16 firms kick off latest cohort of £1.3m East Midlands Create Growth programme

* Creative businesses meet for launch of Cohort 2 of DCMS-funded programme

* Delegates attend introduction and innovation session in Lincoln

* Places filling up on final two cohorts – with recruitment live now

Create Growth

The latest group of creative businesses to register for the £1.3m East Midlands Create Growth programme have started their investment readiness journey.

Cohort 2 of the regional programme kicked off in Lincoln with an in-person session led by delivery partner Greenborough Management.

The 16 firms participating span creative industries in Leicester and Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, Lincoln and Greater Lincolnshire.

They are the second of five groups planned under the £1.3m Department for Culture Media and Sport Create-funded growth programme, which delivers business support to regional businesses which are ready to scale up. Cohorts 3, 4 and 5 are open for applications now.

Cohort 2 includes digital marketing agencies, a film and video production company, and a design agency specialising in personalised funeral announcements and orders of service.

The first session – Innovation for Growth – was led by Stuart Hartley, Greenborough’s Innovation Manager.

Delegates were given an insight into the world’s most famous innovators, and encouraged to apply similar principles to their own business models.

“No idea is a bad idea, that was the only rule for this session. It was all about getting other people’s perspectives,” Stuart said.

He added: “The group really took it on board and had some really interesting discussions which will hopefully give them ideas to take away and develop.”

Claire Macdonald, of MacMartin – a marketing, communications and design agency, said: “We’ve experienced growth before and came up against some challenges. We’re now ready to grow again and want to be as prepared as we can be so this programme has come at the right time.”

Spaces are available for remaining cohorts of the programme, with Cohort 3 commencing at the beginning of June.

Creative companies joining cohorts 3 and 5, run by CDI Alliance, will receive an initial business health check, before attending a full day networking and training session.

Eight 90-minute virtual masterclasses will then follow covering themes including leadership, marketing, sales, finance, and business planning.

Businesses on Greenborough Management-led Cohort 4 will benefit from in-person sessions focusing on:

  • Diagnostic: Identifying business needs and drawing up a bespoke action plan
  • Workshops: Delivered by experts, covering Business Model and Innovation; Markets and Customers; Leadership, People and Processes; Finance and Funding, and Business Growth Plan.
  • Masterclasses: Two sessions, all with businesses.

The penultimate meet-up will be a Q&A session, before an evaluation and onward referral session will conclude the programme.

All firms will also be paired up with a mentor that will provide 1:1 support for four or more hours.

There will also be the option to complete a fully-funded 12-hour investment readiness workshop with Lincolnshire Business Angels to help participants prepare for growth.

Create Growth was launched in 2022 by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) in partnership with Innovate UK. It is designed to support the development of creative industries with high-growth potential across England, outside of London.

The aim of the programme, organised under the EMC² partnership, is to get 100 creative businesses across Leicester and Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, Lincoln and Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland, investment ready – anyone interested in applying can find out more here.

EMC² is a community of business support and creative organisations from around the East Midlands. Members include local authorities, universities, local enterprise partnerships, and many other organisations in the private, public and voluntary sector.

The coalition came together through its successful £1.3m bid for the Government’s Create Growth Programme, led by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

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