LONDON — MSL UK has launched a creative accelerator programme in partnership with cosmetics brand Rimmel London and Supa Network, a 5,000-strong community of creatives from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds.

The aim of the initiative is to give applicants from these backgrounds access to work for leading brands on MSL’s client roster, to broaden their networks and experience, and kick-start their careers.

With the possibility of a job offer from MSL at the end of six months, the 11 creatives in the first wave of the programme have been selected from over 100 applicants and will have experience handling live briefs from brands including Puma and Disney+ in addition to Rimmel London. The “creative collective” will also receive £1,000 each, MSL and Supa training, creative coaching, and will complete a final project set in collaboration with a charity.

The first session took place last week, with MSL client Rimmel London, one of beauty giant Coty's brands, presenting a brief for the creative collective. Letizia Calcamo, Coty’s global PR and influencer marketing director, said of the programme: “Throughout my career in fashion and beauty, I have been trying to open my doors as much as possible to underrepresented talent, so I was thrilled when our team at MSL came to Rimmel London asking us to be involved in this programme with Supa Network.

“As a key player in an influential industry like beauty, Coty is concerned about under representation. The industry is opening up, but not at the speed we want and a programme like this is a great step in improving representation. We’re really excited for the launch, working with these new creative minds and can’t wait to see the results.”

The programme is part of MSL UK’s ongoing efforts to break down entry barriers into the industry, and will sit alongside its existing diversity and inclusion strategy, Embrace-Change, which led to 66% of MSL UK hires in 2020 coming from diverse backgrounds.

MSL UK executive creative director Michael Dowell said: “As an industry, we need to do more. We need to bring in new creative talent and we need to stay relevant to culture; we aren’t doing that if we aren’t representative of different cultures. With our ambition to create a home for diverse fresh talent at MSL, we’re constantly looking for the best creative minds, and this partnership with Supa Network accelerates things.”

The agency’s MD, Jo Grierson, added: “We’ve had an unbelievable response. Applications went to over 1000 people nationwide and within two weeks we had 200 applications, we had screened 73 candidates, interviewed 24 amazing people and then had the tough job to settle on our amazing final 11. We’re so excited for the next six months.”