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Kent bid to become UK creative business hub

Doug Richard
Doug Richard

Kent could become the UK’s creative business hub after inviting entrepreneurs to get their idea off the ground with financial help from Kent County Council and expert advice from Doug Richard.

The School for Creative Startups will be based in Folkestone and KCC is fully funding 100 places normally costing £3,500.

The funding is available to KCC residents, local business owners or those intending to start a business in Kent in broadcast media, communications, craft, culinary arts, design, digital, fashion, fine art, music or performing arts.

The move aims to boost Kent’s vibrant cultural scene as well as encourage economic growth in the county which already has 4,000 employees at 1,190 creative businesses.

Doug Richard, a serial entrepreneur and well known as a panellist on the BBC television series Dragons’ Den, launched the London-based School for Creative Startups in 2010.

Mr Richard said: “By backing its creative talent, Kent County Council is unlocking the county’s potential to be at the heart of British innovation and entrepreneurship, and we encourage Kent residents to apply. It’s great to see local government putting its money where its mouth is and pledging support for the start-ups that are leading the UK’s economic recovery.

“The UK is the Silicon Valley for the creative industries and nowhere else in the world do we have the same concentration of creative talent, but we must nurture it and help it to become a viable and self-sustainable sector.”

Mark Dance, KCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This partnership will play an important role in bolstering our county’s creative economy, helping to increase the number of Kent-based businesses, as well as ensuring that we become a welcoming host to a burgeoning creative workforce.

“It’s well established that creative industries play a significant role in regenerating local economies, and in School for Creative Startups we have a world-class partner that has helped create nearly 250 businesses since 2010.

'This investment reflects KCC’s ambition for the county'

“This investment reflects KCC’s ambition for the county. We want nothing less than for Kent to become the UK’s creative hub and I am delighted that we are making such a firm commitment to supporting Kent’s entrepreneurial talent.”

The eight-month adult education course will include bootcamps, workshops and one-to-one sessions. Aspiring creative entrepreneurs will learn how to brand, market and sell their products and services effectively. The course is designed to allow participants to continue working in their day job.

Experts involved in the course include photographer Rankin, Harvey Nichols Fashion Director Paula Reed, gastronome Loyd Grossman and fashion designer Sir Paul Smith. Participants will “launch” their businesses to potential investors, press, buyers, and public at the annual Startup Showcase, which concludes the course in May.

For you application click here

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