Creative businesses with the potential to become booming businesses in six English regions are to benefit from a new £17.5 million funding pot to help expand their operations, attract additional investment and create jobs.
Companies in six regions will receive support through the Create Growth Programme to help get themselves investment ready. These regions are: Greater Manchester; the West of England and Cornwall; Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire; Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire; Kent, Essex and East and West Sussex; and North East of England.
The North East Create Growth Programme (CGP) is designed to support creative businesses with high-growth potential, between the seed and scaling stages, from across County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland with the support and the investment they need to grow their business and turn their innovative creative ideas into the leading creative businesses of the future.
Each of the six regions have been awarded £1.275 million in grant funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to develop a targeted programme of business support. Regions will also benefit from a number of investor building activities such as networking and pitching events to attract investment and exchange ideas.
Businesses across the six regions will also be able to apply to a new £7 million investment fund to fuel their expansion. Companies applying for finance will need to demonstrate their potential to scale rapidly and become sustainable through private investment. The investment fund and investor building activities will be delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.
And to develop the next generation of talent, the Government has chosen ScreenSkills, the screen industry’s skills body, to lead the delivery of the £950,000 Creative Careers Programme. This programme, targeted in 53 priority areas across the country including Barking and Dagenham, Wolverhampton, Rotherham, Slough and Swindon, will help young people from underrepresented backgrounds break into the creative industries.
The programme will provide specialist guidance to 11 to 18-year-olds on careers and help pay for industry-led digital and in-person events, lesson plans, a dedicated careers website with careers information and resources, and training for careers advisors. This will help ensure more young people from a diverse range of backgrounds can take advantage of the fantastic careers opportunities in these sectors.
The creative industries are one of the major success stories of the UK economy in recent years and this investment will help ensure they continue to thrive. The creative sectors have grown at twice the rate of the wider economy since 2010, generating approximately £115.9 billion for the economy, and providing over 2 million jobs.
Also announced today are seventeen start-up video games studios which have been given grants of up to £25,000 to realise their ideas for innovative new projects as part of the UK Games Fund. The cash injection is for firms across the country with great ideas but lacking in development funding.
The fund, which was established in 2015, has received increased government funding of over £8 million for 2022 to 2025. It aims to help high-potential companies raise new funding, spur economic growth and create new jobs.
Games spanning formats from virtual reality to mobile and themes from space exploration to eco-education, with developers based across the country – from Cardiff to Paisley – will benefit from the scheme’s latest funding round.
Data from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) estimates that the value of the UK consumer games market reached a record £7.16 billion in 2021. This fund will help UK companies to scale-up, and develop the next generation of talented games developers.
The Chief Executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce said “The North East Create Growth Programme is a huge opportunity for everyone in the North East. Not only will the programme boost the economic potential of this important and growing sector, but it we also help the region in its mission to build, attract and retain great talent. On behalf of our members across the region I’m delighted to support the success of this programme and the many businesses and leaders which will benefit.”
Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez said: “The creative industries are a UK success story and we want to ensure these sectors can spread jobs and wealth across the country. Our funding will get more businesses growing and help more people, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, break into these world-class sectors.”
If you are a North East creative business and would like learn more about CGP, you can sign up via this form.