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Two young creatives are now running their own businesses thanks to a Creative Enterprise award. Nicole Lovett introduces them.

Photo of people wearing 3D glasses
The We Are Now festival explores the creative use of technology in the performing arts

The Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprise (DBACE) provides financial and business support to help launch creative careers. Winners across five categories (Art and Photography, Craft and Design, Film, Performance and Music) receive £10,000. They also benefit from a business mentor to support them through the process of getting their ideas off the ground and all shortlisted applicants receive two days of intensive small business training.

Two recent winners of the award tell their story.

Megan Kieran, Creative Director of We Are Now Festival

Photo of Megan Kieran & Rachel Jackson receiving their award

I graduated with a master’s degree in Creative Producing at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2016. With ten years’ experience already in the arts and events industry, I wanted to focus on establishing my own business.

We Are Now, developed during my MA year, is a multi-disciplinary arts festival that explores the creative use of technology in the performing arts. We ran a pilot in the Roundhouse last year and the two-day event took place at Rich Mix, Shoreditch in London earlier this month.

The programme featured an immersive VR theatre experience by CiRCA69, an electronic music show by Cryptic’s Robbie Thomson using a live Tesla Coil as an instrument, and an audience-led game show by emerging theatre company Tit4Twat.

The aim is to pioneer new methods of immersive experience for audiences, showcasing emerging companies alongside established names and allowing artists to push the boundaries of their specialism, as well as develop their professional networks.

This year we won a Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprise and the benefits have been far-reaching. Meeting my mentor has offered a great insight into developing my business strategy and growing a sustainable, successful model. Working with the bank has also opened doors to a wider varied audience.

The financial prize enabled us to appoint a marketing consultant and a PR company for this year’s event. It has allowed us to craft a new festival, support artists properly and develop an identity as a pioneering voice in the crossover of technology and the performing arts.

Jack Hooper, co-founder of doppel

For our final-year group project on the Innovation Design Engineering double master’s course run by the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London we looked at how we could help people control how they feel. We wanted to create useful technology for problems such as anxiety and stress, huge problems that have massive personal and financial costs.

doppel was the result, born from psychophysiology, the study of how our mind understands our body and how that influences our emotions. doppel has a vibrating heartbeat you feel on the inside of your wrist. When that beat is faster, it makes you more alert and focused, and when it is slower it calms you down. This is a similar effect to music and is linked to how your mind understands your biological rhythms, especially your heartbeat.

Photo of white doppel on a wrist

Before graduating in 2014, the group won the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprise, which gave us the confidence to start our own enterprise and take doppel to market. Alongside the money to start us off, the award has provided networking contacts, training and access to the bank’s employees for focus groups and surveys.

The award enabled us to do further testing while figuring out our business plan. It was this that provided the underpinning for our successful Innovate UK and Horizon 2020 grant bids, which in turn funded us in a successful Kickstarter campaign. DBACE was the first money and validation we received, and as such, has been vital to getting us to where we are now.

We have trialled doppel with hundreds of people and also had it tested in psychology labs. Our latest published paper shows doppel significantly reduces stress. We have over 1,500 pre-orders to date and will be delivering this autumn.

Nicole Lovett is Head of Corporate Social Responsibility UK at Deutsche Bank.

Applications for DBACE 2018 will open in January 2018.

Inset photo 1: Megan Kieran & Rachel Jackson receiving their Performance DBACE award. Credit Amit Lennon.
Inset photo 2: The doppel wristband

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