The Stationers' Company
The City of London Livery Company for the Communications and Content Industries


8 MARCH 2021

Storytelling for creative and social entrepreneurs Industry Committee Event in association with Creative Entrepreneurs

Freeman Benedict Richards reports that  72 attended this open event collated by Liveryman Linda Drew who brought together three speakers for this stimulating and varied set of presentations.

First to speak was Farid Haque. Originally from Canada, Farid is founder and chairman of the publishing company Erly Stage studios. The company has a presence in four countries and works as a ‘gun for hire’ and as an instigator of their own projects. Their mission is to ‘educate creatively’ through what he termed ‘infotainment’ or ‘edutainment’ and use information to creatively educate people through different media.

Some of their projects have been funded through Kickstarter whereby the financial risk is minimised. This new model of generating impetus challenges a conventional route. In one project, ‘Make history’, text books were converted into graphic novels, the profits of which funded development of ‘serious graphic novels’. In these they were able to deliver serious messages from NGOs or governments through the graphic novel format. For example the ‘Resilience series’ which is about disinformation, foreign state actors and ‘deep fakes’.

‘Publishing’ is now also about publishing games and creating a story within that format. One of Erly Stage’s gaming projects aims to tell the story, and raise awareness, of the environment by using ‘nano conservation’ which is ‘gaming meets carbon credits’.

In summary Erly Stage Studio produces four types of work – graphic novels, games and digital, animation, and social. All four are essentially storytelling activities.

Second to speak was Tim West who when working in journalism was captivated by early ‘social entrepreneurs’ and became inspired to launch his agency Fable Bureau and his online magazine ‘Pioneers Post’.

Tim defined ‘Pioneers’ as people who want to change the world and who use business and investment to do it. The Impact Investment market is approaching one trillion dollars – clearly an exciting time to be involved in returning a ‘profit for people and planet’ as well as in monetary terms.

Their mission is to provide news, insight and storytelling to support social entrepreneurs, mission-led businesses and investors in an effort to help solve some of the world’s social and environmental challenges.

He defines the magazine as ‘the independent news network for the global impact community’ and their mission is to help their readers ‘do good business better’ by delivering intelligent journalism. They now receive about 200k visitors to their website and have about 30k followers on Facebook. Both have grown substantially n the last two or so years.

As part of their mission they run events, training, partnerships and awards. So this goes beyond merely reporting events but offers ‘solutions journalism’ which focusses the lens on how to do things and how to do them better. Partnerships really matter and one in particular was singled out: the Global Perspectives partnership with the British Council. This created an opportunity to tell stories from all over the world and also enable young, local journalists to make a start in their careers.

Last to speak was Carolyn Dailey who is the founder of Creative Entrepreneurs (CE) – the co-hosts of this event. With a background in the creative sector, she left Time Warner to start her own creative business but she soon realised she lacked the knowledge to effectively run a start-up business.

Many of her peers and colleagues in the creative industries had experienced the same gap in information. Tech companies seemed to have the resources and eco-system for entrepreneurship whilst creatives lacked the joined-up framework.

She asked herself ‘Why isn’t there a logical baby-step website for creatives?’ And so CE was born. The launch was at 10 Downing Street and included people from Higher

Education, Investors, creative entrepreneurs, professionals, advisors, etc. The business (a limited company) grew by hosting live events and creating partnerships – and then Covid hit. This forced a business pivot on which CE became a fully online digital membership organisation. Activities include events, mentorships, collaborations, and business advice.

Carolyn clarified what is meant by creative industries. Whilst all humans can be ‘creative’, the ‘Creative Industries’ are defined by the creation of products of the human imagination.

The speakers were asked about their learning points from the last few years. Tim talked about some advice he was given whilst studying at Cranfield which was about priorities: ‘money, management, markets, me’. It was agreed that the ‘me’ is often overlooked.

Carolyn said that retaining your focus is important – ‘stay in your lane’ and keeping in mind what the most important thing is that you should be doing but be aware of your options. Farid thought that not comparing yourself to others was also very important.

One of the last questions asked whether entrepreneurs are good at starting but not finishing. Farid responded: ‘I think different people work best at different stages. Some love the early stage where there is no HR department. Others stay the course. The best ones are excellent delegators and don’t hang on to things. It’s hard to let go of “your baby”. But the best ones know how to recruit incredible leaders and get out of their way.’

The ongoing relevance of the Stationers’ Company was confirmed during this event which included cutting-edge digital campaigns, insights into the future of news consumption and the showcasing of business help initiatives for creative entrepreneurs. Echoing this event, the Stationers’ annual Innovation Excellence Awards (closing date14 April 2021) continue to promote new thinking, technology and creativity in the communications and content industries.


Farid Haque

Tim West

Carolyn Dailey

You can view the recording of the event by clicking the image below.