The full evaluation report of Prosper, a business support and action research programme, designed and managed by Creative United, that ran from March 2017 to March 2018.
The aim of this programme was to improve business sustainability and resilience in the creative and cultural sectors, and complete research into the provision and use of business support.
It was funded by Arts Council England and delivered in partnership with the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) and the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at Coventry University.
Additional match funding was secured from Coventry University, AMA, Creative Scotland, Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
The Prosper Business Support Project
- In mid-2016, Arts Council England (ACE) launched a call for proposals to deliver ‘business support targeted at the arts, museums and libraries sector’. The call was deliberate in targeting a very broad and diverse business population mix of sub-sector, enterprise, organisation, and activity.
- Business support was taken to mean “providing specialist information, guidance and advice to build the capacity of the organisation. This can include, but is not limited to, support for strategic planning, governance development, financial planning, investment readiness, alternative business models, understanding impact, using digital technology, environmental sustainability, diversification of income and HR capability”.
- Creative United was grant funded by ACE (£400,000) for the period December 2016 to 31 May 2018 to develop and deliver Prosper. A further £55,000 (and beyond the expected 10% match funding contribution) was raised by Creative United from other funders (Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, Creative Scotland, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund) and programme partners (Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at Coventry University and the Arts Marketing Association (AMA)).
- Over a nine-month period, the project provided one-to-one business advice, workshops, masterclasses, webinars and a free-to-access online business support resource to 70 arts organisations, museums and libraries.The model was based on a credit system whereby businesses could spend their allotted twelve credits (equivalent to 12 hours of support) on their chosen support activities, having been matched with a specialist Business Advisor.
- As part of Prosper, CBiS at Coventry University was commissioned to provide research and evaluation services.