Venture aiming to bring business and freelancers together

February 23, 2011

FREELANCERS will be meeting at Newcastle’s Salsa Club tonight as part of a new venture designed to bring businesses and freelancers closer together.

Di Gates, of consultancy Stick Theory, and Ryan Foster of Ryan Foster Design, came up with the concept of Freelance Romance after deciding the region needed a way to encourage freelancers and businesses to better explore the advantages of getting together.

The initial event from 7-9pm will see 50 freelancers gather to debate issues and ideas, and a lunch is to be arranged with business leaders to explore the issues from their perspective.

The aim is to find a format through which businesses and freelancers can forge stronger links and engage with each other more effectively.

Gates sold her half-share in BGroup in September 2009 and subsequently formed Stick Theory, which takes on specialist teams of freelancers to handle projects in a variety of creative areas. Taylor is working in a similar area after leaving Indigo Multimedia in 2009.

Gates said: “I realised everything was changing rapidly and didn’t think an old-fashioned agency structure was the best way to deliver creative services.

“There used to be a small set of creative skills you’d need to deliver projects, but now they’re many and varied. There are more and more talented freelancers out there, but they aren’t necessarily used to doing the business side of things.

“I think freelancing has got to be seen as a respected business model. It’s a talented individual realising that the way businesses can make the most of their skills is by engaging with them directly.”

The first Freelance Romance event this week is already full, and has attracted sponsors such as Bridge Club, RMT Accountants, Hay & Kilner, Concept Personnel and Space on Tap.

Caroline Theobald, managing director of Bridge Club Ltd, said: “The number of freelancers in our region is growing and there is a serious intent behind many of them.

“They are not just freelancing as a stop gap. There are seriously talented specialists who, if harnessed correctly, could make a massive difference to our regional economy.”

Gates believes freelancers can obtain useful guidance from these sponsors in making themselves as reliable as possible.

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