Creative hubs are being established across Renfrewshire as the region bids to be “the place of choice for creative businesses”.
A new Business Development Fund is supporting up to 12 creative hubs to form over the next three years, each hub encouraging creative companies to share premises, collaborate and showcase their products.
Every hub will have a different creative focus and will receive subsidised premises costs as they offer a range of shared services including studio space, public workshops and networking opportunities.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We want Renfrewshire to be the place of choice for creative businesses in Scotland and our bid for UK city of culture highlighted the breadth of creative talent across Renfrewshire.
“We know there’s a strong demand for creative spaces, which foster collaboration, and this creative hub fund will enable our creative business sector to flourish right across Renfrewshire.”
Hub businesses will receive support through Renfrewshire’s business hub InCube which has already helped more than 100 creative start-up businesses in the last four years, including 50 through InCube Creative which provides tailored support to a wide range of creative companies including artists, jewellers, graphic designers, milliners and textile experts.
Renfrewshire Council Economic Development Manager Ruth Cooper said: “We have the knowledge and expertise to support creative companies and these hubs will provide the platform for established creative businesses to grow sustainably.
“Each hub will not only see the businesses based there help one another, but also provide space for other designers to exhibit and for public workshops to inspire new creatives to realise their ambitions.
“Importantly they are business led and business managed, with our support to assist along the way and we believe this will appeal to existing businesses based in Renfrewshire and also attract more creative companies to relocate here.”
Mark Newlands, head of partnerships at Scottish Enterprise said: “Co-locating in a ‘hub’ environment is a tried and tested method of fostering collaboration and nurturing business growth.
“This latest initiative by Renfrewshire Council will not only help create valuable space for creative businesses across the Renfrewshire region, but will open up fantastic opportunities for like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners to share their knowledge, experience and networks to support greater business growth opportunities.”
The creative hubs complement Start-Up Street, which is set to open on George Street later this year, providing early stage companies with short-term office space as they make the leap into their first commercial premises.
For more information, please call InCube on 0300 300 1180.
Angela Poultney isn’t one to shirk a challenge.
As she prepares to open the doors to an upcycling hub in Paisley, Angela reflects on the journey that has brought her back to her hometown to follow in the family footsteps.
Her dad Bill ran renowned Morrison’s Furniture Centre which served the town from its George Street premises for almost 50 years, while her brother Roddy owns Morrison’s Bed Centre on Lawn Street.
“I guess I’ve always been a jack-of-all-trades, master of none,” jokes Angela. “It all started out helping dad in his shop after school, but since then I’ve worked in so many industries and done so many things.
“I left for London aged 16 to study ballet, I’ve sold blinds, drove private ambulances, worked in mental health, ran a delicatessen, been in interior design, even won Territorial Army medic of the year.
“I came home four years ago to take care of my dad, who has Alzheimer’s. He’s now in a care home and I began to think about what I’d do next. As my daughter and son-in-law are passionate about the local environment they got me thinking about the damage we’re doing and about the world we’re leaving behind. That drew me towards upcycling furniture, making old stuff look beautiful and saving it from going into landfill.”
Angela completed a series of courses through Invest in Renfrewshire and tapped into the expertise at Business Gateway before opening a shop on Well Street.
Since then, Angela has teamed up with creative artist Anna Piasecka, and is now ready to move into larger premises as she opens Renfrewshire’s first funded creative hub.
She added: “People love coming into our current shop as it’s so colourful and everything is unique so I’m excited about the next chapter.
“Anna and I are forming a new business at new premises complete with a display area, space to run workshops, a messy room and four spaces for other ‘upcycling’ people to rent.
“This is so much more than an upcycling business – I want to support people and give them a purpose, empower them, give them a platform to showcase their creative talents and improve their wellbeing.
“Thanks to the council funding support, for everyone renting a workspace, all the overheads like electricity and water are included at a greatly reduced rate
“The creative hub concept is great – helping to set people up in business and giving people with creative skills the chance to come together and produce products you can’t get anywhere else.”