Creative Businesses To The Forefront In Scotland
The vibrancy of Scotland's creativity was in the spotlight as the recipients of this year's Starter for 6 investment were announced by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
Among the successful companies are a former Hip Hop dancer whose global network is enabling dancers from the USA to Australia to share moves via an app on both the Apple and Android platforms; an innovative, high-tech fashion designer; and a product designer whose drum kit won't upset the neighbours.
A total of 32 creative businesses - including fashion, apps, software and product designers, architects, publishers, and more - marked their completion of Starter for 6 training, bringing to more than 160 the number of creative businesses that have benefitted directly from the prestigious enterprise programme since the Cultural Enterprise Office took over full responsibility for its delivery in late 2009.
In recognition of the importance of the creative industries to the Scottish economy and the growing value of creative exports, the Scottish Government has invested more than £1 million in Starter for 6 since late 2009 through Creative Scotland's Innovation Fund.
The Culture Secretary said: "Scotland is internationally renowned as a place of great innovation and culture, with a creative industries sector that directly contributes £2.7 billion to the Scottish economy.
"Starter for 6 offers investment and business skills training to artists and creative practitioners so they can develop their ideas into viable enterprises. It is an excellent example of how we can support emerging talent to ensure this sector is well-placed to realise its full economic potential."
The Cultural Enterprise Office is Scotland's specialist agency supporting and developing pre-start and growing businesses in the creative sector. Chair Bob Last - who is also an Oscar-nominated film producer - said: "The particular focus of the Cultural Enterprise Office is on supporting and encouraging micro businesses that are the bedrock of a successful creative industry sector, many of which sit at the fertile border between art and commerce.
"In these tough economic times businesses need to innovate, to identify new markets and to create new products and services. Starter for 6 demands creativity, realism and excellence from its participants, all of which are vital if they are to meet the challenges of developing their businesses in today's market conditions."
Caroline Parkinson, Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland, said: "The Starter for 6 start-ups are testament to the innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship that Scotland has to offer. We are delighted to be working with the Cultural Enterprise Office to allow our creative businesses to flourish, raising Scotland's international profile as a creative nation and contributing to the creative economy."
A number of creative businesses showcased their innovative products at the event. These included Briggs & Cole and Kohl Publishing, two businesses that have launched since completing the 2011 Starter for 6 programme.
Three of 2012 year's cohort also showcased their businesses including Consol Efomi of MakethatMove - the world's only dance video sharing platform. An app on both Apple (iphone, ipad, ipod touch), and Android (smartphones and tablets) devices, MakethatMove enables the world's best dancers and choreographers to share their videos with other professionals and with amateurs wanting to watch, enjoy and learn new moves in Hip Hop, House, Popping, B-Boying, Lyrical, Locking, Krump, Dancehall, Street Jazz and more. Importantly, it also enables dance performers to earn from their videos.
Hip Hop has a global community of over 1.1 billion people across all nationalities, races and religions and with more than 25 years as a leading Hip Hop dancer, Consol drew on his own personal experience to develop his business. He said: "We already have a global customer base with our contributors coming from as far afield as the USA, India, UK, Australia, EU, and Latin America. Starter for 6 has helped me to refine my business plan, improve my pitching techniques and to benefit from the input of peers on the programme, all of which are invaluable for the future development of MakethatMove as we create new features to maximise the site's various income streams."
For product designer Gary Vallely of 6TURNED9 Percussion, cajón drums combine two of his great loves, music and working with wood. He has designed a hybrid cajón drum, offering kit drummers a portable instrument with a wide range of sounds and a familiar playing position. The compact size and, in particular, the subtle voicing of Vallely's design allows players with limited space and sensitive neighbours, to practice and create at home.
Gary, who is currently preparing a crowd funding project to open a community music space and percussion shop, said: "The Starter for 6 training has been crucial in helping me understand exactly where my product is in its development and what steps are necessary to take it forward."
Jacob Birge Vision is the brainchild of a Polish designer who - after studying at Edinburgh College of Art - decided to base his business in Scotland. An innovative fashion brand, specialising in high-end, modern women's wear and accessories, Jacob Birge Vision combines fashion with sound design, visual installation and film, employing unconventional hi-tech fabrics and materials not usually related to fashion in its unique creations.
Jacob Birge Vision is now hoping to present designs at London Fashion Week next February and said: "The Starter for 6 Programme has helped me define my business strategy and business model. It enabled me define the unique strengths of my brand. Sharing information and experience and getting their feedback from other participants, and tutors gave me confidence to face future challenges."
Since 2010, more than 500 businesses have applied to participate in Starter for 6 with 162 accepted onto the programmes and 88 having already successfully pitched for cash investment.
Applications to take part in the 2013 Starter for 6 Programme open at midday on Tuesday October 16, 2012.
For more about Starter for 6 see
Web site - www.culturalenterpriseoffice.co.uk