Creative community offers new opportunities for north-east entrepreneurs
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
A dedicated member community that connects, upskills and empowers creative entrepreneurs across Scotland is on the hunt for new members and businesses as it expands into the north-east.
Creative Entrepreneurs’ Club (CEC), which was co-founded in 2019 by Rachael Brown who is based in Banff, aims to uplift, inspire and support creative entrepreneurs to grow sustainable businesses in an authentic way.
Creatives are being encouraged to check out what the organisation has to offer, as it seeks to “let loose” the hidden superpowers of talented entrepreneurs in the region.
CEC operates solely on the power of its people and does not receive any public funding. It has grown rapidly since it was first established, expanding from 300 members in 2020 to nearly 4000 individuals in 2023, with members hailing from every local authority area in Scotland.
It recently partnered up with Aberdeenshire-based Acumen Financial Planning, which is encouraging other businesses in the region to get involved and share their expertise as the network grows in the north-east.
CEC has also worked with Outer Spaces, which helps artists across Scotland find affordable, often free, studio and exhibition space, where they can grow, collaborate and create.
Rachael Brown has worked in the creative industries and social enterprise for the past 25 years.
She moved to Aberdeenshire in 2020, which she cites as having brought a new perspective to her understanding of the work CEC does in supporting rural creative entrepreneurs.
She said: “One of our core aims is for a future where rural areas become hotspots for creativity and innovation, attracting talent and investment from around the world.
"There is a huge amount of talent in the north-east which is why it is an area we are really keen to build up our membership base in, and also get more businesses involved in sharing their skills.
“In order to fully harness the power of rural creatives, we need to focus on non-traditional areas.
"We all know that people are no longer confined to big businesses or urban environments and we need to better recognise the vibrant ecosystem of talent thriving in rural landscapes.
“There is such an opportunity for commercial, social and creative to all come together to create opportunities for creative entrepreneurs.
"We have thousands of members, from a wide range of creative sectors that want to share, collaborate and learn from one another. If you’re an entrepreneur and looking to take that next step, get in touch.”
Colin Farquhar, head of operations, Outer Spaces, said: “Within our network we now have over 40 studios, and more than 500 artists. Through our endeavours we're transforming spaces and cities, places and people.
“Outer Spaces’ started only two years ago, and the advice and support provided by Creative Entrepreneurs Club was and continues to be invaluable.
"The guidance provided at those early stages, by Rachael and the advisers at CEC, through the Ambitions: Step Up programme, lifted Outer Spaces into the organisation it has become.
“Although Scotland-wide, Outer Spaces has gone through a period of rapid growth in the north-east in 2023.
"We'll continue to push forward to provide for as many artists as we can across the region, and we know CEC will still be there to provide for us, helping us give creatives in Aberdeen, both City and Shire, the opportunities they deserve."
Visit creativeentrepreneursclub.co.uk to find out more about Creative Entrepreneurs’ Club.