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Future Pathways: Paul Sturrock on Arts Entrepreneurship

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3933549608_1bf6c64afa_b copy

Written by
Colin Buttimer
Published date
02 March 2016

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Paul Sturrock has 30 years experience working with technology growth companies as a manager, co-founder, early stage investor, board member, consultant and coach. 

As part of an ongoing series of interviews related to our new MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise course, we spoke to him about what students can expect from the Arts Entrepreneurship unit that he’ll be leading.

He’s designed and delivered entrepreneurship programmes for City University, Scottish Institute for Enterprise, Hong Kong University, as well as Central Saint Martins. In 2001 he founded Slingshot Venture Development, and his clients have since included Boots, MIT Media Lab, 3C Research, School for Startups and Imperial Innovations.

What is Arts Entrepreneurship?

Guy Kawasaki has said that there is really only one question you should ask yourself before starting any new venture: “Do I want to make meaning?” It’s always struck me that this is the same question an artist must answer before they start a new project.

This is why I believe that entrepreneurship is primarily a creative craft. Entrepreneurs only succeed if they can create meaningfully different experiences which customers (audiences) value. So I see Arts Entrepreneurship as a perfect example of this challenge.

What is the objective of the unit?

Like any other craft, entrepreneurship can only be learned through practice. The unit is designed to give students progressive practice in using the tools and raw materials of entrepreneurship.

What will students learn?

Students will learn to identify and define an opportunity to create a meaningful experience for a specific audience segment, which matches their interests and capabilities. They will learn how to design the experience, iterate the design, develop a viable business model to make it economically viable, and craft a persuasive pitch for appropriate funders or investors.

As part of the process, they will get used to managing the inherent risk and uncertainty of any entrepreneurial project.

How can students apply learning in this unit to the ‘real world’?

Ideally, the students will select a project that they can envision launching in the real world.

What is your own experience of Entrepreneurship?

I’ve spent my whole career either leading the design and implementation of entrepreneurial strategy, or developing the capability of others to do so.

MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise open days are now open to book. Please visit the course page to find out more information. 

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