Creative Spark 2022 – A Conference for Creatives and Entrepreneurs Alike!

In late August, the Loughborough Enterprise Network hosted a dynamic summer conference which was hosted on our London campus. It cultivated the interest and inspiration of students and graduates looking to enter the Creative Industries by employment or starting a business!

…One of the greatest experiences in my time at university that I'll remember forever.Nemat Alizada, a student attendee.

As part of the British Council’s Creative Spark Project, the Loughborough Enterprise Network in collaboration with our partners Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan a one-day conference was put together. On offer to students were walking tours of entrepreneurial spaces, alongside 14 speakers featuring a range of different backgrounds, providing in-person and online sessions to inspire as well as support knowledge and skill development.

Attendees on a tour around The Trampery

Speaker Jess Strain (Overbloom) presenting to an audience.

Students from both campuses attended on the day. Tuning into speakers that were alumni entrepreneurs, business founders, creatives of many varieties and University Career’s Network staff - Kelly Bramley with hints and tips on designing a ‘perfect match’ CV and Eve Uhlig, advising on how to ignite a creative career . These speakers and experiences facilitated opportunities for students to network and explore the possibilities open to them in their future careers.

An inspirational and motivating day full of eye-opening activities.” – Poppy Beech, a student attendee.

Recent alumni entrepreneurs offered personal insights into their own creative journeys, including how to manage multiple projects simultaneously, how to design and deliver ground-breaking stories and presentations (Andres Urena – elefant) and a LinkedIn workshop (Charlie Rogers).

Each workshop was highly insightful and helped me to develop skills both for study and for my future career in the creative industry.” – Shana Ryan, a student attendee.‌

Attendees on the Hackney Wick tour.

Keeping the conference on brand for creatives, there were interactive and engaging elements including a live performance to start the day from our keynote speaker Dr Adaku Jennifer Agwunobi, with her new single “HOME”. In addition, walking tours allowed our students to stretch their legs and expand their knowledge! Highlighting the creative ecosystem of Hackney Wick by Simon Cole (Hackney Tours) and exploring The Trampery – a local entrepreneurial space filled with passionate and likeminded business founders. A fashion showcase with Loughborough alumni Jess Strain (Overbloom) and Alice Burnhope (Alice Burnhope Design), offered the chance for students to get hands on with their products, exploring their business journey and answering questions on how they became a success. The final creative session was a jewellery making workshop by Beth Underdown (The Happy Hedgehog), with attendees making their own personalised keyrings and bracelets.

Creative Spark presented the opportunity for attendees to get hands on with activities throughout the day. By offering insights into different businesses and ways of working showcasing potential career avenues for students. Also, guiding students along a roadmap as to what the next steps are to achieve this goal! A great networking day, meeting fellow likeminded and passionate creatives.” – Beth Underdown, Enterprise and Opportunities Officer.

The enthusiasm to learn, engage and network coming from attendees sparked a buzz throughout the whole day, as noted by LSU Enterprise’s Jamshid Tavallali’s blog ‘The Ignited Spark’ an excerpt highlighting - “It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and friends there, showing some entrepreneurial passion, and energy! I absolutely loved this conference.