Create North is managed by People Into Enterprise Ltd. Launched almost 20 years ago by Jane Shaw and Dave Howarth, we are now one of the North East’s longest established companies working to animate and support people to start and grow businesses. The starting point for our work is our belief that there are large numbers of the people in the region whose talents for enterprise lie dormant or under-exploited (when we say ‘belief’ what we really mean is ‘statistical certainty’ if the people of the North East are as capable as those of any other region, which goes without saying!).
Making a Difference
We take special pleasure in drawing ‘new blood’ into enterprise – nobody is excluded from having good ideas and abundant energy but not everyone knows how to make the most of them. We know this because we’ve been through the process ourselves having started businesses as diverse as a river cruise service on the Tyne, community dance projects and heritage gift development.
The Creative Sector
Over the decades we’ve worked with several thousand people with the ambition to start or grow businesses. Of these, the majority have been people starting micro-businesses of the sort which dominate the creative industry sector – in this region 76% of these businesses employ 1-5 people and 38% of those employed in the sector are self-employed. In recent years we have been particularly focused on delivering support under the banner of Durham Creatives, an ERDF programme sponsored by Business Durham.
Our working practices are underpinned by academic research into what makes for a success in business – Jane has a Masters Degrees in Entrepreneurship from Durham University – and we’ve regularly been commissioned to develop and pilot innovative approaches to enterprise development including researching the needs and potential of dyslexic entrepreneurs, an issue close to home for us as it is for many people active within the creative industry sector.
We have worked widely across and beyond the region from our base in Durham. It’s a big area and we’ve developed strategies to ensure that people working at grassroots level in their communities have the tools and the confidence to independently support the enterprise ambitions of those they work with. For us, there is great satisfaction in seeing locally-based intermediaries pick up the baton and roll out their own business support activities.
Funding from commissioning organisations means that the vast majority of our programmes are free of charge to participants. Over the years, we have worked with most public sector organisations supporting economic development within the North East, and many within the social economy. These include; Enterprise Agencies, Regional Development Agencies, the region’s universities & FE colleges, local authorities and organisations with specialist niches within the field such as; Crisis Skylight, North East Refugee Service, Helix Arts, bait, East Durham Creates and Women Into the Network.