Film and media production company, TheStoryBoxes, worked in the QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) incubator for a year. They share their journey, moving out from their home office to CEA, and now ‘graduating’ to an independent office. We ask Co-Founder Sarah Mak about the experience.

Q: Tell us about your business, TheStoryBoxes.

A: “TheStoryBoxes is a boutique film and media production company specialising in the development and production of visual media that connects organisations with their desired audience. Our films integrate with our client’s greater marketing vision with a particular focus on the emerging digital space. Our team has 20+ years of combined experience engaged in the creative arts, film, media production, marketing and communications as well as behavioural and social sciences. This allows us to offer a unique perspective and approach to creating a stylish aesthetic that’s authentic, engaging and meaningful.”

Q: What is your vision for TheStoryBoxes?

A: “Our vision for TheStoryBoxes is to push the boundaries of conventional storytelling by allowing our creative process to operate without logistical limitations. Our aim is to to work and collaborate with clients who never begin sentences with the words ‘this is how it’s always been done’ and who are genuinely passionate about engagement.”

Q: Why did you decide to join the QUT Creative Enterprise Australia incubator?

A: “We moved into the CEA incubator in Sept 2013. We were working from our home office and were looking for a space that would allow us to grow our business, have a greater brand presence and be amongst like-minded individuals whilst in the start-up phase. The incubator appealed to us because of its location, support and mentorship offered and its community driven approach to the often isolating entrepreneurial world.”

Q: What services did you utilise while based in the QUT Creative Enterprise Australia incubator?

A: “Whilst at CEA, we utilised the mentoring sessions with Anna Rooke, The Coterie boardroom, the monthly workshops offered for CEA clients, the social activities, the Creative Industries internship program advertised at QUT and attended the Creative3 conferences.”

Q: How do you think being in CEA’s incubator during startup, was different to renting a regular office?

A: “CEA helps alleviate a lot of the stresses associated with the startup phase. Renting a space is often a big investment however CEA offers cost-effective space options for startups of various sizes. They encourage moving between offices as needed and contracts/leases are extremely flexible. Offices are fully furnished, clean, professional and internet is fast. Level 2 reception and the CEA team offer both administrative and logistical support if needed. Three professional boardrooms are also included in the rental price allowing startups more time and resources to focus on the business itself rather than the day-to-day operations.

Other points of difference include the coffee shop downstairs (Meg & her team are friendly!), cost-effective food options within the precinct, being amongst other creatives allowing for collaborations and conversations and an opportunity to have a greater brand presence.”

Q: How long did you work in CEA’s incubator?

A: “We worked at the CEA incubator for 1 year. We not only saw CEA as an incubator but also as an accelerator, helping us identify and address key bottlenecks in our business and allow us to address these swiftly. As our team grew, we identified that we needed separate office spaces within our business to not only facilitate the creative process and client experience (e.g., separate room for the client edit suite) but we also wanted to create a work environment that supported our team members working styles.”

Q: Would you recommend joining CEA’s incubator to other startups in the creative industries?

A: “We would absolutely recommend other startups joining CEAs incubator. Because of CEA, we’ve been allowed opportunities and conversations not otherwise provided had we stayed in a home office.”

Q: What part has CEA played in your business development?

A: “We’ve worked with other creative companies within CEA creating strategic partnerships with some, Anna Rooke and the CEA team have been supportive in helping spread our business. In September of this year the CEA team offered David Lloyd-Lewis a bursary to attend the Creative3 forum. It was here, through an introduction by another CEA resident, that we met Adam Sebastian West who has since joined the team as our new Creative Director.”