Big Society Business Support in Leeds

On Friday afternoon @culturevultures convened one of the best business support/development sessions I have witnessed in the last 30 years.

Some 30 creatives came together in a room donated by a local managed workspace to provide peer to peer support on a range of topics related to marketing, branding, writing and social media.  Lots of expertise in the room, lots of desire to explore and learn.  No-one labelled as an adviser – no-one labelled as a client.  Just lots of people willing to share what they knew and ask for help with what they didn’t.

No public funding at all.  Just people donating whatever they thought it was worth.  Donations were used to help pay for cupcakes and cocktails and an afternoon of fun.

Business development as it should be.

This is what the public sector could be paying for.


  1. Phil Kirby says:

    I loved the fact that we turned up early without a plan, sat around a table with ten mins to spare, and worked out a structure. And it’s about trust; Emma got the people there, you made the day work, Richard and Monica added their bit of magic, and I just wittered . . . it made a perfect container for everyone to contribute without feeling too on the spot. We didn’t need months of planning, we all got on with what we were good at. Just shows what people are capable of if you just let them have the right encouragement. Let’s hope it’s the start of something big. Want to thank Sharon at @RoundFoundry though for being the perfect neighbor and helping making it happen without any fuss or fluster. That was impressive.

    • Only thing to be worked on is widening access Phil. You had to be part of some pretty tightly defined networks to know about it. A great start though.

      • Phil Kirby says:

        I’m sure it’s just a start. Apparently, it’s “just like BarCamp” according to the most recent comment.

        I think you’re observation on the day that we had to think about the people who weren’t in the room is a good one. How do we widen participation? How do we reach beyond the tightly defined network? That’s stage 2.

  2. Sounds like a brilliant event.

    We seem to be getting better at getting the word out about the Social Media Surgeries, so maybe similar mechanisms can be used for events such as this.

    Ways to widen participation (to those who couldn’t be there) might include having a Twitter hastag before the event and publicising it widely; and live video streaming using uStream, LiveStream, Qik or Bambuser.

    But then, you know all this 😉


  1. […] month we hosted our first Cultural Conversation at the Round Foundry Media Centre, with the aim to encourage a culture of creative and cultural […]

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