Launching Real Creative Futures

A Boost for Local Creative Digital Industries:
Nottingham-based Real Creative Futures launch a free programme of business support

Creative and digital businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire can benefit from a new programme of free business support launching this April – Real Creative Futures.

Hosted at New Art Exchange – a contemporary art gallery in Hyson Green, Nottingham – Real Creative Futures (RCF) aims to cultivate creative and digital ecologies, providing practical support in running a business as well as how to develop and sustain a successful creative practice.

The programme returns this April in its second incarnation, having already supported more than 200 businesses between April 2014 and November 2015. With £600,000 funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England’s Local Growth Fund, Real Creative Futures aims to build on their past successes with the launch of a whole new programme. The programme will feature elements exploring how to validate creative practice, build resilience, learn new skills, explore new ways of working, and promote great ideas, all through a framework based upon collaborative working and peer to peer learning.

Real Creative Futures Project Manager, David Mather, explains the importance in supporting the creative and digital industries and in turn, our regional economy:

The Real Creative Futures programme seeks to deliver a challenging and dynamic programme conveyed in a creative and fun atmosphere responding to the needs of the sector. Many of the people who work in the sector experience difficulties in getting their voice heard and overcoming the impact of working on one’s own. We want to showcase what is brilliant about the sector here in the region by utilising local talent wherever possible to deliver the programme.

Real Creative Futures is open to anyone over 16 years old living in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby or Derbyshire, who either has an existing business with under 250 employees or is looking to start a new business. It welcomes participants from a broad range of industries including: music, visual arts, performing arts, broadcasting, craft, software development, digital publishers, advertising, architecture, product design, fashion design and many more.

Participants of Real Creative Futures will be entitled to 12 hours of free business support, with a rich and varied programme comprising: one-to-one support from a business coach, mentoring from a team of industry experts, masterclasses and workshops, showcase and networking events. The bespoke programme recognises the diverse needs of businesses and is tailored around the participants, giving a unique experience and an invaluable development opportunity.

Past Real Creative Future Participant and Illustrator, Emily Catherine, describes the positive impact that the programme had on her business:

I was working really hard to make my illustration business part of my identity but I was struggling, as I had never studied art or illustration and was insecure about that. I joined Real Creative Futures when I was trying to get my illustrations noticed. I used every tool, acted on every piece of advice and tried as many new things as they have offered and the process was incredible. I actually believe that RCF changed my attitude towards myself and what I do.

Real Creative Futures is part of The Big House – a consortium of specialist creative organisations based in the region, who work collaboratively to support businesses and create a rich cultural ecosystem. It includes Creative Quarter, Nottingham City Council, NBV Enterprise Solutions Ltd, Nottingham Trent University, Derby QUAD, Derby Theatre and University of Derby; each contributing their areas of expertise to create a stronger offer of support. The Big House is part of Local Economic Partnership D2N2’s drive to stimulate the creative and digital industries, which already represent over 4,300 businesses and employs over 26,000 people in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership explain the importance of supporting the creative and digital industries:

In providing creative start-ups with tailored business support, the new ‘Big House’ project, to be run by a consortium of creative and cultural organisations, is set to add significantly to this sector’s growth and that of the wider D2N2 LEP economy.

Real Creative Futures welcome enquiries from new or existing creative or digital businesses. For more information contact the team on 0115 924 8630 or [email protected] or attend the programme’s showcase event on Monday 24 April, 5.30pm – 8.30pm at New Art Exchange, 39-41 Gregory Boulevard, NG7 6BE.

Real Creative Futures is part of The Big House project providing free specific support for businesses in the creative and digital sectors. The Big House is part of a drive to stimulate the growth of the creative and digital sectors across Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. The project is delivered through a partnership of specialist creative organisations part-funded by a £2.5 million contribution from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with match funding from the Creative Local Growth Fund programme, funded by The Arts Council England.

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