School for Creative Startups

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  • DatesSeptember 2012 - May 2015
  • Participants500 creative startups

the client


Westminster Council part funded the first year 2010 in London

From 2011 to 2015 School For Creative Startups was privately funded by participating startups (100 Startups per year)

the brief


The aim of the course was to teach the critical skills that are often missing from the education offered on creative based degrees and other theory based educational courses. The key aspect of this course was that it offered accessible basic business curricula as well as hands-on support throughout the vulnerable early stages of developing a business.

School for Creative Startup’s overarching mission is to create a vibrant, dynamic culture and economy that supports and promotes innovation and entrepreneurialism. Our aim is to increase the number of creative small businesses in the UK and provide them with access to world-class business advice and support in a way that they understand and that will help them succeed.

our solution

With a practical approach, this eight month, adult education course tackled a skills gap by equipping students with the business and commercial acumen not traditionally covered on creative courses.

Our flagship programme ran from central London and attracted a cohort of students each from all across the UK and throughout Europe.

Through a range of intensive bootcamps, workshops, one-to-one sessions and with access to a massive online community resource, aspiring creative entrepreneurs will learnt how to brand, market and sell their products and services effectively. Given the flexibility of the course schedule, participants were still able to work their day jobs while staying focused on their goal of starting their own business.

The programme was delivered by sector experts with participants also being given access to a network of industry-specific advisors, including photographer Rankin, Harvey Nichols Fashion Director Paula Reed, gastronome, Loyd Grossman and fashion designer Sir Paul Smith. Participants “launch” their businesses to potential investors, press, buyers, and public at the annual Makegood Festival, which concludes the course in May.

School for Creative Startups has a proven track record of putting entrepreneurs through their paces and turning creative ideas into viable, scalable enterprises.

Our method depends heavily on a combination of action-learning and intensive, interactive instruction through bootcamps and workshops followed by on-going distance learning and mentoring support. This was supplemented by detailed and thorough support materials to guide our startups after the training.


Our tools and workshops compromised of the following:

  • Bootcamps
  • Workshops
  • Facilitated Group Crits
  • One to One Support
  • An online Community
  • Makegood Festival in London
  • Titans of Industry Advisory Programme
  • School for Creative Startups Angel Society

the outcome


Over the past four years S4CS have worked with a number of amazing creative startups, helping support them to grow, develop and accelerate during the early stages of their business. Below are some headline statistics that help build a picture of who we work with and just some of the impact we’ve had on them and their startups.


Year One 2011/12

  • 75% of students feel that they’ve had success as a direct result of the programme
  • 63% of students are now trading as a result of the programme
  • 73% of our product-based startups are now in stores throughout London
  • As a result of successfully completing the programme 92% of students now rate their business prospects over the next 3-5years as Good or Very Good.
  • A number students/businesses have won awards or investment including the award of £50k from the Innovation and Giving Fund, NESTA
  • In 2013, 81% of startups are active with 65% of them trading and a further 11% receiving funding or investment.


Year Two 2012/13

  • 88% of students rated the content and delivery as Relevant or Very Relevant to their business needs
  • 94% of students found the programme to significantly increase their confidence in business skills
  • The programme helped 92% of students to improve on their business model
  • As a result of successfully completing the programme 73% of students now rate their business prospects over the next 3-5years as Good or Very Good.
  • 75% of students made meaningful conversations or interactions at as a result of showcasing their business at the School for Creative Startups Showcase
  • 75% of students showcasing their work at the School for Creative Startups Showcase sold or gained more new clients than they expected
  • In 2013, 93% of startups are active with 76% of them trading and a further 11% receiving funding or investment.


Wider programme impact:

  • 93% of our students are now active startups with 11% of them receiving funding or investment
  • 94% of our students found that the programme significantly increased their confidence in business skills
  • Increased their confidence in business skills
  • 92% of students felt that the programme helped them improve their business model


I have always wanted to enjoy building my business and School for Creative Startups has allowed me to do this for the 1st time. Most importantly however, if School for Creative Startups existed two years ago I would have saved myself £15 000 in mistakes” – Mohammed Jamal

the relevant services

1:1 Business Advice

Content Development

Workshop Delivery