With our support, designer-makers’ turnover and profits at Cockpit Arts have increased year-on-year since we introduced the incubation model in 2005.
For 2013 our designer-makers reported an average turnover of £35,936 and average profits of £9,761. These both compare favourably with the national average figures reported by the Craft Council for 2012 of £23,485 and £6,231.
The Cockpit Arts & Ingenious Growth Loan Fund has a zero default rate, with beneficiaries reporting sales growth of 129% between 2010 and 2013.
The Social Return on Investment study of our pilot Business Growth Loan Fund programme demonstrates that for every £1 we invest, we produce £3.36 in outcome. This is added social and economic value, including fostering entrepreneurship, confidence and motivation.
Our Creative Careers programme provides previously unemployed young people with a gateway to a professional career in craft and design. Over the past three years 12 previously unemployed young people have been provided with 12 months intensive support including craft skill and design development, as a gateway to a professional career in craft and design. 100% of these have been able to successfully start up and sustain a craft business.
The Cockpit Effect Report 2013
This year’s report highlights a changing demographic within the population of designer-maker craft businesses (studio holders) at Cockpit Arts. The proportion of studio holders that have been in business for 2 years or less has continued to rise; an expected result of programmes and interventions introduced to enable designer-makers to access Cockpit Arts incubation services at an earlier stage.
The report compares and contrasts the performance of studio holders that have been in business for 2 years or less with those that have been in business for 3 years or more, as well as looking specifically at businesses with higher turnovers and those that have taken up Cockpit Arts & Ingenious Growth Loans.
The report also includes a focus on individual journeys through the Cockpit Arts incubation process, illustrated by seven in-depth case studies. These case studies show how makers at different stages of growth, in different craft disciplines, are benefitting from incubation to achieve success.
- Underlying results are positive, with the average turnover across all respondents rising and continuing to outperform the reported national average for 2012.
- The trading performance of businesses with higher turnovers (£100k or more) was particularly impressive. The average turnover for this group rose from £171k in 2012 to £234k in 2013
- Recipients of Cockpit Arts & Ingenious Growth Loans have achieved sales growth of 129% between 2010 and 2013 compared to a growth of 31% for those that have not accessed this source of finance.
- The number of studio holders with employees on the payroll continued to rise, reaching 10% in 2013, compared to 8% the previous year.
- Those using outsourcing as part of their production plan also increased, reaching 54% in 2013, up from 45% in 2012.
- For the first time, a majority of studio holders (53%) reported that they rely solely on the income generated from their craft business rather than supplementing it with income from elsewhere.
As a social enterprise, Cockpit Arts is committed to tracking the wider impact of our employment creation services. We recently commissioned a Social Impact Study for two of our key initiatives:
• Creative Careers which provides sustainable self-employment for previously unemployed young people, referred to us by The Prince’s Trust; and
• Creative Employment Programme which develops the capacity of independent designer-makers and helps them to become first-time employers of apprentices and paid interns. The target is for up to 22 first time employers to create 14 new jobs in the first year of the programme.
Key findings include:
- New employers are able to grow their business through freeing up their time, developing new skills, improving productivity and in some cases already seeing increased sales.
- Employees finding employment in a field they want to make a career in marks a huge step towards independence.
- Self-employed feel that they are running a professional business rather than it remaining a hobby.
- Employers show a willingness and expectation to keep on employees, but are cautious about affordability of additional staff
- Respondents reported a minimal attribution of other agencies in achieving outcomes. They acknowledge the support that Cockpit is giving, recognise that no other organisation is providing this support, and that doing it on their own would have been harder and taken longer
- Based on the Cabinet Office’s Unit Cost Database the annual saving to the public purse as a result of Cockpit’s employment programme is around £425k.
- The data collected is illustrating the need to:
* extend the programmes each year in order to test whether sustainable employment can be achieved;
* provide new employers with more support with employment practice;
* and explore potential partnerships with the further education sector to recruit a greater number of apprentices alongside graduate recruits via Traineeships and Apprenticeships.
Cockpit Arts & Ingenious Growth Loan Fund
In 2012 a new Growth Loan Fund was launched by Cockpit Arts in partnership with Ingenious, an investment and advisory group renowned for their work in Media & Entertainment. The Cockpit Arts & Ingenious Growth Loan Fund provides low interest loans, coupled with intensive one to one business support to studio holders. Loans of up to £10,000 can be accessed to support developments such as improved production processes, new routes to market and taking on staff. In each case, the loans support the owner-manager to create a more sustainable business, capable of economies of scale and increased profits as the business continues to grow and develop.
Our past Annual Business Reviews and Social Return on Investment reports are available to download here. For a full copy of these reports or to find out more about our research work please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We plan to continue research over the long term and welcome comment, feedback or collaborations from other individuals and organisations in the field.