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Creative Enterprise Awards

A student in a fine art studio
A student in a fine art studio
Mustafa Boga, MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins. Photo Alys Tomlinson.

Money and support to help graduates grow their business ideas

A Creative Enterprise Award can help you if you are looking to start your own business, or grow an existing one. Our graduates often go on to launch exciting new creative businesses or social enterprises and we’d like to celebrate this and support them in their first steps.

Creative Enterprise Awards are funding and support packages from UAL Careers and Employability to help grow new business ideas and nurture enterprising initiatives developed by UAL students and graduates.

Award categories are now closed

The prizes

The awards are run in partnership with industry leaders and organisations. Prizes are given to category winners and selected runners-up. Prizes include; grants up to £5,000, award trophies, showcasing opportunities, leading industry mentorship and specialist business training.

Our partners include: Our partners include: Adobe, B Artmonsky, The Dots,  Cockpit Arts, Creative Champs and IBM iX

What we look for

An idea or business that demonstrates one or more of the following:

  • Creative businesses or projects with a positive social aim, or ethical practice
  • An original product or service that addresses a clear market need
  • Community engaged projects/interventions
  • An idea with good growth potential
  • Scope for international relationships/trade
  • A strong focus on technology (not limited to digital technologies)
  • A freelance or service-based creative business
  • An artist or maker with a commercial practise.

Your application and pitch should include:

  • A business model that clearly identifies how the business will be sustainable
  • Evidence of your skills, experience and determination to succeed
  • Market Research
  • Demonstrate your plans and potential for growth

Open to current UAL students and recent graduates (within 2 years of graduation).

How to apply

Applications are now closed for 2021.

The Award categories

1. Maker

The maker award is open to individuals who produce and sell creative work or products to the public or collectors.

2. Social Enterprise  

The social enterprise award is open to individuals or companies with socially-led objectives or ethical or sustainable practises at the heart of what they do.

3. Community project

The community project award is open to projects that have a focus on community engagement or intervention. This award is aimed at those who may not be operating as a company or business.

4. Technology

The technology award celebrates businesses or individuals whose work demonstrates innovative uses of technology.

5. Freelancer

The freelancer award is open to self-employed individuals or small companies who work on a contract basis to provide a creative service to clients.

6. Innovation

The innovation award celebrates businesses or individuals whose work demonstrates innovation at its heart. It may be creating a new product, a new market or a new way of doing things.

7. Graduate Showcase

A new award for graduating students that have demonstrated a business idea or entrepreneurial potential in their Graduate Showcase projects or works. (Deadline 27 June)

Get support for your application

To help you prepare for your application, get support in the following ways:

International students and graduates

International students and graduates who wish to set up a business in the UK after graduating will need to apply for a Start-up Visa. More information is available on our International Start-up Visa page.

Previous Creative Enterprise Awards winners

  • Post Carbon Lab headshot
    Post Carbon Lab
    Innovation award  

    Winner: Post Carbon LabFounded by Dian-Jen Lin and Hannes Hulstaert. Post Carbon Lab offers sustainable and regenerative microbial dyeing and coating services for textile applications. Mentored by Jonathan Chippendale from Holition.

  • Billi headhsot
    Social Enterprise Award  

    Winner: Billi LondonFounded by Marie Bouhier, Billi London creates the world’s first enhanced biodegradable tights, which decompose within 5 years instead of 40+. Mentored by Becky Artmonsky.

  • Lintastic headshot
    Social Enterprise Award  

    Winners: Lintastic Founded by Abhinov Asokan and Yinan Wu, Lintastic is a strong and recyclable material - made from lint from dryers - which provides an alternative to plastic. Mentored by Becky Artmonsky.

  • Art Z headshot
    Art Z
    Tech Award  

    Winner: Art-ZDeveloped by Ashwini Deshpande, Art-Z is a software that uses artificial intelligence to reduce the fabric waste produced in the fashion industry at an early, cutting stage. Mentored by Anita Henry from Google for Startups.

  • Techbox headshot
    Communities Award  

    Winner: Techbox developed by Ricebox Studio is a zine and hackathon encouraging young BAME women and underrepresented folks to use creative technology for social good. Mentored by Shannie Mears and Matt Bamford-Bowes from The Elephant Room.

  • Juliette Plaice headshot
    Juliette Plaice
    Maker Award  

    Winner: Plaice Plaice creates laser cut earrings and glasses from recycled acrylic. Founder Juliette Stuart is on a mission to bring fun to the world of accessories! Mentored by David Crump from Cockpit Arts.

  • Chift headshot
    Freelancer Award  

    Winner: Chift Developed by Aparmita Sharma, Chift enables Artificial Intelligence start-ups to build purposeful and ethical digital products through an interactive design toolkit and consultancy. Mentored by Brendan McKnight from The Dots.

  • A table with plates and a cooking pot
    Image courtesy of Li-m studio
    How winning a Creative Enterprise Award could help your business

    Hear how winning a Creative Enterprise Award in 2019 helped these 2 UAL graduate businesses.

  • Photo of Carolyn Dailey from Creative Entrepreneurs
    Photo of Carolyn Dailey from Creative Entrepreneurs
    Preparing for a pitch

    Watch our film on how to prepare for a successful creative pitch featuring Carolyn Dailey, founder of Creative Entrepreneurs.

  • Photo of three female students posing with a giant photo frame
    Creative Enterprise Week 2017. Photo by Damian Griffiths.
    Events and workshops  

    Get your creative business or freelance practice off the ground with our programme of free events. See what's coming up this term...

  • Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

    Start-Up Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

    Want to set up your own business? UAL can help you apply for a Start-up Visa to stay in the UK after graduation.