Creative Warwickshire

The first dedicated business support programme for Warwickshire-based creative and digital businesses

The official launch of “Creative Warwickshire” on 15th September in Leamington Spa marked a brand new opportunity for development of Warwickshire’s creative sector.

With all the available tickets sold out within few days after the announcement of the launch, the event attracted a great number of local entrepreneurs running creative businesses, experts from the sector and influencers from the region eager to find out what “Creative Warwickshire” has in store for all its future participants. This is the latest initiative delivered through the partnership between Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) and the Women’s Economy (WE).  The Programme is one of the two projects under the Inclusive Enterprise Programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme. The project is being managed by Warwickshire County Council.

The launch opened up with a welcome from the Programme’s Delivery Director Sally Arkley and Consultant Director Lara Ratnaraja detailing the importance of the project and its aim to contribute to the development of the Leamington Spa region, identified as one of the top 20 Creative Clusters in the UK according to ‘The Geography of Creativity’, NESTA/Creative England, 2016. Lara, who is a trusted Consultant for the cultural, creative and digital industries, observed that it is an “interesting time” for the creative businesses in Warwickshire and the best time for “Creative Warwickshire” to launch its service. As the first programme of this kind in the UK, the project will contribute to the continuing development of the sub-region as a powerhouse of national activity.

“What our course is aiming to do is put creativity back in the heart of your business”, said Helga Henry, Programme Director at “Creative Warwickshire” and Director of Organisational Development at Birmingham Hippodrome in an inspirational speech addressing all attending business owners who believe in the future of innovative enterprise.

“Creative Warwickshire” is for the creative and digital freelancers and businesses based in the county who want to grow their business, get a grasp of the new market opportunities and take their business skills to the next level. With a programme of training, personal mentoring, workshops, seminars, inspirational guest speakers and networking opportunities, this is a unique opportunity to contribute to the growth of Warwickshire digital and creative sector.

As a part of the Inclusive Enterprise Programme, “Creative Warwickshire” will be particularly welcoming to applicants who are under-represented in the sector, such as women, business people from ethnic minorities, entrepreneurs with disabilities or older participants.

A complementary programme to “Creative Warwickshire” – “Creative Springboard” will be launched in early 2017. This sub-programme will be aimed at start-up businesses, again from the digital creative sector.

“Together, these programmes form the first phase of our long-term goal, which is to develop a comprehensive education, business support, finance and advocacy programme for the creative sector in the County” said Sally Arkley emphasising the importance of the two programmes for the region.

More information about “Creative Springboard” will be released in the upcoming months.

“Creative Warwickshire” is now live and accepting applications. For full information and application form, please visit


Facebook page: @InclusiveEnterpriseProgramme

Twitter handles and links: #CreativeWarks @Inclusive_E



Further information on Sally Arkley:


Further information on Lara Ratnaraja:


Further information on Helga Henry:


Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT): The Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting individuals, start-ups and businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and through its investment, creating a positive and beneficial impact upon the local community. CWRT’s services are designed to fill the gaps in mainstream lending, address market failures and to offer affordable alternatives to high interest doorstep lenders. For more information visit


The Women’s Economy (WE): The Women’s Economy is a brand of the Women’s Business Development Agency (WBDA), an internationally recognized women’s enterprise organisation which for the last 22 years, has helped women across Europe to start and grow their businesses. WBDA has developed The Women’s Economy (WE) as a unique new web-based resource to help women and girls to make confident choices about their economic futures. WE also offers resources, including training and knowledge transfer programmes, for those who advise, educate and support women and girls in career development, leadership skills, business and finance. For more information visit


Warwickshire County Council (WCC):


European Regional Development Fund: The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is receiving £6.3 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit