In Conversation with Anthony Impey: Guildhall Creative Entrepreneur judge
10 August 2020 | By Naomi Chapman
Entrepreneurship is a skill that requires conviction and continuous development says Anthony Impey, successful entrepreneur and judge for the Guildhall Creative Entrepreneur programme.
In 2014, Cause4 launched the Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs programme in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. We’ve now seen seven cohorts go through the year-long incubator, with 46 new businesses launched in the cultural sector.
Our 2019/20 cohort finished their year back in June, with seven brilliant pitches delivered virtually rather than in our usual Big Pitch event at Guildhall. These pitches act as a showcase of how the businesses and entrepreneurs have developed within the programme, and this year’s pitches were a testimony to the hard work and entrepreneurial mindsets of the cohort.
In this blog, we talk to Anthony Impey, serial entrepreneur and one of the judges for our Big Pitch event this year, about the value of entrepreneurship and developing key business skills. Anthony was awarded an MBE in 2018 for his services to apprenticeships and small business.
Cause4: In recent years, you’ve been a regular support of the Creative Entrepreneur scheme. Why do you think entrepreneurship training of this kind is important?
AI: Entrepreneurship enables everyone to pursue the things that they most love doing, giving them a way to turn their great passion into a successful business. It’s a great diversifier and democratiser, providing opportunity for anyone prepared to invest in themselves and work hard. As a result, it’s a fantastic route to realise goals and ambitions for those in the creative sector.
“Entrepreneurship is not an innate skill but one that needs to be learnt and continuously developed.”
Cause4: Speaking of realising goals and ambitions - what do you think the most vital thing for an aspiring entrepreneur to know or understand is?
AI: Entrepreneurship is not an innate skill but one that needs to be learnt and continuously developed. When I look at my own entrepreneurial journey, I’ve spent lots of time learning; sometimes it’s from reading, or spending time with mentors, or listening to someone speak; I’m currently doing an online course on innovation at Harvard. The Creative Entrepreneur scheme is a great way for any aspiring entrepreneur in the creative sector to kickstart this.
Cause4: Within the creative sector specifically, why do you think it is important for creatives to develop business skills alongside their creative practice?
AI: The value of an entrepreneurial skillset is not simply limited to those who want to start their own business. It’s a priority for employers who need people who can demonstrate innovative thinking and creative problem solving. And it will only become increasingly important as employers now need to navigate a future of uncertainty and rapid change; exactly the conditions in which entrepreneurship thrives.
Cause4: As a serial entrepreneur and business leader, what is your top tip for someone considering launching a new enterprise?
AI: Have enduring conviction. Being an entrepreneur is a tough and there will be times when you’re the only one who believes in what you’re doing. You’ll always need faith in what you’re doing, sometimes against the odds. Because the reward for doing so makes this the very best career you can have.
Thanks so much to Anthony for his inspiring views on entrepreneurship and for his ongoing support of the Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs programme – his expertise is an asset to the course.