Empowering Creative Entrepreneurs: Make CIC’s Enterprise Hub Skills Programme comes to a close

In January 2024, Make CIC bid farewell to the Enterprise Hub Skills programme. This initiative, funded by the European Social Fund and launched in May 2020, aimed to simplify access to enterprise training and development, establishing Liverpool City Region as a vibrant hub for entrepreneurial pursuits.

With the support of the European Social Fund, Make CIC’s Enterprise Hub Skills program played a vital role in linking local individuals, artists and creative businesses to entrepreneurial opportunities, practical assistance and skills enhancement. Over the course of the program, Make CIC delivered more than 1000 hours of support, including tailored workshops, regular newsletters featuring opportunities, one-on-one consultations and personalised business support referrals. The initiative aided over 160 local artists and makers, offering invaluable guidance in areas such as online sales, pricing strategies, marketing, social media optimization, funding navigation, workshop management, exhibition coordination and effective stallholder practices. As part of the program, Make CIC developed a comprehensive workshop series titled Creative Enterprise Workshops, which were conducted across the three boroughs where Make currently has space: Liverpool, Wirral, and Knowsley. These workshops, which launched in October 2022, attracted 91 attendees across a total of 15 sessions.

Alison James (AJ), former Enterprise Manager and now Programme manager at Make CIC said, “We want to thank everyone who joined us for the Enterprise Hub Skills program at Make CIC. Whether you received support or contributed as a practitioner or local organisation, your involvement helped us to nurture the artist and maker community in the Liverpool City Region. At Make, our aim is to turn peoples passions into prosperity and our enterprise programme gives extra support to our artists and makers, helping them thrive economically and feel more confident. We’re excited to learn from the Enterprise Hub Skills programme and we’re looking at a variety of ways that we can offer more workshops in the future to help our local creative economy grow and flourish.”

Central to this innovative programme was a collaborative partnership spearheaded by The Women’s Organization. Enterprise Hub Skills was a region wide initiative and the consortium included Everton Development Trust, Granby Toxteth Development Trust, Liverpool John Moores University, Make CIC, Merseyside Expanding Horizons, Citizens Advice Halton and RAISE Ltd. We extend our gratitude and thanks to these organisations for their ongoing teamwork and support.

Special thanks to Baltic Creative CIC for their additional support.

Case Study

Let’s delve into the story of Aurélie Venbergen, a ceramicist and the founder of Aura Living Home, who operates out of Make North Docks. Aura Living Home specialises in thoughtfully handcrafted homeware, an array of homeware accessories, and DIY terrazzo kits. In addition to crafting, Aurélie shared her skills through Beginners Terrazzo workshops conducted at Make CIC.

Aurélie became a part of the Enterprise Hub Skills Programme in March 2021. With Make’s support, she developed and delivered a series of beginners terrazzo workshops across multiple locations. Over the span of three years, Aurélie expanded her practice, successfully conducting workshops at Make North Docks, Make Hamilton Square, and even leading fully funded workshops as part of the Liscard classes pop-up. More recently, Aurélie was invited to share her expertise during one of the Creative Enterprise Workshops, where she imparted invaluable insights on workshop management.

In April 2021, Aurélie set her sights on transitioning to a larger studio space to work on larger-scale ceramics. Today, she occupies a spacious studio at Make North Docks, with ongoing commission opportunities and international product sales—a testament to the transformative impact of the Enterprise Hub Skills programme.

Aurelie Vanbergen said,

“The support I’ve received from Make CIC through Enterprise Hub Skills has been really valuable. It has enabled me to diversify my businesses and as a result I have moved into a larger workshop space and I’ve grown my business. I’ve even had the opportunity to deliver one of their Creative Enterprise Workshops which really enjoyed being a part of”

As we bid farewell to Enterprise Hub Skills, we celebrate the countless success stories like Aurélie’s, highlighting the program’s profound influence on nurturing entrepreneurial talent and fostering economic growth within our local creative community. While this chapter may have closed, the legacy of empowerment and innovation it leaves behind will continue to shape Make’s enterprise offering for years to come.

Are you a local business or organisation that is looking for a way to enhance their social value? Are you looking for an avenue to support the local community and empower local businesses? If so, please get in touch with us at hello@makecic.org as we would love to work with you in nurturing the local creative community with future enterprise support.

Machinery graphic