GamesLab Application Guide and FAQ

Thinking of applying for one of our GamesLab funds but unsure where to start? We asked our Head of Games and Digital Jaspal Sohal to share his expert advice on how to approach the application process and ensure your project gets noticed.

Jas's Top 5 Tips For Applying To GamesLab

  1. What makes your game different or unique? Clearly explain the innovation and USP of your game.
  2. Know your business. Demonstrate an understanding of your target audience and route to market. We need to feel confident in your commercial prowess.
  3. Be realistic. Don't commit to unachievable design goals and don't compensate lack of experience with lofty revenue projections.
  4. Tell us about past successes and failures. What did you learn from them? How will these help your current project? We like to know how you've responded to specific issues as it gives us a more rounded picture of your process.
  5. Provide assets. Strong concept art or footage, visuals, screenshots, video or even playable demo (if available) will help sell your idea better than anything else.


Why don't you offer funding in my region?

Creative England GamesLab is funded through different sources, i.e. Regional Growth Funds (RGF) and European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), and currently these sources allocate their funds for investment in particular geographical regions. As such, we are unable to invest these funds in to other regions.

However, we are in constant dialogue with both the Department of Business and the Department for Communities and Local Government, who provide RGF and ERDF funds respectively, to make funds available for all other regions too.

In other words – watch this space! We definitely want to fund other regions and it's something we're working hard on to achieve. In the meantime, please do register your interest with us by emailing amy.wilkinson@creativeengland.co.uk.

I'm just filling in the application form – what does ‘Jobs safeguarded and/or created' mean?

Put simply, our funding must help you to grow your business and expand your team. ‘Jobs safeguarded' refers to how many jobs you think may be at risk when your project is approved for funding. In other words, if you are awarded funding how many full-time permanent jobs will be saved as a direct result of receiving financial support from us.

‘Jobs created' refers to brand new permanent (minimum of 12 months) full-time roles that may be created due to the funding. As part of the funding process you'll be required to evidence the number of jobs created and safeguarded, this may be done by completing quarterly monitoring reports for us and providing copies of contracts for any new hires. For more details see the application guidance documentation for the relevant funding pot you're applying for. Any questions let us know.

Can I use GamesLab funding to pay myself a salary?

This depends on the specifics of the programme and any restrictions imposed by the RGFs or ERDFs. In some cases, funding can only be used to pay for third party costs such as consultancy, marketing support, hardware etc, and in other cases funding can be used to pay for internal costs and salaries (including the applicant). If it's not clear in the application guidance documentation for the fund you're applying for then just get in touch to ask.


What is ‘Match Funding'?

This is often one of the most complicated aspects of the process. To put it simply, a requirement of funding is that it needs to be matched £1 for £1 so the amount of funding requested you also need to match that amount with funding elsewhere.

For example, a £10,000 project may receive £5,000 in funding from Creative England with the remaining £5,000 funded directly by you or via another funding body.

However, please note that Match Funding requirements differ for each programme and may not always be a £1 for £1 ratio. In some cases, a lower or higher match may be required (i.e. £1.50 per £1 invested).

Ok, but why am I being asked for Match Funding as part of my application?

It shows a certain level of commitment that you also believe in your business and your game and that you're dedicated to seeing it through.

Can my match include payments I made before I received funding?

Unfortunately, no. Match expenditure can only be counted from the date you sign a funding agreement with us, so you cannot include backdated expenditure in your match calculation.

If not financed by myself, where can I apply for Match Funding?

Match Funding can be sourced from company reserves, another outside investment (Angel Investor, Bank Loan, Venture Capital etc) or even a Kickstart/Crowd Funding campaign – but match funding must be in place before any funding is awarded.

Here's a list of places you could look for Match Funding:

Creative Skillset
Finance Birmingham
Small Companies Enterprise Centre
R&D Tax Credits
Technology Strategy Board Innovation Funding
Arts Council Games Grants
Social Incubator Fund
Abertay Games Funding

If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to get in touch. Just visit Gameslab.creativeengland.co.uk or email Gameslab@creativeengland.co.uk.

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