Creative Innovator Program

28 October 2021

The Helpmann Academy has awarded over $55,000 in seed funding to a group of emerging creative entrepreneurs at an event held at Stone and Chalk, Lot Fourteen on Wednesday 27 October 2021.  

The recipients of the seed funding were participants in a landmark program titled the Helpmann Academy Creative Innovator Program, which was devised to support emerging creative practitioners develop the entrepreneurial skills required to turn creative ideas into successful businesses. Generously supported by a group of philanthropic partners and donors and Arts South Australia, the program took inspiration from the technology sector, where incubators, labs and accelerator programs help to foster new business ideas; the program caters specifically to the creative industries.

Throughout 2021, Helpmann worked closely with program participants to build confidence in their abilities to create and sustain a creative practice. The participants attended a series of workshops and masterclasses designed to support them to define their entrepreneurial business model, identify and reach their target market, develop their brand and deliver a professional pitch. They also each worked with an established Creative Mentor and business advisors from Perks Accounting services.

In addition to each enterprise receiving $2,000 funding at the completion of the program, participants also had the opportunity to pitch Shark Tank style to an esteemed panel for up to $20,000 in seed funding for their individual projects. The results of the pitch presentations were revealed by South Australian Chief Entrepreneur, Andrew Nunn at the special event on Wednesday night. Those recipients were:

Flinders University graduate, Lily Drummond received $5,000 in seed funding for her production company and educational organisation, Behind the Lens.  In addition to this seed funding, Lily will also receive a placement with ThincLab at the University of Adelaide.

Flinders University graduates, Alexander Salkicevic and Bryce Kraehenbuehl received $20,000 in seed funding for their film production business, Two Up Films. In addition to $20,000 seed funding, Bryce and Alex will also receive a placement at the Incubator Space at Flinders University New Venture Institute.

University of Adelaide graduate Emily Bettison received $20,000 in seed funding for her vocal and music sample pack business, STAK. In addition to this funding, Emily will also receive a place in the Venture Catalyst Program at the University of South Australia’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre.

Emily Bettison says that the program filled crucial gaps in knowledge she had around developing and growing a creative business.

“The Creative Innovator Program is an incredible initiative and was such a unique and valuable experience for me as a music producer and creative entrepreneur.  Despite my years of study and experience in the creative industry, there were gaps in my knowledge regarding starting, managing, and growing a successful business. This opportunity was one full of education and support and has equipped me with the knowledge that I need to take the next step forward in my career. It was so freaking special and excellent!”

The Creative Innovator Program participants

Alexander Salkicevic and Bryce Kraehenbuehl (Flinders University) are creating a self-sustainable production company called Two Up Films, which produces micro budget Australian horror feature films for an international and domestic audience. Alexander and Bryce were mentored by Marcus McKenzie from Cinemaché. 

Alice Reardon (Flinders University) is building her video production company Owl Film & Creative, producing video content for local businesses and Not-For-Profits. Alice was mentored by Kirsty Stark of Epic Films.

Anthony Robinson (Flinders University) is developing a video game called Tinker and Spell with video game studio Golden Age. Anthony was mentored by Dan Thorsland from Flinders University.

Emily Bettison (University of Adelaide) is creating a vocal and music sample pack company by the name of STAK. Emily was mentored by Tom Calvett of Black Octopus Sound.

Erin Daniell (Flinders University) is building an artist run, small scale metal studio Erin Daniell Jewellery & Objects. Erin was mentored by Jane Bowden from Zu Design.

Jasmin Watkins and Angelo Valdivia (University of South Australia and University of Adelaide) are building their production company Undecided Pear Productions catering to arts organisations and educational institutions. Angelo and Jasmin were mentored by Tom Phillips from We Made a Thing Studios.

Lily Drummond (Flinders University) is developing Behind the Lens, a production company and educational organisation providing girls and young women with opportunities to engage with filmmaking. Lily Drummond was mentored by Sandy Cameron from Hedone Productions.

Sandra Sok (Flinders University) is building her fashion brand Hue Aesthete, focussing on dressing for self-expression through sustainable practices. Sandra was mentored by Penny Lim from ARA Experience.

Tim Carlier (Flinders University) is developing Bloog, a label/distribution service for alternative comedy in Adelaide. Tim was mentored by Max Miller from Aunty Donna.

Applications for the 2022 Helpmann Academy Creative Innovator Program are now open. 

Image: 2021 Creative Innovator Program Participants, Angelo Valdivia, Jasmine Watkins, Erin Daniell, Alice Reardon, Sandra Sok, Lily Drummond, Anthony Robinson, Alexander Salkicevic, Bryce Kraehenbuehl and Emily Bettison, photo by Thomas McCammon.