André and his company Creative Acorr

André Correia is the Founder and Company Director of Creative Acorr C.I.C, a social enterprise which specialises in providing ethical communication solutions to NGOs and other community bodies. Originally from Portugal, André emigrated to the UK in 2008 to grow his experience in the PR and charity sector. He has a BA in Marketing from Lisbon University, and a BA in Creative Technologies from the University of Ulster. He lived in Ireland for around five years, and is now based in London.

Interview

Q. Why did you leave Portugal to come to the UK? And how did you find the experience of settling in?

A. I had just finished my Marketing degree in Lisbon, and the Portuguese economy was in a bad way, so I decided to move to the UK where there would be greater opportunity. In terms of adapting, London was not a problem as it is so multicultural anyway, but Northern Ireland was very culturally different with it being such a religious region, and the accent can be very hard to follow!

Q. You already had a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, why did you choose to then pursue another degree in Creative Technologies?

A. I love technology, and always have. I thought it would complement my marketing interests and ambitions well. I also have family in Northern Ireland, so it made sense to study there.

Q. How did you come up with the idea behind Creative Acorr?

A. I had a lot of experience of working in PR and with charities – my professional experience and passion for charity work opened my eyes to a gap in the market in terms of communications for not-for-profit organisations. I founded Creative Acorr to fill this gap.

Q. There is clearly a strong ethical focus in the work you do at Creative Acorr – has this always been an important element in your life?

A. Rather than always knowing I wanted to work with charities, I would say that actually my passion for the charity sector grew and developed when I was working in Ireland. I worked on projects organised by intercultural programmes that supported migrants and young people from different ethnic backgrounds. This experience inspired me to continue my work with community groups and charities.

Q. How many people do you have working for your team?

A. There are three staff members, one of whom started the company with me, and we have just had two people join on apprenticeships.

Q. How do you attract clients? 

A. Our first clients came by word of mouth, as I had contacts from my time working in North London. Increasingly, we are using marketing to promote ourselves and draw in new clients.

Q. What have been the challenges in launching your own venture?

A. It has actually been very successful so far, considering Creative Acorr is only 9 months old. This is because we started straight away with clients – for example, I was in Brazil last month dealing with clients there. The hardest part is probably not having a well-known brand name to start with, that makes it hard to recruit new clients.

Q. What is your average project like at Creative Acorr?

A. We work with lots of different charities, and for each, I will spend around two weeks with them having meetings in all the different departments, and then I work for home to devise and design a strategy to present to them. We offer our services at around 25% less than an average communications firm would in London.

Q. What has been your most exciting project so far/what are you most proud of?

A. In Ireland, I did a lot of work on the issues of racism and human trafficking – a lot of the airports in Northern Ireland are rural which makes illegal trafficking easier. We worked really hard on the communications side of this problem to raise awareness – I am really proud of the good job we did on this front.

Q. What are your ambitions for the future of Creative Acorr?

A. To always do the best possible job for the charities we work with.