From drawing board to board room

Two graduates from Glasgow have been selected by the RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) and National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) to participate in an intensive, three day residential programme to develop their creative business ideas and give them valuable exposure to fellow entrepreneurs, potential investors and business developers.

Participants in the RSA NCGE Flying Start programme, which will run in Manchester from 10-12 July, were selected competitively from winners of Design Directions, the RSA's student awards scheme and from a series of Flying Start rallies which took place earlier this year. The two students, who are attending the event along with just 57 other budding entrepreneurs from across the country, also made written applications to the NCGE.

The event is the first of its kind to focus solely on identifying and developing entrepreneurial talent in the creative industries. Flying the flag for creativity in Glasgow are Esme MacLeod and Florence Andrews, who recently graduated from the University of Glasgow with degrees in product design, and hope to set up a service design consultancy focusing on helping the public sector with design challenges.

At the event, these new business ideas will be developed through workshops on topics ranging from 'how to start a creative business' to 'how to survive as a freelance designer'. All participants will also have their own mentor; who will work with them throughout the programme and for a subsequent 12 months.

With the ideas from Glasgow representing just a few of the broad range of businesses conceived by the young entrepreneurs taking part, the event promises to help develop potential businesses across the creative spectrum. Operating at different levels of development, some will receive the help they need to consolidate or extend existing ventures.

Commenting on their successful selection, Florence said:

"We're thrilled to have been selected for the three-day Flying Start event. It's great to have access to the specialist creative business advice the programme will provide ヨ it will certainly help us take our idea off the drawing board and into reality. I am also looking forward to sharing our experiences with other creative young entrepreneurs and showcasing my idea to the businessmen and women who'll be attending ヨ I'm sure they'll give us valuable advice on the best way to develop our business plans in the future."

Dr. Lorna Collins, director of Flying Start and national mentor to the participants, added:

"As we prepare for the first ever Flying Start programme focusing squarely on the creative industries, it's exciting to see the number of candidates from across the country who have, or are poised to, launch their businesses in the sector. We aim to provide these students with tangible skills and show them that the support is there to make running a business a truly viable career option now. With our assistance, I am looking forward to seeing the business of Esme and Florence develop in the future".

Martin Shannon (

First published: 3 July 2006

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