From left, The Creative Chain founders Duncan Price, Carolyn Smith and Matt Weston

Three leading Wolverhampton digital agencies have formed a not-for-profit business group to raise the profile of the city’s talent in the creative industries.

New partnership The Creative Chain has seen Stone’s Throw Media, TPSquared and West Midlands Media join forces to promote Wolverhampton’s digital capability as part of the pandemic recovery.

With a launch event planned for October 15, they want to get more businesses in the creative sector on board to showcase the range of businesses available for work in the area.

The Creative Chain will act as “the link to the leading digital agencies in Wolverhampton” for companies looking to source high quality work, the partners say.

To officially launch The Creative Chain, the partners are staging a panel discussion at Wolverhampton Science Park’s Creative Industries Centre on Friday October 15, as part of the Black Country Business Festival, organised by Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

The organisers say the event will discuss the “importance of building an ecosystem for creative business owners”, which they say will help “increase collaboration in the city and enable public and private sector organisations to keep their marketing and advertising spend local”.

Launched in 2011, Stone’s Throw Media has grown to eight staff and is based on Wolverhampton Science Park. Director Matt Weston, who founded the business with fellow University of Wolverhampton graduate Mike Chinn, said The Creative Chain would give a voice to the city’s growing digital businesses.

Matt said: “We want The Creative Chain to have a positive impact, empower the creative community and support top talent including students to keep them in the region by creating jobs while putting Wolverhampton and the Black County on the map.

“Connecting over our shared passion for raising the profile of Wolverhampton, we have identified ways we can work together to give a single voice for the businesses who have so much to offer, which is much needed as we rebuild after the Covid-19 lockdowns.”

Based in Gravel Hill, Wombourne, TPSquared work with a range of large corporate clients as well as smaller Black Country businesses. Director Carolyn Smith, who leads a team of five, said the founders’ aim was to “create a force for good.” She said: “The Creative Chain is being run by creatives for creatives, to establish an ecosystem for business owners in Wolverhampton and the Black Country. The Creative Chain can provide the link to the leading digital agencies.

“We want to motivate Black Country organisations to keep their spend local, so they understand they do not have to look for partners in London, Birmingham or Manchester as their default because there is talent on their doorsteps.”

West Midlands Media, based in Cleveland Road, Wolverhampton, has offered web design services since 2006 and now has eight staff. Owner Duncan Price said: “Our vision for The Creative Chain is to see increased creative collaboration in the city so that local talent does not miss out on opportunities, investment and schemes. We want to open the eyes of young people with talks, work experience and placement opportunities.

“It is important we support top creative talent to keep them in Wolverhampton, including students each year studying on creative, cultural and digital paths so we have a positive impact and empower the creative community.”

Wolverhampton Council have lent their support to The Creative Chain. City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “The City of Wolverhampton has a proud heritage of innovation and creative talent. We recognise the concerted effort The Creative Chain partners want to make to raise the profile of the latest generation and support their efforts to encourage more organisations to keep their spend local.

“Now more than ever, as the city begins to relight from the impact of the pandemic, we need to come together and support businesses in our city.

“This follows on from the major public sector organisations in Wolverhampton joining forces to launch the ‘Wolverhampton Pound’ and pledge to keep more of their £834 million collective spending power within the city.

“The city’s public sector has massive spending power and through the Wolverhampton Pound, we will prioritise local firms and organisations when it comes to spending it.”

The Creative Chain business leaders are engaging with local company owners, organisations and potential partners to build membership. The Creative Chain will operate as a community interest company for the greater good.