Lynda-Marie Taurasi participated in Cohort 1 of Creative Bridge, which ran from July – September 2019. At the outset of her Creative Bridge experience, Lynda-Marie shared her motivation for applying for the programme and her hopes for the weeks ahead.
Bringing creatives together within the start-up culture
I’m sure it was witnessing my father’s business fail as a child that caused my initial reticence towards all-things entrepreneurial. As a creative who spent half of her career as a journalist, I am driven by storytelling and deadlines not the bottom line, and if I wanted to be wealthy, I certainly would not have picked up the quill. Yet it was the need to increase my earning capacity that saw me leave journalism, and it was the desire to have more ownership of my future that made me reconsider entrepreneurialism. I came to Scotland on a student visa for a postgraduate programme at the University of Edinburgh. For personal reasons, I wanted to stay longer than it allowed. One day someone casually mentioned the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa scheme available to international students who successfully developed a business plan endorsed by the university.
‘Business-owner’, ‘Founder’, and ‘Entrepreneur’ were not titles I had ever envisioned for myself.
Registering a business and marketing myself as a serviced-based entity seemed outwith my scope. Yet, I signed up for the University’s LAUNCH.ed bootcamp, and with their help, developed a business plan that was successfully pitched and endorsed for the visa.
Although as a journalist I freelanced on and off for years, referring to myself as a solopreneur felt as pretentious as calling myself a pescatarian. Yet in both cases, that is exactly what I was, and solopreneurship is exactly the framework for which I wrote my service-based business plan.
I left Edinburgh and worked in Washington, DC for a year while I applied for my visa. During that year, I used my digital skills to create communication and engagement strategies for the commercial arm of an INGO undergoing a transformation, largely driven by a strong innovation team. I was fascinated by this INGO’s adoption of start-up culture and the organisational confusion it caused by incorporating Silicon Valley’s lexicon into an industry that could not be further removed.
Most creatives are not unfamiliar with the life of a solopreneur and some have even taken the plunge to form their own service-based businesses around their hustle but is that a bridge too far when forming a start-up?
This ‘tech-bro’ trend has infiltrated many sectors, and its best practices and lessons learned are by far transferable. It would behoove most to learn the lingo that has already permeated various business cultures.
So, it should be no surprise that since Edinburgh, home to the world’s biggest arts festival, should also embrace its reputation for being one of the best UK cities to start a business outside of London.
If there was only a way to combine the two sectors?
This is exactly the aim for Creative Informatics’ Creative Bridge ten-week accelerator programme. I was lucky enough to earn a spot in the first cohort, and at our first session, CodeBase Chief Strategy Officer Steven Drost assured us that creatives were essential to a start-up’s Hipster, Hackler, Hustler dream team.
Most creatives are not unfamiliar with the life of a solopreneur and some have even taken the plunge to form their own service-based businesses around their hustle but is that a bridge too far when forming a start-up? Well, that’s the target Creative Bridge hopes to hit. Through upskilling us in start-up theory and collaborative project work, we’re hoping we can go from solopreneurs to entrepreneurs capable of growing a digital product business. If you have any questions about the Creative Bridge programme or the application process, contact the Creative Informatics team at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will be happy to help!
What I’m reading
What’s in my ear
Startup: Season 1: A podcast about what it’s really like to start a business