Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Entertainment Entrepreneur Coaching Program

**UPDATE 27/11/09** I'm really interested to know why so many people in Germany are accessing this post - please email me to let me know, my email address is at the top of the page.

Introduction to the Program

The Entertainment Entrepreneur Coaching Program (EECP) was formed at Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Met) in 2008 as a business education and entrepreneur incubator. It is designed to nurture entrepreneurial ideas that have an entertainment remit, in that the tangible or intangible ‘products’ that participants within the program wish to develop are designed to captivate an audience through sensory stimulation that is capable of provoking an emotional response amongst the audience (Vogel, 2004). For the purposes of clarity, sixteen specific areas of the entertainment industry have been identified as being suitable for EECP projects, these are as follows: staged story and variety; music; bars, pubs and clubs; cinema and film; broadcast media; audio-visual media; the internet; gaming; printed media; spectator sports; thrillertainment; edutainment; sellertainment; culturtainment; spiritual entertainment; and health entertainment. The program has already assisted the set up of several entertainment related business ideas, including: a student radio station; a sustainable sound system powered by wind and solar power; and a dub-step record label. We are now beginning recruitment of student groups for the 2009 / 10 academic year.

Why is such a Program Necessary?
Entrepreneurship and particularly the creation of new enterprises is a key economic function in society, providing avenues for new methods of working and doing business, job creation, wealth generation and competition creation (Butler, 2006; Fink and Kraus, 2009; Parks, 2005). The primary aim of the EECP is to encourage entrepreneurship amongst Leeds Met students, many of whom are undertaking a program in business disciplines where aspects of the entertainment industry may be covered wholly or partially, such courses include under and post graduate: Business Studies; Entertainment Management; Events Management; and Tourism Management. Students on these courses are often required to think entrepreneurially throughout their course, and many of these courses involve modules where students are required to work on projects that have an entrepreneurial remit (Leeds Metropolitan University, 2009). With the assistance of the EECP it is hoped that students with good entertainment related entrepreneurial ideas could benefit through access to both finances and expertise.

Headd (2001) identified that at least half of all new business ventures fail within their first year of operation. The EECP came about through seeing many students in Leeds having good entertainment related ideas, which when put into practice often fell victim to under-planning, under marketing, aggressive competitors and unscrupulous venue owners. Numerous student entrepreneurs in Leeds often suffer failure and financial loss due to this, and many are discouraged to try out their own entrepreneurial ideas again, this backs up the point made by Hayward et al (2009) that negative experiences in the early days for some ‘habitual entrepreneurs’ can have damaging longer term impacts upon longer term entrepreneurial activities, either by dissuading them from becoming involved in what may be perceived as too ‘high risk’ an activity, or in the case of committed ‘serial entrepreneurs’ by ‘not identifying learning effects of failure’ (Ucbasaran, Flores and Westhead, 2008, p.1) and often going on to repeat previous mistakes. ‘Failure from an entrepreneurial viewpoint is considered to be the termination of an initiative that has fallen short of its goals’ (McGrath, 1999, quoted in Ucbasaran, Flores and Westhead, 2008, p.4). The entertainment industry is extremely competitive, and the areas which a sizeable proportion of would-be student entrepreneurs in Leeds seem to gravitate towards are the nightclubs and live music sectors. Some of the most established live music and nightclub promotion companies in Leeds (for example AIM Clubbing, Taking Liberties, and Voodoo Events) are all owned and / or run by either university graduates or existing students. The live music and nightclub promotion sector in Leeds is aggressively competitive, with strong established promoters often using their superior financial position and established marketing networks to put on promotions and run ‘spoiler’ events (even at a loss) in order to ‘quash’ any new competition before it has the chance to become established (Moss, 2009).

Those wishing to participate in the program must be students of Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Met). Would-be participants will be invited to apply to join the EECP through completing an application form, which must then be refereed and countersigned by an academic tutor (that is both nominated by, and known to the students). It is the role of the academic tutor to act as a coach and mentor to the students, and to streamline communications between the student group and the EECP. Coaching is strongly encouraged throughout Leeds Met which is the home to the ‘UK Centre for Coaching Excellence’. In terms of assessment, learning and teaching at Leeds Met, priority five in the document ‘Assessment, Learning and Teaching Priorities 2008-09’ is ‘fostering effective coaching and teaching’ (Leeds Met, 2008, p.3). Therefore another aim of the EECP is to work towards this by furthering and developing coaching interactions between academic mentors and students undertaking project work.

Applications for 2009 / 10
Applications to the EECP are vetted by academics and industry representatives, who are looking for an idea that is not only related to the entertainment industry, but that is also: specific and clearly thought out; measurable in terms of finances; achievable in terms of students having the required skills (or access to those who do) to be able to undertake their project; realistic in the sense that this can be done, and that students have carried out research into their product, competitors and market; and timely in that student projects are mapped against a time-line with specific start and end dates. The EECP encourages working with members of the non-academic community, who may have expertise in particular business areas that are related to the entrepreneurial ideas being submitted by student groups, and in doing so fosters positive relations and shared expertise between students and those in industry.

The EECP offers funds of up to £500 per student project, funds are distributed internally within Leeds Met to the faculty of each project groups academic coach. Students are then required to present invoices and receipts in order to claim against the funding they have been allocated. Student groups whose projects make a profit beyond the amount, which they were funded are required to pay back the amount that they were funded plus 10% of any profits that they have made. This allows the EECP to grow and fund further projects in future, the remaining 90% of any profits must then be surrendered to the student group’s academic coach who will establish a Leeds Met budget code for the student group to draw upon these funds (pay and claim) for educational purposes (text-books, hardware, software, conference attendance, field visits etc). Another aim of the EECP is to support the education of the participants, so utilising the profits form projects responsibly in this way, should ensure that this aim is met. Student groups who wish to donate the remaining 90% of their profits to a charitable cause, may be permitted to do so. Student groups whose project fails to make a profit will not be made to pay back the money that they have been given by the EECP, however any funds that they have raised may be requested, therefore in order for the EECP to stand any chance of future growth, it is essential that those projects which are chosen stand the best possible chance of generating a profit.

If you are a student at Leeds Met and you would like an EECP application form for 2009 / 10, or if you are from industry and would like to become involved in the program as an industry expert or advisor please email s.moss@leedsmet.ac.uk for further information.


Butler, D. Enterprise planning and development: Small business and enterprise start-up survival and growth. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.

Fink, M. and Kraus, S. (2009) The management of small and medium enterprises. London, Routledge.

Hayward, M., Forster, W., Sarasvathy, S. and Fredrickson, B. (2009) Beyond hubris: How highly confident entrepreneurs rebound to venture again. Journal of Business Venturing. May 2009.

Headd, B. (2001). Business success: Factors leading to surviving and closing successfully. Washington D.C., Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Leeds Metropolitan University. (2008) Assessment, learning and teaching priorities 2008-09. Leeds, LEEDS MET.

Leeds Metropolitan University. (2009) Undergraduate courses 2010. Leeds, LEEDS MET.

Moss, S. ed. (2009) The entertainment industry: an introduction. Oxford, CABI.

Parks, S. (2005) Small business handbook. London, Prentice Hall.

Ucbasaran, D., Flores, M. and Westhead, P. (2008) Entrepreneurial optimism and experience: Does the nature of experience matter?. [Internet] New York, Social Science Research Network. URL available from: Accessed 3rd June, 2009.

Vogel, H. (2004) Entertainment industry economics: A guide for financial analysis. 6th ed. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

1 comment:

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