By helping them extend their networks we encourage them to learn from their peers and develop new business partnerships. And by developing links with other business sectors we help creative content businesses recognise that their products and services now have value across almost every part of the UK economy, not just in entertainment. We have secured £5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to stimulate new jobs and growth in the digital and creative sectors in areas of high unemployment.
We are helping develop the Government’s ‘creative city’ vision through a joint agreement with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) scheme and are working towards similar agreements with cities all over England, including Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Newcastle, Sheffield and Brighton.
Information on the our Business Investment Funds, European Creative Industries Alliance ‘Cluster 2020′ project and the Creative Industries innovation programme can be found by clicking on the tabs at the top of the page.
Digital Fiction Factory
We have assigned £1m to invest in this pioneering partnership with Conker Media, the BBC and Channel 4 to support small and medium sized creative companies in the North of England to develop new digital fiction formats for the BBC and Channel 4.
Described by Creative England’s Director of Business Development, Jim Farmery, as “a 21st century production and development centre,” the Digital Fiction Factory is a unique creative partnership between Conker Media, the BBC, Channel 4 and Creative England, and marks one of the first creative commissioning partnerships between the two UK broadcasters.
Funding packages of between £10,000 and £150,000 will be made available to companies to develop proof-of-concepts and prototypes which may be taken on to full production by either of the partner broadcasters.
*244 businesses from the North West, Yorkshire and the North East are already part of the Digital Fiction Factory network and more information on how businesses can become part of the Digital Fiction Factory is available here http://www.digitalfictionfactory.com/
Creative England expects to release details of further investments in to the games and animation businesses within the next 3 months.
Creative England Innovation Programme
The Creative England Innovation Programme helps creative companies build and sell innovative products and services more successfully. This work is delivered through structured projects – which include seed investment, mentoring, marketing, and business support, planning and strategy. These projects help companies jump over business barriers to grow more quickly and profitably.
The projects are supported by European funding, available through the iNet programme. Unfortunately this means they are only open to companies based in the South West - for now at least. This will expand across England as new funding is secured.
New programmes will be launched at regular intervals and the details will be added to this page.
Starter for 10
Applications are now open for Creative England’s Starter for 10, a programme to fund and support the best creative startup businesses in the South West. We want to help ambitious young companies develop and/or commercialise an innovative product or service by mid-September 2014.
Shortlisted companies will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry professionals who will select 10 winners to receive a £10,000 grant and a comprehensive programme of business support – all designed to help deliver unique, exciting and innovative new ideas to market.
For more details and information on how to apply, visit www.starterfor10.biz
Creative Business Mentoring
We have teamed up with Nesta to deliver its very successful creative business mentoring programme in the South West (excluding Cornwall), the North West and the West Midlands. It’s a chance to connect today’s digital, media and creative business leaders with entrepreneurs who have achieved great success already.
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Cluster 2020 is part of the European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA) €100m initiative, working with cluster organisations across Europe to provide better business support for creative businesses.
**Read a definition of a cluster at the foot of this page
Creative England will work with business clusters in England, Germany & France to run trials and test ways to optimise work spaces, develop better business support services and facilitate cross-sectoral linkages.
Throughout 2013 and 2014 Creative England will run a series of practical activities [for businesses and cluster organisations] which will include:
- An open data and information service. 8 creative and digital businesses participated in a data mini-lab which was held in Birmingham and Manchester durign 2013. The businesses were matched with a data expert who helped them explore data for competitive business advantage.
- Access to a Creative Business Mentoring Programme starting in April 2014.
- Software tools that will provide information, guidance and access to existing support services; and online diagnostics to identify business growth needs.
- Working with Mosley Exchange and Manchester Metropolitan University to apply different configurations of facilities and services in incubation, co-working and start-up work space.
- Internationalisation support in terms of access to SME travel grants (up to €400) to attend key festivals and events.
- A guide to productivity and business tools that will help improve the performance of creative businesses.
- Access to intelligence on key emerging business issues via a range of expert videos, research findings and guides.
This is your chance to get involved and help shape the future of creative clustering support so that it is relevant to you.
If you would like to know more, register your interest in the above activity, enquire about travel grants or even feedback your thoughts on existing business support that has worked for you, we want to hear from you.
Please contact Johanna Bolhoven on Johanna.firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0161 713 3721.
The European Commission (DG Education and Culture) has launched a Europe-wide survey in order to investigate the financing needs and access to finance of the Creative Industries. Click here to participate.
To find out more about ECIA and other actions on better access to finance, voucher schemes, cluster excellence and collaboration, as well as the over-arching Policy Learning Platform visit: http://www.eciaplatform.eu and www.cluster2020live.eu
Follow us on Twitter: @cluster_2020 and @followECIA
Join our LinkedIn Group(s): Supporting Creative Businesses and Cluster 2020 Manchester Advisory Group
This initiative is financed under the Competitiveness & Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), which aims to encourage the competiveness of European Enterprises
** Cluster – “geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions in particular fields that compete but also cooperate” (Porter, 1998)
 Porter, M. E. (1998) On Competition. Harvard Business Press, p.215-216
Creative Business Mentoring
We have teamed up with Nesta to deliver its very successful creative business mentoring programme in the South West (excluding Cornwall), North West and West Midlands. It’s a chance to connect today’s digital, media and creative business leaders with entrepreneurs who have achieved great success already.
“To have somebody who is willing to share the benefits of their enormous experience with you is absolutely invaluable.” Deep Sehgal, Avatar Productions
This tailored mentoring programme allows business leaders to get expert guidance from highly successful creative entrepreneurs. For most leaders running a creative business, having access to insights from someone who has already successfully grown and, in many cases, sold a creative business is invaluable.
The experience they can share, allows business leaders to take decisions more quickly and confidently, as well as widen their own knowledge and skills to manage their business better and grow it more rapidly.
The initiative has been established by in conjunction with Nesta and the European Creative Industries Alliance Cluster 2020 project. The programme will also be supported by UKIE, The Supper Club and Creative Skillset.
It is based on the highly successful model developed by Nesta which placed a number of successful and high-profile entrepreneurs to mentor a range of digital, media and creative business leaders.
What are the costs?
Participation in this programme will cost £300 per business. This is a contribution towards the cost of running the programme and is not a payment to mentors – mentors are volunteers, giving their time at no cost.
What previous participants say…
“Our mentor made so much more of a difference to our company than I’d imagined. I had access to a wealth of experience from someone I could trust with intimate knowledge of my business. It might take a little leap of faith, but we’re living proof that it’s worth it. Our mentor (Charles Wace, Twofour Group) helped us become even stronger – he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and frankly, that’s the only way a small business can work!” Jaya Chakrabarti, Managing Director, Nameless
“The Nesta mentoring scheme was genuinely transformative for me. To have somebody who is willing to share the benefits of their enormous experience with you is absolutely invaluable, and I’m pleased to still have a very strong relationship with my mentor (Wayne Garvey, All3Media) as our company continues to develop and succeed.” Deep Sehgal, Executive Producer, Avatar Productions
How to apply?
Click on the following link to complete an application form: Apply here.
Please note that the South West element of this mentoring programme is being delivered by the Creative England Innovation Programme (see below) and additional eligibility criteria will apply. Please refer to the Programme FAQs.
Deadline for applications: midnight on Monday 31 March 2014
Interviews for shortlisted companies:
- Tuesday 15 April 2014 – Manchester
- Thursday 17 April 2014 – Birmingham
- w/c 14 April (tbc) – Bristol
For more information please contact Johanna Bolhoven on Johanna.email@example.com or telephone 0161 713 3721. For the South West cohort you can also contact Tim Evans on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative England Innovation Programme
The South West element of the Mentoring Programme is part of a series of programmes devised by Creative England to help creative companies build and sell innovative products and services more successfully. This work is delivered through structured projects – which include seed investment, mentoring, marketing, and business support, planning & strategy. These projects help companies jump over business barriers to grow more quickly and profitably.
This project is supported by European funding, available through the iNet programme.
Business Investment Fund 2 - Deadline has now passed
Supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, this £1million pot is available in the form of interest free loans of between £60,000 and £100,000. It is open to SMEs who are looking to develop new software, applications and content for the following expanding markets:
- Cross Platform TV development
- feature film production
- Government Services
- Games, Interactive Entertainment and Mobile Content
- Business To Business
- Mobile applications
Creative England’s Business Investment Fund 2 is open to SMEs based in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and the far South West (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol and Bath).
It can offer companies very preferable terms – interest free loans and deferred repayments as well as working with successful applicants to ensure the business gets everything it needs in terms of advice and support to make the project work.
Application is a simple two stage process: applicants are required to complete a simple on-line expression of Interest
Once eligibility has been confirmed, you will be invited to submit a full application outlining your proposal and business case.
The deadline for registrations of interest has now closed.
Email questions or requests for further info to: email@example.com
Read about the investments made as part of the first Business Invesment Fund at the bottom of this news article
Visit the Funding page to see what other business funds we have available