Creative startups outside London will be the recipients of a new £1m fund from Creative England, aiming to help entrepreneurs across television, digital media, games and film.
The project was established by Creative England as the government-backed organisation for English creative businesses.
Minister of state for culture, Ed Vaizey, said the Creative Cities Growth Fund would “provide a fantastic opportunity for creative businesses”.
Creative England’s chief executive, Caroline Norbury, said: “Our cities and regions are vibrant centres of creativity that have delivered classic films, iconic architecture, world-class writers and ground-breaking technology.”
She added that “when businesses cluster around specialist areas, it gives them more opportunity to succeed, share skills, and be even more innovative as part of a supportive and collaborate network of talent”.
Early-stage firms hoping to receive finance via the fund must apply by October 9 2015 and could receive support in the form of interest-free loans, revenue share investments or equity, access to accelerator programmes and other similar schemes, or assistance in finding partners and customers.
Creative England also said it intended to work with partners including Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities, universities and private companies – providing up to £250,000 in match funding.
Vaizey added that the UK’s creative industries were “world-class”, with a “huge array of outstanding talent and incredible skills in cities, towns and villages right across the country”, hoping the new fund would provide increased support to regional firms. He also suggested the programme of investment would be “another boost for the Northern Powerhouse”.
Other initiatives announced by Creative England include the relaunch of its Business Loans programme – offering interest-free loans to digital creative companies and a £1m fund for companies finding creative and digital solutions to healthcare issues in the North West and Midlands. The organisation has invested nearly £4m in the North West’s creative industries to date.
Norbury said her team “want to work with people who are passionate about supporting their local industry so together we can help regions to thrive; creating a strong creative economy and generating jobs”.
The injection of funding comes following a recent report from Creative Skillset and Ashridge Business School, which found small and micro firms in the creative industries had notable skills gaps when it came to leadership, strategy, financial management and innovation.
It also said that the creative sector was thriving within the UK – employment had grown four times the rate of the wider UK economy since 1997, but that it spent 33 per cent less than average on training per employee.
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