Award Winning Programme Gains Intellectual Property Rights

The firm empowers people to have a voice and develop skills through creative digital media courses and projects such as film, photography and digital stories.

Founder Julie Nicholson’s career as a social entrepreneur started in 2002 when she returned to this country from abroad. Julie then began volunteering with young people and set up a community group called Ultimate Youth. With groups of young people, she helped to empower them to have a voice and develop their skills in lots of different creative ways.

Capturing people’s attention with this project, Julie received lots of further requests to do similar work and so eventually, with co-volunteer Olwyn Hocking she set up Digital Voice in 2007. The company was founded as a not-for-profit organisation to work with people of all ages from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Julie heard about RTC through an associate and contacted them originally about the match funding grants as in pursuit of some high-quality marketing expertise. When talking to Pathways to Innovation advisor Carl Brown, it became apparent that the programme could offer so much more to the business.

Recalling the support from RTC North she said: “We have been blown away by the support. After a really in-depth diagnostic chat about our situation, we were put in touch with an expert on intellectual property rights who helped us through the whole process of trademarking some of our services.”

Today the team has now worked with over 120 partners and helped over 6000 people to develop their creative digital skills and become more digitally included.

In addition to protecting the intellectual property of their programme, DigitalMe and other courses, the team have won numerous awards since their conception and continue to support the community.

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The company was supported through Pathways to Innovation is a programme designed to help Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) protect and commercialise new technologies, products, services and processes and access new markets. Supporting the NE LEP's strategic economic plan, Pathways to Innovation is particularly aimed at businesses in; and can provide up to 35% funding for projects. The programme is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is delivered by RTC North in partnership with the Business & Intellectual Property Centre Newcastle.

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