PRESS RELEASE: Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs Scheme now open to entrepreneurs across the creative industries

31st March, 2016

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17 March 2016

From September 2016, the Guildhall School’s Creative Entrepreneurs programme is opening applications outside Guildhall, to aspiring entrepreneurs across the creative industries. Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs is a business incubator initiative, offering enterprise training, mentoring and funding support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the performing arts and creative industries. The scheme helps aspiring entrepreneurs jumpstart their business idea or grow an existing start- up/enterprise and create a sustainable business.

For the first three years of its development, the scheme has been exclusive to Guildhall alumni and staff (music, acting and technical theatre) and has helped the development of 22 creative businesses, as well as providing enterprise training to many more Guildhall-ledbusinesses and individuals through access to selected workshops and events.

The scheme is run in partnership with award-winning social enterprise Cause4 and offers an intensive 12‐month programme (September – September). In the course of the year, participants have access to:

  • Mentoring and Coaching: an average of 30 hours of tailored, one-to-one support provided by scheme leaders and a range of external experts. Current mentors include professionals from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Amati Global Investors, The Culture Capital Exchange, Artichoke, the BBC and the City of London Corporation (including the Barbican Centre).
  • Office Space: access to central London office space, including free Wi-Fi and use of utilities and kitchen space. Entrepreneurs are entitled to approx. 20 hours of office access per week which equates to £15,600 in office costs across the duration of the scheme.
  • Networks: access to citywide professional networks including organisations such as Deutsche Bank and City of London Corporation, along with introductions tostart-up growth networks, including UnLtd.
  • Training: an average of 80 hours of seminars and workshops on core entrepreneurial management skills, such as business planning/company structure, digital development, sales, marketing, building teams, leadership, finance and pitching.
  • Events: an average of 15 special events per year, including regular evening talks and a range of networking events featuring prominent figures from the entrepreneurial world and creative industries. Previous speakers included David Sabel, Director of Broadcast and Digital at the National Theatre and Tony Woodcock, former president of the New England Conservatory.
  • Funding Advice & Support: including the opportunity to pitch to select investors, funders and supporters at an organised pitch event towards the end of the 12 months.

Professor Helena Gaunt, Vice Principal (Research and Academic Development) of the Guildhall School comments “Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs is an essential part of the Guildhall School’s contribution to the forefront of cultural change in the performing arts. Responding to changing needs and opportunities in the professions, supporting creativity and innovation, and enabling emerging and established professionals to make a real difference in society are increasingly important to our agenda. I am delighted that we are now able to scale this initiative up. Opening it to a wider range of practitioners will enrich the scope for fresh ideas and exciting new businesses to take root.”

Michelle Wright, CEO of Cause4 says “When we launched the programme three years ago we recognised that there was a gap in the market for a course that could specifically meet the challenges of the creative entrepreneur - the artist who is savvy enough to know that success means developing a portfolio of business and enterprise skills. Our vision, in this next step, is to support upwards of 20 new creative businesses to launch and grow each year, providing an important spur to both individuals and the creative economy alike.’

To date, the scheme has incubated 22 new businesses with successes from the past two years including Song in the City, a charity that programmes classical concerts around inventive and challenging themes; Drum Works, a music education programme that confronts disengagement within schools, and is currently reaching over 400 young people every week; Turn of Phrase, a communications skills company aiming to support anyone who speaks publicly with a key part of the business focused on improving gender equality in the workplace; Docklands Sinfonia, a partner with Hackney Music Hub looking to expand the Orchestra’s educational work in the East End of London and Lyribox, an online resource that helps anyone be it an amateur or professional to learn classical vocal repertoire with digital learning tools.

Recent success stories from Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs

Song in the City

Song in the City is a registered charity that takes classical music out of its comfort zone. Song in the City programmes concerts around inventive and often challenging themes, bringing talented singers and pianists to the heart of the Square Mile, in the intimate and beautiful setting of the Hall at St Botolph without Bishopsgate. Regular free concerts take place on Thursday lunchtimes with concerts designed around a central theme, often with a cast of singers. Song in the City commissions new music from young composers. In 2012, a newsong-cycle called ‘Voices of London’ from four young composers, set music to poetry inspired by London. The World Première was held on 9 October 2012 at Christchurch Spitalfields. A CD of the song cycle was released in December 2015.

Drum Works

Drum Works uses drumming to inspire young people creatively, give them confidence in their ideas and empower them to direct their own futures. Drum Works has been running in east London secondary schools since 2007, and currently reaches around 400 young people in six schools. Originally a Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning project, Drum Works is now an independent Community Interest Company and as of April 2016 will be a Barbican Artistic Associate, continuing to work closely with the Barbican and Guildhall School.

Participants have weekly sessions with professional musicians where they create their own material and work towards high-profile performances. There are opportunities to progress into two senior ensembles, which meet fortnightly at the Barbican and perform regularly around London and further afield. The Drum Works Assistant programme offers some of the older more advanced players the opportunity to develop their music leadership skills through taking paid placements in schools and receiving mentoring from Drum Works Leaders.

The primary aim of Drum Works is to achieve social change through tackling some of the key issues facing young people in east London today. It confronts disengagement within schools and youth culture by using fast-paced, high-energy teaching processes and culturally relevant material to engage and inspire all young people from any background. Once engaged, participants then begin to develop their musical, technical and leadership skills through sustained involvement.

Turn of Phrase

Turn of Phrase is a communications skills company founded by Timothy Allsop and Francesca Wilding to support anyone who speaks publicly. Providing workshops or tailored individual programmes, Turn of Phrase focusses on improving gender equality in the workplace. Training encompasses vocal and physical training, confidence building, negotiation and networking skills, interview preparation and conference presentation. Recent clients include Grant Thornton, Movement for Change and several Labour Party candidates. Through effective, emotionally connected and focused speech Turn of Phrase gives individuals and teams the tools they need to be more productive and efficient, empowering their workforces to communicate with better harmony.

Docklands Sinfonia

Docklands Sinfonia is young and pioneering orchestra which has become a major cultural force in the Docklands - bringing high quality music to the area, staging ground-breaking concerts and creating a lasting legacy by inspiring generations of young people. Firmly grounded in the community, the orchestra was founded by conductor Spencer Down, the grandson of a docker, whose love of music was born listening to his grandfather play trumpet in working men’s clubs in the East End. Since its formation in 2009, Docklands Sinfonia has enjoyed incredible success with performances for the Queen at Buckingham Palace and with Grammy-award winner Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall. It has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and BBC1. The orchestra has recorded albums for leading artists such as Katie Melua and has performed with world-renowned classical artists such as Alison Balsom, Leonard Elschenbroich and Elin Manahan-Thomas as well as the English National Ballet, Royal Opera House and National Youth Theatre.


Lyribox provides digital learning tools to those learning classical vocal repertoire. Users access recordings (high quality accompaniment, vocal line, text recited by a vocal coach), manuscripts (literal and literary translation, biographies and digital sheet music available in any key) and videos (accompaniment and vocal line with scrolling sheet music, audio text with scrolling translation.)

Launched in November 2012 by Vincent Bruggeman, Lyribox opens up the worlds of sacred music, opera and art song in English, French, Italian and German. In May 2015, Lyribox won the ‘Music Award’ of the 2015 Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprise.

Applications & costs

Applications for the 2016/2017 Programme open on 17 March 2016 and the deadline is 17 June at 5pm. The fee for the course is £2,900 with concession rates available for participants that have graduated from a Guildhall School accredited degree programme.

Full information on applications, costs & funding, including a flexible payment option, can be found here:

For further press information please contact:
Rebecca Driver Media Relations
Tel: 020 7247 1894
Email: |

Notes to Editors

About the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Rated No. 1 specialist institution in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2013 and 2014, the Guildhall School is one of the world's leading conservatoires and drama schools – a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and theatre technicians in the heart of the City of London. Founded in 1880, the School is a global leader of creative and professional

practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with nearly 900 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world.

It is also the UK’s leading provider of specialist music training at the under-18 level with nearly 2,500 students attending Junior Guildhall and the Centre for Young Musicians. The School is widely recognised for the quality of its teaching and its graduates, and its new building Milton Court, which opened in September 2013, offers new state-of-the-art facilities to match the talent within its walls, ensuring that students enter their chosen profession at the highest level.

About Cause4

Established in May 2009, social enterprise Cause4 supports charities, social enterprises and philanthropists in development and fundraising across the charity, arts, sports and education sectors in the UK and internationally. The company has secured over £40 million in client fundraising since being set up in 2009.

Cause4 seeks to be a modernising influence and leader within the charitable sector, offering relevant, contemporary solutions for charities and social enterprises at a time when more creative, entrepreneurial approaches are much needed. The organisation works in three main areas: strategy and fundraising, philanthropy and enterprise development.

Cause4 has won a string of awards including for founder Michelle Wright, as female entrepreneur of the year at the Natwest Start Up Awards 2011. The company is a top 10 winner in the Ernst and Young Future 100 awards 2011, a winner in the 2012 Startups 100 list for most innovative small businesses across the UK. In 2014 Cause4 won a prestigious gold award for innovation at the International Stevie Awards and in 2015 has been selected as a National Champion representing the UK in the European Business Awards.

Cause4 was also recognised as one of the top 25 Hyper-growth organisations in the UK having joined the Government’s Growth Accelerator Programme in early 2013 and was invited to be part of Accelerate 250 – an invitation by Lord Young of Graffham (PM's enterprise advisor) for the

UK’s top 6% of small businesses showing high growth potential. In 2013 Cause4 was recognised in the Silicon Valley UK 100 list for the top 100 UK companies showing potential to generate multi- million pound revenues.

“The Creative Entrepreneurship Scheme completely rewired my brain.”

Ruth Mariner, Gestalt Arts