Skip to main content Go to Site Map
People putting post its on a window

Innovation Studio

Pre Start-Up Programme

Industry-engagement and our strong maker culture puts collaboration at the heart of everything we do.

Pre Start-Up Programme

The AUB Innovation Studio Pre Start-Up Programme is to help you develop your ideas into a business or a creative career.

To apply for a place on our Pre Start-Up Programme, simply click on the 'Apply now' button to complete our application form.

Alternatively, you can register your interest and we'll get in touch with you via email to provide more information, discuss your options and answer any questions.

About the Pre Start-Up Programme

Designed to support early stage ideas, the Pre Start-Up Programme will help you design your product or service, trial and prove ideas and concepts with potential users, build and test prototypes, create a robust business plan and build a network setting you up for success.

The Pre Start-Up Programme is for both pre-start and trading businesses looking to kickstart their creative ambitions.

Listen to our Innovation and Business Development Manager, Rob Fanner, sum up the programme (formerly known as the Residency Programme) below.

This content can't be displayed, please accept marketing cookies to view

Accept to view

Tours of the Innovation Studio

If you're unsure how the Innovation Studio's resources could benefit you, we strongly encourage you to book an official tour of the space, so you can see it for yourself.

Held on alternate Wednesdays, 14.00-15.00, you'll have the chance to check out the space, resources and creative technology available. You'll also be able to meet the team and ask any questions you may have about the programme or the studio.

Pre Start-Up Programme

  • Access to a workspace in our Innovation Studio on our award-winning campus
  • Access to our Creative Technologies including 3D printing and machining, cutting and engraving, fabric and hard surfaces printing, body scanning and virtual reality (VR) technology
  • Access to our Materials Library and testing machines
  • Access to the expertise of our talented technicians and academic practitioners
  • Access to business mentors to provide early career and start-up support
  • Developing your understanding of innovation processes design thinking and sustainable practices
  • Developing your understanding of running a business and managing your career
  • Building a network of like-minded peers for support

12 months of studio support and networking opportunities:

  • Eight weekly sessions running October–November
  • Eight monthly sessions running December–July
  • Two additional months of office/workspace throughout August–September
  • Three bespoke coaching/mentoring sessions

Following your welcome session on Tuesday 3 October 2023, there will be eight workshop sessions running on either a Monday or Tuesday. Your first workshop is expected to be Tuesday 10 October 2023.

Each workshop will last approximately three hours and will be led by our business mentor, Laura Mulhern, and our Innovation Studio experts.

The workshops focus on key areas of creative business development, business planning and marketing tools to provide all participants with a good understanding of business planning and how to bring a new product/service to market.

1. Starting out

An overview of what you need to kick-start a creative business or freelance career including:

  • Personal office or studio set-up
  • Business admin, insurance, tax etc.
  • Knowing your business plan trajectory and SWOT analysis

2. Market research

  • Understand your place in the market
  • Understand your competitors
  • Understand your client

3. Brand Identity

  • Understand your Vision, Mission and Your Story
  • Understand your Values
  • Support and advice on Visual and Verbal Identity

4. Building your tribe

  • Knowing your client and customer base
  • How to nurture your community – both paying clients and your collaborators
  • How to network – online and in real life

5. Getting out there

  • Brand identity
  • Target audience
  • Marketing and PR strategies

6. Money matters

  • Survival budgets and business budgeting
  • How to figure out your fee or costs
  • How to future plan, i.e., savings, pensions and investments

7. The T&Cs

  • Introductions to contracts, agreements, Intellectual Property and copyright
  • How to negotiate and payment terms
  • How to grow and be sustainable

8. Launch and grow

Each participant will look to ‘launch’ their new business or new aspect to their business once the programme ends.

This session offers advice and support to ‘launch’ effectively.

Participants will track progress of personal and business development throughout the programme run.

It's expected that your monthly sessions will take place on the first Tuesday of each month, starting 4 December 2023.

In each session you'll tackle a different theme, expertly led by AUB academics and experts:

  • December: Design thinking
  • January: Intellectual Property
  • February: Financing, funding and futures – how to find financial and other support available and how to apply
  • March: Writing bids, grants and applications
  • April: Surviving and thriving in a portfolio career – resilience and mental heath support
  • May: Marketing
  • June: Sustainability
  • July: Exploring your next steps

Each participant on the Pre Start-Up Programme has the opportunity to book three coaching sessions with our expert business mentor, Laura Mulhern, to work through any bespoke requirements in regard to the creative enterprise development.

Your sessions will take place at even intervals throughout the 12-month programme. You'll cover the following:

  • October/November: business model canvas or similar
  • February/March: 'builders and blockers'
  • June/July: action planning and business plan review

You're welcome to access the studio 09.00-21.00 Monday–Friday, except for bank holidays and AUB closure days (Christmas and Easter) for the duration of the programme.

  • £1,225+VAT for the whole programme
  • This works out at around £4.15 a day (Monday-Saturday, excluding university closure days) to use the space and benefit from the resources and programme sessions. That's the same as a large cup of coffee a day! And did we mention that we provide that too, with tea and coffee making facilities available in the studio for your use.

    After the programme finishes you'll still be able to work with the Innovation Studio as part of the Alumni network. You can also join our excellent dedicated Alumni platform, AUB&.

Meet your business mentor

During the programme with us, you'll have access to our brilliant business mentor, Laura Mulhern, who'll provide you with invaluable early career and start-up support. Learn more about Laura's experience and her role as mentor by clicking her profile below.

Laura Mulhern

Laura Mulhern

Laura Mulhern is an Innovation Studio partner and business mentor who provides early career and startup support for our Residents.

“The Talus Project’s continued development wouldn’t have happened without the support of the AUB Pre Start-Up Programme – through business mentoring and the provided access to the necessary resources to continue its prototyping. Throughout my time on the Pre Start-Up Programme my confidence both socially and with my skillset has improved dramatically and the collaboration has been invaluable to the projects ongoing success.”

Ryan Elder, Innovation Studio Participant, SeaTalus

"The Innovation Studio has helped me massively with finding a focus for my practise and guiding me to where I could take it since graduating. It has also given me great access to the facilities here at AUB, which allow me to continue creating ambitious sculptural pieces.”

Ruby Travis, Innovation Studio Participant, Ruby Zena Textiles

“Being a resident business at the Innovation Studio has allowed us to work closely with the technicians and utilise their knowledge of lower volume and prototyping methods. The vast amount of software, equipment, and resources that the AUB has is really impressive… There’s no doubt that this has all contributed to our growth over the last year.”

Element Creative Ltd., Innovation Studio Resident business

Meet some of our past and present Pre Start-Ups

Ali Jafary

Ali Jafary and Designed Healthcare

Ali joined our Residency Programme to develop his company, Design Healthcare that specialises in healthcare environments and equipment.

Element Creative Ltd.

Andy, Paul and Element Creative Ltd.

Andy and Paul joined our Residency Programme to expand the prototypes and components offered by their design company, Element Creative Ltd.

Ekaterina Savosina

Ekaterina Savosina and Design in VR

Ekaterina joined our Residency Programme to develop her company, Design in VR, a provider of educational tutorials in VR design.

Ryan Elder

Ryan Elder and SeaTalus

Ryan joined our Residency Programme to progress his business, SeaTalus, and develop an affordable prosthetic for juniors and young adults.

Explore the Innovation Studio

Innovation Studio, photographed by Richard Bryant. Photo of an exterior wall with two reverse-L shaped windows and three semi-circle panels visible. A person walks past towards the right.


The Innovation Studio operates as a lab for creative technologies, a nucleus for start-ups and enterprises and an industry engagement hub.

Two people stand and look at a collection of lit-up transparent boxes stacked on top of one another.


A series of workshops and lectures for industry professionals to develop innovation and creative capabilities.

Abstract image


Take a look at some of our recent collaborative projects with external partners and businesses

Sunseeker employee working on schematics of a boat

Associate Programme

Our Associate Programme offers membership of our Innovation Studio to regional businesses seeking research and development support.

Innovation Studio, photographed by Richard Bryant. Photo of an interior space, with several people sat working at tables. A rectangle-shaped railing is in the middle of the room.

Creative Technologies

The Innovation Studio features state-of-the-art equipment and digital resources, and the latest manufacturing technology.