Frequently Asked Questions
You got questions? Well we have answers. See if you can’t find what you’re after below.
BENEFITS AND LEARNING
Who should attend School for Creative Startups?
Is there an age limit?
What will I learn?
What are the benefits of the course?
Where are classes located?
What if I live outside London?
What kind of success have students who’ve gone through the course had?
Why is Doug involved?
What is the Startup Showcase?
What’s included in the member site?
What happens when the course finishes?
How much of my time will the programme take?
Can I have a full time job and do this?
Can I still apply if I am currently a student?
Do I have to get my business off the ground when I’m on the course?
When are the live teaching sessions?
How much homework is there?
Is there a text book to support the course?
How much does it cost to participate in the programme?
How do I apply for a scholarship?
Can multiple people in a startup join together?
Will Doug Richard or the School for Creative Startups take a percentage of my business?
Can I pay for the course in instalments?
Is this course for small life style businesses or million pound startups?
How do I give a scholarship to a School for Creative Startups student?
When is the application deadline?
What is the application process?
What’s the selection criteria?
What experience do I need to apply?
Do I need to have a fully realised business to apply?
If I don’t get in this year can I apply again?
Do you have a set number of spots on the course?
How do I know if I qualify?
Can you have a few different ideas when you apply?
Do you get feedback on your application if you don’t get in?
Top tips for filling in your applications
BENEFITS AND LEARNING
WHO SHOULD ATTEND SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE STARTUPS?
Any creative person, or team of people, who have an idea for a creative business, or already have a creative startup, and want to improve their business skills and grow their starup into a long-term success.
We consider the creative industry to be a broad sector, which includes the following subsectors:
- Broadcast Media
- Culinary Arts
- Fine Art
- Performing Arts
IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT?
Nope. We have people of all ages on this programme. As long as you are committed to your business and our course, we don’t care about age, race, location or previous business experience.
WHAT WILL I LEARN?
The course covers everything an aspiring creative entrepreneur needs to know with information explained in a clear, jargon-free manner. Those that participate in this course will learn how to produce, market and sell their products and services profitably.
Each workshop is enlivened by real life examples that will help to address each subject matter in depth; many from Doug Richard’s own experiences and others from well known brands. At the end of the course, participants are armed with knowledge of how to build a business plan and what steps to take next.
Key learnings include:
- Action planning
- Bootstrap budgeting
- Building a brand
- Find customers online and offline
- Getting and using money
- Handling competition
- Identifying channels to market
- Pricing and selling your products or services
- Starting and running a successful creative business
- Selecting the right strategic partners
- Utilising the internet effectively
- Becoming investment ready
- Understanding your value proposition
- Financial forecasting
- Mastering communication, marketing and public relations
- Leveraging the web
- Pitching and negotiation
Click here for more details of what’s covered in each session.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE COURSE?
This course offers a wide range of benefits including:
- In-depth, hands-on, jargon-free, practical instruction that is tailor-made to teach creatives and uses interactive learning techniques and engaging visual aids.
- 12 days of live teaching delivered by top industry experts
- Membership to our exclusive online community; home to our extensive library, podcasts, discussion board and event listings
- One-to-one support from skilled and caring staff
- Sector specific advice from the Titans of Industry network advisory network, comprised of top UK creatives
- Digital teaching tools covering a wide range of subjects and supporting the live teaching
- Involvement in the annual Startup Showcase event
- Access to buyers, press, investors, and VIPS
- Funding advise and support
- Continued support long after the end of the course
WHERE ARE CLASSES LOCATED?
In central London
WHAT IF I LIVE OUTSIDE OF LONDON?
That’s up to you. As long as you can commit to getting to every live teaching session on time, every time, we don’t care where you live. You will of course face additional travel costs and commute time.
WHAT KIND OF SUCCESS HAVE STUDENTS WHO’VE GONE THROUGH THE COURSE HAD?
We have had lots of success stories from our graduates. Success looks different depending on the goals each business sets for themselves, however as an example, we’ve had students who are now stocked in major department stores or retail chains, and others who’ve managed to gain large sums of investment. We’ve had students open up bricks and mortar spaces and hire staff, and others who’ve partnered with blue chip brands.
You don’t have to take our word for it though, hear it from the horse’s mouth.
WHY IS DOUG INVOLVED?
The glory of knowing that he’s helped a lot of wonderful people do wonderful things, the challenge of actively helping turn the economy around, the entertainment of meeting lots of interesting, bright and innovative entrepreneurs, and lastly the joy of teaching and paying it forward (which he is actually quite good at!).
The end of the school year culminates with The Startup Showcase – a multi-day creative festival celebrating the work of our entrepreneurs in a truly unique pop-up marketplace that runs alongside a series of professional development seminars and creative skills workshops. Throughout the event, students have the opportunity to showcase their goods and services to press, VIPs, investors, buyers and the general public, putting everything they’ve learned across the year into practice.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE MEMBERS SITE?
The member site is home to heaps of helpful materials including:
- our vast library full of a never ending supply of helpful articles
- our brand new e-learning courses
- the startup discussion board
- the events calendar
- alumni and peer networks
- and the Titans of Industry directory.
It’s also where our S4CS advisors/gurus live. Our full time Business Gurus spend time trawling the community site answering questions, writing articles and providing general assistance to our entrepreneurs.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE COURSE FINISHES?
By the end of the year students should be well on their way to startup success with a tested business model, a clear action plan and a well-rounded arsenal of skills to keep the wheels in motion, but the learning doesn’t end there. Graduates are encouraged to continue to be part of our supportive community through our members’ site. Here, former students will continue to have access to our extensive library, discussion boards and have exclusive first access to offers and events. They will also receive monthly e-bulletins letting them know about upcoming events and opportunities including our regular investor events.
Regardless of when they leave the programme, our alumni always have an opportunity to be considered to pitch to The School for Creative Startups Angel Society (link to http://schoolforcreativestartups.com/angel-society-application/) for investment.
WHO TEACHES THE COURSE?
The School for Creative Startups teaching staff is anchored by Doug Richard who runs startups through their paces during the rigorous bootcamps. Creative Director, Medeia Cohan-Petrolino and the S4CS team who keep a constant eye on participants’ progress and support them throughout the year. In addition to this core team of top-notch educators, industry experts are recruited as advisors to share their experience and know how. Have a look at the teachers’ page for more detail.
WHO IS DOUG RICHARD?
Doug Richard is a successful entrepreneur with three decades of business experience building, selling and investing in businesses of all shapes and sizes. He believes that entrepreneurs are made and not born and thrives on helping people make the leap and set up their own business.
Doug founded the original School for Startups in 2008 through which 12,000 people have learned the vital business skills they need to succeed as a small business. In 2010 he established School for Creative Startups, a tailor–made programme for creative people, low on jargon, packed with practical information and one-to-one support. Doug’s endeavors to make business education accessible, taking a wry, candid, practical, upbeat approach to a subject.
Doug is forever fine-tuning his methods and exploring new ways of engaging students to make the greatest impact. He and plays an integral role in delivering curricula during bootcamp and throughout the year. Additionally he hosts regular live one-to-one surgeries and advises students.
IS SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE STARTUPS A CHARITY?
Nope. We’re a social enterprise, which is an organisation structured similarly to a for-profit limited corporation, and profits derived are re-invested in social outcomes. In our case, we put the profits we make from other School for Startups programmes into running School for Creative Startups. We believe it’s our social duty to support creative entrepreneurs and encourage new business in the UK.
HOW MUCH OF MY TIME WILL THE PROGRAMME TAKE?
School for Creative Startups is a yearlong part time programme for working people. We understand that our entrepreneurs are super busy working on their business or temporarily on someone else’s.
Everything is scheduled with long lead times to allow you time to schedule appropriately, in fact most things are already scheduled. The year is bookended by two three-day bootcamps with six one-day workshops totalling 12 full days of teaching. The Startup Showcase requires additional time for set up and breakdown, as well as four full days of participation.
Throughout the course we encourage regular meetings with advisors as and when you feel you need them. Additionally there are some assignments, but they are directly related to running your business and should complement your work, rather than add to it.
Anything else that gets programmed is not compulsory but always recommended. We expect full commitment from our students to give them the best chance for success. It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it.
CAN I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB AND DO THIS?
Participating in the School for Creative Startups programme should not prevent you from having a full time job. We recognise that most of our entrepreneurs are balancing full-time jobs as well as building their dream business and juggling it all can be a lot. It will not be easy to find time to do it all but if you want it badly enough, there is always a way.
The dates for all our sessions are listed on the Dates & Details page of this site allowing you plenty of time to adjust your work schedule (i.e. plan your holiday).
CAN I STILL APPLY IF I AM CURRENTLY A STUDENT?
We’d prefer your undivided attention so we’d rather you waited until you’ve completed your current studies.
DO I HAVE TO GET MY BUSINESS OFF THE GROUND WHILE ON THIS COURSE?
This is a training programme that supports those actively starting up. That means different things to different students and everyone joins the course at a different stage of their business. We expect everyone on the course to be working toward a goal of becoming a fully active, trading business. Whether that’s achieved while on the course or not is less of a concern as long as that’s the goal and it’s achieved eventually!
WHEN ARE THE LIVE TEACHING SESSIONS?
The programme runs like an academic school year, from September through May with at least one structured activity every month. Our teaching days tend to run from 9am – 6pm during weekdays followed by networking and decompressing at a nearby pub. Visit the Dates & Details page for specific session information.
HOW MUCH HOMEWORK IS THERE?
That is really up to you. Starting a business is hard work and there’s a lot to do. You will be asked to prepare for classes and there will be a few assignments including drawing your business model and answering Doug’s 10 questions about your business. But beyond those tasks the ‘homework’ is starting your business, which can take every waking moment if you let it.
IS THERE A TEXT BOOK TO SUPPORT THE COURSE?
Funny you should ask. Doug has just finished his first book which is basically the text book supporting this course. It’s definitely worth reading whether or not you’re on the course, but it will aid you greatly as you work your way through the programme.
WILL THERE BE OPPORTUNITIES TO NETWORK WITH OTHER ENTREPRENEURS?
There are lots of chances to network with all kinds of people across the year and beyond. It’s our goal to foster a supportive, sharing community amongst the startups as well as with our previous graduates. We encourage group work, skill swapping, sharing networks and resources. Additionally we open our entire network to our students connecting them with top people in a wide variety of sectors for advice through our Titans of Industry programme. There is no shortage of opportunity to network.
ARE THERE OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET INVESTORS?
Yes! We regularly invite investors to host our surgeries and attend our events such as The Startup Showcase. Additionally we hold quarterly events for our Angel Society members who are always looking for investment ready startups who are able to pitch. Even startups that have left the course may have the opportunity to pitch for investment if they are ready.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAMME?
We understand that not everyone can afford the full tuition, so we offer two different fees. Full tuition costs £3500, but we also offer a scholarship at a reduced rate of £1000 for those who make a strong case for support in their application.
Our scholarships do not reflect the cost of delivery. We are a social enterprise and together with sponsors, our Angel Society members and donors, we underwrite the cost of the programme delivery ourselves. This is not a profit-generating programme, we see this as our social responsibility.
Sponsored or not, students are chosen through a competitive application process. Please do not apply for a scholarship place if you are not in need.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP?
On your application there will be an option within the ‘General Information’ section to select to be considered for a scholarship. You will need to make a strong case for why you need and deserve the subsidised tuition fee. Remember, we pay for this reduction out of our own pocket, so be convincing in your argument for why you deserve our consideration.
Each case will be judged based on the quality of the application and the context for support.
CAN MULTIPLE PEOPLE IN A STARTUP JOIN TOGETHER?
Yes! If your startup has multiple partners and you wish to attend as a partnership then the second and third partners may attend for 50% of the initial fee per person. This applies to both full and scholarship fees. This is limited to a maximum total of 3 partners in a business.
If you apply as a partnership, every partner in the business is expected to attend classes and participate fully.
WILL DOUG OR THE SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE STARTUPS TAKE A PERCENTAGE OF MY BUSINESS?
Nope. This is not Dragon’s Den. Doug is simply here to teach and support.
CAN I PAY FOR THE COURSE IN INSTALMENTS?
Yes! Once accepted, each participant needs to pay a 25% deposit to confirm their place on the programme and can pay the rest of the tuition across the year in monthly instalments.
IS THIS COURSE FOR SMALL LIFE STYLE BUSINESSES OR MILLON POUND STARTUPS?
Both and everyone in between. We help you set goals and reach them but they will be different for each startup depending on your goals and business model.
HOW DO I GIVE A SCHOLARSHIP PLACE ON SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE STARTUPS?
We are looking for individuals or organisations that believe in the School for Creative Startups’ mission to help creative businesses succeed. A scholarship of £3500 will give one business the opportunity to attend the entire year-long programme, ensuring that they develop the tools, techniques and contacts to realise their ambition.
Delegates must apply for a scholarship through our rigorous application process overseen by our selection committee and only the most promising and in need startups will be offered this opportunity.
WHEN IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE?
Applications for the programme starting September 2013 end on 1 July 2013. They will reopen in October for the next year.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
It’s pretty similar to applying to University really. Simply fill in an application form online telling us all about you and your business or idea. Once your application has been reviewed you may be invited for an interview with our selection panel. Following interviews, applicants will be notified as to the status of their application.
WHAT’S THE SELECTION CRITERIA?
To be considered for a place on the School for Creative Startups programme, applicants need to have a creative skill and the desire and dedication to turn that skill into a business. Applications will be judged based on the following criteria:
- The quality, uniqueness and innovation of the creative product or service
- The potential for startup success
- The need for the education and support provided on the course
- The commitment and dedication both to your startup and to the course
- The combined quality of the application and interview
WHAT EXPERIENCE DO I NEED TO APPLY?
No prior business experience is required but to be considered for a place on the School for Creative Startups programme, applicants need to have a strong business idea, a creative set of skills and a dedicated desire to turn that skill into a business.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A FULLY REALISED BUSINESS TO APPLY?
Nope, but you do need to have a solid business idea that you’ve researched and worked on and have a commitment to seeing through. All we ask is that you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and have the creative skill to realise your goods or services to a high spec – we’ll teach you the rest. Ideal candidates have had some experience trying to sell your creative work professionally and have done market research. This ensures the class will be filled with people ready to get a solid business up and running.
IF I DON’T GET IN THIS YEAR CAN I APPLY AGAIN?
Absolutely. In fact we encourage it. There can be a huge variety of reasons why your application wasn’t accepted in a given year. Don’t let it stop you from applying again as things change year to year.
DO YOU HAVE A SET NUMBER OF SPOTS ON THE COURSE?
We have a maximum number of 100 spaces on the course (that’s businesses mind you, not people, as you can join as a business with multiple partners).
HOW DO I KNOW IF I QUALIFY?
We’ll be the judge of that. Don’t rule yourself out. That’s our job! If you’re interested in the course simply apply and find out.
CAN YOU HAVE A FEW DIFFERENT IDEAS WHEN YOU APPLY?
We prefer that you have one idea that you are seriously dedicated to. Starting more than one business at once is not encouraged.
DO YOU GET FEEDBACK ON YOUR APPLICATION IF YOU DON’T GET IN?
If you ask for it, we’d be happy to provide feedback, but note that it may take some time before we get back to you as we have a lot of applications to sift through.
TOP TIPS FOR FILLING IN YOUR APPLICATIONS:
Images say more than words. If you have images or a logo for your work, please include them, as they will help make your application memorable (but don’t worry if you don’t have any).
We know nothing about your business so it’s best to be as clear and all-inclusive as possible because your answers are all we have to go on. It’s a good idea to try out your answers on someone who knows nothing about your business.
It’s a long application because we are trying to learn as much about you as possible. Take this opportunity to paint a picture of yourself, your business and your achievements. Personality is encouraged.