University of Central Lancashire

The Media Factory at UCLan Preston

Credit: University of Central Lancashire

Entrepreneurs working on journalism start-ups can now apply to take part in a Google-funded weekend of masterclasses in Preston focused on how to build up a media business.

Media and Digital Enterprise (MADE), a project created by the University of Central Lancashire, will see 30 journalism entrepreneurs invited to "an intensive weekend of masterclasses" which will look at launching and growing a media business.

The event, UK Startup Weekend, will be hosted by the University of Central Lancashire's creative and digital industries centre in Preston, and is funded by Google. The university secured £64,000 of Google funding last year to support "news entrepreneurs" as one of three winners of the International Press Institute’s News Innovation Contest.

Those interested in launching a digital news enterprise can apply to take part in the free event, which will take place from 15 to 17 June at UCLan's creative centre in Preston.

Project founder Francois Nel believes the Startup Weekend will provide people with the commercial savvy they need to turn their ideas for news enterprises into long-lasting businesses.

"Although we're dealing with a declining economy in the UK and a lot of pressure on existing media, we are seeing a lot of new and hyperlocal media initiatives starting up", he said.

"We will provide them with help developing their concepts, with commercial support, and with social development and networking."

Talk About Local CEO Sarah Hartley said the timing for the MADE workshop "couldn't be better", with the growing need to find new sustainable business models for news providers.

"I'm looking forward to working with these news entrepreneurs to help them find and develop their community and start answering some of the massive demand there is for trustworthy news and information", she added.

After the Startup Weekend a handful of projects take part in the MADE Hothouse, a 12-week mentoring programme helping to further the selected news enterprises.

There are more details on how to apply for the project on the MADE blog.

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