MeWe360 has launched its activities with the help of a £2 million investment from a consortium of backers.
Public funding from the Arts Council England, combined with development capital from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, philanthropic giving from the McKenna Charitable Trust and commercial investment from Ingenious Media has facilitated the foundation of MeWe360.
The business is geared towards providing an incubator for British creative talent, and profits that MeWe360 sees back from the investment will be injected back into the charity to support other emerging entrepreneurs.
Social entrepreneur Kevin Osborne has formed the business to seek out creative talent including producers, artists, authors and retailers. According to a statement, Osborne has already achieved success by developing recording artists including Plan B and Fazer from N-Dubz.
The business has a current membership of 80 and is in discussions to make its first investment. Financial commitments of up to £250,000 will be provided to ‘investor-ready’ businesses which are deemed to have commercial promise.
Osborne comments, ‘The UK’s cup of creative talent is brimming over but it needs to be nurtured and invested in or it will simply go to waste – a missed opportunity for society and the economy.
‘MeWe360 is a smart way of developing and funding untapped creative talent; made possible with the backing of Ingenious Media and Arts Council England.’
One company which is hoping to use the incubator to grow itself is Splats, a children’s boot company which has John Lewis and Russell & Bromley as stockists. The business, MeWe360 says, has been turned down by high street banks but is on track to sell 7,000 pairs of boots in the UK this year and would like to go global.
Patrick McKenna, CEO of Ingenious Media, adds, ‘The need to build more business capacity in the UK’s cultural and creative sectors is vital to our future competitiveness.
‘That is why Ingenious is backing Kevin Osborne and MeWe360. Kevin has a proven track record of being able to discover and cultivate new talent – both creative talent and entrepreneurial talent.’
More on Ingenious’ creative investments:
- Ingenious backs Northern music event
- Music festival exit for Ingenious VCTs
- New jazz festival supported by Ingenious
McKenna believes that MeWe360 is an ‘innovative’ collaboration between the public and private sectors, but is an experiment that will be judged against ‘rigorously commercial criteria’.
The Arts Council England is getting involved, executive director Moira Sinclair says, to test an alternative model which it hopes will fulfil its ‘strong commitment’ to support leadership diversity in the arts and creative.