Hands of young painter working on his art inside his studio.

Artistic enterprise

28 January 2021

The article at a glance

The November series of the Enterprise Tuesday sessions at Cambridge Judge Business School focused on the arts – including the creative economy and storytelling. Here are some takeaways.

The November series of the Enterprise Tuesday sessions at Cambridge Judge Business School focused on the arts – including the creative economy and storytelling. Here are some takeaways.

The UK’s cultural and creative industries are world leading, with creative people at the centre of their success. So the arts were the focus of the most recent series of Enterprise Tuesday events organised by the Entrepreneurship Centre of Cambridge Judge Business School, which are held on Tuesdays in November, February and May each year.  

Here are some takeaways from two of those events:

The Creative Economy (17 Nov)

The session was chaired by Dr Emma Salgård Cunha, Project Lead, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cambridge Enterprise. Guest panellists were Ajay Chowdhury, Managing Director and Partner of BCG Digital Ventures; Cherry Freeman, Founder and Partner of Hiro Capital; and Jonas Almgren, CEO of ArtFacts. 

Here are some edited excerpts:

Creating a business

Cherry Freeman: “To create a business that really stands out you need to start with the customer and the customer journey, and deliver a solution which resolves or improves it. Technology is clearly the enabler but it’s not necessarily the product or the service.” 

Ajay Chowdhury: “I think there are three elements to creating a successful business in the arts. Any business in the arts or in technology has got to start with the talent first. You need to have a great artist, a great director, writer or musician. Then, ideally you link them with somebody with deep business skills. Together they can work really well and be really powerful. And technology is increasingly important.” 

Jonas Almgren: “My advice to any entrepreneur with a startup idea is to make sure they have a clear focus and keep their idea simple. Often in the art world we think we know something and my advice would be to not believe what you think you know. Test everything.” 

Archiving for the future

Ajay Chowdhury: “How are we going to preserve art, particularly the digital art that’s been created now? A lot of it is very ephemeral, it is going to disappear very quickly. So, think how to archive it and there are a bunch of business models around it.” 

Protecting IP

Cherry Freeman: “If you’re looking to partner with other, larger companies then think through how to protect and retain your IP.  This is probably the basis of your value to them, so you need to reveal enough to get them interested without giving everything away.” 

Storytelling in the arts (24 Nov)

The session focused on how people in the arts can harness their story to build a brand and power their business. The session was Chaired by Carol Sun-Schuster, Founder of SunSchu. Panellists were Carolyn Dailey, Founder of Creative Entrepreneurs, Colin Burrows, Founder of Special Treats Productions and Winnie Awa, Founder of Antidote Street.

Here are some edited excerpts:

Customer focus

Colin Burrows: “It is about how you tell your story to your customers that is important. Try to imagine how your clients and customers will react to your story.”  

Winnie Awa: “The user and customer experience were a key differentiator in our market, but by digging deep we are finding more layers to access advice and products in the industry.” 

Dreams matter

Carolyn Dailey: “My Creative Entrepreneurs Story was built just one step at a time following the demand. We thought surely somebody must be doing this, but no – nothing that joined everything together. The words ‘creative’ and ‘entrepreneur’ had not been put together, so let’s get these together so that creatives can fulfill their potential and dreams.”

Winnie Awa: “Find ways to keep your dream alive. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and still having fun.”  

The brand is key

Carol Sun-Schuster: “Your brand is your story. Marketing is now all about making your story their story – understanding your customers’ challenges and coming up with a solution. Your customers will ultimately define your brand and influence others based on their experience with it. Remember, it is the customer’s experience which drives brand equity. Make sure they have a great one.” 

Speakers in the February series of Enterprise Tuesday will include: Tracy Chou, Founder and CEO of Block Party; Leila McKenzie Delis, Founder and CEO of DIAL Global and Managing Director of LMA Search and Research; Aleksandra Pedraszewska, Co-founder & COO of VividQ; Zoe Peden, tech entrepreneur and VC Investor, FutureWorldVC and William Lowe, Co-founder and Master Distiller of Cambridge Distillery.