How our Incubators Work
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We closely monitor our impact as a Social Enterprise and regularly report on the the wider impact of our services.
We closely monitor our impact as a Social Enterprise and regularly report on the development of our beneficiaries and the wider impact of our services. This year’s Cockpit Effect research report is intended to give an insight in to the craft businesses that we work with; the challenges they face, the way we work with them and the impact that we believe our Business Incubator model has on their performance. It is, in effect, a position statement of what we do, why we do it, what the benefits are and our plans for the future.
The Cockpit Effect Report 2018 considers some of the major issues faced by craft businesses today and illustrates how the different components of our Business Incubator model are designed to help these businesses address those challenges.
The report also highlights the value that our partners bring in supporting targeted interventions alongside the general incubator offer, not only for the benefit of individual businesses but potentially the wider sector over the longer term.
• Average turnover of our makers’ businesses rose by 8% on last year’s figures with a resultant average profit increase of 3%.
• This is significantly higher than the average craft business related income of £19,827 reported by the Craft Council [Craft in an Age of Change, 2012].
• Beneficiaries who featured as Maker Stories, because of demonstrating significant progression in their individual business journey, reported a higher average turnover and profit, plus showed stronger results in most of the Social and Cultural value indicators
• 64% of makers export with an average value worth 18% of turnover. This compares to a recent Crafts Council survey finding that 25% of start-ups and 46% of established makers export.
Our annual Cockpit Effect research reports are an invaluable tool, not only for monitoring and reviewing the impact of our support services on maker businesses, but also our organisational development and future strategies. We wish to build on our financial self-sufficiency and our accomplishments over the past several years by preparing for the next stage of our development and growth over the next 5 – 10 years.
This year’s report has focussed on strategic issues and opportunities that we have identified and which we will incorporate in our plans and programmes in the short to medium term. The Cockpit model is constantly evolving: The opportunity now exists to purchase a long leasehold on bespoke new premises in central London, which we believe will position Cockpit Arts as a bulwark against the increasing disappearance of affordable workspace in the capital. It will facilitate the further development of our craft business incubator model as well as present growth options for the organisation including the potential for regional hubs, financial investment and the opportunity to further develop its role within the craft sector.
We closely monitor our impact as a Social Enterprise and regularly report on the development of our beneficiaries and the wider impact of our services. A summary of our Impact to date and during the year is as follows:
This year’s Cockpit Effect impact report findings are very positive, with makers showing continued progress, both financially and non-financially. The report also confirms the positive correlation between a maker’s level of engagement with Cockpit Arts’ Business Incubation and the financial, cultural and social outcomes they report.
Average turnover of our makers’ businesses rose by 8% from previous year figures and at £45,058 was nearly double that reported in 2010. This is also significantly higher than the average craft business related income of £19,827 reported by the Craft Council [Craft in an Age of Change, 2012]. Beneficiaries who featured as Maker Stories, as a consequence of demonstrating significant progression in their individual business journey, reported a higher average turnover and profit, plus showed stronger results in most of the Social and Cultural value indicators reported below.
During the year Cockpit Arts was in the top 5% of organisations in the NatWest SE100 index for measuring and demonstrating social impact.
Based on the Cabinet Office’s Unit Cost Database the annual saving to the public purse as a result of Cockpit Arts’ Creative Employment Programmes [Creative Careers’ and Internship & Apprenticeships] is around £425k.
Our Creative Employment Programme has enabled 18 business owners to recruit 6 paid apprentices and 12 paid interns. The proportion of all makers [148 during the year] employing staff was 9.7%, which was higher than the previous year (8%) and significantly higher than 2009 – the first year of recording this statistic (2%).
Our pilot Apprenticeship programme launched in partnership with Westminster Kingsway College and funded by the Ashley Family Foundation has allowed three textile businesses to provide an apprenticeship opportunity to 16-24 year olds who are non-graduates.
Of the 22 young people participating in The Prince’s Trust Creative Careers programme after the pilot year, 100% have been able to successfully start up and sustain a craft business
The majority of beneficiaries surveyed for the annual Cockpit Effect report cited ‘improved profile’ and ‘improved web/social presence’ as the main changes that impacted on them and their businesses as a result of Cockpit Arts’ Business Incubation. This was followed by ‘improved business skill’ and ‘better time management’.
The non-financial cultural-based data collected for the Cockpit Effect report was encouraging with many makers reporting gaining major stockists (24%); being featured in a major publication (26%); securing grant or funding support (18%) and being selected for a major selling event (35%).
In 2016 Cockpit Arts was a winner of the Creative & Cultural Sector Skills Council’s Skills Craft Skill Award for passing on skills to the craft sector through our Creative Employment Programme.
We use a bespoke tracking and monitoring system to measure the impact of Cockpit Arts’ support on beneficiary maker growth and development. This comprises a customised Customer Relationship Management [CRM] system, which provides: Individual records on each maker including business support history, current business status and comparative reports which plot change over time in key performance indicators [KPIs].
These indicators include % change in turnover and % change in profit; number of first time employers and number of staff employed; museum collection purchases and art gallery representation, for example.
We have included impact questions designed as part of previous SROI evaluations, undertaken by an independent SROI Network accredited practitioner, in our annual monitoring and evaluation questionnaires and we report on social, cultural and economic impact and outcomes, as well as on makers’ views in a number of key areas such as personal priorities, skills improvement and motivational factors.
The Cockpit Effect
Annual reviews with our studio holders allow us to collect tangible data to confirm how their businesses are developing over time, and the role that our incubation model plays in supporting that growth.
In last year’s Cockpit Effect we introduced the initial findings from our Partnership Reviews, which broadened our focus to look at non-financial as well as financial data. Over the past year we have continued to develop the Partnership Review process and this report continues the process of looking at makers’ development in a more rounded way.
The report references on-going research undertaken by Cockpit Arts with a focus on data collected over a 12-month period to 31 October 2017. During this period, 130 studio holders participated in Partnership Reviews, generating financial data for the years 2015/6 and 2016/7. Of the 130 participants, 83 also took part in the previous year’s Partnership Reviews, giving us comparable non-financial data for these two years. The report also references the results of Exit Questionnaires for the year, giving another measure of impact from the makers’ perspective.
The report concludes by outlining expected future trends, the impact these will make on our beneficiaries and our plans to develop our incubator and accelerator offer to continue meeting their needs.
Social Impact Studies
As a social enterprise, Cockpit Arts is committed to tracking the wider impact of our employment creation services. In 2014 we commissioned a Social Impact Study for two of our key initiatives: Creative Careers and the Creative Employment Programme.
Our past Annual Business Review reports are available to download here. For a full copy of these reports or to find out more about our research work please email email@example.com. We plan to continue research over the long term and welcome comment, feedback or collaborations from other individuals and organisations in the field.