Amy Wilkinson in Investment


South West SMEs to Benefit From Innovation Programme

Creative England is offering a boost to creative digital businesses from across the South West with a new round of Business Strategy and Innovation Vouchers.

The scheme provides local companies with ‘vouchers’ of £1,000 - £5,000 to help with the cost of securing expert third party services.

Figures released last week show that the creative industries provide £8.8million to the UK economy, employing 1 in every 12 people. Creative England’s new scheme is designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to further support the region’s thriving creative sector.

Funding is available to cover a wide variety of support, which could include help with business planning, recruitment consultancy, brand and marketing expertise, or specialist technical support to help launch a new digital product.

The scheme is open to businesses from Bristol, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset, and applicants can specify exactly what support they need to help them flourish.

We have already seen companies across the region take advantage of the voucher scheme, and it’s great to be able to open it up again to another batch of creative digital SMEs," commented Jim Farmery, Director of Business Development at Creative England.

“The initiative is part of Creative England’s continued dedication to seeing regional business flourish. Since the start of Creative England we’ve invested nearly £1.3m into businesses in the South West, which is a figure we only anticipate to grow.”

Funded by the Creative Industries iNet programme, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the initiative focuses strongly on digital innovation and business strategy.

Previous recipients include Design & Co, a branding agency based in the Bristol. They added:

“The funding we received towards consultancy has been absolutely vital to the development of our business. Without the consultancy input, our company would not have grown as it has in this time.”

With consultant Emma Collins’ help, the company was able to update their business plan, streamline their processes, re-brand, move office and recruit part-time staff. Most importantly, it enabled the team at Design & Co to increase confidence in their work, services and presenting skills.

In order to apply to this round, businesses must be able to provide a total equalling 30% of the requested amount in match funding.

Applications for the Voucher Scheme close on Feb 27th 2015, or when the fund is exhausted. For more information and details of how to apply visit Companies can also apply directly here.

The voucher scheme is part of a wider £314k programme of support through the Creative England Innovation Programme, which will also include mentoring events later in the year, as well as a partnership with the REACT Knowledge Exchange Hub. Look out for updates on the rest of the Innovation Programme.

  • Business Development
  • Access to Finance