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Confidence helps Morgana set up creative networking group

The Lancashire Forum Creative programme at the University of Central Lancashire has helped give a local business owner the confidence and skills to set up a new membership group for women in creative businesses.

Morgana Loze-Doyle hated traditional networking; business breakfasts with executives who talked assets and profit margins weren’t her style and she often found they weren’t relevant for creative businesses.

Understanding that other creative women were in similar situations, she wanted to break out and create a new membership group for like-minded women but wasn’t sure of the best way to start, while managing it with her current business.

Getting social for creatives

As a self-employed social media marketing consultant, Morgana helps small businesses to grow their online presence through Instagram and Pinterest. As a new business owner based at her computer, she was keen to meet new people, develop new relationships and get advice on running her own company but found that traditional networking events weren’t her style.

Finding business breakfasts unhelpful but wanting to share ideas and advice with others, Morgana joined UCLan’s Lancashire Forum Creative programme. The business growth programme works with local companies and owners to help them develop their ideas and support their personal growth to help ideas become reality.

In addition to meeting business owners with similar challenges, attending the Lancashire Forum Creative Think Tanks helped Morgana to grow her confidence in presenting her ideas, while working with academics and industry consultants as part of the programme taught her useful skills for the business, such as website coding and business strategy.

Similarly, it was at a Lancashire Forum Creative session where Morgana was able to merge her social media marketing consultancy with CWS Creatives to create one business, making the administration and daily business running easier to do.

She was also able to explore the business model for her new networking venture by mapping out the processes and timeline of converting attendees to a regular paid membership system.

Morgana said: “People who work in an office with others bounce ideas off each other, but for one-person companies, you can’t do that. As a result, you can never be quite sure if your ideas are worthwhile or even if you are good at what you are offering – which affects your confidence.

"By going to the sessions, I built up my confidence to speak to different people and start to present my ideas in a better way. "

“I realised that I did have more knowledge and expertise than I gave myself credit for, which gave me the confidence to go on and set up the new networking group, CWS Creatives. I met other creative people through the Forum and realised that they were looking for a chance to meet other freelancers and other people who understand what it is like to work on your own.

“Mapping out the transition to a paid-membership service allowed me to break down the idea and achieve it. I now have a membership section on my website where people in the community can sign up and receive extra content as well as discounts on events and early bird access.”

Learn new skills from peers and academics

“Local businesses should give the Forum a try. It’s a good way to meet people in the local area who run creative businesses and build your network. I met owners of other creative businesses who have become valued members of the CWS Creatives community, attending my events and becoming an important sounding board for me when I’m trying out new ideas.

Elena Vasilieva, Project Manager at Lancashire Forum Creative, said: “Morgana’s dilemma around networking is something we hear so often. For some sectors, there are multiple networking events, but for creative industries there is a gap.

“The Lancashire Forum Creative helps to fill that gap by giving creative business owners a space where they can meet similar individuals and managers, share ideas and get the solutions and support they need to grow their business.

“Some people find a very particular benefit from the Forum, but for others, simply getting away from the desk, meeting people in similar positions and sharing ideas can help inspire them to grow their businesses or start new ventures – just like Morgana has gone on to do.”

To learn more about CWS Creatives, please visit https://cwscreatives.co.uk/.

For more information please contact 01772 894547 or lancashireforum@uclan.ac.uk.

The Lancashire Forum Creative is a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by Boost; Lancashire’s business growth hub.