Demand for places shows CultureXcelerator is needed by the cultural and creative sector

28 Aug 2023

  • Support
  • Culture

Social Investment Scotland (SIS) has joined forces with Creative Scotland (CS) to support the growth of enterprises in Scotland’s creative and cultural industries.

And we’re off. 

Creative Scotland and Social Investment Scotland launched CultureXcelerator in May 2023.  Both organisations recognised that ambitious leaders from Scotland’s creative and cultural sector could benefit from a bespoke programme: supporting growth and diversification plans. 

The CultureXcelerator (CX) is a unique partnership: offering Masterclass, SIS Associate support and a range of wrap services. The programme is supported by Creative Entrepreneurs Club which offers a platform for services and peer networking.

So, what’s happened since May?

We received over 50 applications from organisations across Scotland in the creative and cultural sector. 

Scotland’s cultural and creative sector were geographically well represented from the Islands, Highlands, North East, Central Scotland and the Scottish Borders.

More than half of the applicants had a small staff base (less than 15 FTE staff) further confirming the need for additional and expert support, particularly in strategic development, governance input, financial planning and diversification of income.

We had some tough decisions to make, given the calibre and ambition of the applicants.

Together, CS and SIS reviewed all applicants, recognising the ambition of the applicant organisations. We then had individual discussions with longlisted applicants: establishing if CX was the “right fit” and identifying leader and organisational priorities from the programme and where organisations should be signposted to other support programmes.

What we learned through our approach

  • Insights from individual conversations have guided the development of a menu of “wrap services”
  • Leaders were keen that the programme, in part, could be extended to and involve team members
  • Feedback also identified that “leading can be lonely” – we’ve developed the peer support and networking element of CX as a result
  • Leaders consistently highlighted the need for “a critical friend”, “someone who can challenge me” - we’ve built that into the Masterclasses.

When does the journey begin for the final cohort?

From August 2023, the CX cohort of 12 organisations will receive dedicated, expert support co-ordinated by SIS Associate Marcella Boyle via:

- One-to-one business support
- Masterclasses delivered by Creative Entrepreneurs'​ Club
- Access to wrap services
- Specialised online modules (including digital and technology, governance and Trustee recruitment, funding, access to other pro ono services). 

By engaging with organisations, we’ve effectively co-designed CX with the sector to prioritise its needs and built in personal and organisational development.

Responding to the interest demonstrated by the number of applications, we’ll also financially support all CX applicants to join the Creative Entrepreneurs Club.

Building on our partnership with Social Investment Scotland, the CultureXcelerator has been developed to provide a programme of targeted interventions that aims support the economic viability and sustainability of each participant organisation. It’s been incredibly valuable to hear from the applicants about their challenges and aspirations. Bespoke support for individual leaders and the development of a peer network over the next 6 months will be a learning journey for us all."

Morgan Petrie

Creative Industries Manager, Creative Scotland

We look forward to working with our CX cohort and supporting them in their individual development. Importantly, we’ll also encourage a sustainable peer network through the programme.

Find out more

View our current, open support programmes