Today, Guildhall School of Music & Drama launches a new Creative Entrepreneurs scheme aimed at supporting graduates of the School to set up their own businesses/social enterprises and develop entrepreneurship skills.
Recognising the current needs of graduate students to be able to be self-starting, and entrepreneurial, the scheme will support Guildhall School alumni to create, launch and make a success of their businesses – as well as to raise vital seed funding.
Run in partnership with development and fundraising enterprise Cause4, Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs forms one strand of a new scheme of Enterprise development at the Guildhall School, focusing initially on working with a cohort of recent Guildhall alumni (music, acting and technical theatre) through transition to professional life.
The scheme has been developed by Assistant Principal (Research and Academic Development) Professor Helena Gaunt and consists of an intensive 12-month programme for those alumni with a business idea already formed. The scheme includes access to mentoring, coaching, business planning, marketing and sales and funding. Alumni will also benefit from use of office and creative space for a 12 month period and will be introduced to a range of entrepreneurial, community and partnership networks to support business development.
Additionally, the partnership will run a ‘lighter touch programme’ of workshops and seminar activity for those wanting to develop their knowledge of creative entrepreneurship and develop viable initiatives. A series of seminars and monthly leadership events including core entrepreneurial management skills, such as customer development, digital development, sales, marketing, building teams, finance and pitching, will take place throughout the year.
Alumni will be selected onto the scheme via criteria including artistic quality, strength of concept, business readiness, investment potential and anticipated contribution to the School’s life or community programmes. Additionally, successful businesses will be expected to contribute financially to the scheme’s future sustainability via funding and mentoring alumni coming through the scheme in subsequent years.
Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs will be hosted and run at the offices of development and fundraising enterprise, Cause4 in the City. CEO of Cause4 Michelle Wright is an alumna and Fellow of the Guildhall School (Violin 1995-1999). The company specialises in the development of charities and social enterprises and as a fast-growing SME itself, Cause4 has good expertise in the development of entrepreneurial ideas and associated business models.
This scheme builds on knowledge and evaluation of Cause4’s successful Entrepreneurship programme which aims to fast-track graduates into leadership roles in the charity and social enterprise sector through a programme of training, development and ‘hands on’ learning.
Professor Helena Gaunt says “This is a unique opportunity for us at the Guildhall to make a step-change in the way we engage with our recent alumni and support them at a critical point in their careers, ensuring that the quality of their artistic skills and creative ideas are matched with relevant business skills and practical understanding of how to unlock professional potential in the performing arts. By working in partnership with Cause4, we will capitalise on our distinctive areas of expertise and catalyse an exciting range of start-ups in the creative industries that demonstrate next practices in the performing arts."
Michelle Wright, CEO of Cause4 adds “As a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama I know from my own experience just how challenging it can be to launch a career on leaving college. A conservatoire education teaches you many things, including how to perform under pressure, resilience and creativity – all key skills for start up entrepreneurs. This new initiative from the Guildhall School offering alumni the chance to develop their own businesses is a golden opportunity to invest in a new generation of creative entrepreneurs, as well as to support talented graduates to be able to earn a living and thrive on leaving college. It’s a brilliant innovation to support graduates in a more challenging economy for the arts and culture.”