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£1.3m Create Growth programme ‘held a mirror up’ for us, says video business director

22 January 2024

Participating in Create Growth enabled Ben Coates to reflect on how far his small business has come – and where he wants it to go next. Ben is the Director of Cande Group – one of 23 firms to recently completed the first cohort of the East Midlands Create Growth programme.

Cande Group is a creative agency based in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Specialising in video production, it works with a wide range of corporate and consumer clients from ideation to delivery.

The company launched in 2021 and provides a comprehensive marketing and content creation offer for firms across the UK. It has also worked on international projects.

Director Ben registered for the Create Growth programme as he worked on new ways to grow Cande Group.

“Having just completed phase 2 of our growth strategy, I’ve come away from the course with some new ideas and valuable insight for planning and implementing phase 3,” he explained.

“The investment readiness aspect has also given us options to consider while having time with my mentor has really helped me to see how we as a business can apply some of the things learned on the programme.”

Cande Group was one of the companies that made up the inaugural cohort, alongside SMEs from across Leicester, Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, and Rutland benefitting from the eight-week programme.

Other small businesses on the programme ranged from marketing and design agencies to architects, theatre companies and video producers.

The aim of the programme, organised and led by the East Midlands Creative Consortium (EMC²), is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to move creative businesses to investment readiness.

Cohort 1 member businesses completed an initial business health check, attended a full-day business boot camp and networking event, and logged on to eight virtual masterclasses covering themes including leadership, marketing, sales, finance and business planning.

As well as the 90-minute masterclasses – delivered by industry experts – all participants were assigned intensive investment readiness support and five hours with an industry-specific mentor.

EMC² aims to support 100 creative businesses across three years through four cohort groups. Cohort 2 is recruiting now and will offer a similar level of support to the first group.

Applications for the programme are open now – anyone interested in applying can find out more at this website

Picture shows Ben Coates, Director of Cande Group.