Craft businesses get mentored

Lancashire will be mentoring some of the country's most promising designers, as part of the Craft Council's Hothouse 4 programme.

Crafts CouncilCreative Lancashire and UCLan are partners for the Northern programme cohort, which provides a tailor-made six-month programme of business and creative support.

It's aimed at people whose companies have been practising their discipline for less than two years and have already displayed a high level of technical craftsmanship and originality.

The Crafts Council has selected 38 makers to start the six-month Hothouse programme in January. They've been selected to embark on the Hothouse scheme across four regions - South West, North, South East and Midlands. This includes nine people in the North.

Creative Lancashire is a service provided by Lancashire County Council - through its economic development company Lancashire County Developments. It supports creative and digital businesses with a range of sector-specific specialist business development.

Ed Matthews-Gentle from Creative Lancashire said: "In a marketplace where the bespoke and handmade is recognised and celebrated by global brands, the skill and knowledge of the individual maker becomes ever more powerful. These makers already have a wide range of skills and knowledge. Hothouse offers business and creative support to help their practice develop even further.

"There are only four regions covering the whole of the country for the Hothouse project, so it's a real achievement that Lancashire was chosen from the North for this inspiring and prestigious programme.

"As well as learning more about running their business, Hothouse also provides peer reviews and networking opportunities, along with support from successful industry figures."

Rosy Greenlees, executive director for Crafts Council, said: "We are pleased to announce that we have selected 38 makers to go through the Hothouse programme in 2014. The breadth and depth of knowledge supplied by a team of Crafts Council, regional partners, and maker development scheme ‘alumni’ equips the new participants with an invaluable set of skills at the foundation of their careers. "Nearly 90% of craft businesses are micro-businesses who often have little access to formal support. Hothouse places business skills at the centre of their creative practice and connects them to a wider network."