creative businesses to the next level.

There are a small number of places available for SMEs in the Creative Industry to apply for the programme, while additional investors and industry mentors are also invited to get in touch with the Creative Scale-Up team to discuss their potential involvement.

It offers a fully funded and tailored approach, using a simple module-based curriculum, including:

  • Planning for growth
  • Investor-ready finances
  • Structure and leadership designed for growth
  • Understanding and managing intellectual assets
  • Market strategy for rapid growth
  • Sales skills for creatives
  • Pitching with confidence
  • Preparing a winning investment pitch

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “The creative industries are extremely important to our city-region, contributing over £1.4 billion to the local economy every year and playing a key role in shaping Greater Manchester’s rich and vibrant culture.

“The Creative Scale-Up Programme will be an integral part of Greater Manchester’s support for the sector and will arm creative businesses with the necessary skills they need to succeed, ensuring we sustain the growth of this vital sector.”

Amongst the initial cohort for Creative Scale-Up is Mustard Media, Europe’s leading festivals and events accelerator. They help brands create, build and progress the growth of their events and have worked with clients including elrow, Parklife, Skiddle, Lovebox, Manchester Pride and AfroNation.

Rob Masterson, Managing Director at Mustard Media, said: “We’ve already seen the benefit of being involved with GC Business Growth Hub’s Amplify and Greater Connected programmes over the past few years, so it was a simple decision to take up this opportunity with Creative Scale-Up.

“The previous programmes have given us the knowledge and tools we needed to shape our growth plan and map out our ‘mission, motto and mantra’. We’ve been able to expand our international plans and take on new staff, so we’re excited to see where this new programme will take us in 2020 and beyond.”

Janine Smith, Head of Specialist Services at GC Business Growth, said: “Greater Manchester is rightly renowned for the quality of its Creative Industries, so we’re delighted to be working with these businesses to support their continued growth and development within this thriving industry.

“The response we’ve had so far has been fantastic and I’m happy to see that so many businesses have already applied to the programme. Places are limited but there are still some opportunities remaining for businesses to apply to be a part of Creative Scale-Up. We would also love to hear from additional investors and industry mentors who are interested in being involved.”

Creative businesses with a minimum of eight staff (including freelancers) who are already growing or are looking to grow from any of the following categories can apply:

  • Creative Content (Film, TV, Radio, Gaming, AR, VR Businesses)
  • Creative Originals (Design, Fashion, Jewellery Businesses)
  • Creative Services (Marketing, PR, Architecture, Publishing Businesses)
  • Creative Experiences (Museums, Galleries, Performing Arts Organisations)

For more information and to apply for Creative Scale-Up, visit the GC Business Growth Hub website.

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