Business support organisation Generator is expanding further into the North East’s creative sector in a move the company believes could generate thousands of jobs.
The Newcastle-based agency has been supporting the music business since 1991, originally setting out to serve the needs of the region before widening its role after being asked to aid emerging agencies by the Arts Council.
Having secured its reputation as a national leader for its music development, Generator has identified a significant gap in the business support framework for other creative industries, prompting the 10-strong team to also focus on film, photography, digital media and design industries.
Chief executive Jim Mawdsley said the move will accelerate growth in the region’s already expanding digital economy.
The 10-strong team, based in Ouseburn Valley, is now offering support to organisations operating in the expanded creative sector, while also pledging to develop talent and drive significant business and growth in the region.
The creative sector drive gets underway with the unveiling of a new website and a responsive network of support, giving the region’s thriving creative sector all the tools, practical advice and experience it needs to flourish within the expanding market.
The agency doubled in size in 2010 after securing £850,000 from the European Regional Development Fund, a financial boost it used to introduce a number of new services and take on five new members of staff, as well as move from offices in Black Swan Court on Westgate Road to the Ouseburn Valley,
Now the team has been further strengthened through the appointment of three new experts to work alongside the organisation, including film producer Steve Bowden, the concept creator of the Agile Project Management approach, Fred Purnet, and North East Digital entrepreneur and Head of DigitalCity Business, Malcolm Taylor.
Jim Mawdsley said: “Through our latest ERDF programme we have the resources and remit to put this expansion into practice and we have already been working with around 80 businesses in the wider sector.
“The sector is expanding rapidly and many people are starting small companies that have great ideas.
“Most people in the commercial creative sector are ideas people and we recognise that they need support in making sure their businesses grow so they can make a significant contribution to the North East economy.
“We need to be and want to be flexible with our approach.
“This sector develops quickly and as we learned from our initial experience with the digitisation of the music industry we need to be extremely creative, edgy and above all agile if our support is successful in ensuring that these businesses grow in the North East.”
As part of the new expansion, businesses will benefit from business coaching and bespoke one-to-one advice as well as a full programme of creative business events and training to drive new business and profits.
“Generator understands that the support we offer to businesses involved in the music industry is also appropriate to the wider creative sector,” said Mawdsley.
“We are building this programme of support that is sector specific to provide something in the North East that is extremely unique, extremely cost effective and adds huge value.
“We aren’t aware of any similar business support programmes in the UK that provide the specialist support we do and this is one of the reasons why we have so much success with our clients.
“We’ve already started working alongside partners in the region including Digital Union and Digital City Business to identify their client’s needs and prescribe interventions that would assist with business growth.”
Welcoming Generator’s expansion, Creative England’s Director of Business Development, Jim Farmery, said: “Creative England backs any development of support programmes for the creative sector and its great to see Generator building on the fantastic work it has done with music businesses.
“Organisations that can provide relevant, in-demand support services to businesses are an essential part of the growth of our creative industries and we welcome Generator’s move into this area.
Erin Turnbull, recruitment & HR co-ordinator at Gateshead-headquartered global gaming and digital technology firm, Eutechnyx, added: “Eutechnyx welcomes the expansion of Generator in the North East, especially in the area of training & business support.
“Their programme of events really captures the forward thinking nature of the games industry, recognising that the creative sector needs a bespoke approach to training.”
The new website is now live and can be found at generator.org.uk/digital-and-design/