In what has been a tremendously eventful and exciting 12 months, here's Creative Industry Finance's top ten moments of 2014!
Back in September we, alongside our funder Arts Council England, launched Creative Industry Finance across England. Speeches were applauded, craft beer flowed, the raffle...raffled, and all celebrated this ground-breaking initiative to support the growth of the creative economy.
Following the end of our pilot programme in March, we published the official Evaluation Report. The overwhelmingly positive outcomes showed us that we can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. A range of supported businesses told us how their turnover and profits have increased since receiving advice and finance, and £1million of business growth had been generated in the first year alone.
It's wonderful to learn of the part we played in the achievements of our supported businesses. These included Fettle Animation being nominated for a BAFTA, and Kempadoo Millar designing the official flat cap for the Yorkshire stage of the Tour de France and the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
We have recruited what we believe is the best darned team of expert Business Advisors around. Drawn for the worlds of business, the arts and the creative/cultural industries, there's quite probably nothing that these guys don't know about successfully growing a business and using finance to achieve it. We love it when a plan comes together.
In a first-of-its-kind network, we brought together regional, national and international finance providers to be our Lending Partners. They can offer our creative businesses a range of levels of borrowing, interest rates and repayment periods. And most importantly they're committed to lending to enable creative enterprises to become sustainable and grow. Expect more news about how we're growing this network very soon!
We asked trade and industry bodies from across the creative sectors if they would work with us to promote the programme to their members. The answer was Yes! We're looking forward to welcoming more of these Industry Partners to Creative Industry Finance through 2015 so we can let even more businesses know the benefits of our advice and access to finance.
Even though we only launched the national programme in September, one music business has already received expert advice and accessed £15,000 of loan finance. We wish them luck with their exciting developments, and look forward to announcing more newly financed businesses throughout 2015.
Getting out and about at events and conferences has been a great way to meet creative leaders, practitioners and entrepreneurs. We really value hearing about the your achievements and challenges, and having the opportunity to talk about what we can do to make a difference.
Not satisfied with just using the airwaves to talk about Creative Industry Finance on BBC Radio London's Simon Lederman show, we have also produced a rather snazzy little promotional film so you can learn about the impact the programme has made from the supported businesses themselves.
Creative Industry Finance HQ's feathers were all a flutter when Catherine Tough, one of the supported creative entrepreneurs from our pilot programme, offered one of her gorgeously made, hand knitted owls as a prize in our launch party raffle. We were sad to see the little guy go, but he's gone to a good home, and we hear he's settled in and is very happy.