Business Impact Report 22-23

An overview of the recent impact delivered, through the University's incubation facilities and associated activities.

Over the year we have supported 146 businesses, of which 41 started within the year. 20 of those businesses were started by University of Derby students and graduates.

Membership of the Derby Enterprise Network

By August 2023 there were 111 members in Derby Enterprise Network (DEN) in total.

40 Innovation Hot House Members
30 Banks Mill Tenants
27 Affiliate Members
14 Incubation Members

Sharing success

We would like to share some great success stories from across the network.

The launch of the second student residency opportunity at Banks Mill

Four winners, Mthabisi Mlauzi, Dawn Wesselby, Zoe Taylor and Andrew Martyn Sugars, were provided with access to a shared studio space with free rent for a year, during which they were able to develop their creative practice and explore self-employment as a career option whilst still studying at the University of Derby.

As part of the residency, the group were able to share their journey and experiences with current students, inspiring the next generation of creative entrepreneurs.

Find out more about the second student residency winners

Four students standing against a white wall. Four winners, Mthabisi Mlauzi, Zoe Taylor, Dawn Wesselby and Andrew Martyn Sugars (pictured left to right).
Four winners, Mthabisi Mlauzi, Zoe Taylor, Dawn Wesselby and Andrew Martyn Sugars (pictured left to right).

From college student to specialist sports garment manufacturer

In January 2021, Flomotion moved into Banks Mill Studios and over the last two years, the company has achieved phenomenal success. Within the first year, Bea received an order for both European and Global Olympic and Paralympics kits and had the opportunity to produce suits for several athletes- 12 of these ended up on the podium.

Bea first visited Banks Mill Studios as a Derby College student and was instantly impressed by the iconic creative space. As the studios are managed by the University of Derby, Bea reflected that the decision to make Banks Mill the original home for Flomotion was a ‘no-brainer’. Every step of the way, the University of Derby has been able to offer help and support on her business journey.

Find out more about Flomotion

Young woman smiling at camera, wearing a sage green jumper and red, brick wall backdrop

I love the ‘culture’ here. Everything is tailored to helping businesses develop and expand to achieve their best. I am lucky to have forged some great associations and indeed new friendships whilst under the supportive umbrella of the University of Derby.

Beatrice Russell
Owner of Flomotion Limited

Growing with University support

Diane Daley, the artist behind China Petals, launched her creative business just weeks before Covid-19, using unwanted china and glass to create artwork and personal keepsakes. Little did she know, she would be launching a shop on Etsy, something she hadn't thought about too much in the early stages of her business.

Despite the Banks Mill Studios being closed due to the pandemic, the business was still able to access support and join virtual meetings and peer support groups during these difficult times. 

Over the last couple of months Diane has added a wholesale section to the China Petals website ready for potential stocklists. 

Find out about China Petals success

A woman working with china on a table whilst wearing an apron

Although Banks Mill was closed I was still able to access the support they provide as well as joining virtual meetings and peer support groups which has kept me going during these difficult times.

Diane Daley
China Petals

Natalia Rafi Jewellery celebrate first birthday at Banks Mill

The company has grown massively over the last 12 months since moving into Banks Mill, transitioning from a modest budget studio to a more spacious and comfortable venue that allows clients to witness the creation of their unique pieces of jewellery.

An image of a woman creating jewellery using a magnifying tool

We love the support network available at Banks Mill. We have orders for bespoke engagement rings coming in thick and fast at the moment. We are also working on expanding our stock lines.

Natalia Rafi
Natalia Rafi Jewellery

Relocation to support business growth

Anchor & Crew is a multi award-winning jewellery brand which has been based at Banks Mill for five years. Having built a strong online and in-store presence during that time - with stockists including Harvey Nichols, Joules and Zalando - they have now moved to a multi-story premises on Sadler Gate in Derby's Cathedral Quarter. 

Banks Mill has been paramount for us to grow as a business with our unit there being a much better upgrade than our previous premises in terms of general space, community, convenience of postal access and location within Derby - in close proximity to the city centre yet without the high business rates.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chris Warner, Brand Development Director

Sarah Skinner's business ARt ChaiRs, sells chairs and footstools that have been reupholstered with quirky and contemporary fabric designs. Sarah is moving the business to Hopkinson's House in the centre of Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

Since being at Banks Mill I have gained confidence and honed my skills. I'm going to miss Banks Mill but I'm really pleased to have found a beautiful space where I can continue to upholster old chairs, with room to exhibit my work and run workshops.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sarah Skinner, Artist and Business Owner

Rows of jewellery displayed for sale
A person working at a sewing machine