What is Start Something Creative?

Are you aged 16-30 and based in the South West? Do you have a brilliant idea for a creative business or project? We can help you develop your concept, write a plan, find funding, and access the facilities you need to get your idea off the ground!

Through Start Something Creative we will help you access:

  • 1-2-1 coaching from industry experts
  • Specialist facilities and co-working spaces
  • Training, workshops, and events
  • Up to £4,000 to pay for additional resources
  • A cohort of like-minded creative business and project pioneers

We want to hear from anyone with a creative idea but are particularly interested in businesses or projects linked to immersive tech, arts, making, the environment and local communities.

Applications for round 2 of Start Something Creative are now closed.

Apply now

Support we will offer you

Get Started

1-2-1 session with your Start Something Creative coach to talk your idea through

Work out who your audience or market are and how to reach them

Work out what research or training you need 

Work out what resources, facilities, and space you need

Find Out & Plan

Take part in training workshops from Real Ideas and others

Access support and do research

Get help to find the specialist facilities you need

1-2-1 support to write your plan!

Go For It!

Follow the plan, use the skills you’ve developed and the resources you’ve accessed to launch your creative business or project

Receive on-going support from Real Ideas as you grow

In return we ask that you: 

  • Actively work with your coach
  • Attend the workshops, training sessions, events, and meetings on offer
  • Engage and contribute positively with the Start Something Creative cohort
  • Recognise the support you have received on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram
  • Allow us to promote your name and company across our platforms
  • Commit to a one off payment of £10 for a Real Ideas Membership


To apply, you must be:

  • Aged between 16 – 30 at the time of applying
  • Live in the Southwest (Cornwall, Isles of Scilly, Devon, Plymouth, Torbay, Somerset, N Somerset, Bath & NE Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, S Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole)
  • Able to play an active part in the Start Something Creative cohort and get maximum benefit from the support throughout the programme.
Apply now

How do I apply?

To be part of Start Something Creative we ask that you complete the expression of interest form below. Once your expression of interest has been reviewed, if you meet our eligibility criteria you will be sent an application form.
We are proud to be making steps toward inclusive recruitment! As part of this we welcome applications in both written and video recorded formats.

Please submit your application in either a word document/PDF or MP4 format. More information on the application process will be included in your welcome email.

Applications for Round 2 of Start Something Creative are now closed. Please do not submit an application at this time.

Apply now

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is funding Start Something Creative?

Start Something Creative is funded by Arts Council Southwest

What can I expect to learn?

We will cover all the basics of business, starting with working out your goals, planning, defining your customer, looking at the numbers, and working out who can help you make things happen. You will also have access to our workspaces at Markethall, Devonport Guildhall and Ocean Studios.

What do I need to commit to?

We need you to commit to a minimum of 5 hours per week to moving your business forward, as well as the in-person and online sessions we run. The more you put in, the more you get out and the sooner you will make your business or project a reality. You will also need to be a Member with Real Ideas.

This opportunity requires match funding. This can come in the form of a variety of things, including your time spent on your business/project, external investment or support. We will support you with this during the programme.

We will also need you to commit to a 1.5 hour diagnostic meeting with one of our coaches between Monday 12th September and Friday 23rd September 2022. If you are not available between these dates please highlight that in your application.
Can I fit this around my day job?

We know that most people cannot drop everything and start a project without other interests and responsibilities. Moreover, we want you to work on your business, not sit in a classroom. Therefore, we can help you to prioritise your time to be more efficient.

How will I get paid the money?

Your grant will be paid to you in stages based on a project plan that you will develop with your assigned Coach. The staged payments will be made in advance of purchases being made so you will not have to pay for anything upfront yourself and claim it back. Grant funding will be paid directly into your bank on receipt of an invoice.

What can I spend the money on?

There is up to £4,000 available to each business to help get it started. This can be for materials, equipment, specialist skills training, external expertise etc We will work with you to develop your budget to help you make the most of the investment.

How long does the support last?

The structured element of support will last for 3 months and includes 1:1 sessions, action planning, networking events and workshops. However, your project support from your assigned coach will continue until 31st March 2023. After this, you can remain part of the Real Ideas membership for as long as you like.

What do you mean by a creative business?

For this particular programme we are looking for ideas that sit within the digital or immersive sector, creative and making, or links with community and nature. That means it can be anything from creating digital content to making bread or developing ideas for green spaces within your community. We are very open on this so if you are not sure whether your idea fits with the above please do apply anyway.

Got a question that isn’t answered here?
Feel free to get in touch with us by emailing and specifying that you would like further information about the Start Something Creative programme.