Vulcan Creatives participants and Darren

Ten Northamptonshire businesses selected for inaugural incubation programme for entrepreneurs

A new incubation programme for entrepreneurs in Northamptonshire has unveiled its first cohort of participants.

Vulcan Creatives, a free, six-month programme run by the team at the Vulcan Works flexible workspace in Northampton, aims to support ambitious individuals with their business idea by creating a business plan and teaching the skills needed to make it a success.

The programme opened for applications in November and these were whittled down to ten businesses with a preference given to those working in the creative or digital sector – emerging industries in the county that Vulcan Works was created to support.

The chosen entrepreneurs were revealed during an official launch event at Vulcan Works on Tuesday 16th January. They include:

  • Nabil Abbas, who has developed a decentralised instant messaging app.
  • Emma Colton, a photographer who plans to empower female business owners through her photography.
  • Chelsea Henry, an interior designer who makes her services more flexible and affordable by guiding her clients to do the installation work themselves.
  • Tamara Holland, a marketeer who wants to help children’s activity providers to better market their products and services to parents.
  • Mathew Lewis, a musician who wants to develop his band, Party Beats, into a collective, ‘Pick and Mix’ option that enables clients to create their own band from a group of musicians for their events.
  • Roddy-Lloyd Jones, a retired teacher who has created a portable photography studio in a decommissioned ambulance.
  • Tom Mayes, who has set up his own digital marketing agency specialising in Facebook advertising for aesthetic clinics.
  • Gary Morgan, who plans to set up his own AI (artificial intelligence) assistant tool to help small to medium-sized businesses with their customer service, lead management and appointment setting.
  • Gavin Prior, who is working with businesses as a consultant to help them to prototype their virtual reality and augmented reality ideas and turn them into apps.
  • Hairdresser Aprille Russell and make-up artist Aveline Rust, a duo who have created a hair and beauty academy after being ‘burned’ by other courses in their industry. Aprille and Aveline have devised a four-month programme that offers hair and beauty qualifications as well as training in business skills such as sales and accounting.

Vulcan Creatives has been funded by West Northamptonshire Council and has received £40,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund’ (UKSPF). It will be led by Vulcan Works’ on-site business growth manager, Darren Smith, an entrepreneur who has started and sold businesses and worked in mentoring roles over the last 20 years.

Those who take part in Vulcan Creatives will also receive free access to the Vulcan Works facilities during the course of the programme and up to 50% off workspace in the building after graduating.

Darren said: “I look forward to working with this cohort of entrepreneurs over the next six months to really boost their businesses or get them up and running. This will be done through one-to-one sessions, regular huddle meetings of the whole cohort, as well as events and workshops. We also have some great partners on board, such as Natwest and EMW, who will be sharing their knowledge with the participants too.

“We want Vulcan Creatives to become a real community and collaborative effort as we all embark on this journey together towards success.”

Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth at West Northamptonshire Council, added: “It is great news that vital funding from our UKSPF has been utilised to support Vulcan Creatives, which will expand on the brilliant work already being delivered at Vulcan Works to help local businesses.

“We have 20,000 businesses in West Northamptonshire and 425,000 residents and there is unlimited potential for businesses in this area. This is why we have already invested over £2 million into supporting local business and £1.5 million into getting local people and skills in the area through our UKSPF. We want to see businesses thrive and our Economic Growth and Inward Investment Team want to support them in doing this. I’m really excited to see the businesses taking part in Vulcan Creatives and look forward to seeing them grow and develop and become the medium and large-sized companies of the future in West Northamptonshire.”

For more information on Vulcan Creatives, go to