SEED: Creative Enterprise Awards are funding and support packages to help grow new business ideas and nurture enterprising initiatives developed by UAL students and graduates.

They are looking for an original creative business idea which makes an important social impact. On offer is a grant of up to £5,000 plus a share of prizes including: showcasing opportunities, leading industry mentorship and specialist business training.

The prize is open to UAL students and recent graduates (within 2 years of graduation). The application deadline for 2018’s prize is 13 June 2018.

We caught up with two past winners of the fund Cathryn and Arturo, we asked them to explain more about their experiences and how they have both used the support to develop their successful businesses:

Cathryn Anneka Hall is a 2016 Chelsea College of Arts Graduate. Her business Anneka Textiles was born whilst studying MA Textile Design . A focus on sustainability has always run though her work and even more so now with Anneka Textiles.  Cathryn first found out about the UAL SEED opportunity by reading about it in her Postgraduate newsletter.

Anneka Textiles Collection

Cathryn please tell us more about your experience, why did you apply for the UAL SEED Awards?

Originally I applied during my course, this attempt was unsuccessful.  This taught me a lot about the application process, and made me think even more about my business idea and how to take it forward.  The form is designed to make you think about all aspects of your business plan, customers, sales and marketing. So it was really helpful just getting all this information down on paper, even without getting to the final stages and winning the funding. I then reapplied a year later this time successfully! I had always wanted to run my own business, and the SEED fund gave me the first push to make that a reality.

Did you already have your Anneka Textiles business idea?

I actually had another idea for a business but that changed during my MA at Chelsea, I was convinced I was going to make British Wool baby blankets.

This all changed and now as Anneka Textiles I recycle clothing into yarn which I design into luxury interior products.  When I first applied for the SEED fund the new idea had started to take shape, it is developing all the time. I feel that you shouldn’t be scared to adapt your ideas, that is how business works!

Anneka Textiles – Grey Basket

Anneka Textiles has a strong focus on the environment and a main aim appears to be raising the awareness of the environmental/ social issues –

Can you explain the importance of this?

Anneka Textiles raises awareness of a number of Environmental issues, such as recycling, production waste and the general impact of the fashion industry onto the environment. I really feel all of these are SO important. These issues are what the business was grown from, and all decisions are made based on these issues. It is at the core of Anneka Textiles ethos!

What processes and actions do you take to enable an environmentally friendly product is produced for example: the use of Up-cycling and recycling? 

All products are made from recycled jumpers, the recycle method uses no harsh dyes or chemicals. These are then designed into luxury interior products. We encourage our customers to pass unwanted items to friends and family, and at the end of life to recycle them back into the system.

Anneka Textiles – Grey Basket, close up

How has the award benefited you, opened opportunities?

The award has given me the opportunity to create more of my recycled materials. With start-up and small businesses you will have heard before and definitely again, but minimums can be an issue. The money I was awarded really helped me to overcome the minimums to produce more materials so I can design and make more product.

I am learning all the time, and if I could go back and give myself advice, I would say ‘keep it simple’, I have given myself so much grief by over complicating the product I am making.

A brand I take a lot of inspiration from is Huit denim who say ‘do one thing, do it well’ I should follow their advice.

What are you future plans?

I have lots of future plans, currently I am in the process of adapting my business model. I am aiming to collaborate with brands to use Aneeka Textiles products. This is a very exciting step for my business to continue to grow !

Thanks to Cathryn for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish you the best of luck in the future. For a closer look at Anneka Textiles view the website:  www.annekatextiles.co.uk

Twitter: @anneka.textile

Instagram: @annekatextiles

Arturo Soto, Memories of Green Collection

Arturo Soto graduated from our MA Designer Maker course in 2017. Arturo is from Mexico, Poza Rica, Veracruz. In his final year of his Masters he was told about the UAL SEED opportunity by his classmate. He realised this chance of investment could be key in developing his final project. His business is called Memories of Green and similarly to Anneka Textiles the focus is environmental and social issues.

Arturo please tell us some more about Memories of Green? 

The idea of Memories of Green appeared organically as I was getting more and more understanding of what I was designing, what skills I was learning and what I wanted to do for the world.

The project started by creating beautiful products out of waste, the idea was centered in aiming on taking immediate and instinctive action to combat product pollution.  I started by addressing an immediate problem with an immediate solution – it was clear to me that the most valuable material that becomes waste in the largest quantities at Camberwell College of Arts is  plywood. Students at Camberwell regularly use plywood to build thier exhibitions with I began to pick up what they had disgarded and make my final project. This was the start of the ethos behind Memories of Green which has since developed…

Memories of Green is a beautiful design concept born from the idea of a horrifying possible future where humanity have managed to survive without the good graces of the earth. Where flora and fauna might only be a remembrance of a distant past; completely disconnected, detached from our living planet.

Using thrown away wood I managed to create functional objects to counteract the impact that waste materials produce in the design industry. The most important intention of all this is to inform and educate the new generations that we need to aim for a more sustainable future. The ideology of creating things with waste or recycling is regarded as second hand, personally i feel that this is a great misconception. With Memories of Green and my designs I intend to show people otherwise!

I feel it is important to highlight how the production of products with a fast and cheap mindset means that they are probably  produced using non renewable sources.  I know it is common that people would choose to source their materials from the cheapest places, 99.99% of the time these places have over-exploitation of resources: the environment, unfair wages and contribute to the destruction of the environment.

Memories of Green will be an example and a reminder that there is no excuse not to design with recyclable, reusable, sustainable means that benefit our society and environment. I thank UAL SEED for giving me this opportunity!

Arturo Soto, Memories of Green Collection

How has the award benefited you, opened opportunities?

UAL SEED opened my eyes to business and funding opportunities, it awoke in me the need to convey ideas in a practical manner so businesses, designers and galleries appreciate my design taste.

How has Camberwell College of Arts informed or influenced your practice?

Camberwell has opened my eyes artistically and aesthetically in many ways, but more importantly in trusting my own instincts and doing what I enjoy the most. Coming to London, to Camberwell has to be the best decision of my life.

I especially want to thank my course leader Maiko Tsutsumi, my tutor and friend Oscar Wanless, and the technician from the Wood workshop, Neal Moonstone, a great person and my friend for the whole 2 years.

Again a big thank you to Arturo for featuring in this post.

For a closer look at Memories of Green:www.memoriesofgreen.net

Both Arturo and Cathryn have had an extremely positive experience after winning UAL SEED with their businesses going from strength to strength. Don’t miss your chance to apply for this years UAL SEED Fund! The deadline is 13 June 2018, you can apply online via the Creative Enterprise Awards page.