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Creative Networks Business Support – Apply now!

By Sarah Henderson

Join other creative businesses to adapt and thrive post-lockdown

Creative Networks is a new peer-to-peer business support programme from Echo, for creative sector SMEs who want to…

– Adapt and thrive post-lockdown

– Have a positive impact on the world

– Move their business forward with the power of a peer group

*Update* – We have a very limited number of places remaining to join our next cohort kicking off in late May / early June, so we’ve extended our application deadline to 23rd May.

Read on to find out more and apply.

The programme

Creative Networks will bring together a small, diverse cohort of creative business leaders on an 8 week journey. Together, you’ll solve business challenges, uncover competitive advantages, and work towards positive change and improvement in your business.

As the world opens up post-lockdown, Creative Networks will give you the space to reflect, strategise and adapt with a supportive group of like-minded business leaders.

The programme includes:

– 6 action-oriented peer group sessions to uncover solutions to live business challenges, hosted by an experienced facilitator 

– Flexibility to cover the topics that matter to you – from people management and business strategy, to sales and marketing

– Two masterclasses on Good Growth for your business – including fair pay and contracts, workplace wellbeing, skills and progression, diversity and recruitment

– Access to Echo’s East London ecosystem, including opportunities opening up at the new Good Growth Hub in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The cohort will be carefully selected to ensure a diverse mix of skills and experience, and to maximise opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing and mutual support.

Who is it for?

Creative Networks is designed for business leaders who want to solve business challenges, build resilience and adaptability, and have a positive social impact through their business.

We are looking for SMEs who…

– Are in the creative industries

– Have been operating for at least 1 year

– Have a turnover of at least £50,000

– Have at least two employees (or associates / freelancers)

– Operate in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham or Waltham Forest

– Aspire to have a positive social impact with their business

– Are open to sharing challenges and opportunities with others

We believe in the power of diverse peer groups, and are especially interested to receive applications from business leaders from underrepresented groups.

If you’re not sure if you are eligible for this programme, you can contact us via to discuss. If you don’t quite meet the criteria, but are ambitious to grow and improve, there may be some flexibility.

What you’ll get from the programme

Our peer group approach is a proven model for supporting business leaders to overcome challenges, improve their performance and set their businesses up for future success. 

By completing the programme, you will:

– Uncover practical solutions to business challenges

– Take practical action towards increasing the positive social impact of your business

– Build a trusted network of peers and local experts

– Improve your leadership skills and long-term business performance

Here’s what previous participants on our peer-to-peer programmes had to say:

“It was hugely beneficial to take part in the programme. It enabled me to create a space for strategic thinking, and I have kept in touch with other businesses following a similar journey.”

– Urmi, founder of Pickled Pepper Books

“The programme was an incredibly valuable experience for our business during the difficult COVID pandemic period. The hand-selected and matched peers created a unique cross-section of businesses and business owners who were insightful and able to attack scenarios from different angles to create workable solutions.” 

– Dave, founder of The Recording Studio London

Meet your hosts

Echo has been delivering business support programmes since 2015, and to date we have supported more than 250 entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses. Creative Networks will be organised and hosted by experienced facilitators from the Echo team.

Echo is a community where people help each other by sharing skills and talents. Through the programme, you’ll be able to tap into our network of 5000+ people offering their skills, plus our holistic programme of workshops and networking events.

Apply now

To apply for a place on the programme, please complete the application via the link below by midnight on 23rd May. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

Places are being allocated on a rolling basis, so don’t delay in getting your application in if you’d like to join us. The programme will commence in late May / early June.

Supported by London Legacy Development Corporation


Who else will be on the programme?

We carefully curate the cohort of businesses to maximise opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing and mutual support. We make sure each cohort is diverse, and avoid direct business competitors in the same group.

Will sessions be delivered online or in person?

We expect this programme will be a blend of online and offline (depending on government legislation at the time). We may host some sessions online to make it easy to fit it into your day, but we’ll certainly get the cohort together in person for some of the sessions. We expect in-person sessions will be hosted in or near Hackney Wick and the Olympic Park.

When will sessions take place?

Where possible, we’ll take the preferences of the cohort members into account when selecting a time for the sessions. They will take place at the same time each week.

Is there a charge?

This programme is fully funded, so there is no charge for businesses to take part, but we ask for maximum commitment to collective growth.

Do I have to attend the whole 8 weeks?

Yes, if selected to join the programme, you will need to commit to attending each session (1 session per week over an 8 week period). Because the programme is focused on building relationships and trust between the members of the group, you’ll need to attend yourself and cannot send a colleague in your place.

What if my turnover is less than £50k? Can I still take part?

This programme has been developed specifically for businesses at a certain size and growth stage. However,If you don’t quite meet the criteria, but are ambitious to grow and improve, there may be some flexibility – you can contact us at to discuss.