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Cockpit Arts – ‘Cockpit Effect’ Report

Makers’ engagement with Cockpit Arts’ Business Incubation equals greater success

Social Enterprise Mark holder Cockpit Arts has recently published its Cockpit Effect Report on the growth and development of craft businesses based at their two business incubation centres in London.

Having celebrated their 30th Anniversary year in 2016 and reflected on the evolution of the business, they are now fully focused on the future. The celebration of Craft and Makers, alongside addressing of the question, ‘Why does an organisation like Cockpit Arts exist and what is its purpose?’ will still continue, since this is the question they continually ask themselves in order to respond effectively to makers changing needs. However, at the same time they will also examine the effect of what they do.

Key findings

The annual Cockpit Effect Report is based on Partnership Reviews conducted with makers at Cockpit Arts during the 12 months to October 2016. These reviews captured data for the two preceding years, allowing a comparison to previous Cockpit Effect reports and to any external reports.

  • The Cockpit Effect Report 2017 highlights that the greatest possible impact – financial, social and cultural – is generated by makers who engage the most in Cockpit Arts’ Business Incubation services.
  • Financial performance: Looking at the group as a whole, the results are very positive. Average turnover rose by 14% from 2013/14 to 2014/15 and at £58,099 for 2014/15 is 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 in 2012. Average profit for 2014/15 was £14,004, 47% higher than 2010.
  • Cultural Achievements: The non-financial cultural based data collected for the whole group was also 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%).
  • Social Impact: The Partnership Reviews ask makers about major changes within their businesses: The two most cited changes are improved profile (45%) and improved web/social presence (51%).
  • Employment: As a group, makers’ contribution to employment continues to be significant. Just under 10% of makers directly employ on a PAYE basis (the same level reported in our previous Cockpit Effect) whilst 61 (54%) either employ freelancers or outsource part or all of their production. Commitment to entry level employment is high, with 27% taking on interns and 8% offering places to apprentices. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the support provided by Cockpit Arts’ Creative Employment Programme.
  • Engagement: Where engagement with the Business Incubation team is greater, the results are better, as evidenced by the makers featured as Maker Stories. Read more below.
  • Awards & Bursaries: Makers joining as part of an Award or Bursary programme need a rigorous framework to ensure the best possible outcomes within the duration of their short term award. Those who do engage fully with the business incubation offer show the best results.

The Cockpit Effect 2017 findings will be taken into account as Cockpit Arts evolve their incubation offer for the future and consider options for further expansion. In the meantime, they are committed to communicating makers’ successes more widely: they believe that individual successes they may be, but collectively they have the power to affect the Craft sector as a whole by influencing and inspiring others.

The full report can be viewed on the Cockpit Arts website.