Upstarter goes coastal

Posted on Aug 10, 2018
Upstarter goes coastal

We’ve been talking to a set of organisations from around the south coast of the UK to see how we can work together. This year it seems to be bearing fruit, in a tour of venues for coastal towns. The plan is to work with some of the great people who are already working in these towns, and bringing some of Upstarter thinking and programme to people who are ready to try some new business activity in response to the needs in their locations. We want to help where new small businesses can trade with each other and support each other in scaling to an appropriate and sustainable size. Our aim is to support activities that build up new economies in towns.

This summer Upstarter will be appearing around the south coast. Starting at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight this weekend in August as part of the Ventnor Fringe. We’ll be bringing some relaxed brunch workshops for artists, and a Sunday School talk on high streets and how they are vital to developing a thriving local economy to this local fringe festival, now in its 9th year, and steadily attracting increasing interest from outside the Island.

“One hell of a homegrown festival…an authentic, bohemian festival experience”

The Independent

“…rapidly becoming the country’s most surprising and inspirational multidisciplinary arts festival”

The Sunday Times

Then, we’ll be bringing a creative business startup course to Weston Super Mare in early September – a few train stops from the Watershed in Bristol, where we do monthly mentoring sessions with creative businesses – for a two day startup course with creatives and newly graduated students. This is followed later in October with a mini tour of Hastings, Newhaven and Eastbourne and featuring some of our workshops.

This is why. New Economics Foundation nail it wonderfully:

‘Coastal communities face complex and urgent challenges. They see higher levels of deprivation, underemployment and educational underachievement when compared to communities inland; and they are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the declining health of UK seas. At the same time, there’s great appetite on the coast for change, and for a new approach to economic development that gives people real control over their lives.’

When compared to urban places, coastal places often feature a different demographic range. Two groups may find themselves on opposing sides of change – one who have settled there to live out their years by the sea, and another who are looking to make things more conducive to making a living there. Younger people need a different set of conditions to encourage them to settle – somewhere affordable and a fertile place for their ideas.

Some families successfully decant from London on good wages and cheaper family homes, and in their remote working they are amongst the few.

Making a living in a costal town filled where jobs are focussed on hospitality or care and the high street is filled with charity shops and cafe’s is a challenge. Some find their way to making craft or gift shops, but there is only so much money floating around to draw upon. If your main market is retired people, who are either being highly cautious with their money, or flamboyant with their spending, you need to know exactly what to do to capture their attention.

What really intrigues us is how does anyone (who has not got capital behind them) make a living in these places? How can they find the kinds of micro business support they need to get them off the starting blocks and into a more robust and sustainable state?

A visit from Upstarter is not going to resolve all of this, but as a part of this tour, I’ll be researching the different conditions for young would-be entrepreneurs. For the duration of this tour, we’ll be finding out how bringing creative and social microbusiness programmes to work, and what doesn’t, and will publish our findings here. We can use this information to explore what needs to happen on a bigger level, and give this data to councils and any organizations who might support this change.

If you have any thoughts or comments please let us know at the link here.