Creative Bridge

  • Professional Development
  • Scotland
  • 22/08/2022
  • Professional Development
  • Scotland
  • 22/08/2022

The Creative Industries Accelerator

The next cohort of Creative Bridge takes place weekly on Wednesdays between 28 September to 30 November 2022, from 1pm to 4pm.

Applications are open now until Monday 22nd August at 5pm.

Creative Bridge is a course for creatives who want to learn about startup thinking, innovation and digital product development. We’re an accelerator for creatives with early stage ideas, or who are just at the beginning of that ideation process. Essentially, we’ll help you get to where you want to be a little faster!

Want to know more? Get in touch via kath@thisiscodebase.com or creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk to arrange a chat.

If you’re interested, take a look at what a few of our alumni have to say, or browse our online community pages.

The course focuses on three key things: helping you turn a creative idea into a sustainable business; breaking down barriers to the startup world by demystifying the jargon around tech entrepreneurship; and sharing toolkits and processes to give creatives the power to respond to fast change and cultivate resilience in a turbulent world.

Run by CodeBase and funded via Creative Informatics, Creative Bridge is free for successful applicants and takes place one afternoon a week for 10 consecutive weeks. It’s designed for creatives from all backgrounds in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas (see FAQs below for more details about location). If Scottish Government restrictions allow, the programme will be delivered in a hybrid format, and participants may opt to join sessions either online or in person.

Sessions and Speakers

Each course takes place over an afternoon a week for 10 weeks. The makeup of the course changes from cohort to cohort – but broadly, we cover the following core topics: Markets; Understanding Your Customers; the Build-Measure-Learn cycle; Pitch Decks; and Funding & Investment.

Alongside those core sessions, we also invite speakers from around the world to share their stories of entrepreneurial success and failure. So you’ll get to hear the warts and all journeys that real entrepreneurs have been on, and talk to them openly about success and mistakes.

Our regular speakers include a range of creatives from across Scotland and the UK, as well as global entrepreneurs with exciting creative stories to share. Some of our regular speakers and past guests include Sahil Lavignia, founder, Gumroad; Danae Shell, co-founder & CEO, Valla; Narie Foster, co-founder, M.M.LaFleur; Amy Williams, founder, Good-Loop; Abhishek Lahoti, DropBox; Didier Sibellas, Design Lead, Canva; Sarah Stenhouse, founder, Oodls; Neil Mackintosh, 25+ Design; and Ivana McConnell, Senior Product Designer, HashiCorp.

Our speaker schedule is different for every cohort, and we’re always adding more people to this list! If you’d like to know more, or you’re interested in being a speaker, get in touch. In the meantime, you can watch Sahil Lavignia’s talk on YouTube right now. We don’t usually make our talks public, but this is one exception.


Creative Bridge is run by CodeBase, the UK’s biggest tech cluster. Find out more about us.

The course is run by Kath Warren (Creative Bridge Programme Lead), Yasmin Sulaiman (Head of Partnerships), Jim Newbery (Director of Product Innovation), and other members of the CodeBase team. If you take the course you’ll also get to meet plenty of Team CodeBase and our amazing community. We want Creative Bridge participants to feel like part of an ecosystem, not just temporary students – so if you take the course, rest assured we’re here to give you the help you need, or show you where to find it if we can’t.

Creative Bridge is part of Creative Informatics, a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Creative Edinburgh and CodeBase. Through six research and development initiatives, Creative Informatics will enable creatives and cultural organisations to explore and better understand how data-driven technologies can be used to enhance their work. These initiatives will develop local talent, placing creatives in the driving seat of data-driven innovation and ensuring that Edinburgh’s creative and cultural industries continue to thrive.


When does the course take place?

Creative Bridge Cohort #9 will take place from 28 September to 30 November 2022. The course runs every Wednesday afternoon, from 1pm to 4pm.

Where does the course take place?

Creative Bridge will be delivered in a hybrid format, and participants may opt to join sessions either online or in person. Both experiences will be interactive and flexible to participants’ needs. The programme will also take into account any government related guidance in place at the time and will amend delivery if required.

Online delivery will take place on Zoom and in person delivery will be hosted at CodeBase Edinburgh, 37a Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2EL.

Help! The application form asks for my turnover and I don’t even have a business yet.

Don’t panic! We need to ask this information on behalf of our funders; however, these figures (or a lack of figures) really don’t count towards the success of your application. So if you don’t have a registered company or your turnover was zero last year, it’s no problem – you can leave these fields blank.

I don’t have any ideas at the moment, can I apply?

Absolutely – in general, we find per cohort that half of the participants have an idea or ideas, and half don’t. Identifying problems and coming up with good ideas is part of the course, so we’ll help you through that whole process. Just get in touch if you’re still unsure.

I don’t have a tech background, should I apply?

Yes! Creative Bridge is designed for people who want to learn about startup best practice and understand how digital product development works – we don’t assume you have any prior knowledge, and we’ll also share some background reading with you ahead of the course. As long as you work in the Creative Industries, are based in Edinburgh or South East Scotland and / or you have an idea that will have an impact on the Creative Industries in those areas, we want to hear from you.

Do I need to be based in Edinburgh to participate?

Primarily, we’re looking for individuals who are based in Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian, East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. However, if you’re based outside this area (say, Glasgow or Dundee), get in touch – you may still be eligible if you can demonstrate that your business or idea will have an impact on the Edinburgh city region & South East Scotland.

Is it free, or do I have to pay?

If you’re accepted onto Creative Bridge, your place will be fully funded by Creative Informatics. This means you won’t have to pay anything, as the funding covers the total course cost of £5,000 per participant.

What do you work on in the course?

The makeup of the course changes from cohort to cohort – but broadly, we cover the following core topics: Markets; Understanding Your Customers; the Build-Measure-Learn cycle; Company Values; Pitch Decks; Pivoting; and Funding & Investment. Participants are also split up into groups for session activities – these groups will change every week, so you’ll get to meet a range of people on the cohort.

What do you not work on in the course?

Our focus is on startups, innovation and product development. If you’re looking for the ins-and-outs of setting up a new business, starting social media accounts and how to manage running things day-to-day, this might not be the course for you but get in touch if you’re unsure.

Is there homework?

You’ll get a digital workbook to use for each of our core sessions, and at the end of each talk we ask everyone to apply that week’s learnings to their own situation. So while homework isn’t compulsory, we do expect participants to keep up with the key learnings of the programme and in some cases to speak to one another between sessions. You’ll also get the chance to informally present your progress to the rest of the cohort, if you’d like to.

How many people will be on the course?

Each cohort varies in size, but generally we accept around 20 people per course. Overall, we’ve had around 200 people take the course over nine different cohorts, from Cohort #0 (March – May 2019) to Cohort #8 (March – May 2022). You’ll get a chance to meet alumni from other cohorts as well, either virtually or in person.

What key things will I take away by the end of the course?

Participants will take away an array of learnings from Creative Bridge, but we think the key outcomes will be building a business model (via a Lean Canvas) to understand your business internally; having a greater understanding of who your customers / audience are, and how you can best reach them; and a pitch deck to show your business to the world.

What happens with any IP generated on the course?

You retain your IP. CodeBase/Creative Informatics won’t claim ownership of any IP generated on Creative Bridge.

Will you invest in my business?

Some accelerators will invest in their participants’ businesses, but we’re not one of them. We’re focused purely on the learning and community side of things, and – while we won’t give you cash – your place on the course will be funded in full by Creative Informatics. We can, however, support and feedback on your efforts to apply for future funding and investment, and Creative Informatics’ Resident Entrepreneurs and Connected Innovators programmes may be of particular interest to you. To date, we estimate our participants have cumulatively raised over £350,000 in funding and investment since March 2019.

Does it involve coding?

No! While we will be talking about building businesses around online products, we won’t be delving into the technical side.

When the course returns to in-person delivery, can travel costs be covered?

We don’t cover travel costs as standard. However, if you’d like to attend but think that travel to central Edinburgh would make the course prohibitively expensive, please get in touch via creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk before you apply.