July 2023

Creative students win powerful support package to get businesses going

By Melanie Hall

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A group of final year students from University College Birmingham has won a powerful package of business start-up support through an initiative to boost creative industry in partnership with the University of Warwick. 

Brenda Kamassa, Lucy Froggatt, Rebecca Manning and Zoe Tomkinson-Hewett have all been awarded six months of free support with everything from promoting their business to managing their accounts after being selected for the second cohort of enterprises for the Creative Futures Incubator. 

The businesses they have started or plan to start include clinics around nutrition for skin health and creating eyebrows with permanent make-up for people with conditions such as alopecia, through to a hair and make-up company for film and TV, and special occasions such as weddings. 

Each student, who had to do a Dragons’ Den-style pitch to win the support, will benefit from monthly 1:1s, team building and marketing workshops, as well as a grant of £2,000. 

And to boot, they have access to dedicated workspace, networking opportunities with their peers and broader business development and entrepreneurial connections from University College Birmingham and University of Warwick’s industry networks. 

Building successful ventures

Incubatee Rebecca said the start-up support would be a huge help as she gets her freelance hair and make-up business off the ground. She said the grant would be especially welcome, enabling her to buy her own professional kit. 

“My family runs their own business, so I have an idea of what I need to do, but it’s really good to have this extra support, particularly with marketing my services and how to break them down,” she said. “It will also help me build a professional portfolio.” 

Rachel Davis, Director of Warwick Enterprise, commented: “It’s so exciting to see the Creative Futures Incubator at University College Birmingham onboard its second cohort of graduates. It’s amazing what can happen with the right support, a great team and a little bit of funding. 

“We’re looking forward to building on this success in future years, enabling more University College Birmingham and University of Warwick students and graduates the opportunity to test their ideas and launch their ventures.” 

"It’s so exciting to see the Creative Futures Incubator at University College Birmingham onboard its second cohort of graduates. It’s amazing what can happen with the right support, a great team and a little bit of funding."

Rachel Davis Director of Warwick Enterprise

Business coach and make-up artist to the stars 

The first workshop in the six-month support package has now taken place at the University’s Enterprise Hive and saw business coach Alice Stanek share her words of wisdom with the students, who are all due to complete the Aesthetics and Specialist Hair and Media Make-up degrees. 

The afternoon session was taken by Lauren Pryer, one of last year’s incubatees, who successfully set up her own microblading clinic after receiving the support and came back to inspire this year’s cohort. 

This was followed by a portfolio development session with specialist make-up artist Jane Lumb, who has worked on TV shows such as EastEnders and Doctors, as well as films including Killing Me Softly starring Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes and 24-hour Party People starring Steve Coogan. 

Luciana Gaspar, Enterprise Consultant for University College Birmingham's Business School and Creative Futures Incubator lead, said: "We selected participants who are interested and enthusiastic about starting their businesses.

“We are sure they will benefit from the dedicated workshops we designed for them. The first workshop was full of questions and wonderful energy, evidencing that it has been a great starting point for them." 

Tsai Lovett, Deputy Dean (Teaching, Learning and Digital) at University College Birmingham, said: “I am thrilled to welcome our second cohort to the Creative Futures Incubator, a programme dedicated to supporting our graduates as they enter the creative industry sector. 

“Starting a business is challenging and can feel overwhelming, which is where guidance, support and coaching will stand these entrepreneurs in good stead for the future.” 

Find out more about our college level and degree courses designed to equip students with the skills they need for lucrative and rewarding careers in the creative industries here. 

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