“Our creative businesses have a proven track record of award-winning innovation and regularly top the league tables of the most influential industry-leading expertise. Weave will celebrate our strengths, ensure we can both retain and attract skilled staff and be equipped to face the challenges of a rapidly-evolving sector.”
Weave chair, Denise Proctor
We commissioned a detailed review of the Creative and Digital sector in the Borough; this identified over 2,000 businesses in the growing sector, providing employment to around 7,500 people.
Particular concentrations of activity in the sector are centred in Macclesfield (25% of companies), followed by 15% in Wilmslow, 12% in Crewe, and 10% in Knutsford. A review of sub-sectors identified particular strengths in IT and software (c.42% of activity), Advertising (10%) and Design (5.4%). Whilst the Borough is home to major global companies, 81% of the total businesses are SMEs employing fewer than 10 people, with 66% employing fewer than 4.
Following the completion of the sectoral review, we established the Weave Network, an industry-led taskforce to make a number of interventions to support the sector, including work to improve access to funding, improve alignment between skills demand and supply, and work to encourage strong cross-sectoral collaborations and networking.
WEAVE Town Talks
The WEAVE network was established as part of our sector development work, as a platform for dialogues with key people and organisations from the cluster of creative and digital companies, primarily in the area around Macclesfield and Congleton and arching over to the south of Manchester.
Knowledge transfer is one of the four key WEAVE work areas. We have supported WEAVE members in hosting a series of highly successful Town Talks events, which have knowledge transfer at their core.
We commissioned the WEAVE Chair, Denise Proctor, to create a programme of talks that covered the themes of most interest to the sector and to secure high calibre speakers from her expansive network of contacts. The Town Talks events so far have covered topics such as Virtual Play, Incubator Spaces, Digital Skills, Build Community and Design Money.
The format for each event has been simple but effective. The audience hear from high calibre speakers who have ranged from prominent sector leaders and council representatives through to world renowned speakers such as Wayne Hemingway, who led the discussion on designing places to encourage creative people. All the events have ended with a panel Q&A session where members of the audience have the opportunity to ask questions and challenge the speakers on what they have heard.
In supporting the WEAVE Town Talks events, we successfully managed the logistics of the events including all of the front and back of house arrangements: pre-event promotion, publicity, ticket management, stage management and the audio visual presentation on the night. See our case study for more details.
We are now developing the next phase of Town Talks, for 2018 – watch this space for further details…