Networking leads to creative partnership

Cambridge-based digital marketing agency, Sookio, and Bedfordshire video production agency, Clearhead, have formed a strategic partnership to support their clients with digital content strategy and campaigns.

The partnership will allow the firms to offer an enhanced service to their clients and find new routes to expand their businesses.

Founders Sue Keogh, of Sookio, and Clearhead’s  Gavin O’Brien met at a networking event in Cambridge two years ago for the Help to Grow: Management business growth programme by the University of Leicester. 

They immediately recognised many synergies in business and ethos and identified an opportunity to collaborate on complementary services for clients. 

While Sookio specialises in content strategy and digital campaigns primarily in the East of England, Clearhead has expertise in developing video content and animation in Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and the South West – in fact globally.

Sue says, “The economy is challenging for businesses and it’s more important than ever to be innovative and strategic and form partnerships to secure the future growth.”

Gavin adds, “Sookio and Clearhead are a great match of ambitious creative companies that dovetail beautifully together.”

Sue completed the government-funded Help to Grow programme in 2022: this 12-week course helps SME business leaders focus on strategy, innovation and growth, but Sue found an unexpected bonus in the networking opportunities on offer, both during and afterwards. 

She says: “If it hadn’t been for meeting Gavin at the Help to Grow peer-to-peer networking event, this partnership would never have come about.

 “Help to Grow: Management helped me to focus on my business strategy and step back from the everyday busyness of being an agency owner and I have now built a habit of ring-fencing time every week to strategise and think.” 

Help to Grow is a national programme for leaders and managers in small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). It is a practical 12-week programme giving people the chance to work on – not just in – their business and has helped hundreds with business growth. The focus is on development of leadership skills, becoming more strategic and innovative, business vision, purpose and values, and more.

Measuring the impact of purpose-led companies

Social enterprise Make an Impact CIC has partnered with global technology business BusinessOptix to develop a process mapping system which collects data to measure impact.

Make an Impact CIC helps purpose-led organisations measure, report, communicate and grow their impact through measurement, reporting and communication solutions that increase positive impacts for people and planet, and help shape business direction.

Support is provided through mentoring, group masterminds, training and consultancy.

Founder Heidi Fisher MBE, based in Attleborough, Norfolk, has a passion for enterprise, having set up and managed several charities, social enterprises and businesses over more than 20 years. 

The award-winning specialist in social enterprise and social impact, speaker and author received an MBE for Services to Innovation in Impact Measurement & Social Enterprise. 

And, having established Make an Impact in 2017, Heidi recognised that organisations need to improve their internal processes and systems through digital transformation. In 2022, she signed up to Help to Grow: Management, through which she found a mentor to guide her through the whole digital transformation process.

This culminated in an introduction to BusinessOptix, and development of the bespoke platform to improve the services on offer. 

For businesses in the East of England, the Help to Grow: Management programme is delivered by the School of Business at the University of Leicester with a blend of online webinars, peer-group coaching and face-to-face workshops held in Cambridge or Leicester. Participants also get 10 hours of free expert one-to-one mentoring from a business expert.

The programme is 90% funded by the government, with the remaining £750 funded by a bursary from the University of Leicester. 

Details of the next start dates here.

Previous articlePsychological safety: the secret ingredient of high-performing teams
Next articleStarting a business in 2024 on a shoestring budget