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Look Inside the Enterprise Studio

An Incubator for Student Businesses Born at Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Now more than ever, art business has shifted from a landscape built on a legacy to one accelerated by cutting-edge technology and next-gen business practices. Sotheby’s auction house has emerged from its long-standing status as the world’s largest and oldest art business to also be a leader in digital advancement. In recent years Sotheby’s Institute has correspondingly introduced new areas of academic inquiry, from a program in Art Logistics to electives in technology and online courses on blockchain and NFTs.

Each year, Sotheby’s Institute asks incoming graduate students what sector they intend to pursue after their studies and there has been a growing interest in entrepreneurship, over 40% of the most recent class self-identified as future entrepreneurs. It was to support these up-and-coming disruptors, innovators, and change-makers of the art world that Sotheby’s Institute established the Enterprise Studio in 2022 – the graduate student center for art and entrepreneurship.

This year’s Gavel competition takes place on May 15, 2024.

A Global Idea and a Physical Space

About Enterprise Studio

The Enterprise Studio was created as an extra-curricular program for Master’s students to receive training and support for new business ventures, culminating in a start-up pitch competition, the Gavel. Through close access to mentors, students have the chance to shape their plans from ideation to execution with the winning Gavel team receiving significant seed funding for their future business.

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Meet The Gavel Judges

Meet the esteemed panel of judges for the 2024 edition of The Gavel, a start-up pitch competition where Master’s degree students can showcase their ideas and potentially secure substantial seed funding for their future enterprises.

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Jeffrey Boloten on Entrepreneurship

Institute faculty and Co-Director of the Enterprise Studio, Jeffrey Boloten share his views on entrepreneurship. Jeffrey brings years of entrepreneurial experience to students seeking to solidify their visions on what it means to make change happen within the art world.

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Previous Winners

The Alumna Giving Plastics a Second Life

In recent years, various groups and coalitions have been formed to discuss how the art world might respond to the climate crisis. The ability to promote sustainable development has become an essential skill for art professionals in both public and commercial sectors. These notions form the ethos behind MA Art Business alumna, Elsa Åkesson’s Spongy Bags.


An Insight Into Sustainable Art Logistics

Alumna Mithra Stevens is an art historian specialising in sustainable logistics within the fine art sector. We spoke with Mithra about her time at Sotheby’s Institute and how art world organisations can address their carbon footprint.


From Classroom to Canvas

MA Contemporary Art alumna Lisa Black-Cohen is Executive Director of The S.E.L. (Social Emotional Learning) Art Project, an educational company with the mission of providing disabled students with access to the art world.


Interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial path? Browse our Master’s degrees in London, New York City, and Online.