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Great Creators Podcast

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Great Creators Podcast is a series sharing the diverse stories of design and entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland.

We’ll feature start-ups, community-led projects, and established businesses which together make up the rich innovation ecosystem.

This podcast is a project by The Graduate School at Queen’s University in partnership with Belfast Design Week.

Listen now via Soundcloud & Spotify

We want to highlight that opportunity is all around, if you know where to look for it and to delve deeper into understanding how a product or service comes about from those “in the know” – the designers and entrepreneurs themselves!

The podcast will share different business models and approaches, the challenges and pivots of entrepreneurial journeys, and contain useful and easy-to-implement advice and resources.


EPISODE 1 – PRODUCT INNOVATION

The first episode is on product innovation and features Dr. Peter Barrett The Buchas Dog and Azhar Murtuza Born Maverick


Dr. Peter Barrett

Dr. Peter Barrett is a scientist who has recently set up the first kombucha company in Northern Ireland – The Bucha’s Dog. Starting as a passion project in Peter’s kitchen for his own enjoyment and for family and friends, The Bucha’s Dog has grown organically to become a business and Peter’s kombucha can now be found in many cafes, delis, bars, and restaurants in Belfast and beyond. The Covid-19 lockdown has hit the hospitality sector hard but Peter has used this period to continue developing The Bucha’s Dog through rebranding, designing a new facility to make kombucha, coming up with new recipes and planning future workshops to teach people how to make their own home brews.

Instagram – www.instagram.com/thebuchasdog/
Facebook – facebook.com/thebuchasdog
Website – www.thebuchas.dog


Azhar Murtaza

Azhar Murtuza is an entrepreneur who initially came to study at The Graduate School at Queen’s University in Belfast from Mangalore in India and decided to stay and set up an ethical food business, Born Maverick. He believes strongly that “change is up to us” and brings this philosophy to all aspects of his “flexitarian” food products and it is also his advice to entrepreneurs and “want’repreneurs. Azhar believes that Northern Ireland is an excellent place to set up a business and that opportunities are there all around us waiting to be found and made use of. Entering competitions and pitching has given Azhar the confidence to boldly forge forward with new products including coconut milk popsicles, vegan eggs, vegan prawns and coffee alternatives. As well as being an entrepreneur, Azhar is a keen writer and photographer taking in the beautiful landscapes of Northern Ireland.

Twitter – twitter.com/bebornmaverick
Instagram – www.instagram.com/born_maverick/
Website – www.wearepur.com


RESOURCES

The Graduate School at Queen’s University – www.qub.ac.uk/graduate-school/
QUB Enterprise SU – qubsu.org/EnterpriseSU/
Belfast Design Week – belfastdesignweek.com
Invest NI – www.investni.com
Invest NI Business Information Centre – www.investni.com/support-for-busi…tors-and-markets
Catalyst Inc. – wearecatalyst.org
Invent Awards – wearecatalyst.org/programmes/invent/

 

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    #blickstudios on
    Like many others we have been slowly rebuilding our business following the pandemic. Doing a lot of work behind the scenes and trying to be more intentional with both what we put our energy into, but also how and why we are doing things.
As we continue to get busier  I want to continue this process and plan to begin each week with a question for reflection for myself. I thought some other people might also find it a useful exercise so if i get time each week I will share them here. 
I love this week's question "what did you enjoy working on most last week?" We so often forget why we started a business and what we used to feel passionate about as we get bogged down in the day to day work. We forget that it's possible and also ok to enjoy our work and to try to create more of that joy.
    Monday what a beautiful sunny start to the week 

#blickmalone #blickstudios #creativespace #creativehub #summer #belfastcity #belfast #southbelfast
    What one thing could you do today to push your business forward and get your week off to a positive start?

#mondaymotivation #creativestartup #creativebusiness #creativebusinessowner #creativebusinessowners #creativeentrepreneurs #creativeentrepeneur #noprocrastination #justdoit #betterbusiness #betterdonethanperfect
    We hope everyone had a lovely July break and a chance to enjoy the good weather.

We are back in the office this week and wanted to share this podcast series that we were very kindly invited by @agencyofnone  to be a part of. The series is all about buiding sustainable creative workspaces for creatives and designers. The series focuses on Dundee but includes insights from throughout the UK. We feature on episode 3, talking about our journey from the initial concept for a shared creative workspace in Belfast back in 2007 to where we are today. It was really nice to reflect back on our journey, sometimes you forget how far you have come and the obstacles you have overcome and lessons you have learnt along the way.

The values of bringing creatives together are huge, particularly following the events of recent years when people are more isolated than ever. There is a lot of work to be done reconnecting and rebuilding networks and communities. Creative workspaces can be a very effective way of building these networks and communities. Working alongside other likeminded creatives gives you the opportunity to share ideas, collaborate, innovate and learn from each other as well as make valuable social and business connections. The challenge however is finding ways to run these creative workspaces sustainably. This is particularly difficult in the current climate with rising running costs and property prices and organisations still rebuilding following the pandemic so there is lots to learn from this podcast series, if you are interested in creative spaces its definitely worth a listen.

Details and links to listen on our blog (link in profile)
    MEET OUR COMMUNITY: MALONE RESIDENT ALANNA OFFIELD SEASIDE BOOKS 

I love reading and I love books, I also like to support local creatives and buy local and independent, so I was very excited this week to get to chat with our newest Blick resident Alanna to find out more about her business @seasidebooksni

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?

I’m Alanna, the owner of Seaside Books. I moved to Ireland from New Mexico five years ago, looking for a change in career after years of working as a social justice campaigner. I write poetry and have always loved reading. When I became disabled in 2018, books and reading were an escape from long days in bed and trips to the hospital. As a bookworm, I had always dreamed of owning a bookshop, so I decided to give it a go during the pandemic.

Seaside Books is an independent online and traveling bookshop stocking books from Irish authors and/ or published by Irish publishers. We travel to markets and community events across the country. We also offer writing workshops and help authors prepare their books to be published.

Any projects you’re currently working on?

Seaside Books recently turned a year old. I’ve got a long list of ideas for things we could do to celebrate all the fantastic writing happening across Ireland. Currently, we are planning to start a magazine to highlight emerging writers from underrepresented communities. We have been working with local authors and lovers of excellent writing to bring it to life. We are still in the very early stages, but I’m excited to move forward.

What was the biggest hurdle for you starting out and how did you overcome it?

The learning curve for starting a bookshop was steep. I didn’t have anyone who had experience starting a business in my life, so I had to do lots of research to know where to start. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing (I still feel that way sometimes). I started planning Seaside Books during the pandemic, which was sometimes isolating. Finding a community of other folks who were starting businesses was a lifesaver.

Full interview on our blog link in profile
    ---- Room Hire ---- 

Video of our lovely Main room in our Malone studios that's available to hire

Did you know you can hire out the ground floor of our Malone Studios. We have two rooms available to hire. Both rooms are situated off our lovely glass roofed atrium which can be used to gather for events or classes or as a breakout space during classes or events. 

- Affordable rates of £15 per hour and additional marketing support for long term bookings in our Main Room. We currently have availability on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons for long term booking in our Main Room 

- Affordable rates of £10 per hour for our meeting room for regular bookings. We currently have availability on Monday and Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons for our Meeting Room. 

- Main Room fits 10 - 12 for yoga or similar activities, seats 15 boardroom or classroom, 25 as a lecture theatre and about 40 people standing 

- Beautiful space with high ceilings and original period features 

- Free use of beautiful breakout space and communal kitchen 

- Safe, well-lit, vibrant location close to Queens University in leafy South Belfast 

- We wehave a small team ensuring you a friendly, personal and professional service  

- We are a local social enterprise meaning your money goes back into the local economy and to support the creative industries in Northern Ireland 

Full details and all our prices for both spaces are on our website (link in bio)
    This week we had a quick catchup with our newest Cotton Court resident creative freelancer @emanuela_mae_agrini_art who told us a bit about herself and her creative work

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?

Hey there! I am originally from Genoa, a seaside city in Northern Italy; my business was born there about ten years ago and bounced around a bit before moving to Belfast. My idea has always been to offer written communication for companies and individuals, but over time my core is moving more and more in the direction of a mix between visual and written communication. Although I still deal most of the time with content writing and copywriting (both in Italian and in English), I am developing some projects that can combine visuals and words, in the context of graphic facilitation, graphic recording and illustrated content.

What was the biggest hurdle for you starting out and how did you overcome it?

When I started as a freelancer ten years ago, the main obstacle was to convince companies and clients that remote work is still work: the mentality was very different from today and there was a lot to work to do on it. I always supported remote work and for long periods I have been traveling while working between the countries. Today luckily things seem to have changed.

How do you stay creative/inspired?

I pass pretty much all my free time reading books, drawing, and painting and when possible, I travel to see new places and meet new people. I love also to be around the city the more I can to listen to the stories of random people I meet. When I want to recharge, I go to the sea, which is my happy place.

What’s your top tip/piece of advice for anyone wanting to work for themselves/ start their own creative business?

Just make sure you are into it with all your energies and passion, and love every moment of it 🙂

You can read the full interview on our website (link in profile)
    Don't forget to take a break for the long weekend. It can be hard when you're self employed to justify taking time off to relax and rest and not feel guilty about it and for many if you arent working you arent earning. But there is always more that could be done so take as much of a break as possible and enjoy the peace of these extra couple of days when people don't expect you to be answering emails or phone calls

#worklifebalance #bankholiday #longweekend #balance #rest #relax #smallbusinessbelfast #selfemployed #freelance #smallbusinessowner