Creative UK supports funding boost and business expansion in two new local authorities

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The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced additional funding of £10.9 million to be shared across six regions for the Create Growth Programme to support high-growth creative businesses to scale and become investment ready. Creative UK has been instrumental in helping two of the regions, Devon and West Midlands, to deliver successful funding applications.   

The Create Growth Programme is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and follows on from the commitment from the UK Government to prioritise development of the creative sector and wider industry to ensure creative businesses can flourish. Creative UK is already delivering Create Growth Programmes in the North-East, Cornwall and South-East, and is extending that work with partners in Devon and West Midlands to launch programmes that are tailored to each specific region and the creative sub sectors based there.  

A key aim of the Create Growth Programme is to support creative businesses to explore and secure commercial investment opportunities. To this end each of the selected regions will have a programme of activity that will enable businesses to be ready for investment and facilitate access to additional funding from Innovate UK and commercial investors in 2024 and beyond. 

Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative UK said: “The second iteration of Creative UK’s Create Growth Programme is an exciting step forward for businesses in the West Midlands and Devon. The programme offers crucial opportunities for support, not just financially but around business development, industry collaboration, incubating creative talent and fostering cultural engagement in the region and this partnership with local authorities is a big leap towards helping our industry thrive and leverage our collective soft power.” 

Ed Shedd, Chair of Create Central, said: “This is a great step forward for us at Create Central, as the strategic lead for the region’s creative sector, one of our key missions is to increase opportunities to monetise content, charting pathways to markets that not only foster a business pipeline for scalability but also ensure sustained growth. As a future-facing cluster, and with Creative UK as our delivery partner, we are developing the right market conditions to allow businesses to scale and grow, supported with specialised expertise and financial backing.” 

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The announcement of this programme is great news and I know that our region’s industry body Create Central will ensure it builds on, dovetails with and forms part of our support system for local creative businesses. I would very much encourage creative SMEs to seize this opportunity by becoming part of a dynamic cohort of leading creative businesses from right across the West Midlands – all with tremendous growth potential. Programme participants will gain useful guidance and resources that will help them to scale their ventures – positioning them well to access finance in the future via Creative UK’s groundbreaking £35 million investment fund. The prospect of additional funding from Innovate UK further underlines the level of ambition at the heart of this exciting offer. I cannot wait to see what this unlocks for local people and businesses in the months and years ahead.” 

Richard Ennis, Interim Chief Executive of the West of England Combined Authority, said: “This fantastic news about the expansion of the Create Growth Programme in the South West shows that the West of England Combined Authority is delivering not only for the residents and businesses of the West of England but the wider South West region as well.” 

Hannah Harris, CEO at Plymouth Culture said: “We are delighted to have played a part in securing this funding for Devon, in collaboration with the wider region. It presents a significant opportunity to develop and grow the Creative Industries with a programme of support tailored to the sector. We understand the importance of the sector and will be offering our full support to this programme over the coming 12 months.” 

Rupert Lorraine, Director of The Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth said: “We are incredibly proud to be working with Creative UK, the West of England Combined Authority, and partners to expand the Create Growth programme to Devon. The Creative Industries are a vibrant, cross-cutting force that not only amplify value across our regional economy but also have a profound, positive influence on societal wellbeing. This crucial investment from DCMS will unlock new levels of growth and productivity for regional businesses and support our continuing mission to work in partnership to cultivate an ecosystem where creativity thrives, catalysing social, environmental, and economic advancement.” 

Applications for businesses based in Devon and the West Midlands for Create Growth Programme will open in January 2024. To sign up to hear more, visit the West Midlands and Devon webpages. 

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