Starter for 6


A total of 115 creative businesses have now benefited directly from enterprise training run by the Cultural Enterprise Office, with 59 marking the completion of the Starter for 6 main programme today.

The latest businesses include fashion designers, furniture makers, games and apps designers, architects, publishers, and product designers. Of the 59, 27 were also successful in pitching for up to £10,000 of cash investment.

The Cultural Enterprise Office, which took over responsibility for delivery at the end of 2009, is Scotland's specialist development agency for pre-start, start up and growing businesses in the Creative Industries sector.

The Scottish Government invested £1 million over two years in Starter for 6 in late 2009 through Creative Scotland's Innovation Fund.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, today joined entrepreneurs for the announcement of the 2011 Investment awards and the new Starter for 6 Network at Edinburgh's latest cultural venue, Summerhall.

Ms Hyslop said:

"Scotland's creative industries make a valuable contribution to our economy, supporting more than 60,000 jobs and generating £5.2 billion turnover each year.

"We are working closely with the sector as well as relevant public sector agencies, such as the Cultural Enterprise Office, to ensure our creative industries have the support they need to realise their full economic potential and reinforce Scotland's reputation as a place of innovation and creativity.

"By providing access to business skills training and investment, the Starter for 6 programme nurtures talent, creates new entrepreneurs and helps our creative industries to flourish. The commercial success and critical acclaim achieved by so many Starter for 6 start-ups is testament to the wealth of talent and entrepreneurship in Scotland."

Chair of the Cultural Enterprise Office, Oscar-nominated film Producer Bob Last said:

"Scotland has a wealth of creative talent but the challenge has always been to turn this talent into sustainable businesses, and specialist, targeted business support is the key to making this happen.

"Through Starter for 6 and its on-going business development work Cultural Enterprise Office supports not only the development of businesses that will grow into Scotland's SMEs, but micro-businesses that are the bedrock of the creative sector.

"The vision of the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland in investing in Starter for 6 is paying tangible dividends with the growing number of creative businesses that are not only contributing to the Scottish economy, but are raising Scotland's profile as a creative nation internationally."

Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said

'Creative Scotland's partnership with the Cultural Enterprise Office has shown the potential that is unlocked through investment in start-up businesses within the creative sector. We will work with Scottish Government and our other partners to ensure that Scotland realises its ambitions for success in the creative industries.'

Six creative businesses showcased their products at the event.

Sisters Lynne Mills and Lucy Ross, aka EyeCandy Couture, unveiled their Eye Lash Flick, a new product for the fashion industry and Method Furniture showcased one of their bespoke designs. Both of these companies had successfully pitched for investment after completing the 2011 Starter for 6 Main Programme. Also exhibiting in the showcase were four businesses that had completed the Starter for 6 Main Programme and Starter for 6 Fast Track in 2010.

"Starter for 6 is really innovative," says Andy Green, who with Peter Gerard set up Distrify, 'a revolution in online film'. Between them Green and Gerard have 30 years of experience in the film industry and were among the first entrepreneurs to follow the Starter for 6 Fast Track Programme which sees the training delivered in five weeks rather than five months "You are expected to be ambitious and you are given the tools to get out there, compete and build a sustainable business. The training in business development offered through the Cultural Enterprise Office is world class and has set us up for the conversations we are now having with investors and international clients."

Orkney-based textile and fashion designer Kirsteen Stewart who is building a Fairtrade business working with women in Bangladesh and Kenya, said "The training was built for people who like making and doing things. It was creative in every aspect of the course. Both the retail and wholesale sides of my business have developed since Starter for 6."

Sheila Logan was inspired to develop her range of TenderCush products by her own experience. In 2009 she had surgery for breast cancer. "There was a constant feeling of always wanting to protect the wounded side, not wanting to travel in the car for fear of sudden stops, and dreading going into crowds, shopping or socializing in case of being knocked or bumped into .I searched for products to help alleviate the problem, but to no avail, so I designed and made items for myself, which provided comfort and support, helping me to deal better with everyday situations."

She is now building a business supplying the product range to other women in a similar situation to hers.

Father of three Gavin Cruikshank had first-hand experience of sleepless nights and the problems associated with traditional roller blinds and was motivated to find a solution "It was important to us that we designed a product which completely took away the need for a blind cord," he explains. "The Sunbuster blind is innovative in its design by using soft magnetic strips to hold the blind in a raised position."

It was also announced today that Cultural Enterprise Office has established a Starter for 6 Network to continue to inspire and inform the previous participants of the Starter for 6 programme as they build their businesses, introducing them to established Scottish entrepreneurs running SMEs.

David Smith. Programme Manager, said:

"Through the Starter for 6 Network we aim to create a bridge to established innovative entrepreneurs in Scotland and the UK who can provide inspiration, mentoring and advice. In the coming months we will be leading a Product Marketing and Business Model Generation workshop in partnership with Interactive Scotland, a workshop with the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory service and an event with Smart Exporter."

Since Cultural Enterprise Office took over running Starter for 6 a total of 371 businesses have applied to participate in Starter for 6 Main Programme. 112 were accepted on to the programme ( 53 in 2010 and 59 in 2011), 54 of which successfully pitched for investment.