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Celebrating Enterprise

Partnership information


Brick Lane Festival - credit Laura Cuch Grases.jpg


The rationale for the ‘Celebrating Enterprise’ DP is rooted in the notion (supported by a range of research and the direct experience of the DP partners) that participation in creative activities can empower individuals from socially excluded groups. Crucially, the key impetus for the DP has come from event partners and the contrasting approaches of the organisers confirm both the demand for and the potential of the proposed activity. The Brick Lane Festival is proactively utilized as a means of attracting visitors and promoting local businesses of the largely Bangladeshi community whilst the Carnaval del Pueblo in South London (which relies largely on volunteer labour), helps members of the Latin Community who become involved in the event to identify the enterprise potential of their contribution and take steps towards setting up micro businesses.


Celebrating Enterprise aims to explore how community-based festivals and events can help individuals and small/medium enterprises find employment and develop as businesses.  The Celebrating Enterprise project also explores the potential for festivals and community events to play a greater role in economic empowerment.


Celebrating Enterprise has the following main practical objectives: 

  • To deliver a range of specialist and bespoke training and enterprise support programmes to exploit the skill development and business opportunities offered by festivals and community events
  • To support over 600 individuals with free training courses and business advice
  • To empower individuals to use festivals and events to start up new enterprise, test business ideas, increase income or develop established micro enterprises
  • To enable Brick Lane Festival, Carnaval del Pueblo and the Baishakhi Mela to build their skills base, in turn supporting smaller scale organisations with programmes of fundraising and capacity building
  • To generate critical discussion about issues raised by the project in a range of policy and research events.


The 15 Partners have been undertaking the following activities:

  • Developing and piloting courses,  training sessions,  business start-up and advice programmes and publicising these to members and networks to recruit participants
  • Meeting in policy and research seminars to share experience, review research, and agree findings
  • Breaking down barriers to employment by promoting equality of access and empowering individuals by giving them employment skills and adequate support
  • Communicating the project’s learning and recommendations to practitioners and policy makers in the cultural, training and enterprise sectors through a range of publications and conferences particular in relation to festival trading, entrepreneurship and business training

Target Groups

  • Focus on offering opportunity for those seeking employment or more secure employment in the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark
  • in particular the constituent communities in which the festivals are based (Bangladeshi and Latin American).



Round 1 to Round 2

The lead body, City University was a major partner in the Round One partnership Creative Renewal. 

Transnational partnerships


Haidee Bell, City University, London, , Daphne Rayment, City University, London,


Action 2: 30 September 2007
Action 3: 31 December 2007

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Business creation


festival people in masks

Celebrating Enterprise is a partnership of London-based voluntary and community sector organisations, local authorities, business advice agencies, colleges and universities who have joined together to help and advise people considering self-employment. In particular, the partnership is offering training and advice to open up the business opportunities offered by festivals and community events.


BME groups, People from disadvantaged areas (top 10% most deprived wards), Unemployed

Intended impact/ sustainability

The project intends to communicate the project’s learning and recommendations to practitioners and policy makers in the cultural, training and enterprise fields to increase the understanding of festival economies, and thereby influence policy. 

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Practice X
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Expand the empirical and theoretical understanding of the economic aspect of festivals and carnivals and how this intersects with their social, political and cultural functions.


New partnerships with London-based organisations are driving new practice in the nature and content of training and skills programmes.


New toolkit for Trading at Cultural Festivals developed and in use in 3 EU contexts to support new trading business in establishing and promoting themselves.


Contribute to understanding the implications of the increased interest in policy circles of festivals as agents of regeneration and community development


Contribute to policy discussions re skills and training, impacts and definitions of cultural value. Disseminate learning regarding partnership working at individual and organisation levels.

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Activities and products