StartEast is a signposting resource and a directory for creative businesses and entrepreneurs in Norfolk and Suffolk. We publish regular newsletters with up to date information, news, business support opportunities and events for creative businesses across Norfolk & Suffolk.

StartEast Programme 2017-2019

StartEast began as a £1.2 million project funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Arts Council England Creative Local Growth Fund. It was developed by the New Anglia Culture Board as part of its strategic ambition to make Norfolk and Suffolk places where enterprising, creative people can start up and build sustainable cultural enterprises.

The StartEast programme was managed by Norfolk County Council in partnership with Suffolk County Council and delivered by the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.  StartEast provided targeted, specialist business support to cultural and creative SMEs and potential entrepreneurs in Norfolk and Suffolk over a two and half year period.

Independent evaluators BOP Consulting were commissioned to complete the programme evaluation; you can visit the link on this page to download the Final Evaluation Report, which provides a detailed overview of the impact of StartEast and key learning points to take forward.

Our website and newsletter are a key part of the StartEast programme legacy, providing sector news, up to date information on alternative business support providers in the region and a searchable database of creative entrepreneurs.

To learn more about the StartEast programme and the businesses we supported, please visit our Archive page.


Creative Local Growth Fund: Evaluation

Arts Council England has published an independent evaluation by Nordicity and Saffery Champness LLP of the Creative Local Growth Fund – a place-based programme that worked across Local Enterprise Partnerships, arts organisations and other partners (2015-2020) to support initiatives designed to help culture contribute to local economic growth. It highlights key findings and learning on the design of the programme, as well as the impact of the nine funded projects.

Nine consortia including StartEast were awarded £3.8 million from the Arts Council, helping to leverage match funding from European Structural and Investment Funds, with the projects securing an additional £9.4 million from the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund (as well as just over £5.1 million in other cash funding).

You can find the report here, alongside an executive summary, infographic and key learnings document, and a set of case studies describing how beneficiaries of the Creative Local Growth Fund were impacted. Including a case study about how StartEast supported the Creative Computing Club in Suffolk.