New support hub based in the Baltic Triangle offers young entrepreneurs the opportunities to build on their creative ideas.
After successfully creating co-working space Basecamp in the Baltic Creative, and witnessing business success stories such as Simul, the team became involved with the international Atlantic Youth Creative Hub (AYCH) scheme. The AYCH is a European funded project which helps set up creative hubs that support 18 to 30- year-olds wanting to build on their creative ideas.
The award-winning business space, Basecamp, offers an affordable and supportive environment for creative and digital industries businesses helping new entrepreneurs to maximise their opportunities and achieve sustainable business growth. Whereas the co-working space Platform, based in the Baltic Creative Digital House, is partnered with AYCH to create a physical workspace for new entrepreneurial ideas to meet a series of challenges. Platform focuses on ideas around sustainability, the environmental and social responsibility, inspired by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and acts as a melting pot for new ideas.
We spoke to the co-founding team to find out more…
What does AYCH do?
We want to branch out and let people know we are here, by encouraging mentors or business champions to get involved, to support people who are coming through the scheme and who are in the same sectors as them. People can come in for a chat, we’d evaluate where about they are on their journey and provide support. This support can be offered through business models, helping people to create bids for investment, and cash flow examples. As our team has specialities in different backgrounds, we use a collaborative approach to provide support.
How does AYCH support projects?
‘The AYCH scheme along with our other projects funds our time and expertise to be able to work with people. Although the AYCH is designed for a specific age range, we also work with those who don’t fit into the age category as we don’t want to exclude anyone. It’s all about developing a process which would be discussed, and going forward we’d support them throughout different stages using our own mechanisms. For example, we can help people construct business models together and road test it, or if it was a product, we can aid in getting a potential prototype made and advise where to soundboard the product. If we feel some elements within the individual’s process needs challenging, we can help people constructively re-evaluate their ideas.’
Do you only work with individuals?
‘One of the best things about the project that it’s not tied down to any rigid rules from the funders so it allows us to be flexible. We work mainly with individuals, but also support small groups. It starts with an idea, we help people develop that idea, and then it could potentially become a business. Most ideas fail because individuals stray too far away from their original aim or goal, so whether its people by themselves or small groups, our job is to offer support and keep ideas on track, and to help people flourish alongside their ideas.’
Can anyone apply to be part of the scheme?
‘The project isn’t bound by postcode or other geographical restrictions as long as those applying for the scheme are from the western side of the UK. We are well connected in the Liverpool area, but as the project is European funded, we can use other resources. There are twelve other partners involved across Western Europe such as Northern Ireland, France, and Spain.’
Is it just creative industries that you support?
‘The original idea was to just have a platform for traditional creative designers, but now it’s for people who have a creative idea, they don’t necessarily have to be a creative person or involved in the arts industry. We can work with a variety of people as long as the idea is innovative and new, we can support the idea. In order to spark an idea, to get it from concept to reality, you have to have some form of creativity. Our tagline is ‘if you have an idea you are a creative’, we help people harness their creative energy and how to help utilise them.’
What opportunities are available?
‘We can call on our partners for their expertise, such as French design schools, or fashion hubs in Portugal. If you have an idea, we can link you with partners so that you can complete a two- or three-month residency with that respective partner. Another opportunity we offer is that people can become ambassadors and go on trips to something called a ‘Creative Jam’, which is similar to a conference about projects that can create and influence future cities. These are held locally and some internationally, it’s all about encouraging people to get involved. Our creative hub acts as an incubator for these ideas where people can hot-desk and make connections, the space is just a catalyst, ready for ideas to branch out into other networks.’
More information can found on the website