How can incubation help me?

Click our handy infographic to see how we support designer-maker businesses at Cockpit Arts. We work with businesses at all different levels – from supporting start-ups in taking their first steps to helping mid-career and established businesses to accelerate growth. Scroll down for a comprehensive description of our Business Development services and read our Case Studies to find out how they make an impact on real designer-maker businesses.

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Getting Started

Induction & Toolkit

When you join one of our incubators you enter into a process designed to help you develop and grow your creative business. You are firmly in the driving seat and our on-site Business Development Team are on hand to guide you through the journey. The starting point is an induction during which you receive our Making It Toolkit full of specialist information, contacts, templates and worksheets which are indispensable to a designer-maker business.

Diagnostic & Action Plan

The next step is to meet, discuss your business together and identify your specific needs. Together we then create a personalised action plan to help you move forward. Each business takes a different journey from this point depending on their model, stage of growth and specific needs. These are some of the services on offer to help you in moving forward:

Moving Forward

On-site Coaching

One of the unique services at Cockpit is the on-site, one-to-one support from our SFEDI qualified coaches. We take a co-active approach, working with you to develop the skills and creativity you already possess. Drawing on our industry experience, we help you to identify opportunities for change that are right for you and your business.

Peer-to-Peer Action Learning

One of the great benefits of being at Cockpit is that you are part of a fantastic network of talented designer-makers, often sharing similar experiences to one another. We facilitate peer-to-peer action learning and group coaching sessions, coffee dates and run a ‘buddy scheme’ so that you can share this valuable knowledge together in an informal and relaxed way.

Email & Phone Support

Quick questions always crop up in business and as we are based on-site we can deal with your queries in person or by email and phone.  We may also refer you to our network of Cockpit Associates including accountants, lawyers, marketers, retailers and IT professionals for specialist support.

Cockpit Arts & Ingenious Growth Loan Fund

If you need an injection of cash to take your business to the next level you can apply for small, low interest loans through this scheme. Cockpit Arts & Ingenious Growth Loan Fund is aimed at ambitious, mid-career makers and provides intensive business planning support and on-going coaching alongside affordable finance.

Creative Employment Programme

Creative Employment ProgrammeStudio holders wishing to take on their first employees can join the Creative Employment Programme, supported using public funding by Arts Council England. The programme provides employers with a programme of support, which has been created in partnership with the Learning and Development Corporate Banking Division at RBS, as well as small grants to support the cost of employing an apprentice or intern for up to one year. We also provide practical support from writing job descriptions to setting up payroll systems.

If you are interested in participating in our Creative Employment Programme through a paid apprentice or internship please keep an eye on our jobs and opportunities page for any upcoming vacancies.

Supported by The City of London’s charity, City Bridge Trust

Making it Programme

Alongside all of this studio holders can tap into our Making It programme which includes an online resource, business development toolkit, e-newsletter, workshops and seminars.

More About Making It >

Visit Making It online >

New Creative Markets

6-SpecialAt Cockpit Arts we also offer a specialist professional development programme, New Creative Markets, which is specifically designed to help designer-makers increase the sales of their work and achieve greater sustainability.
The New Creative Markets project is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.

Develop Your Practice: An Introduction to New Creative Markets from SPACE on Vimeo.

More About ERDF >

ERDF Logo Landscape Colour

Cockpit Associates

Cockpit Industry AssociatesIn addition to our team of in-house team of experts, we refer studio holders to our network of industry associates for specialist support in areas such as accounting, intellectual property, manufacturing and branding.  Associate membership is by invitation and we’ll be announcing the members very soon.

More about Cockpit Associates >

Taking Stock

Annual Business Review

Each year you complete a business review to reflect on your progress and review your next steps. We collate and analyse the business review data (which is held in the strictest confidence) so we can evaluate and measure the impact of the support we are offering, identify future needs and research trends.

More about Impact and Research >

Case Studies

To find out how more about how we support designer-makers we have case studies about a selection of businesses based at Cockpit Arts and a series of Design Short films.


Apply for a studio >