Business Development

Take me to the toolbox

In SWCTN’s Business Development we bring our knowledge of creative enterprise support to the companies exploring prototoype ideas in Immersion, Automation and Data. As the teams bring their innovative research, we support them to turn their ideas into new product, service and experiences that people want and will pay for.

We take our companies through a programme that engages creative thinking in business development, that we call Prototyping the Business. We focus on the development of the founders and where they want to get to. We bring a design-led approach to developing new business ideas, testing them and refining them over time.

Our clear method brings creative thinking into business thinking. We have produced new guides and tools to help creative companies navigate preparing for investors. We connect them to follow-on programmes, and investor schemes. Finally we connect creative companies with sympathetic investors, and do this by building investor awareness into our programme.

Over the past year this programme will have brought at least 30 new businesses, all coming out of this programme across the South West. They all bring new products, experiences, platforms and services into the world.

Our intention is that the creative founders also know how to build their business on the best foundations. Some of them will be huge successes and some of them will grow slowly over time, creating new jobs. Not all of them with scale up, and that is not the point – we want a sustainable and thriving creative business ecology in the South West.

How we approach creative business development

Our approach is to enable adaptable creative entrepreneurs, iterative business thinking and inclusive audience-focussed companies as starting points.

Prototyping the business is a programme designed for those brave pioneers bringing new creative technology ideas into the world. Its designed for creative businesses and ideas that we invest in at SWCTN. It’s tailored to them and where they are, and brings a set of methods to think about the right form of business for their idea, values and vision.

It’s creative entrepreneur-focussed: It is aimed at people starting up new businesses, but it also can work for existing business, giving you an opportunity to review what your business is and how well it works. It is design led – informed by design practices to produce new things that people want, it is iterative in that we prototype our way to successful business models.

Especially for creative businesses

Our intention is to help you to navigate the complexities of business and build up your confidence where you need it.


Develop and test the business as an idea

Our aim is to support you to develop a business to support your developing prototype. We want to help you to be in a position to be able to attract commissions or start sales, and connect with the money you need to grow.


Base it on vision and values that make meaning

Its designed to help you define a clear vision, your values and your business culture, so that you make it their own. It will help you to guide the prototype development into something that you know that people will want.


We do this through different forms of contact:

  1. Prototyping the Business programme
  2. One-off workshops such as Taking Care of Your Business IP, Managing Finances, Alternative Fundraising Strategy (looking at your intellectual property and how to take care of it)
  3. Bookable Business development sessions
  4. Business Reset (a creative business rethinking session during Covid Lockdown)
  5. Connecting and signposting to other companies, experts, investors and programmes

We also offer this as a set of tools, the Prototyping the Business ToolkitThese were made during the last two years by Gill Wildman, Business Development Advisor for Watershed and SWCTN.