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What are the 2021 cohort from the Creative Business Accelerator up to now?

Participants in the 2021 Creative Business Accelerator sit on a panel at the the demo day, taking questions from the audience.
  • Written byCareers and Employability
  • Published date 06 May 2022
Participants in the 2021 Creative Business Accelerator sit on a panel at the the demo day, taking questions from the audience.

As we approach the application deadline for the 2022 Creative Business Accelerator (CBA) programme on 9 May, we caught up with some of our 2021 businesses and founders at the recent Demo Day event, to see what they achieved during the programme.

Handful portrait

Anke Buchmann’s Handful is an invitation to slow down and connect through clay, while paying tribute to traditional craft methods and material insights. With major clients such as Google and H&M, Anke commented on the mentoring she received through the programme with Sophie Rochester which helped to extend her network.

Helena Traill portrait

Helena Trail Design

Helena Trail Design is a Community and Health Design Consultancy, which takes a design-led approach to connecting people and brands. One of Helena’s key takeaways of the programme was learning how to tell the story of Helena Trail Design, focusing more on PR and marketing as well as rebranding. Part of their work in the last few months even involved building a website for a fellow CBA participant, Radiant Matter.

Photo of Elissa Brunato

Radiant Matter 

Founded by Elissa Brunato Radiant Matter is developing the next generation of colour and material solutions for the circular textiles’ economy - starting with sequins. Her biggest takeaway from the accelerator was the opportunity it gave her to meet other founders and network – she has now gone on to form 2 brand collaborations, work with Brunel University and secure £120k funding for the project.

Portrait of Adiam
Adiam Elias 

ADIAMELIAS is a premium essentials company that provides garments which are made sustainably and are ethically produced. The CBA bursary allowed founder Adiam to launch new product ranges as well as expand the sizes she was able to offer. She also said learning about branding, marketing and analytics has been useful.

Corinne and Niki portrait


Part of the slow fashion movement, Atelier HOTELMOTEL brings unisex, handmade leather sneakers and accessories to the table. The accelerator helped founder Niki Jessup to increase their revenue 50% in 2021 because of a change to their business model. By offering a pre-sale and small run of their lines they can now control their inventory much more efficiently.

A model in a hoody


As well as being a clothing brand, FORE is a multifaceted exploration of cultural themes and references. FORE’s founder Jordan Hall is passionate about social impact, and the CBA programme helped him to focus on this element of the company, including charitable donations, activism, design briefs and peer-to-peer mentoring as part of FORE’s business model.

Portrait of two people

Bigger Than Reality

Bigger Than Reality is a creative studio specialising in architectural visualisation, founded by Alex Mitchell. Following the CBA they now have a more robust framework around some of the fundamental aspects of their business. This has helped them to work more efficiently, and they now feel they can plan with confidence.

Portrait of two people


Leah Mentiz and Felix Blanc are founders of aestory, a design brand creating functional home accessories that tell a story, convey emotions and trigger curiosity by poetically interpreting landscapes. Through the programme they were able to redesign their website to take the viewer through their creative process and the stories behind their products.

portrait of Darren Appiagyei


Darren Appiagyei is a wood turner and founder of Inthegrain. Darren creates unique pieces which embrace the intrinsic nature of the wood. Darren spoke about how the programme really helped him to find his voice, and the speakers and workshops helped him to work out the best way to share his business and his story.

Hidhir portrait
Hidhir Badaruddin

Photographer Hidhir Badaruddin’s work draws from the themes of identity, gender, and sexuality, working across many genres to explore and document a generation of Asian Masculinity. The CBA helped Hidhir to buy premium equipment and he has since shot for magazines such as Notion, Dazed and Vogue India.

Jemima Sara portrait

Jemima Sara

Jemima Sara is a multi-disciplinary artist addressing freedom of expression and aspects of daily life. Since joining the Creative Business Accelerator, Jemima has worked with clients such as Anthropologie, Wolf and Badger, Choose Love and the Southbank Centre. Her installation project in public toilets also addresses access to the arts. The programme helped her to become more confident with financial strategies, develop a business plan, and expanded her network and opportunities.


Olivia Rubens

Olivia Rubens is a positive knitwear womenswear designer based between in Canada. She stated that the accelerator was well timed for her as she had a collaboration to launch with Machine A. With a background in fashion design, having the help with costing, branding and manufacturing made running a business approachable and feasible for her.

Sam and Alesha portrait

Yard + Parish

Co-founded by Samantha Newall, Yard + Parish offers a curated online shopping experience highlighting independent Black-owned brands offering clean beauty, handmade jewellery, fashion accessories, homeware, and more. The accelerator helped them to improve on time management, value proposition, explore alternative sales channels and look at their pricing strategy. Samantha also mentioned the mentorship was useful and made her realise, no dream is too big.

Applications for the 2022 CBA close on May 9, 2022. You can find out more about the application process on the Creative Business Accelerator webpage.

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