Discover RIMA, winner of the UnFound Accelerator live pitch event 2022 – a platform that helps artists access new opportunities via digital technology.
RIMA is an-app-in-the-making that aims to connect creatives from the global South with international opportunities for funding, residencies, commissions, networking and mentoring.
It began life when an artist from Venezuela, a dance student from Mexico, an opera singer from the UK and a writer from Nigeria met at a global cultural relations event in November 2021.
“We were put together in a group task to come up with a project,” says Carlos Zerpa, founder of a militant artists’ worker co‑op in Venezuela.
“We’d all experienced the troublesome process of finding international opportunities for artists. And we all agreed it would be good to have a more efficient way to do that, especially focused on people from the global South.”
The ambition is for the RIMA platform to work in a number of ways. Firstly, as a “Tinder for grants” matching creatives with opportunities in their particular field, be that art, dance, performance, writing, theatre, music or other cultural/artistic practices.
The platform will also act as a kind of “My Fitness Pal” for applications – recording, prompting, reminding and supporting creatives to curate their portfolio while applying for the opportunities they match with.
“Further down the line, we also want to include a feature where you can request mentoring,” says Carlos. “For the launch, we’re planning to have an invited ‘Mentor of the Month,’ supplying masterclass content for the platform.
“In the longer term, we also plan to include a networking site in the app where users can request advice and peer mentorship from each other.”
After winning seed capital to take the idea forward, the team went on to take part in the UnFound Accelerator – a 10‑week business development programme for fledgling co‑ops that use mobile apps or online platforms to provide services and solutions.
Delivered by Co‑operatives UK and supported by The Co‑operative Bank, the programme draws on an extensive network of experts to help platform co‑ops plan their businesses and develop their products, strategy, branding and marketing.
“I was keen for us to join the UnFound Accelerator as I founded a co-op in Venezuela and I believe in the co‑op model,” says Carlos.
“The programme helped us get clear on how our platform will function – as a ‘Tinder for grants.’ We’re not tech experts so it was also invaluable for learning about user testing and design sprints – quickly creating iterations and being open to change.
“And it opened my eyes to the different co-operative models. I didn’t know about multi-stakeholder co‑ops. We don’t have those in Venezuela – and that would be the ideal model for us.”
UnFound culminated in a live event where all the teams taking part pitched their ideas to an online audience who voted for their favourite. RIMA came first, winning £5,000 from the £10,000 prize fund supplied by The Co‑operative Bank.
“It was good to come top, but also a surprise,” says Carlos. “We’re thankful, not just for the prize money – the experience, knowledge and contacts we gained were just as valuable, so we already felt like we’d won anyway!
“Because we’re based in different countries, one of our challenges is registering as a co-op. So one of our ideas is to use the prize money to legally register as a co‑operative.
“We’d love to find another co‑op with non‑European international founders and structure and see how they did it.”
In the meantime, the team is working on partnering with organisations in Europe to build their database of creative opportunities. And they plan to use their networks in their respective countries to build their subscribers.
With a soft launch planned for November 2022, Carlos and the team are looking forward to putting their idea into action. “It will be a great achievement to be able to open up opportunities to artists in countries where they don’t usually get to know about them.”
Find out more
- RIMA – Website
- The UnFound Accelerator – Find out more | Sign up for the Unfound newsletter