We are delighted to be involved in ArtsForward. It gives us a valuable opportunity to have some expert business advice to scale up our successful bespoke dance services, contributing to long term income diversification and supporting us as a charity to become more resilient

- Ben Cooper-Melchiors,
East London Dance


Applications are open year round. Don't miss you change and appy now! Contact OR download the application form, link at the bottom of this webpage.

ArtsForward in a nutshell

The programme offers one-to-one business mentoring, board level support or focused, short term business solutions, by way of a personable yet structured matching method with our founding partner, Deutsche Bank. The business support is at no cost to the arts and cultural organisations.

By 2019, we aim to have 100 arts and cultural organisations matched. By 2020, we aim to have supported them with the creation of 1000 jobs.

In addition, the programme strengthens the arts and cultural organisation's ability to earn more income and engage with more audiences. 

With scarcer resources available to fund arts and culture, this kind of business support opens up more possibilities for the organisations to sustain their ambitions for economic growth. Equally, the business support creates more room for greater cultural and social impact in the communities we love.

Today ArtsForward has the pleasure of supporting 45 arts and cultural organisations in London and Birmingham


We have a fantastic range of artforms and cultural platforms on the programme so far - dance, visual arts, theatre, music, circus, poetry, literature, street performance, cultural hubs and more. The business support available comes from highly motivated individuals wishing to share their business expertise to give the arts and cultural organisations the boost to grow and transform. Welcome to ArtsForward.


Photo credits:

Main image - Ikin Yum Photography / Gate Theatre

Small image - Joe Armitage / DanceXchange

ArtsForward in practice

The business support available includes help with Strategy, Operations, Sales, Marketing and Communications, Finance, Legal, IT and HR, and the multiple challenges that arise within these areas.

 - A Business Mentor offers one-to-one support from 6 - 18 months (approximately 12 to 36 contact hours)

-  A Business Fixer or Task force offers individual or team support for a focused business solution for up to two months (approximately 4 - 8 contact hours)

-  A Trustee or Non-Executive Director offers a governance role for a minimum of three years (approximately 4 - 6 meetings per year)

Types of business support needed

  • Perhaps you wish to strengthen your business plan, with the aim to identify investors, and/or road test expansion ideas

  • Or you are skilled at initiating partnerships and less so at closing the deal

  • Maybe you are seeking access to new markets and/or new income streams, and need help simplifying your offer, and making it more competitive

  • Or you have a large project to deliver, and need guidance on efficiency models, and resource allocation

There are a number of very different scenarios that arts and cultural organisations face when they come to ArtsForward, for business support. We do our utmost to ensure we have a full range of skills and experience within our pool of Business Support Volunteers to meet the arts and cultural organisations' business support needs. 


We welcome applications from all incorporated companies if you are able to meet the following criteria:

  • Commit to the programme and its evaluation framework

    • The business support individuals are volunteers, not consultants, integrating the business support they offer on top of their full time jobs 

    • The time it takes therefore to implement changes in your organisation is variable, given the above

  • Be based in Birmingham or London

  • Be established for three years or more

  • Have a turnover of £50 000 plus

  • Have at least two or more members of paid staff

  • Have the support of the board for the application (if your organisation has a board)

How we measure impact

We collect relevant data, quarterly on jobs created, and engagement/participation figures, and yearly on earned income. 

“Our ArtsForward business mentor is fantastic – really smart, experienced and he asked many insightful questions that have already got me thinking. We talked a lot both about the business planning we’re just embarking on, and the need for us to increase our earned revenue across a number of areas.” - Susanna Eastburn, Executive Director of Sound and Music

How to apply

Applications for ArtsForward are open all year round.

In Spring and Autumn, an Independent Selection Panel convenes to assess applications.

We make offers to successful applicants a few weeks after. Meanwhile with the help of our business partner, we recruit and sign up potential Business Support Volunteers.

  1. Fill in the application form for business support using our Tips and Guidance within the form - LINK TO DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS WEBPAGE

  2. Contact Nuno Menezes on for any questions on the programme or about your application

  3. Send the form to the email address above


N.B Please note Arts & Culture at Business in the Community do not provide budget for meeting room or refreshments or space for any business support sessions.

If you have any questions, please contact Nuno Menezes at


Made for Good + Art Forward



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