Podcast company Broccoli Productions has launched a new incubator programme, aimed at developing the skills of podcasters by awarding five successful applicants with a grant of £1,000 each.
The program is focused on supporting the recipients of the grant with hands-off creative development, allowing them to use the grant in whatever way they deem suitable. There are five categories to apply for, with one grant being handed to each of them, including marketing, business, personal development, storytelling and production.
“There's a focus on hands-off development,” BUILD grant spokesperson and Broccoli producer Talia Augustidis told PodPod; “you can apply it to pretty much whatever you want, whether that is paying for an award entry, paying for a course, or starting a project or a piece - it's really open-ended.”
“The hands off approach is really important to us because we want to give applicants the ability to tell us what they need; because everyone is different, and everyone's progress looks different.”
This philosophy was inspired by Broccoli Productions CEO and founder Renay Richardson’s personal experience with receiving a grant from the Arts Council to create her podcast About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge, Augustidis told PodPod. “She had the editorial control and the freedom, and it meant that she really taught herself and stretched herself,” Augustidis said.
Each of the categories correspond with the five pillars of BUILD, Broccoli’s e-learning subscription platform which offers over 40 podcast masterclasses by experts in the industry, available on Spotify, Patreon, and Apple Podcasts. In addition to the grants, successful applicants will also recieve a 12-month subscription to the BUILD platform.
“We are excited to launch the BUILD Grant to underscore the value we put on education and building up nascent talent within our industry,” said Richardson. “That’s why BUILD was developed in the first place – to create an accessible and affordable platform of masterclasses by established experts working within the creative industries to develop aspiring professionals' skillsets.”
Applications are open from now until 21 September, and the recepients will be announced in January 2024. Independent podcasts, small business owners with a turnover under £75,000, and aspiring business owners are eligible to apply for the Business Grant, and independent podcasters that want to use the money for a marketing campaign can apply to the Marketing Grant, while the rest are open to anyone who creates, writes, or produces podcasts.
The application process includes writing a proposal which details the project they would like to create and how they would allocate the BUILD grant funds. The shortlists will be evaluated by a representative for each category, which includes audio producer Arielle Nissenblatt for marketing, Snooze Podcast’s Megan Tan for production, podcast coach Danielle Desir Corbett for personal development, Matriarch Digital Media founder Twila Dang for business, and Falling Tree Productions director Eleanor McDowall for storytelling.
The criteria in which the category experts will evaluate each of the applications includes originality and creativity in how the funding will be used, a fully developed project proposal with clear and realistic timelines, budgets, market research, and lists of resources, and their need for the BUILD grant.
“This is a great opportunity to think outside of the box,” BUILD grant spokesperson and Broccoli senior producer Bea Duncan told PodPod. “If there's been an idea that's been playing on your mind for a really long time and you think ‘I would love to be able to do this’, this is the time to put that into practice and create something really exciting.”
Duncan also added that this grant is a good example of something that the podcast industry can do to invest in its next generation of talent and to diversify the industry by looking at the barriers to entry that people from marginalised communities are facing.
“There is money at the upper ends of this industry, but if companies and management are not redistributing that in the correct way or thinking about ways that we can tackle these issues, things are not going to change,” said Duncan. “I think I'd really like for people to be thinking more and more about this in every day of their practice and in this industry to really make a difference.”