Creative Enterprise / Scale

Female Founders

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Female Founders Scale Up is a dedicated and prestigious programme for ambitious female founders of screen-based companies.

Recent studies show that numbers of female-led companies are on the rise, yet women in business are still at a disadvantage to their male counterparts. The programme will equip female entrepreneurs with the skills and confidence to scale their business and form a cohort of female business leaders across the regions. This is a unique proposition for female-led screen-businesses with ambition to grow.

Who is it for? 

The programme is for companies led by women or those who identify as women, working in moving image for storytelling, spanning film and television, games and technology*. Companies should be based in the English regions outside of London, have some proven success and be ready to take their business to the next level.

The Female Founders programme is only available to businesses based in the English regions outside of London (any address based outside the M25) at the moment. If you are based in London, your application will be automatically declined.

Games Companies from Scotland and Northern Ireland can apply for a limited number of seats on this programme, made available through support from inGAME and Northern Ireland Screen. If you are based in any of the devolved administrations (Wales) please get in touch with our team at if you would like to apply.

*We can support applicants working in branded content, if the company retain the IP rights of the content they produce, or are actively looking to move away from commercial work and form a creative arm of the business.

What is involved?

Female Founders Scale Up will deliver as free series of intense workshops and business coaching sessions (valued at £3,499) over eight months where companies taking part in the programme will:

  • Create and complete a comprehensive plan to scale their businesses
  • Get expert advice on business planning, funding and finance, taking their businesses to market, decision making and how to structure teams and hire the right talent
  • Gain a greater understanding of revenue models, profitability and IP monetisation
  • Learn directly from and build their network with proven industry leaders
  • Receive one to one business coaching throughout the programme

 

Apply  Here by 29th July

Any questions? Email our Creative Enterprise team.

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Female Founders Alumni 


Every single part of our business has changed since being on the program. So we’re in a new, bigger office, we’ve got a bigger, a bigger team working with us now, both sort of permanent employees and freelancers and consultants as well. We’re working on much bigger projects than we were this time last year. And we’re working on our first original content, which is really, really exciting.

Alex Farquharson – Thread Films , Female Founders



The program has really, really enabled our business to scale up. So first of all, we’re continuing doing what we always started off by doing which is produce scripted content for a lot of the UK suppliers like BBC and Sky. So we’re still doing that, but just to a slightly higher and slightly more aggressive manner.

And then the other way that we’ve grown is that actually, I’ve set up another company, which is a development consultancy business so we’ve got two for the price of one in terms of companies, I really feel that we had our handheld the whole journey of our growing business.

Sophie Morgan – Portopia Productions, Female Founders



The biggest change my business has experienced has just been to really learn about the industry on a high level, I didn’t have that knowledge about distribution and rights and how everything works. And I think talking to the other women on the program and the industry professionals we got to speak to I really acquired that knowledge.

Eline van der Velden – Particle6 Productions, Female Founders


Eligibility

The Female Founders programme is only available to businesses based in the English regions outside of London (any address based inside the M25) at the moment. If you are based in London, your application will be automatically declined. If you are based in any of the devolved administrations (Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) please get in touch with our team at  if you would like to apply.

You will need to show that your business has the potential and ambition to scale up. To be considered for the programme, companies must:

  • Have successfully created a revenue generating product, reached a market/audience of scale or launched a new platform/ tech service that has enabled storytelling through moving image.
  • You must have employed a minimum of 2 people (including yourself) at some point in the 2 years prior to lockdown (March 2020) either in full-time or FTE roles.
  • Have generated a sales revenue in the last 3 years in addition to any funding secured via grants, investment etc.
  • Be committed to the long term development of your company

Deadline for Applications is 29th July.

Check out the previous Female Founders 2021/2022 Cohort

 

Apply Here

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Female Founders programme?

A dedicated and prestigious programme for a cohort of 10-15 women founders of screen based companies with the potential and ambition to scale their businesses. A combination of intense workshops and business coaching sessions spanning 7 months where companies taking part in the programme will:  

  • Create and complete a comprehensive plan to scale their businesses  
  • Get expert advice on business planning, funding and finance, taking their businesses to market, decision making and how to structure teams and hire the right talent  
  • Gain a greater understanding of revenue models, profitability and IP monetisation  
  • Learn directly from and build their network with proven industry leaders  
  • Receive one to one business coaching throughout the programme 
  • Join our network of Female Founders 
  • Be part of the Female Founders annual conference 
Who is Female Founders for?

The programme is for companies led by women, or those who identify as women, working in moving image for storytelling, spanning film and television, games and technology. We can support applicants working in branded content, if the company retain the IP rights of the content they produce, or are actively looking to move away from commercial work and form a creative arm of the business.  

Companies should be based in the English regions outside of London, have some proven success and be ready to take their business to the next level. You will need to show that your business has the potential and ambition to scale up. To be considered for the programme, companies must:  

  • Be a Limited Company registered on Companies House 
  • Have successfully created a revenue generating product, reached a market/audience of scale or launched a new platform/ tech service that has enabled storytelling through moving image.
  • You must have employed a minimum of 2 people (including yourself) at some point in the last 3 years either in fulltime or FTE roles. 
  • Have generated a sales revenue in the last 3 years in addition to any funding secured via grants, investment etc. 
  • Be committed to the long-term development of your company
Is there any cost for joining the programme?

This programme is subsidised by Creative England and BFI, therefore there is no cost to companies participating in the programme. At the discretion of Creative England, limited bursary support is available to help subsidise the cost of access needs such as travel and childcare for participating businesses. Please discuss this directly with the team. 

 

A dedicated and prestigious programme for a cohort of 10-15 women founders of screen based companies with the potential and ambition to scale their businesses. A combination of intense workshops and business coaching sessions spanning 7 months where companies taking part in the programme will:  

  • Create and complete a comprehensive plan to scale their businesses  
  • Get expert advice on business planning, funding and finance, taking their businesses to market, decision making and how to structure teams and hire the right talent  
  • Gain a greater understanding of revenue models, profitability and IP monetisation  
  • Learn directly from and build their network with proven industry leaders  
  • Receive one to one business coaching throughout the programme 
  • Join our network of Female Founders 
  • Be part of the Female Founders annual conference 

The programme is for companies led by women, or those who identify as women, working in moving image for storytelling, spanning film and television, games and technology. We can support applicants working in branded content, if the company retain the IP rights of the content they produce, or are actively looking to move away from commercial work and form a creative arm of the business.  

Companies should be based in the English regions outside of London, have some proven success and be ready to take their business to the next level. You will need to show that your business has the potential and ambition to scale up. To be considered for the programme, companies must:  

  • Be a Limited Company registered on Companies House 
  • Have successfully created a revenue generating product, reached a market/audience of scale or launched a new platform/ tech service that has enabled storytelling through moving image.
  • You must have employed a minimum of 2 people (including yourself) at some point in the last 3 years either in fulltime or FTE roles. 
  • Have generated a sales revenue in the last 3 years in addition to any funding secured via grants, investment etc. 
  • Be committed to the long-term development of your company

This programme is subsidised by Creative England and BFI, therefore there is no cost to companies participating in the programme. At the discretion of Creative England, limited bursary support is available to help subsidise the cost of access needs such as travel and childcare for participating businesses. Please discuss this directly with the team. 

 

What will it deliver?

Participants will take part in:  

  • 7 x day long workshops 
  • 6 x one-to-one coaching sessions
  • 1 x showcase celebration event with access to industry and networking opportunity. 

The workshops are intended to give you an overview of the subject matter in question. You will hear from industry experts as well as other company founders in the cohort, learning from their experiences. The 1-2-1 coaching supports you to apply the right thinking and models for your business growth.
 

Broad topics will include: 

Planning for growth  

  • Understanding your journey 
  • Market assessment 
  • Defining your vision statement 
  • Reviewing your business model and assessing additional options 
  • Identifying the barriers to growth
  • What does success look like? 
  • Building your growth plan 

 

Finance & investment 

  • How to structure your finances for growth
  • Funding options 
  • Private & public investors 
  • What do investors look for? 

 

Confidence & Self promotion  

  • Self-promotion tool-kit
  • Challenging the stigma of self promotion

 

Pitching  

  • Identifying the USP 
  • The sell (yourself, your company, your product) 
  • Effective communication 
  • Pitching to different audiences
  • Practical factors

 

Market Reach 

  • Knowing your audience/consumer 
  • Product & IP 
  • Identifying and optimising market opportunities 
  • Marketing skills 
  • Testing the market 
  • Growing your customer base Talent & Infrastructure 
  • Balancing personal and business needs 
  • Leadership & decision making 
  • Allocating roles and addressing the talent gaps 
  • Creating the right culture 
  • Structure & flexibility

 

Please note: The sessions are intended to take place with full Covid-19 precautions in place. Should any cohort members be in local lockdown or self-isolating, they will receive full access to the programme content via an online platform.  

When will it run?

The programme will run for a course of 7 months.  

Key workshops dates are:  

Workshop 1- 14th September 2022 (In person)
Workshop 2- 19th October AM & 20th October AM (Online)
Workshop 3- 16th November AM & 17th November AM (Online)
Workshop 4- 14th December (In person)
Workshop 5- 18th January AM & 19th January AM (Online)
Workshop 6- 15th  February AM & 16th February AM (Online)
Workshop 7- 15th March (In person) 

We would expect you to commit to attending all workshops over the seven-month period. There will also be an opportunity for business coaching sessions throughout the programme and you must be committed to building in time to shape your business plan between the workshops.

This programme is an exceptional opportunity. Whilst we understand the needs of production companies and global working patterns, non-attendance/cancellation of booked 1-2-1 coaching sessions may directly impact the effectiveness of this programme 

Where will the workshops take place?

We are planning to deliver the workshops through a mixture of in person sessions and online via Zoom. However, we aim to accommodate those chosen for the cohort so this may be reassessed and subject to change if it is not feasible for the majority of the cohort. Participants will be given enough notice to make necessary travel arrangements for the first workshop should this be the case. 

Participants will take part in:  

  • 7 x day long workshops 
  • 6 x one-to-one coaching sessions
  • 1 x showcase celebration event with access to industry and networking opportunity. 

The workshops are intended to give you an overview of the subject matter in question. You will hear from industry experts as well as other company founders in the cohort, learning from their experiences. The 1-2-1 coaching supports you to apply the right thinking and models for your business growth.
 

Broad topics will include: 

Planning for growth  

  • Understanding your journey 
  • Market assessment 
  • Defining your vision statement 
  • Reviewing your business model and assessing additional options 
  • Identifying the barriers to growth
  • What does success look like? 
  • Building your growth plan 

 

Finance & investment 

  • How to structure your finances for growth
  • Funding options 
  • Private & public investors 
  • What do investors look for? 

 

Confidence & Self promotion  

  • Self-promotion tool-kit
  • Challenging the stigma of self promotion

 

Pitching  

  • Identifying the USP 
  • The sell (yourself, your company, your product) 
  • Effective communication 
  • Pitching to different audiences
  • Practical factors

 

Market Reach 

  • Knowing your audience/consumer 
  • Product & IP 
  • Identifying and optimising market opportunities 
  • Marketing skills 
  • Testing the market 
  • Growing your customer base Talent & Infrastructure 
  • Balancing personal and business needs 
  • Leadership & decision making 
  • Allocating roles and addressing the talent gaps 
  • Creating the right culture 
  • Structure & flexibility

 

Please note: The sessions are intended to take place with full Covid-19 precautions in place. Should any cohort members be in local lockdown or self-isolating, they will receive full access to the programme content via an online platform.  

The programme will run for a course of 7 months.  

Key workshops dates are:  

Workshop 1- 14th September 2022 (In person)
Workshop 2- 19th October AM & 20th October AM (Online)
Workshop 3- 16th November AM & 17th November AM (Online)
Workshop 4- 14th December (In person)
Workshop 5- 18th January AM & 19th January AM (Online)
Workshop 6- 15th  February AM & 16th February AM (Online)
Workshop 7- 15th March (In person) 

We would expect you to commit to attending all workshops over the seven-month period. There will also be an opportunity for business coaching sessions throughout the programme and you must be committed to building in time to shape your business plan between the workshops.

This programme is an exceptional opportunity. Whilst we understand the needs of production companies and global working patterns, non-attendance/cancellation of booked 1-2-1 coaching sessions may directly impact the effectiveness of this programme 

We are planning to deliver the workshops through a mixture of in person sessions and online via Zoom. However, we aim to accommodate those chosen for the cohort so this may be reassessed and subject to change if it is not feasible for the majority of the cohort. Participants will be given enough notice to make necessary travel arrangements for the first workshop should this be the case. 

What are the assessment and selection criteria?

Applications will be assessed by the Creative Enterprise team. We recognise that applications may contain commercially sensitive information and all applications will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. We will typically consider the track record of your business and its management, the feasibility of your future growth plans, and the impact that our support might have on your company. Applications close on 29th July at Midday. Please note the team may wish to set up a telephone/ video conference interview as part of the assessment, which will take place between during August 2022. All applicants will be informed in writing by Monday 22nd August 2022 whether or not their application has been successful. Due to the volume of applications, we regret that feedback on unsuccessful applications cannot be provided. Successful applicants will be expected to commit to the programme in full by signing an offer letter and returning to Creative England by Friday 2nd September 2021. If you have any concerns about this please contact Sarah Jones by emailing creativeenterprise@creativeengland.co.uk  to discuss your specific circumstances. It is a condition of support that participants co-operate with Creative England and its partners in any PR and press activity relating to their participation in Female Founders Scale Up. Participants may also be asked to contribute to future seminars or workshops to share their experiences and knowledge with other companies. 

Applications will be assessed by the Creative Enterprise team. We recognise that applications may contain commercially sensitive information and all applications will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. We will typically consider the track record of your business and its management, the feasibility of your future growth plans, and the impact that our support might have on your company. Applications close on 29th July at Midday. Please note the team may wish to set up a telephone/ video conference interview as part of the assessment, which will take place between during August 2022. All applicants will be informed in writing by Monday 22nd August 2022 whether or not their application has been successful. Due to the volume of applications, we regret that feedback on unsuccessful applications cannot be provided. Successful applicants will be expected to commit to the programme in full by signing an offer letter and returning to Creative England by Friday 2nd September 2021. If you have any concerns about this please contact Sarah Jones by emailing creativeenterprise@creativeengland.co.uk  to discuss your specific circumstances. It is a condition of support that participants co-operate with Creative England and its partners in any PR and press activity relating to their participation in Female Founders Scale Up. Participants may also be asked to contribute to future seminars or workshops to share their experiences and knowledge with other companies. 

Should you have any access or communication requirements relating to our applications and guidance, then please contact the team at creativeenterprise@creativeengland.co.uk or 0333 023 5240. Subsistence contributions are available to assist with the costs of travel and accessibility of the programme. Funds are limited and at the discretion of Creative England.

If you would like to discuss any accessibility requirements prior to applying, please get in touch with Creative Enterprise Team at creativeenterprise@creativeengland.co.uk.

The Female Founders Scale Up programme is part of Creative Enterprise, which has been developed with National Lottery funding from the BFI, to increase the sustainability of the moving image sector by optimising business opportunities through connections, training, expert advice and strategy support.