Creative entrepreneurs are go!

By Dianne Cornes, Director, Youth Business International

On Monday night I joined students at University of the Arts London in the stunning Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design to hear about a new source of funds and advice for social enterprises.

UAL students and recent graduates can apply for up to £500 ‘Try It’ grant or up to £5,000 ‘Do It’ award under the new ‘More than Profit’ programme.  Seehttp://see.arts.ac.uk/opportunities/morethanprofit/

Some fantastic businesses were showcased, combining artistic and design talent with commercial acumen - ranging from a re-usable lunchbox complete with funky napkin showing local parks; to growing your own lunch salad using sandwich packaging; to digital printing of designs onto materials hand woven by villagers in India (see photo); to manufacture of bags from scrap materials at a leading denim company in the USA.  The combination of creativity and professionalism was super- impressive; if the government was wondering where to invest for a re-balancing of the economy, look no further!   And the global mindset was self evident.

In the spirit of ‘Pass it On’, UAL course directors and lecturers emphasised:-

- importance of research (the lunchbox designer followed workers around and interviewed local refuse collectors!);

- importance of finance and ensuring the project is fundable;

- making sure you understand where your product or service fits with peoples’ overall habits;

- have a passion for what you are doing! ’

More than Profit’ is being delivered by a partnership of UnLtd, the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK, with UAL’s SEE (Student Enterprise & Employability) and DESIS (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability).

UAL is Europe’s largest specialist arts and design university, comprising Camberwell College of Art, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art.