Professional workspaces and networks

Our Derby Enterprise Network offers a range of workspaces, networks and events for external business people as well as for our own entrepreneurial students and graduates.

Co-working spaces

For external business people

Whether you are a freelancer, contractor, small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, you are welcome to use our free co-working space called the Business Lounge. It's based at the Enterprise Centre on Bridge Street, just 10 minutes' walk from Derby city centre. This also opens the door to the University's business events and networking groups.

About the Business Lounge

For entrepreneurial students and graduates

If you are a University of Derby student or graduate with big plans for your own business, the Innovation Hothouse is the place for you — it offers a free co-working space as well as networking events to help you on your journey.

About Innovation Hothouse

You might also be interested in our award-winning Be The Boss programme, which offers support to students and graduates who want to become self-employed.

Your own space

If you are further ahead in your business journey, you might be ready for your own office or studio space. We run three hi-spec, affordable 'incubation units' for start-ups: two in Derby and one in Chesterfield.

They are open to external people as well as University of Derby students or graduates. These units offer you stepped rental charges (so you're not paying more than you can afford in those first few months) and a range of business support services. 

Our incubation units are:

They're all thriving, entrepreneurial environments where you can collaborate and connect with others to help your business grow.


Incubation Membership Application Form

Incubation Membership

Business Support

  • FREE basic Membership of the East Midlands Chamber (normally £360 per annum)
  • Sessions with a business advisor
  • Free Standard Membership with the East Midlands Chamber
  • Ad hoc drop-in surgeries from professional service providers, e.g. accountants, HR specialists, IP specialists
  • Notification via e-mail of relevant opportunities and wider support

Promotion of your business

  • Online listing on the Banks Mill website (creative businesses only)
  • Good news stories and case studies promoted on our website
  • Promotion via incubation social media channels
  • Promotion for your creative practice in our monthly e-newsletter (creative industries only)
  • Access to the BM community, news and support through the closed Facebook group (creatives only)

Business Services

  • Use of a postal address at one of our incubation centres; promoting a professional image to your clients
  • Use of a mailbox for post collection at the Enterprise Centre (collection during business hours)
  • Access into studio or office space with stepped rents
  • Discounted price on meeting rooms at the Enterprise Centre – 20% discount on the charge of externally advertised prices
  • Free use of the communal areas of the Enterprise Centre such as Costa Coffee area (Conservatory and Business Lounge dependent on availability) for informal meetings
  • Free use of Banks Mill foyer for solo exhibitions (Creatives only)
  • Opportunity to take part in creative events at Banks Mill including the annual Open Studios*

* Additional participation charge

1. General

1.1 Individuals will be required to undergo an application and vetting process for entry onto Incubation Membership. The Incubation Manager’s decision will be final in this regard.
1.2 All terms and conditions are subject to change, Incubation members will be given notice of any changes via email.
1.3 The University of Derby reserves the right to amend services offered through the Membership Scheme.
1.4 Services may change from time to time depending on the availability of resources.
1.5 Members must ensure that any business activity undertaken will not adversely affect, damage or compromise the reputation and profile of the University of Derby or the Incubation Business Community.
1.6 In the event that the terms and conditions as listed are breached by the member, the University of Derby reserves the right to terminate all services with immediate effect and the Member will not receive a refund.
1.7 New members will be given a 14-day cooling off period during which time Membership can be cancelled and a full refund will be given.
1.8 The membership fee will be reviewed annually, and members will be given one months’ notification of price increases.

2. Membership Payment

2.1 Members will be provided with a link to enable them to pay for their first months’ membership service via the University of Derby online shop.
2.2 Members are expected to pay monthly by standing order thereafter.

3. Membership Cancellation Process or Termination of Membership

3.1.1 Incubation Membership continues until cancelled at any time in writing with one full month’s notice.
3.2 Membership cancellations must be addressed to the Business Incubation Manager, Business Services, Enterprise Centre, Bridge Street, Derby, DE1 3LD or e-mailed to
3.3 Membership fees paid in advance are refunded on a pro-rata basis for any full months remaining, with a £10 admin fee levied.
3.4 If a Member cancels their membership then re-joins within three calendar months of leaving, payment will be backdated to the point at which they first left.

4. Upgrade to Higher Membership Level

4.1 Members wishing to upgrade can do so with the additional charges added appropriately.

5. Access to Incubation Community

5.1 It is the responsibility of the Member to supply the University of Derby Incubation team with an up to date email address as this will be the primary point of contact.
5.2 Opportunities and information will be filtered wherever possible.
5.3 E-mail details will be kept on a database and be used to inform Members of opportunities and information.
5.4 Members reserve the right for details to be removed from the database at any time during their membership; however, this will not affect the membership fees.
5.5 Members can forward news stories, offers, etc to either their Incubation Co-ordinator or for potential inclusion in our Creative Corner e-newsletter, promotion on the main Incubation website and social media networks.

6. Profile Page on the Business Incubation Website

6.1 Members will be provided with access to the website in order to create a profile page or microsite with use of the event listings page along with the facility to sell workshop places and items for sale. All content will be approved by the Incubation team prior to publication.
6.2 Content should not adversely affect, damage or compromise the reputation and profile of the University of Derby or the Incubation Business Community.
6.3 Members will be provided with a Hints & Tips guide to support them when adding their information to the website. Members can also request an initial support meeting to help with creating a member’s profile.
6.4 Members will be able to list and sell their workshops and items on the website.
6.5 The website will divert the customer to the member’s payment gateway to complete the purchase, so the transaction will take place between the customer and the Member.
6.6 Content should not adversely affect, damage or compromise the reputation and profile of the University of Derby or Incubation Business Community.

7. Invitation to Business Reviews/Coaching Sessions

7.1 Members will be invited to a one-to-one business review/coaching session with either a member of the Incubation team or appointed business advisor at six monthly intervals.
7.2 A range of suppliers/service providers are used to deliver the support below which are considered as being high quality, but the University of Derby and its staff do not accept liability/responsibility for any loss or damages - business or personal.

8 Discounted Events

8.1 Events will be organised and publicised via our website and email notification.
8.2 Any member discounts offered will be specific to each event

9 Postal Address and Post Collection

9.1 Members must not use the address as a registered company address with Companies House for their business due to legal liability restraints. Memberships will be cancelled and post returned to sender if members are found to be using the address on Companies House.
9.2 When joining members will be asked to specify which building they would like to use as their business postal address.
9.3 The use of Banks Mill as a postal address or registered business address will be restricted to creative businesses only.
9.4 Post will be collected and stored in Members trays at the appropriate building. Any parcels should be collected within 2 working days as there is limited space to store them securely.
9.5 Post must be collected by Members during the staffed reception hours relating to the chosen building, and it is the Members’ responsibility to check that staff will be available beforehand to provide access if needed.

10. Be Part of Banks Mill Creative Events

This service is available to creative businesses – see separate terms and conditions for our Affiliate Service

11. Support

A range of suppliers/service providers are used to deliver the support below which are considered as being high quality, but the University of Derby staff do not accept liability/responsibility for any loss or damages - business or personal.

12. Business Review Meeting

12.1 Businesses/individuals are invited to attend an initial review/diagnostic session. The review session constitutes one of your 6-monthly business review/coaching
sessions (see Section 7).
12.2 There is no time frame in which the review must be provided, although the aim is to arrange the review within four weeks from when a member joins/requests an appointment.
12.3 If your business is trading, you will be required to submit a copy of your accounts in order to track your business growth whilst part of incubation membership. All information is stored securely, covered by the Data Protection Act and will only be seen by appropriate University staff.

13. Workshops/Seminars/Masterclasses

13.1 Workshops/Seminars/Masterclasses are delivered based on the majority of support requirements identified.
13.2 Workshops/Seminars/Masterclasses have limited places which will need to be booked in advance through the incubation team.
13.3 You must inform the team as soon as possible if you have a booking but can no longer make it. ‘No shows’ are not acceptable and may affect your membership.

Contact our business team

 Call us: 0800 001 5500Email usFollow us on TwitterRegister for your B2B e-newsletter

A man with his back to use puts post it notes on a clear board.

From marketing student to entrepreneur

Sam Appentsen graduated six months ago but already he runs two separate businesses. His entrepreneurial spirit was encouraged and nurtured at university.

Find out more about Sam's University experiences Find out more about Sam's University experiences