The Big House

The Big House is a free business support programme for small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs in the creative or digital sectors.

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Photograph: Ellen Tobin

The Big House is delivered by a consortium of sector specialist partners and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The Big House supports the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups in creative or digital sectors. Established creative and digital businesses can access Nottingham Business School’s Elevator programme, which supports them with:

  • free workshops
  • mentoring sessions
  • talent grants
  • support to start-up a business

Elevator programme:

  • Elevator workshops

    The workshops in our Elevator series have been specially designed to support businesses in the creative and digital Join us on our next series to gain practical insights into areas such as digital marketing, building innovative teams, planning for growth, raising finance, IP and much more. These full-day workshops are fast-paced and led by industry experts.
    See our upcoming events.

  • Elevator mentoring

    Mentoring is offered via a team of carefully selected creative and digital business specialists.

    Get 1-2-1 advice on a range of business growth areas including:

    • early start issues
    • scaling up
    • pivoting
    • researching
    • testing and experimenting new business ideas
    • opening up new markets
    • marketing
    • accessing finance.

    To get in touch and discuss mentoring opportunities, please contact us by email or call +44 (0)115 848 4297.

  • Elevator grants

    The Big House at Nottingham Trent University also provides financial support for business development and growth. Elevator grants subsidise the cost of bringing talent into your business for temporary projects.

    Elevator Grants can be used to:


    Subsidise graduate placements

    Creative or digital businesses looking to grow can access support towards employing final year students and recent graduates for eight weeks. Applicants must pay the graduate the living wage of £7.50 per hour and the graduate must work 35 hours per week.

    Total 8 week placement cost Total grant claimable (50% of total project spend)
    £2,400£1,200

    Buy in freelance expertise

    We will subsidise the cost of hiring in freelance talent or expertise to help you with a new project related to the growth of your business. The freelance itself is not restrictive. It could range from web design, to R&D, to supporting your business with developing new products.

    Total eligible project spendTotal grand claimable (30% of total project spend)
    £3,500£1,050 (Grant minimum)
    £5,000£1,500
    £7,500£2,250 (Grant maximum)

    If you want more details on the process for hiring a freelancer you can read the Guidance Notes for Applicants.

    Please note that applicants will need to pay up-front for the full cost of the project. The grant will be reimbursed at a later stage. Third party grants or loans cannot form part of the business contribution. The Big House is not able to offer grants retrospectively.

    What's first?

    Submit an Expression of Interest form, or contact the team by email or by calling +44 (0)115 848 4297.

  • Start-up help for entrepreneurs

    The Hive provides opportunities for students, graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs to start up their own creative and/or digital businesses. It helps individuals to think through the process of becoming an entrepreneur and what it means to start a business, while supporting early stage businesses to flourish.
    Visit The Hive website for more information.

Are you eligible?

To access the free Big House support at Nottingham Trent University, your business must be:

  • an SME (small and medium sized enterprises must have less than 250 employees)
  • in the creative or digital sector
  • registered with HMRC or Companies House
  • trading or is ready to trade
  • in Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire (Not sure? Check the D2N2 map)

Check our eligibility definitions

Get in touch

Contact the Big House team if you want to receive more information about the support on offer, or if you have any queries about the Big House programme.

Email: bighouse@ntu.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4297

Still need help?

The Big House
+44 (0)115 848 4297