XpoNorth Launch ‘Fearless Business Week'

Highland creative economy support organisation, XpoNorth has today, Wednesday 30th September, announced its first ‘Fearless Business Week’. A full range of practical business support workshops to address the unanswered questions surrounding the industry during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

With the creative industries still amongst the most heavily impacted by Covid-19, ‘Fearless Business Week’will offer a four-day free-to-attend workshop programme providing advice, guidance and signposting of what Highland and Islands businesses can do during these difficult times.

It is estimated that the creative sector is worth around £740 million to the region and accounts for more than 5,000 jobs across a diverse mix of SMEs, sole traders, freelancers and organisations. Many of these businesses adopt agile and innovative models which sit outside more traditional business profiles meaning obtaining the right advice for their business can be hard to find. XpoNorth is committed to supporting the region’s creative infrastructure and has developed this unique content series to give attendees access to leading service providers- including specialists in entertainment insurance and commercial banking to answer some of the more complex questions facing the sector.

The free event will take place across Monday 26th – Thursday 29th October and boasts a range of practical business support sessions coupled with inspiring interviews from some of the region’s most prestigious creative businesses. Attendees will be able to attend sessions including Insuring Creativity, Spotlight on Banks and the Creative Industries, Business Journeys: Sandstone Press in Profile and Let’s Talk Funding - full details can be found below.

Talking about the launch of 'Fearless Business Week’ Iain Hamilton, Head of Creative Industries at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who fund XpoNorth, said: “Research from Oxford Economics estimates that the creative sector could be hit twice as hard as the wider economy in 2020 and with further restrictions being placed, we must find new ways to rise to the challenge and support the creative industries. Our ongoing series of workshops have been well received from the community as we continue to work alongside the creative industries on how we can appropriately plan for the future and safeguard jobs. ‘Fearless Business Week’ aims to give never-heard-before insight on the practicalities facing businesses in this pandemic, providing them with clear resources and answers to questions they’ve perhaps not been able to get elsewhere.”


Monday 26 October | 11am | Spotlight on Banks and the Creative Industries

Register here.

What position do banks play in supporting the sector to scale and realise their economic potential? How can creative businesses deepen this important relationship? What is the level of understanding between financial institutions and the sector? This insightful seminar will see Gavin Wallace, Relationship Manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland offer an invaluable perspective on where banks stitch into the overall funding mix for creative businesses.

Please note this session is pre-recorded.

Tuesday 27 October | 11am | Let’s Talk Funding!

Register here.

The impact of COVID-19 has forced the sector to look at securing investment from an increasingly broad range of channels. In this session, DWS Associates will draw on their significant experience to discuss how creative businesses can develop more dynamic funding strategies. Taking in the more traditional public sector strands and extending across corporate partnerships through philanthropic and commercial investors, this interactive workshop will look at the how to diversify your funding mix at this critical time.

Please note this session will be live but questions should be sent before Monday 26 October at 12pm to ashleylawrie@xponorth.co.uk

David Smart: Founder, DWS Associates
David has worked at a senior level in both the Public and Private Sectors. He has an enviable reputation for being able to solve challenging problems and deliver positive results. During his time in the public sector he developed and prepared numerous complex funding applications. Most recently he has helped social enterprises and charities to complete finding applications resulting is securing funds for projects and Covid19 related activities.

Emily Woolard: Co-Founder & Director, Ben Lora Consulting
Emily has a first class honours degree from Oxford. She has worked in senior roles in Private Banking and Wealth Management and has completed numbers of complex financial and operational reviews. In her most recent work she has assisted private sector organisations to develop and submit funding applications to facilitate recovery and growth.

Wednesday 28 October | 11am | Insuring Creativity

Register here.

Join us for an invaluable opportunity to field questions to Director, Tim Thornhill, from leading entertainment and sport insurer, Tysers. A unique opportunity to hear from one of the industries leading players, the company specialise in the design of solutions which respond to fluid and complex requirements of the sector at this uniquely challenging time.

Please note this session is pre-recorded.

Tim Thornhill: Director, Tysers
Tim joined Tysers (formerly Integro) in January 2018 having worked as Commercial Director at The Ardonagh Group’s Towergate Insurance brand for nearly six years. After graduating with a degree in Management Studies from The University of Nottingham he became Managing Director of a Tour Operator and Event Management company between 2007 and 2012. In this role he took around 15,000 clients each year to the French and Austrian Alps, arranging all elements of their trip. His clients included the British Championships, The Royal Navy and The Royal Air Force. He now leads sales, marketing, international wholesale development and online trading for Tysers.

Thursday 29 October | 11am | Business Journeys: Sandstone Press in Profile

Register here.

Sandstone Press punch way above their weight, something well reflected in their trophy cabinet. Their prizes include, but are not limited to: Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the year in 2014 and 2019, the first company to win the award twice, Nibbies Small Press of the Year in 2019, and short listed as IPG Trade Independent Publisher of the Year in 2020. Sandstone Press employees and authors have won or been listed for many prizes including Saltire Society Emerging Publisher of the Year, the International Booker and Booker Prizes.

With no background in publishing beyond Northwords Magazine; based outside of the traditional centres of London or Edinburgh; back in 2002 before Amazon, Apple or Google were household names and we were all comfortable with e-readers and smart phones, Robert Davidson founded Sandstone Press. Starting with poetry pamphlets but moving to a specialist series of adult literacy titles, non-fiction, books for adult learners of Gaelic, then fiction. Joining Faber Factory alongside much larger publishing houses to tap into the growing digital consumption market, the company quickly found itself in contention for the world’s biggest English Language literary prize. Their passion for quality and faith in writers saw them secure the English Language rights to Babylon Berlin, spotting the opportunity well ahead of major player, Sky Atlantic, who went on to take up the screen rights.

Join us for an insightful journey through the evolution of the business as Robert Davidson joins XpoNorth’s Screen and Broadcast Specialist Jessica Fox for a frank discussion on succeeding in one of the most competitive landscapes in the sector.


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