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Eighteen creative firms from across the UK have won a year of business mentoring from top creative industry experts such as Peter Bazalgette, Non Executive Director, New Baz Limited and Patrick McKenna, Chief Executive, Ingenious, in a pioneering scheme to develop high-potential creative businesses.

Organised by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), the Creative Business Mentor Network programme, now in its second year, provides companies working in TV production, advertising, film, video games, design, animation, digital media and publishing with expert business mentoring to help them prosper.

Mentors taking part in the scheme are giants of the UK creative industries and include:

  • Alex Connock, CEO, Ten Alps
  • Peter Bazalgette, Non-Executive Director, New Baz Limited
  • Charles Wace, Chief Executive, Twofour Communications 
  • Patrick McKenna, Chief Executive, Ingenious 
  • Simeen Kadi, Group Head of Marketing, Carbon Trust 
  • Steve Macallister, Managing Director Sales & Distribution, BBC Worldwide
  • John Varney, Managing Director, Maximum Clarity

Jonathan Kestenbaum, Chief Executive of NESTA says, ‘The creative industries are a vital source of economic growth in the UK but they require tailored business support to succeed. We are thrilled to have attracted such a high calibre of the mentors to guide these fledgling companies. They will have access to valuable industry knowledge.’

The programme helps promising creative businesses grow and prosper by giving them business advice from industry 'gurus'. Research has found that in 90% of creative businesses over half of the senior management team have not had any business development training and only 35% of creative businesses have set business revenue goals[i]. The Creative Business Mentor Network is designed to fill this gap in business training for creative firms. 

The programme helps promising creative businesses grow and prosper by giving them business advice from industry ‘gurus’. Research has found that in 90% of creative businesses over half of the senior management team have not had any business development training and only 35% of creative businesses have set business revenue goals. The Creative Business Mentor Network is designed to fill this gap in business training for creative firms.

Peter Bazalgette says ‘Media entrepreneurs are driven, creative and innovative by nature. But self-belief only takes you so far. In my experience it's good to have someone who can disinterestedly filter your ideas and perhaps think of practical ways of furthering them. That's the job of a mentor and I love it.’

Alex Connock says, ‘If Britain is going to find its way out of recession, it's going to be achieved through the creative economy - and NESTA can help us all share experience of the opportunities and pitfalls of these exciting but volatile businesses.’

The first year of the scheme concentrated on high growth companies from the TV production, advertising and digital media sectors. The scheme has now expanded to offer mentoring to a wider range of new media agencies including those working in video games, design, animation, and film.

For more information and to arrange interviews with mentors and/or mentees, contact Catherine Anderson on 0207 438 2609 or email [email protected]

Notes to editors:

The companies selected to take part in Creative Business Mentor Network are:

Gas Street Works (Birmingham)
The Charactershop (Birmingham)
Skyworks (London)
Studio Six (Bristol)          
In Cahoots (Birmingham)
Ostmodern (London)
Refine (London)
Raw Design (Salford)
Bold Creative (London)
ISO (Glasgow)
Nutopia (London)
Formosa Film (London)
Dene Films (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Public Zone (London)
Outline Productions (London)
Society Media (London)
Plug-in Media (Brighton)
PixeLearning (Coventry)

The mentors taking part in Creative Business Mentor Network are:

Andy De Groose, Managing Director, TBWA London
Alex Connock, CEO Ten Alps
Charles Wace, Chief Executive, Two Four
Jon Kingsbury, Head of External Supply, BBC
John Varney, Managing Director, Maximum Clarity
Mark Beilby, Co-founder and Director, Apollo Mobile
Mike Kelly, MD, Northern Alliance Limited
Mike Jefferies, International Business Development Director, Razorfish  
Nigel Maile, former BBH Financial Director
Patrick McKenna, Chief Executive, Ingenious
Paul Sandler, Managing Director, Objective Productions
Andrew Newmen, Creative Director, Objective Productions
Peter Bazalgette, Non Executive Director, New Baz Limited
Peter Cowley, International Digital Media Consultant
Simeen Kadi, Group Head of Marketing, Carbon Trust
Steve Macallister, Managing Director Sales & Distribution, BBC Worldwide
Steve Taylor, Founding Partner, Hub Industries
Tim Bonnet, CEO Tequila London
Tim Gatland, Chief Executive, F4G Software Limited

About NESTA

NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it operates at no cost to the government or taxpayer.

NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in early-stage companies.

[i] Survey of Creative Businesses, NESTA 2006 (page 16)