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Creative Business Accelerator

UAL Creative Business Accelerator

The Creative Business Accelerator is a programme of business development tailored to support the needs of UAL graduates. Over 6 months you will take part in a series of workshops with industry professionals and peer to peer mentoring to support you in taking your business to the next stage. You will also benefit from mentoring from an industry professional.

Originally developed by UAL Careers and Employability in partnership with Google for Startups, the Creative Business Accelerator will provide you with the tools you need to grow a sustainable and successful creative business and build professional networks.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday 9 May 2022. Please read below for detailed information on how to apply.

Who can apply?

Graduates who have been awarded a Bachelor, Masters or PhD degree from UAL are eligible to apply. Applications can be made up to 5 years after graduation. For your application to be considered you need to:

  • already be running a creative business (including social enterprise or commercial) from any creative discipline or developing a product that has potential commercial intellectual property (IP) value
  • have spent at least a year on enterprising activity to develop your  business/product idea
  • have developed some form of income generation for your business/product idea
  • have an existing customer/ client base.

The programme aims to promote and progress diversity in the creative and digital industries and applicants who meet one or more of the following criteria are particularly encouraged to apply:

  • Your parent(s) or guardian(s) have not completed a university degree.
  • You are from a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic or LatinX background.
  • You are from a low-income background.
  • You have received a UAL Bursary.
  • You are a care leaver or care giver.

We also welcome applications from graduates who are under-represented in the digital industries including LGBTQI+, female and disabled founders.

What we are looking for

We are looking for participants that:

  • have plans for the growth of their business
  • show how taking part in the Accelerator aligns with their business plans and will benefit them
  • are committed to contributing to, and learning from, other Accelerator participants
  • have a business that is innovative or offers a unique creative product or service.

As part of the selection process for the Creative Business Accelerator we aim to create a diverse group of participants who are working in different creative disciplines. We particularly welcome applications from those who are running a business with a social or environmental commitment.

What the programme includes

The programme of workshops will be delivered online and throughout you will be building a network with other participants. You will learn valuable skills including:
  • how to assess your business model and make changes to improve it
  • how to price your work, manage cash flows, budget correctly and plan financially
  • how to market your practice effectively and reach the clients you want
  • how to pitch and make a funding plan
  • how to understand and value your IP
  • how to make plans to grow/employ people
  • how to manage your time effectively.

The programme will offer you the opportunity to:

  • source and use new networks and opportunities
  • join a varied group of other creative graduates from UAL
  • get a better understanding of potential markets and how to develop products or work in relation to these
  • gain confidence in making decisions about your business
  • have access to industry experts, speakers and trainers who will deliver both workshops and tailored one-to-one advice sessions.
The programme has definitely allowed me to think of many things that can help me to not only survive as a small business, but to thrive and getting my message across

— Joao Maraschin, 2020 participant
I feel that with the skills learned and the way that I implement them, I would be able to increase my sales and to build a reputation. Having clear goals and a well thought-through business plan has helped me to evolve the brand.

— Camila Quintero 2020 participant

Bursary

A bursary of £6,000 will be awarded to allow participants to attend and take part fully in all aspects of the programme. The bursary will be paid at key stages during the programme.

Programme format

Part 1 – June to August 2022

You will attend a series of weekly business development training sessions online led by industry experts and there will be opportunities to have one-to-one advice tailored to your business.

Part 2 – September to November 2022

You will take part in regular peer mentoring sessions developing and applying your learnings from Part 1 as you work together in a group to look at different business challenges.

Part 3 – October 2022 to March 2023

You will be matched with an industry expert who will mentor you as you put your learning into action and further develop your business.

The programme will culminate in a Demo Day where you will present the developments you have made to potential partners and investors.

Who else will be on the programme?

There will be 10 – 15 UAL graduates selected to take part in the programme. They will reflect the many courses and practices at UAL so that may include - fashion, tech, social, art, and many more and be a mixture of product and service businesses. Participants can be based in the UK or internationally and all will have at least 1 years’ experience of running a business.

You must agree to

  • Commit to attending all sessions during the programme.
  • Prioritise and schedule programme sessions - these will take place on Wednesdays from 15 June 2022 to mid-November 2022. The sessions will last 2.5 hours, and the time will be confirmed.
  • Commit to being active in developing your business between sessions.
  • Prepare for and follow up on all training and one-to-one sessions.
  • Commit to actively engage in creating a supportive community with other participants.
  • Complete all evaluation questionnaires.
  • Give back a total of 6 hours to student enterprise learning at UAL. This could be as a mentor, joining a judging panel for UAL awards, or giving a talk on your business and work.

How to apply and deadlines

Before you start your application make sure you have read all the information on this web page.

Step 1

Complete the apply for the Creative Business Accelerator form (Word 42KB). You will be asked to talk about:

  • your creative business
  • your plans for developing and growing it
  • how you will benefit from taking part in the Accelerator programme
  • how you will contribute as an active member of the group.

If you would prefer to submit a filmed application, please read these filming your application guidelines (PDF 85KB) before you make your application.

Step 2

Complete this online Creative Business Accelerator submission form. You will be asked to attach your application form to it and will have the opportunity to include any additional materials such as visuals of your work as one additional document.

  • Deadline for applications is Monday 9 May 2022, 5pm (BST).
  • You will be advised if you have been shortlisted by 18 May 2022.
  • If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to present to a panel week commencing 23 May 2022.
  • You will be advised if you have been selected for the programme by 31 May 2022.

Please note that all decisions are final.

Supporting you

If you have any questions or believe there are any barriers to your participation in this opportunity, or you have any access requirements you wish to discuss, we would be happy to talk to you.

Please contact enterprise@arts.ac.uk

Meet the 2021 participants

  • Portrait of Adiam
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    ADIAMELIAS

    A sustainable womenswear brand using creative techniques and methods of pattern-cutting.

  • Handful portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Handful

    An invitation for creatives to slow down and connect to themselves and others through the medium clay.

  • Jemima Sara portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Jemima Sara

    Original artwork, prints, illustrative accessories and tongue-in-cheek clothing by artist Jemima Sara.

  • Hidhir portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Hidhir Badaruddin

    An intimate approach to image-making, offering editorial and commercial fashion photography, with a visual focus on queer and BAME representation.

  • A model in a hoody
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    FORE

    Producing articles of fashion, art and much more to create immersive narratives that aim to engage and inspire.

  • Portrait of two people
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Aestory

    A design brand creating functional home accessories that tell a story, convey emotions and trigger curiosity by poetically interpreting landscapes.

  • Sam and Alesha portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Yard + Parish

    The Destination for Eco-Luxe Black-Owned Brands. For our People. For our Earth.

  • Portrait of two people
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Bigger Than Reality

    A creative studio specialising in visualisation and concept design.

  • Helena Traill portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Helena Traill Design

    Graphic and website design studio that specialises in creative communication to differentiate brands within a crowded marketplace.

  • Portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Walls of Our Homes

    A homeware design company bringing cultural exchange via patterns.

  • Portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Olivia Rubens

    Playful, positive knitwear that empowers community and supports the planet through material innovation

  • Computer screenshot
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    Run the Check

    A platform that showcases paid creative opportunities

  • portrait of Darren Appiagyei

    Inthegrain

    A design company which focuses on creating bespoke pieces with wood.

  • Corinne and Niki portrait
    Photo courtesy of UAL
    HOTELMOTEL

    Unisex sneakers and accessories handmade with TLC in Montreal, Canada.

  • Photo of Elissa Brunato

    Radiant Matter

    Glittering biomaterial innovation for the circular economy