Business: Stepping Stones Studio
Description: A community arts centre to showcase emerging local talent
Telephone: 07787 470495
Emma Whitall Founder and Managing Director at Stepping Stone Studios, graduated from Cambridge University and the University for the Creative Arts.
Emma was introduced to the Kent Foundation via contact with one of our Trustees & Chairman of Kent County Council. In order to help develop her ideas, she accessed the Mentoring Service to help her develop a business plan for Stepping Stones Studio. Emma subsequently entered the Kent Entrepreneurs Initiative (KEI) and went on to win. In return she received a package of free support from a range of business experts from across Kent.
Why did you decide to launch your own business?
I wanted to create an artistic studio in Maidstone which aims to reflect the ethos of the community I am working with in new and interesting ways. I want to realise and develop innovative ideas with profitable and original results. I just love collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds, utilising my own skills but also honing the interests of others to achieve maximum success.
Stepping Stones Studio is a community interest company and I am passionate about promoting aspiring and established artists in Kent.
What support have you received?
Stepping Stones Studio is a self-designed arts initiative and received initial sponsorship and funding by Kent County Council.
Emma entered Kent Foundation’s 2012 KEI-Business Challenge and as the winner received a package of support from Kent Foundation’s business partners, including accountancy support from Wilkins Kennedy
Emma is linked with a Business Mentor and said “The Kent Foundation has been a great help and my mentor, Rob Bird, has been brilliant”
“For a young entrepreneur making your idea a reality is the first big step. Writing a business model that works is one thing- putting it into action is another. Kent Foundation helped me put my business idea into a real-life context, helping me make it a reality by giving me a business mentor with real experience, real connections, and real encouragement.”
What do you hope to achieve in business?
I want to encourage and enable visual artists by providing, affordable studio space, cafe, gallery and shop. In five years I hope the studio will have become a real artist hub, with tourists coming in, lots of events, open mic nights and art at its core.
The NETFORCE 2 project was selected as part of the France (Channel)-England cross border European cooperation programme INTERREG IVA co-financed by ERDF. This project was launched in January 2011 and ran until September 2013 in Kent and the Upper Normandy region. It gave the opportunity to test new tools to support the entrepreneur in his journey to create a new or take over an existing business.