Superact is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC). Founded in Wellington, Somerset in 2006, Superact now has an office in Exeter, its Headquarters in Bristol and a host of regional managers who manage a variety of projects throughout the UK and abroad. Working in partnership with local authorities and government departments such as social services, prisons, health authorities and education providers, Superact develops projects that focus on community development, skills, employability, and health and wellbeing.
One of Superact’s most successful projects to date has been the UK Bandstand Marathon which started in 2008 and has grown in scale and diversity every year since. Providing opportunities for amateur musicians and artists to create free music and arts events in their local communities, the 2012 event reached audiences of over 200,000 people. Ali Smith, Superact’s CEO, was passionate about rolling-out the Bandstand Marathon project to other countries and was considering mainland Europe, India and Brazil. Through some desk research, Superact had identified a revival of the tradition of bandstand performances in India, but wanted to explore this potential opportunity before investing further time and money.
Ali contacted UKTI, the government department working with UK businesses to ensure success in overseas markets, and was introduced to Kerry Stagg, the South West’s
Research Adviser for the Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS). The EMRS is a UKTI Scheme providing professional advice and funding to help businesses understand the dynamics of a potential overseas market before creating an appropriate strategy for launching in this market and there is a nationwide team of professional Research Advisers to support individual companies.
Kerry met with Ali and Katharine Lane, another Director with Superact, to help them structure a programme of research to enable Superact to decide whether the Bandstand Marathon would be viable in India, how Superact’s skills and expertise could be useful in other sectors in the country, how the funding of an Indian project might work and the practicalities of working within the Indian market. Not only was Kerry able to help in the planning and preparation of the research, the EMRS was also able to fund 50% of the research costs.
Prior to visiting India, Ali and Katharine invested time to identify suitable organisations and people to visit in India to gain the insights required to make these decisions. In November 2012, they travelled to Mumbai and Delhi and spent 10 days talking with a wide range of people representing organisations such as The Musicians Federation of India, Bombay Chamber of Commerce, Delhi International Arts Festival, the Chinese Broadcasting Orchestra, Carnival Media, Lok Sabna (a Member of Parliament) and the Ministry of Tourism.
“The results were enlightening” explained Katharine. The decline in bandstands nationally meant the market was limited and there was a greater level of local bureaucracy involved which might cause some challenges and require more local partnerships. A surprising finding was that much of the regular bandstand music in Mumbai, was modern, rock, pop and indie requiring large PA and equipment support, often with lighting and sound engineers; in the UK the bandstand programme largely featured acoustic music. Clearly adaptations would be needed. However, Superact was pleasantly surprised by the obvious desire for art and music programmes and the funding streams available through the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requirements placed on businesses by the Indian government. The biggest opportunity for Superact presented itself by the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) who were looking to support Mumbai women into employment.
As a result of their research, Superact took the decision to postpone the rollout of the Bandstand Project in India until 2015 when more partnerships will be in place and when they have devised a more suitable Bandstand programme for delivery in India. Superact had recently developed a BTEC qualification with the University of Exeter and EdExcel which perfectly fitted the requirements of the UKIERI and they were delighted to secure funding of £25k to deliver a 12 month project testing their BTEC approach to get women back into work in Mumbai working with a local technical college.
Katharine was very happy to recommend the EMRS to other businesses. “The Export Marketing Research Scheme allowed us to take a risk which we might not otherwise have taken,” she explained. “The ‘kudos’ of being supported by the British Government secured interviews with key people who really helped us to understand the market and explore the potential opportunities. Now we have a viable project!”
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Topics: Export Planning, Export Process, Getting Started, Grants, and Market Research