AIM has just launched a Regional Champions initiative, to support the independent sector outside of London.
The move will see three regional hubs created in the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, with more to follow.
Each of the three initial regions will have an Ambassador and a Champion, who will be tasked with creating strong local networks among the independent music companies in their areas and providing support, expertise and access
Here, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico opens up about the ambitions for the project….
What’s the plan for these hubs?
“In each hub, we’ve been looking to recruit an AIM Regional Champion, who will be the point of contact for any local members or local businesses who want to get information and resources. The local Regional Champion is supported by a Regional Ambassador, who is an established AIM member in that region. In the North East, for example, Tony Morley is a great guy to have as a leading light [Ambassador] with Whiskas [Sam Nicholls] as the feet on the ground [as Champion] able to give very contemporary advice.”
How much will you be investing in the initiative?
“We have to be very realistic about AIM’s resources, the independent network and driving value of money for AIM members. The [Ambassadors and Champions] are already at the heart of the scenes in those areas, they are out there doing it and are out there active in the scene. They’ve got the support of the whole AIM team in London for any resources and back office function.”
Can this project attract people to start businesses in the regions?
“We recognise, particularly in the digital market, talent can be based anywhere and can spring out of anywhere. What we want to do is recognise that there are areas of the country that are under-served in terms of structure, knowledge and resource. AIM has a lot of value that we can deliver in those places. Our hope is that by delivering additional support and reinforcing activities that are already going on locally, we can absolutely help take some of those businesses to the next level and foster growth in the number of those businesses.
“Starting a business in the music industry I think is relatively easy. Getting one to actually make money and to grow is really challenging. Having people on the ground that are easily accessible and that can show you that it’s possible, I hope will encourage and incentivise people to give it a go.”
Is it important to promote and acknowledge regional diversity?
“Diversity has been part of AIM’s DNA since its inception. The independent community is a hugely diverse one, it thrives on diversity. Inevitably, a lot of the infrastructure of the UK music industry resides in London. As a result, there tends to be a concentration of activity, business and talent in London. But we’ve recognised for some time that businesses and talent by no means reside exclusively in London. We have to be able to support and service those talented people and businesses that are all over the UK, and do that in a way that is accessible.”