Local Economic Partnership helps boost creativity in Leamington Spa
A new creative community is being established in Leamington Spa town centre following the investment of a four-figure refurbishment.
Started by two Leamington-based creative studios, Daughter and OHMY, the initiative is hoping to accommodate like-minded freelancers and small companies in the heart of the town.
With support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, they received business support, advice, guidance and funding opportunities to help with the cost of the refurbishment.
Organising the refurbishment was OHMY, set-up in 2015 by Joe Burke and Fraser Hobbs after the duo worked together in successful agencies in London including M&C Saatchi.
Daughter is a strategic and creative advertising agency working with large national and global brands like Coventry Building Society, IHG Hotels & Resorts and Greenpeace. OHMY is a digital-first design studio that builds brands, websites and apps for ambitious businesses with clients including Norton Motorcycles, Jaguar Land Rover and the Maybourne Hotel Group.
Martin Nwangwa, the CWLEP Growth Hub Account Manager who covers Leamington, Kenilworth and Warwick, put OHMY in touch with Coventry City Council Business Development Advisor Kierandeep Bal to discuss potential grant support.
OHMY worked with Martin and Kierandeep on a successful grant application for £20,477 via the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is part funded through the European Regional Development Fund.
The business invested £41,000 as well towards painting and decorating, electrics, flooring, new furniture, lighting and new kitchens and bathrooms.
For OHMY, two new members of staff have been recruited – a project manager and a graphic designer – and a developer will be employed by the end of the year. For Daughter, they are close to hiring three new staff to maintain and grow accounts.
Joe said the support of the Growth Hub and Coventry City Council had been instrumental in their vision of creating a new creative community in this area of Leamington.
He said: “This is a lovely building and it is quintessentially Leamington. We love the multiple storeys and having the space for a flexible, collaborative, open and safe working environment.
“Our aim was to create a creative space where we can meet and engage with staff, potential new partners and actively grow our business network – and we have achieved that.
“Large parts of the building are shared between Daughter and OHMY so the collaboration between different companies is already working and we meet up for after-work drinks in Leamington.
“We wanted to make the business attractive to new prospects and potential staff, generate increased revenue through leasing spaces, rooms and desks as well as compete against London agencies and pitch for more national and global work to continue our expansion plans.
“The support of the Growth Hub and Coventry City Council has been instrumental in making our plans become a reality.”
Martin Nwangwa, Account Manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the renovations would boost OHMY and the wider creative community.
He said: “Leamington is renowned for its creative talent and the eco-support system that has built up.
“Their stylish offices will help them attract freelancers and start-ups to hot-desk as well as share their knowledge and experience to help with their growth and develop their own businesses as part of a new creative community in Leamington town centre.
“The Growth Hub is here to help businesses in all sectors take the next step to expand as well as those setting-up their own firms to boost our local economy.”
Kierandeep Bal, Business Development Advisor at Coventry City Council, said: “This is an excellent example of the types of projects the Business Support Programme looks to part fund as it encourages both collaborative and flexible working whilst helping OHMY grow and expand their own business.
“This is a beautiful, refurbished building in the heart of Leamington that offers hot-desking facilities which not only helps OHMY generate additional revenue but provides other smaller businesses and freelancers the space to share ideas, knowledge and experience with others and really adds to the creative community that already exists across Coventry and Warwickshire. It has been a pleasure working with Joe and his team and watching his vision come to life.”