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East Midlands creative businesses move up a level thanks to Elevator by Big House programme

Creative and digital small to medium sized businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are being given a helping hand to expand with expert advice from staff at Nottingham Trent University.

the big house
The Big House Programme
Photo: Ellen Tobin

The Big House programme is working across the D2N2 Local Economic Partnership (LEP) region to support businesses within the creative and digital sector – seen as a key source of economic growth for both the region and the country.

Nottingham Business School, part of Nottingham Trent University, has been tailoring sessions to help those smaller creative and digital businesses work out what is needed for them to expand and what barriers they may need to overcome.

Julie Holland, Head of Executive Education and Corporate Relations at Nottingham Business School, said: “We recognise the challenges facing people running small and medium enterprises. It’s great to be able to help them find the time, the space and the expertise to plan for the future. We are excited to see so much talent and potential in the creative and digital companies we are engaging with.”

Participants have received a business “MOT” to see how their business is performing and areas that may need attention. In addition, a series of workshops has focused on disciplines such as marketing and writing business proposals to help win new business.

Dan Lamoon set up his own business 18 months ago and has recently opened an office in Nottingham, in addition to another site in Leicester. He has also started to employ full time members of staff.

His company, Colab Creation, creates promotional videos for firms and also works with educators to create training videos for various distance learning courses.

Dan said: “The business has recently undergone quite a lot of growth and I really wanted to make sure I was investing and focusing on the right areas to expand the business.”

He signed up to the Elevator series of workshops, run by Nottingham Business School for the Big House programme, which he heard about when he was establishing Colab Creation’s Nottingham office.

He has also been able to put into practice some of the sessions he experienced during the workshops, particularly around staff mentoring.

Erica Horne set up her own business in Derby three years ago, running training sessions in computer-aided design packages for those working or hoping to work in the fashion industry.

Most of her clients have been in the education sector which can leave her with little work during the holiday periods.

“The Big House came at the perfect time for me as it was approaching the summer holidays and I knew I needed to explore other opportunities because I couldn’t rely solely on work within universities during the holiday period.”

As a result of the advice she has received, Erica is now reaching out to new, larger clients.

The Big House programme is part of a £4.9 million investment in the creative and digital industries in the D2N2 Local Economic Partnership area and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and partners including Nottingham Trent University.

A new series of Elevator workshops will begin in October with a number of one-off events taking place in September and Erica said she would certainly encourage businesses to access the support.

  • Notes for editors

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is one of the largest UK universities with nearly 28,000 students and more than 3,500 staff across four campuses, contributing £496m to the UK economy every year. It is one of the most environmentally-friendly universities, containing some of the country’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.

    The University is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. The University is the sixth biggest recruiter of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the country and 95.6% of its graduates go on to employment or further education within six months of leaving.

    NTU is home to world-class research, winning The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 - the highest national honour for a UK university. The prize recognised pioneering projects to improve the detection of weapons and explosives in luggage, enable safer production of powdered infant formula and combat food fraud.

    With an international student population of approximately 2,600 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook and seeks to attract talented students and staff from across the world

    European Regional Development Fund

    The project is receiving up to £4,938,089 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

    Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

    For more information visit

East Midlands creative businesses move up a level thanks to Elevator by Big House programme

Published on 25 August 2017
  • Subject area: Business, management and marketing
  • Category: Press office; Nottingham Business School

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