Advantage Creative

Posted on 24/04/18 Why we’re supporting Maker Bootcamp

At Advantage Creative, we are passionate about supporting the bright young sparks that drive our creative industries. The world is changing fast, and we’re already seeing ways that young people who have grown up with coding, 3D printers and VR can see – and open up - new and exciting opportunities.

But not all of these young people get that vital help and support they need to help them get their great ideas off the ground. Through our partnership work with Wavemaker – the creative maker space in Stoke-on-Trent - we met a lot of young creatives who sought out Wavemaker as a place to enquire about training, mentoring and shadowing. 

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It was evident that Wavemaker was offering something that others were not: a safe and encouraging environment where people can take that first step away from making at their kitchen table or shed before moving on to something more permanent. 

At the same time, we found we didn’t have enough resource to give these young entrepreneurs all the help and support they needed, and we were losing some of our best creative talent to business accelerator projects in Manchester, Birmingham and London.

That’s when we decided to team up and make our own creative start-up accelerator, especially for talented young designer-makers. 

With huge thanks to the Nat West Skills & Opportunities Fund, we have got the support and the funding to deliver our first Maker Bootcamp from 14 – 25 May this year. 

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This is a brand new start-up accelerator for the region, giving 30 young people (16-30) who are NEET (not in employment, education or training) the tailored support they need to start their own maker business. 

We’ve designed a programme that responds to feedback from young makers, and we hope we’ve found a winning formula. Maker Bootcamp is designed to give young makers the support and guidance they need in an environment that’s creative, flexible, and fun, with space to:

  • Make – flexible training in digital and ICT skills to support young entrepreneurs in their making.
  • Play – access to makerspace and equipment and (most importantly!) the fantastic team of digital and design experts at Wavemaker.
  • Learn – practical support and guidance in building a business from our team of expert business coaches. 
  • Grow – inspirational mentoring from designer-makers who have founded their own successful creative businesses.

We have used our industry contacts and network to put together a team of creative mentors to inspire these young creatives. Mentors will give insights on key aspects of how they built their maker business, and pick out key learning points for young entrepreneurs to think about when starting out. 

It’s important that this is a creative process, and our mentors will support these young start-ups one-to-one during our flexible “make, play, learn, grow” sessions in the maker space. 

Our team of Creative Mentors includes:


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Jan Constantine joins Maker Bootcamp as a Creative Mentor

We have also lined up some great business coaches who will deliver sessions and provide 1:1 support and guidance on everything from business basics to digital tattoos! 

We hope our formula for a creative accelerator will strike a chord with young makers in the making, and that we’ll be referring many of our young entrepreneurs on to other business support programmes in the Midlands. 

We’ll be learning along the way as well, fine-tuning our approach for the next Maker Bootcamp in October this year, and further creative accelerator and incubator projects in the future. 

In the meantime, if you feel you have something you could contribute, and a willingness to support young entrepreneurs (personally, I find it is one of the most rewarding things you can do with your time!) then please get in touch – we are constantly building our team of creative mentors and business coaches.

Written by John Holmes

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