The Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow in partnership with the Universal University is launching a 4-month Creative Entrepreneurship for Women programme that will take place from 1 November 2021 to 28 February 2022. The course will be run online with a final offline closing event held at the Universal University in Moscow, Russia. The project is part of the international UK – Russia Creative Bridge 2021-2022 programme.

UK – Russia Creative Bridge 2020-2022 is a professional development programme that aims to connect cultural professionals and artists in Russia and the UK and create new opportunities for both individuals and cultural institutions that desire to work with the UK arts sector.

About the programme 

The Creative Entrepreneurship for Women programme will support 30 Russian women to develop their businesses in the arts and creative industries. The programme will empower them by providing hard skills as well as creating a safe space for them to share experiences, challenges and strategies, helping build their professional confidence, self-belief and agency to progress. The program is co-designed by two curators Ellen O’Hara (UK) and Alyona Bocharova (Russia). Participation in the programme is free of charge.

Programme structure

The 4-month programme includes:

  • November - December 2021 - weekly 4-hour workshops on Mondays (10:00-15:00 led by experienced UK and Russian practitioners in creative industries;
  • November - December 2021 - weekly inspirational talks on Thursdays (18:00-19:30) with UK and Russian successful female creative entrepreneurs; 
  • January - February 2022 - an individual mentorship scheme for all the participants;
  • The final closing event offline in Moscow

The programme will cover the following essential topics in running a creative business:  

  • Strategic Planning & Management
  • Brand Management
  • Sales & Marketing Channels 
  • Project Management 
  • Business & Revenue models 
  • Financial Management
  • Leadership 
  • Social Impact 
  • Community Building 
  • Wellbeing 
  • Sustainability

Participants will:

  • Learn the basics of strategic planning and how to apply them to articulate clear vision, values and key goals of their business; 
  • Learn how to analyze their market, define their product value and proposition, and build a roadmap for the development of their product;
  • Understand the specifics of different sales & marketing channels and identify those that suit their projects;
  • Learn key principles, tools and approaches of project management and use them to evaluate their team and its competencies;
  • Learn different approaches to business modelling and identify current and potential revenue streams of their projects; 
  • Understand the content and purpose of key financial documents and management tools and learn how to use them to evaluate financial health of their business;
  • Share and learn strategies for overcoming barriers linked to gender inequality.

Selection criteria

  • Female creative entrepreneurs working in the creative industries including: advertising and marketing; architecture; crafts; design: product, graphic and fashion design, film, TV, video, radio and photography; IT, software and computer services; publishing; museums, galleries and libraries; and music, performing and visual arts;
  • Who are founders, owners, business partners or directors running a creative business minimum for 2 years as a legal entity (e.g. Individual Entrepreneur or Ltd) with track record of revenue;
  • With a strong motivation to be a leader in their sector;
  • With a commitment to learn new skills and knowledge and implement them in their businesses;
  • Who have genuine interest in international collaboration and exchange with the UK and Russian peers;
  • Who live and work in any city/region of the Russian Federation;
  • With an advanced level of English (you don’t have to provide any certificates).

The programme is accessible to all women regardless of their geography, age, disability status, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs. 

The Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow and Universal University will conduct the selection process in line with equality and diversity policies.

How to apply

Fill out the application form in English and submit it until 23:59 (UTC +3) on 17 October 2021. The Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow will contact successful applicants by e-mail no later than 25 October 2021.

About the curators

Ellen O’Hara

Ellen is an independent coach, creative facilitator and strategist with a background in cultural, creative and social entrepreneurship and 20 years’ experience. She is a published researcher, SFEDI accredited coach and holds a degree in Economics & Econometrics from the University of Birmingham and a postgraduate diploma in Administrative Management. Ellen delivers coaching, consultancy and training in emergent strategy, enterprise, business model innovation, income diversification and access to alternative finance. Her recent clients and partners include Nesta, Arts Council England, Innovate UK, British Council, Creative United, National Theatre Wales, Warwick Ventures, Turner Contemporary, Theatre Centre, Stop Gap Dance Company, Metal, Coney and Transform.

Alyona Bocharova

Alyona is a cultural manager and producer with a background in music and film and 20 years experience in the cultural sector. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Beat Film Festival, the largest documentary film festival in Russia, one of the signature cultural events in the country. In 2013 she co-founded Beat Films, a creative agency that works with film and helps cultural institutions and commercial brands create events that make documentaries and cinema cultures known and exciting to audiences across the country. In 2020 Alyona started a mentorship program for young cultural projects across Russia to support their development in creative industries. She is a frequent speaker at universities and creative industries forums.  


Universal University

*Universal University is the only university in Russia that offers English-taught internationally recognized degree programs in creative industries. It aims to unlock people’s creativity and help them make a leap to a new life and puts special emphasis on academic quality and student experience. Universal University has brought ten creative schools under one roof, including the British Higher School of Art & Design and Business & Entrepreneurship School Ubusiness.

The Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow 

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We are on the ground in six continents and over 100 countries, bringing international opportunity to life, every day. In Russia, we operate through the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow. 


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