Next generation of Scottish creative businesses chosen for RGU startup programme

Libby Curtis
Libby Curtis

Robert Gordon University (RGU) has announced the 12 creative businesses which have been selected for the inaugural CreativeAccelerator programme.

The chosen entrepreneurs and innovators cover a range of creative industries including visual arts, fashion and textiles, design, crafts,broadcasting and performing arts.

The teams will benefit from training, mentorship and development opportunities, as well as a work space at the new Look Again project space in Aberdeen, to help launch their business or take their existing concept to the next level of development and commercialisation.

Ranging from students graduating this summer from the RGU Gray’s school of art, to local creative businesses looking to grow their footprint in the northeast, the accelerator will provide business support and mentoring as well as masterclasses by creative industry leaders.

Due to the number and quality of the applications, a further 12 applicants have been selected for the ‘Accelerator Lite’ programme, which will provide a lighter touch business support programme.

The Creative Accelerator is part of a wider RGU Innovation agenda which has been spearheaded by the RGU Commercial and Regional Innovation office. This new initiative, which will run for 12 weeks from June, is being run by Look Again, part of Gray’s School of Art, in collaboration with RGU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG).

Highly practical training will cover what it takes to run a sustainable creative business. The programme will be delivered in the RGU Innovation Space at the new ONE Digital and Entrepreneurship Hub, which opens in the summer.

Libby Curtis, Head of Gray’s School of Art at RGU, commented: “The exciting new Look Again Creative Accelerator, in partnership with RGU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, creates fantastic opportunities for our students and graduates alike to develop new skills, knowledge and confidence that will equip them to build sustainable creative businesses.

“This new initiative also promotes the north east as an increasingly viable location from which to operate as a creative practitioner, helping us attain our goal to attract and retain talent and build our connectivity beyond the region.”

Chris Moule, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RGU, added: “There is a thriving creative scene in the north-east and this has been proven by the huge number, and quality, of applications received for our first creative accelerator programme.

“In partnership with Look Again, and building on RGU’s track record of one of the highest graduate employment rates in the UK, we want to nurture and support creative entrepreneurs and prepare them for self-employment and growing a business as part of a vibrant ‘gig economy’ in the north east.  The accelerator programme will enable them to develop their skills through a series of practical workshops, network and learn from peers and mentors, and gain the confidence to grow their creative businesses.”

Creative Scotland is supporting the accelerator with funding to provide masterclasses and micro-learning opportunities.

Creative Industries specialist at Creative Scotland, Andrew Leitch, said: “It is recognised that retaining creative talent is vital to the development of a healthy creative industries ecology.  

“Look Again has developed the Creative Accelerator with RGU as a new initiative which will benefit not only graduates, but also emerging creative enterprises, to help encourage ambitious creative talent to stay in the north east, enhancing the growing creative industries sector in the city, and making Aberdeen a more vibrant and exciting place to be.”

The 12 teams taking part in the creative accelerator are –

  • Lynne’s Loom – Lynne Mennie
  • Autism in Women and Girls through the Arts – Lindsay Gavine
  • Gestalt Designs – Andrew Woolhouse
  • Creative Me Podcast – Ica Hedlum
  • Catherine Park Illustrator – Catherine Park
  • Prolong Bags – Lucia Gasparidesova
  • Paper Houses Design – Mhairi Allan
  • Dancing Along the Borderline – Lynne Shaw
  • Science on a Postcard – Heidi Gardner
  • Bairns Wares – Debbi McLeod
  • The Bread Box – Shae Myles
  • Miss E –    Elaine Grant
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