Galway-based international company, Black Pug Studio Ltd., joined companies from over 60 countries at the Bella Center, Copenhagen, at the beginning of July to pitch their creative projects to an international jury.
The Creative Business Cup debuted in 2012 as part of a new initiative by the Creative Business Network aiming to help creative entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground, access essential funding and to take the lead on an international stage promoting their projects and creative vision. As an added bonus, attendees at the Creative Business Cup this year got the opportunity to boost their contacts list by connecting with strong, trailblazers who were drawn to the event, such as Ingrid Vanderveldt, founder and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women 2020, and previous Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell; and Shang Rong, VP of Microsoft for Asia Pacific Research & Development.
Since its foundation, the Creative Business Cup has since become a two-day global festival of creativity. Instead of a hostile atmosphere of competition, entrepreneurs meet, make valuable contacts, eat, laugh, drink and dance together, forge friendships and business relationships, and share their experiences in business and life.
“The Creative Business Cup strives to strengthen its attendees’ innovative capabilities and to benefit their businesses.”
Attending start-ups have the opportunity to connect, to get inspired, to grow their professional network by making direct contact with like-minded investors, entrepreneurs, and upcoming start-ups from around the world. Aside from the intense competition to impress during the Creative Business Investor Pitch, attendees can also take notes and learn from expert panels talking and sharing their insights on impact investment!
CEO and Creative Director, Antonio Moreno, and Chief Creative Technologist, Deirdre O’Connor, represented Ireland along with their start-up company, “Black Pug Studio,” at the event in Copenhagen this year. Despite each of them having previous professional experience on large stages, it was an unforgettable experience for the Studio and brought great insights and learning opportunities to the Irish team.
“Sometimes greatness and innovation collide. We saw it happening all around us at the CBC, and I felt so grateful to be there and surrounded by such impressive and like-minded people.”
Black Pug Studio is a multicultural start-up operating in all of Europe, founded in 2015 by Antonio Moreno, Spanish, and Julien Garrigues, French. Since then, both Directors have come to love Galway and Ireland as their own and have settled in the West, becoming active members of the community around them. They encourage their team to get involved in various community groups, and share their expertise as leaders of the Google Developers Group in Galway, and by being key players in Galway County Council’s successful bid for Best City at the National Enterprise Towns Awards.
As a Creative Technology agency specialized in Design & Web technology they offer a range of services around creating a website, designing a brand identity, curating content, promoting their client’s digital vision and improving visibility online, and anything else that is needed in making a digital presence look great to capture and represent their clients online accurately. They develop completely custom platforms for their clients, giving them full control over the content they make, and providing intuitive tools that focus on good User Experience and design.
We do so many things in the Studio that it’s hard to categorize us! We want to be always creating and sharing our vision publicly.”
The Black Pug Studio team is lucky to have gathered a team of advisors over the last four years of business, and each of these supporters have been essential to their success. As an active member of the Galway Technology Centre community, where more than 30 international SME’s are located, through multiple collaborations, presentations and events, their proximity to other budding start-ups has helped forge strong bonds and relationships with their co-workers in the neighboring companies.
Among their supporters over the recent years are WestBIC, the Business Innovation Centre for the West of Ireland, who work to accelerate start-ups and prepare their teams to face investors, source essential finance, join incubation networks and connect with investors and the Angel network in Ireland. Unexpectedly, these two teams came together collaborating on another project where WestBIC required Black Pug Studio’s professional services to bring an online presence to the Creative Accelerators for Sustainable Tourism, or CAST Network.
The main objective of the CAST network is to support the creation, business development and scaling-up of companies in the tourism sector through incubators and accelerators. Their focus includes integrating creativity, art and design skills from the Cultural and Creative Industries with cutting-edge technology, science, and other relevant expertise. They are also a National Partner of the Creative Business Network and sponsors of the Creative Business Cup this year.
CAST’s organization consists of partners from Ireland, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Germany, and Denmark, providing a balanced geographical coverage. Partners operating trans-nationally are based in Belgium, Denmark, and the UK. Their community links through EBN with the European Creative Hubs Network (ECHN), established in 2016 to support the sustenance and growth of creative hubs in Europe from a variety of sectors, as innovative models of change to kick start the creative economy in Europe.
After hearing an informal pitch from Black Pug Studio’s creative team on one of their latest creative projects, at the time still in its ideation phase, WestBIC encouraged them to attend the Creative Business Cup and sponsored two members of their team to pitch the project at the event in July, marking Ireland’s first representation at the international stage.
“Being national partners of the event, we were delighted to have representation from an Irish company this year in Copenhagen.”
The two companies have a long history of working together. The sleek and smooth design of WestBIC’s website was also realized, designed and developed by Black Pug Studio’s expert team.
Following this spurring encouragement from WestBIC, the team at Black Pug Studio were now faced with the challenge of accelerating their previously unannounced project, Velvet Valkyrie, from the ideation phase to ready-for-release. Along with WestBIC, other sponsors of this latest creative venture include the French E-Sports league streamer known as Pwnz, who is a long-time friend and supporter of the Studio, and the French Honorary Consul to Ireland, Catherine Gagneux.
“Galway is a fantastic City to encourage collaboration between like-minded individuals and companies, as well as putting a strong focus on the importance of technology and creativity in our modern world.”
After the success and experience their team gathered over the four years following the company’s creation, the team decided to pool their expertise in Design and Technology, married with their personal interests in pop culture and media, in a new project. Together, they are creating an online merchandising platform where artists’ unique and limited-edition designs are used in a beautiful clothing line, unlike anything that has existed so far. The project pitch at the Creative Business Cup included a demonstration of the first items of clothing that will be rolled out under the fresh, new Velvet Valkyrie brand, and sparked the genuine interest of an international panel of jurors and investors alike.
Now, with renewed energy to bring the project further and the positive affirmation of the first public fans ringing in their ears, the Studio’s team is working double time to finish and release the Velvet Valkyrie store and share it with the world.
You can follow the progress and updates of Black Pug Studio’s dynamic team on their twitter account: @BlackPugStudio and reach out to learn more about the professional services our experienced team can offer.