Yorkshire Forward and Arts Council England: New Yorkshire Music business development programme

“You’ve got to try and throw this party just as far as you can. Open your heads like a satellite.”
Saturday Night, Kaiser Chiefs

With the creative industries riding high on the region’s political agenda – at least temporarily – Yorkshire Forward (the then regional development agency) and Arts Council England asked the hub to scope out a business support programme for music businesses in the region.

Our work started with mapping the region’s music industry, along with the business support that already existed, and we uncovered some 500 music organisations.  Our online survey explored the major challenges they faced, their professional and organisational development needs, and what growth support they would find most useful. We followed it up with a series of 1-1 interviews. Using this intelligence, we scoped out a programme designed to facilitate the business growth of music SMEs at all stages of their development, and provide a form of business ‘challenge’ as much as ‘support’. It included:

  • Skills Development Programme: initial diagnostic session; generic business support to pre-start ups/start ups; bespoke support to growth/consolidation stage SMEs.
  • Inward Investment Programme: growth finance, Regional Enterprise Awards, Creative Apprenticeship Programme and other work placement opportunities.
  • The Intelligence Bank: regional industry data; information service, case studies, member profiles, funding wizard, members training resources, videos, podcasts.

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Our recommended model was warmly received by both agencies, and by music businesses, and you can see the public report here [link to PDF]. Plans were developed to begin work, but a few months later Yorkshire Forward developed new strategic priorities, and as result work was suspended. We’re pleased to say though that some of this thinking has found its way into other projects, including Arts Council’s Creative Industries Finance scheme and our own Joining the Dots programme.