Rugby extras and actors business secures funding to cut slog of admin

Photo shows: Nichola Clydesdale (left) and Elliss McLaughlin (right) from the Envisage Agency with Jon Bass from the CWLEP Growth Hub

A Rugby business which provides extras and actors for production companies has revolutionised the way it operates after receiving a grant from a business support organisation.

The Envisage Agency was established by Nichola Clydesdale in 2010 to provide promotional staff and over the years, it has evolved to create a new division called the Envisage Extra & Acting Casting Agency.

The business in Buckwell Lane, Clifton-upon-Dunsmore, provides promotional staff and actors throughout the UK as well as overseas in Dubai, America, France and Germany.

Previously, the CVs of each candidate were inputted manually into its database by the 17-strong staff.

But after receiving a £3,000 grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, which was funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Nichola bought and installed new software which has helped to simplify their processes.

Nichola said the new system has made a massive difference to the way the business works and has led to new work.

She said: “It has revolutionised everything we do. When the pandemic hit, even though we are an event staffing business we managed to keep going because despite lockdown, production companies still needed actors and extras.

“We were competing against casting agencies who had great technology because it is not just about having great people on your books, it is how quickly you can send their profile.

“I remember one day I spent eight hours inputting profiles manually whereas other companies could send over the details quickly by email to put their clients forward and within ten minutes, the production company would have 20 or 30 applicants.

“I thought this was the time to act and when I received a marketing email from the Growth Hub, I decided to get in touch.

“Jon Bass from the CWLEP Growth Hub has been brilliant because he knew the grants that were available and which one I could apply for. I’m so grateful for his support and for the grant because I knew we were capable of growing.

“The software is now up and running and we are easily sending clients profiles of available staff on one simple link and have launched a new website  to promote this new way of working.

“It also means our extras and actors can upload new photos and their details themselves with their current experience so it is a win-win.”

Jon Bass, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said: “Nichola has a great business with over 20,000 registered extras which means it is vital their software makes the process of contacting production companies and PR agencies as smooth as possible.” he said.