Huge virtual festival for the North’s creative LEADERS & BUSINESSES returns

Hundreds of creative industry professionals are being invited to join a two-day virtual event this month – the only one of its kind in the North of England.

The Creative Leaders Festival 2021, organised by GC Business Growth Hub on behalf of The Growth Company, will take place from May 25 to 26.

The virtual expo will provide advice about support available to the sector and its sub-sectors to help businesses plan and grow, with the two-day event featuring a series of high-profile speakers, roundtable discussions and workshop sessions.

More than 70 industry experts from creative, digital and tech industries will be speaking at the event.

Guests include Creative England’s Mehjabeen Patrick; Manchester International Festival’s Paul Clay; Northern Ballet’s Chief Executive Mark Skipper, and co-chair of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and CEO of Magnetic North Lou Cordwell OBE.

This is the second festival following last year’s inaugural event, which covered the North West and attracted more than 450 delegates to register. This year’s expo promises to be even bigger and has been extended to cover more Northern areas.

It is open to any creative, digital or tech business, based in the North of England, operating in fields such as film, TV, photography, design, gaming, fashion, marketing and PR.

The event is being supported by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

It will be opened by Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, at 10am.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, said: “The creative industries will play a vital role in helping to drive the economy as we build back better from the pandemic.

“It is fantastic to see thriving creative industries across the north where the sector is continuing to make important strides as part of our levelling up agenda. This festival is a great opportunity to celebrate this success and be inspired for the future.”

Delegates can join panel discussions, Q&A sessions, workshops and sector specific roundtable sessions, as well as a virtual exhibition and peer to peer networking. 

Workshops delivered by sector specialists from across the North will cover topics such as understanding the funding maze; creating a culture of diversity and inclusion, and protecting your assets.

The Hub is part of The Growth Company and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Head of Digital, Creative, and Tech at the Hub, Sarah Novotny, said: “This is a unique festival which will give businesses the opportunity to hear from industry specialists, share knowledge and best practice, and discover the wide ranging support that is available.

“The UK’s creative sector is world renowned and very valuable to our economy, so it is vital that the sector strengthens and return to growth. We want to do all we can to support creative businesses which is why we have extended the festival to cover more regions in the North of England.

“We know that the creative sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, but some businesses have also been presented with more favourable trading conditions and opportunities to grow.

“Our aim with the festival is to facilitate connections and help businesses get back to growing as well as helping businesses to take advantage of opportunities for development and growth. 

“Diversity and inclusivity will play a key role. With diversity, will come innovation and innovation will help build resilience and stronger businesses in the future. We are looking forward to hundreds joining us over the two days.”

Our very own Co-Editor Sophie Mei Lan will be presenting and hosting two table talks:

With thanks to AD:Venture for the introduction… after all it’s all about celebrating, collaborating and connecting one another! Sophie also writes and is an ambassador for their free business support:

Sophie Mei Lan, Co-Editor and Journalist

To see the full schedule and to register for the event (at no cost), please visit:

The festival is also backed by Creative Industries Council, Creative England, Creative Industries Federation, Creative Lancashire, Boost Business Lancashire, Liverpool Growth Platform, Northern Ballet, Scale-up Institute, AD:VENTURE, and the Intellectual Property Office.

Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit for more information about the organisation’s extensive range of services.

Creative Leaders Festival 2021

This and other GC Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project, designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. The Hub is also supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester local authorities.

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