Creative edge

"Creativity is one of the last remaining legal ways of gaining an unfair advantage over the competition- Ed McCabe, Founder of Scali, McCabe, Solve Advertising Agency, 1938 – present."

You know the saying ...”You can’t reinvent the wheel” – maybe it’s true, but can you create ways to improve it! Having a creative mindset, being able to look at things differently, and having creative solutions to problems is how a lot of successful businesses grow and gain their competitive edge.

Creativity in companies comes in many different shapes and forms- from the marketing teams and designers, product managers and developers, to the sales team and directors. Creativity rarely happens in a vacuum so being able to bounce ideas and build on each person’s strengths can really help to develop ideas further.

FIRST team put our creative hats on (metaphorically and physically) during our team event taking part in a virtual escape room: “Murder at the Manor” It was a great way to let our hair down, come together as a team, and bounce ideas off each other. On reflection, it became clear that every team member had demonstrated different skills and ways of thinking. Working together we escaped unscathed, had a lot of fun AND identified the murderer.

Creativity is one of the topics covered in our accredited Level 1 Award in Understanding Enterprise. So, if you are interested in exploring creative ideas and want to do a course that is a bit different from the norm, register your interest here. You’ll be encouraged to think differently and have some fun as well as coming away with a recognised qualification!


Startup Awards North East was launched on 22nd February and applications are open now for all of you creative and aspirational early stage founders. 

We are welcoming nominations too, so if you know someone who has a great idea for a business, or is doing great things but in a quiet way then please nominate them so we can shine a spotlight on their talent.
Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum and we want to amplify the stories of early stage founders and then come together to celebrate and unite the North East’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

An early action is to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March by offering a 10% discount on all event tickets.  Any founder who’s responded to the 2021 “Choose to Challenge” IWD theme by setting up a business deserves our support as we emerge from the pandemic. Discounted tickets are available online

FIRST MD and cofounder Charlotte Windebank "Chose to Challenge" herself in 2008 during the recession and at the age of 22, when she began her journey of entrepreneurship after a stint of redundancies, failed interviews, Jobcentres, and the desire to change the way things are done. FIRST was the result.
As a passionate advocate of young entrepreneurs, Charlotte will be sharing her experiences and today's opportunities for early stage founders at the Generator "Becoming a young entrepreneur" event on 16th March. She will be joined by five other leading North East entrepreneurs. They'll be asked how they started their business, the challenges they have faced (and how they have overcome them), the support available for young founders today, how they define success and much more.
This event is exclusive for Digital Union Members. For more information on how to become a member (for free) and signup here.

With creativity comes innovation and FIRST will be exhibiting at the Virtual Venture Fest North East Exhibition on Wednesday 17th March. Our chair and co-founder, Caroline Theobald has been a contributor to Venture Fest on many occasions in the past. This year’s exhibition will focus on delivering practical advice and opportunities for support against the backdrop of COVID-19 . There will be a focus on using innovation to build resilient and sustainable business models.

Dragon’s Den, investor and entrepreneur, Piers Linney is one of the inspirational keynote speakers joining Venture Fest. Piers is a trustee of the UK’s leading innovation foundation, Nesta and an active board member of British Business Bank one of FIRST’s partners in the Startup Awards North East.

Piers and Dr Nicola Millard, (Principal Innovation Partner, BT Enterprise), will open VentureFest combining their expertise on shaping the future of work, the role of investment and how digital inclusion and exclusion can have a varying and widespread impact on business resilience.

Get your free ticket at 

Please feel free to pop along to our virtual stand and say hello, or if you would like to pre-arrange a meeting contact

Events, news, and opportunities from the North East ecosystem:

Cedarwood Trust is a regional charity supporting communities of high deprivation through innovative practice, pastoral care, education, training, and research. Their vision is a world in which children, young people and their families are effectively supported to build on their own strengths to achieve their goals in life. If you have a creative flair for writing then check out the current full time role for Fundraising and Bid Writer for further details head to Applications close Monday 22nd March please contact for an application pack.

Being creative doesn’t just help to give a competitive edge in business or to develop your business ideas. It can be a great way to express yourself and to learn a new skill. Obby has launched Learning Kits which is the next generation of learning. They are put together and delivered by their talented teaches and each kit comes with everything you need to learn something new. Kits range from candle making, pottery, jewellery and painting plus many more. Learning kits perfectly complement their Live Online Classes too so you can have the option to learn with a teacher in real time.

How do you get creative?

FIRST team welcomes you to share your creativity and inspire the North East community.

Share your creativity

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