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Creative Business Accelerator

Applications for UAL’s Creative Business Accelerator will reopen in March 2023. Sign up to the Careers and Employability newsletter to be kept informed about next year’s programme.

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.

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 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 – 2023 programme dates to be confirmed

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 – 2023 programme dates to be confirmed

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 – 2023 programme dates to be confirmed

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 - dates to be confirmed. The sessions will last up to 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

Applications for UAL's Creative Business Accelerator will reopen in March 2023.

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.

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 2022 participants

  • Chamiah Dewey
    Chamiah Dewey
    Chamiah Dewey Fashion

    The UK’s first clothing brand for people with Dwarfism.

  • Kaela Katz
    Kaela Katz
    FibreLab

    A textile shredding and recycling service, helping fashion businesses to think locally and sustainably. 

  • Martina Schwarz by Simon Habegger
    Martina Schwarz by Simon Habegger
    Blackmarket

    A refillable liquid handwash without single-use plastic packaging, so we can make soap, not waste.

  • Julie-Anne Pugh
    Julie-Anne Pugh
    By Julie Anne Pugh

    Watering Cans and so much more

  • Teresa Rego
    Teresa Rego
    Teresa Rego Studio

    Colourful and bold illustrations inspired by nature by illustrator Teresa Rego.

  • Deep Food
    Deep Food
    Deep Food

    A food design studio creating eating experiences as critical design. Deep Food serves each diner a dish of thoughts; a table of statements and a feast of world views.

  • Reciprocal Space headshot
    Reciprocal Space headshot
    Reciprocal Space

    A creative design studio focused entirely on the visual communication of the research and technology of the biotechnology, medical and engineering sectors.

  • Dripped Goods
    Dripped Goods
    Dripped Goods

    Hand-crafted wearable treasures made slow with care, to cherish for a long time. 

  • Indera Studio
    Indera Studio
    Indera Studio

    A creative marketing services for soulful and cultural entrepreneurs.

  • Harri headshot
    Harri headshot
    Harri

    A London based menswear label

  • Sages headshot
    Sages headshot
    SAGES

    Making natural dyes that don't cost the earth.