The Guildhall School of Music & Drama together with social enterprise Cause4 opens applications for 2018-2019 Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs. Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs is a business incubator, offering enterprise training, mentoring and funding support to aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to launch their own enterprise in the performing arts. The incubator helps ambitious entrepreneurs jumpstart their business idea or grow an existing start-up/enterprise and create a sustainable business. The Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs Open Day on 2 May gives potential applicants the opportunity to hear from incubator leaders and alumni, and meet with both established and aspiring entrepreneurs currently working in the performing arts.

Since 2013, the scheme has incubated over 35 creative entrepreneurs and has demonstrated a solid track record of sustainability, with over 90% of entrepreneurs still operational in the creative industries. Successes from past years have included Drum Works, a music education programme that confronts disengagement within schools, and is currently reaching over 400 young people every week and is now a Barbican Artistic Associate; Docklands Sinfonia, a young and pioneering orchestra which has become a major cultural force in the Docklands; Soundcastle, which unites communities and inspire workplaces through high-quality music-making has expanded from London to Brighton to Bristol with a growing team from 4 to 18; Real Voices which has expanded from one to four forward-thinking choirs across South London; and Turn of Phrase, a communications skills company who are pioneering methods to improve gender equality in the workplace.

For the first three years of its development, the scheme was exclusive to Guildhall alumni and staff and helped the development of 22 creative businesses, as well as providing enterprise training to many more Guildhall-led businesses and individuals through access to selected workshops and events. In 2016, the scheme was opened to applicants from across the performing arts sector as well as Guildhall alumni and staff. Applicants are assessed on the basis of the strength of the business concept, its readiness for development and, in the case of artistically led projects, the quality of the venture. Details on the current cohort can be found here.

The incubator is run in partnership with award-winning social enterprise Cause4 and offers an intensive 12‐month programme (September – September). In the course of the year, participants have access to:
Personalised training to help you develop your business plan, set up a company and gain access to funding & investment. Mentoring & coaching with established entrepreneurs and arts sector leaders.
Office space in central London, saving you over £15K in office costs during the year.
Professional and peer networks providing introductions to potential partners, customers, donors & investors.
Events featuring prominent figures from the entrepreneurial and creative sectors.
A community of fellow entrepreneurs on a similar journey.
Ongoing advice & support, for example with regards to commercial income generation.

Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs was devised by Professor Helena Gaunt, Vice Principal and Director of Guildhall Innovation at the Guildhall School, in partnership with social enterprise Cause4. Michelle Wright, the CEO of Cause4, is an alumna and Fellow of the Guildhall School (Violin 1995-1999) and founded Cause4 in 2009. Since being founded, Cause4 has grown rapidly and represents an experienced partner in the development of entrepreneurial ideas and associated business models.

Professor Helena Gaunt, Vice Principal and Director of Guildhall Innovation said: “Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs is more needed than ever - an environment in which artists can both evolve ideas and develop the skills to build sustainable business and make a difference. The evidence of alumni successfully carving out new areas of work and bringing fresh initiatives alive is speaking for itself. The community of creative enterprise is really building.”

Michelle Wright, CEO of Cause4 said: “The leading artists are not just brilliant performers but are also recognising the essential requirement to be skilled entrepreneurs, commercially minded with a pragmatic view of the intricacies of surviving to build long-term sustainable careers. Creative Entrepreneurs is the only incubator in the country set up to be sensitive to the needs of musicians and actors, whilst supporting them to become leading business owners, able to spot opportunities and to generate vital income’.

The deadline for the 2018/2019 applications is 25 June at 5pm. The fee for the course is £3,100 with concession rates available for participants that have graduated from a Guildhall School accredited degree programme. In addition to the Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs Incubator, the Guildhall School also offers a range of creative entrepreneurship short courses for aspiring entrepreneurs and performing artists. www.gsmd.ac.uk/creativeentrepreneurs

 

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