Sam Rushton in Investment

05/07/2018

Develop Conference 2018 - Mentoring and Games

Next week I’ll be going to the Develop conference in Brighton to chat with game developers about the assistance we offer and our recently launched Creative Enterprise programme. Develop is one of my favourite UK game events in the calendar and it’s always nice to pop down to Brighton – if you haven’t been before and interested in game development it’s definitely worth a look!


The Creative Enterprise programme is aimed at helping creative businesses interested in narrative experiences on the screen (Film, Animation, VR, Games etc.) A major strand of what we are currently offering is mentoring to eligible companies interested in expanding their business. Creative Enterprise will pay up to £2,500 to subsidies the cost of working with an expert to provide advice or support to your company. Mentoring guidelines can be found here.

A business mentor can make a big difference for a games company, giving them advice that would complement what already know. From an investor point of view, a Director having had a mentor can elevate a studios knowledge which would lead to a larger recoup on investment – which would make any applications for funding more likely to be successful. From a wider point of view, having a mentor with specific knowledge in something a studio may be less experienced in – from marketing to legal – can plug any holes that may exist and put you ahead of competition.


Here is a small selection of our mentors - we have other mentors from a diverse range of backgrounds, but these are to give you an idea of the range of skills available:

Dan Licari is a digital media specialist that brokers partnerships, projects and investment. Dan has over 25 years international commercial experience, originally from Seattle, but has lived in the UK since 1997. He has helped hundreds of games and technology companies from across the UK, Europe and the US. In addition to helping young ambitious companies grow individually, he has also helped developed support programmes for these types of companies with the KTN, DTI, EEN and a number of universities across Europe. He has run development and funding workshops for UKIE, UKTI, Creative England, Sony, Ericcson and Microsoft/Nokia. In 2014, he developed and ran a games accelerator in Leamington Spa called the GameChanger. The programme was backed by SOS Ventures.


Stephen Hey’s career spans 25 years of games PR, advertising, product marketing and latterly the role of Marketing Director at EA studio, Chillingo. Although Stephen loves games, he is terrible at them, but has a deep understanding of why people play games and what triggers people to buy them. He is lucky enough to have worked on some stand out games and franchises from Worms, Lego Star Wars, Resident Evil, Cut The Rope and Micro Machines to WWE, FIFA, PES and other acronym based classics. 

In March 2017 Stephen set up games marketing consultancy HeyStephenHey, dedicated to helping indie developers formulate and execute marketing strategies. Since starting Stephen has worked with developers such as Milky Tea, Huey Games, Yippee Entertainment, Wargaming Ghost Broadband and Merge Games. Stephen is a BAFTA member and humbled to be an ambassador for the gamer’s charity, SpecialEffect.


David Hayward runs game festivals and events, including stages at Rezzed and game jams at Develop, as well as the Hebden Bridge-based game festival Feral Vector. David has significant experience in the industry, working with universities and businesses around game literacy as well as ways of understanding and talking about games to new audiences. He can advise developers on events, production, physical prototyping and construction as well as public speaking.


The important part in the mentoring we are offering is identifying the right mentor for you. Myself and the wider Creative Enterprise team have a good roster of industry talent based all around the country, but we encourage applicants to identify individuals they would be interested in being mentored by.

Other organisations, such as Women in Games and UKIE have offered mentoring services before and we are working with them in order to make the best of what we can offer. There are also other mentoring programmes available, some with a games specialism, others more general business, so if you run such a programme or are interested in becoming a mentor yourself, please get in touch.

If you would like to talk to me more about the mentoring we offer or anything else, I’ll be at Develop from the afternoon of Tuesday 10th until later on Thursday 12th. If you would like to book a meeting with me you can use the  Meet@Develop platform – alternatively you can e-mail me on sam.rushton@creativeengland.co.uk and we’ll sort something out. Or just grab me in the bar area. Below is a recent photo of myself but I also wear glasses, maybe even sunglasses, you never know.

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See you next week!

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