The Government has announced Creative England as one of the successful bidders to receive investment through the second round of its £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
Creative England has secured c. £5 million RGF funding for ‘Digital Champions’, a private sector-led scheme providing development funding and market expertise to small creative and digital businesses working in cross-platform content and services.
‘Digital Champions’ will provide match funding and additional support to creative and digital SMEs in the North and North West, Birmingham and the West Midlands, and the far South West, areas identified as vulnerable to public sector job losses and with lower levels of enterprise and private sector growth.
Funding will help high potential businesses in these areas overcome market barriers and gain competitive advantage from the continued explosion in demand for cross platform content.
Small companies working in fields such as TV, games, mobile and broadband, will collaborate with a host of ‘commissioners’ partnering up for the scheme, to develop new market propositions and content. Participating companies range from broadcasters, publishers, public services and technology providers, and include the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Cisco, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, The Peel Group (owners of MediaCityUK) and Santander.
Funding will be allocated by Creative England and additional support will also be provided by the private partners, such as access to market expertise, support for business development and financial health checks.
Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative England, said: “Within a month of kicking off the new agency, we are delighted to be able to announce funding for our first non-film sector initiative. Creative England’s core mission is to unlock potential for small businesses in the creative industries, and help them seize the massive opportunities presented by the digital revolution. Digital Champions will help put SMEs in touch with large established companies, to collaborate, experiment and innovate, and ultimately grow. We are pleased that our bid has been successful and we look forward to announcing further details to industry soon.”
Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The Government is investing in companies and projects to help them grow and create new jobs. This project aims to help small and medium-sized companies develop. Hopefully it will enable these areas to become real centres for digital and creative businesses.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “We need to be doing all we can to enable businesses and organisations to create much needed jobs and inject private investment into the economy. We have announced today that a further 119 projects will benefit from the fund, and expect to deliver a huge number of jobs across their businesses and in the supply chain. This is a very significant boost to local communities, and the Regional Growth Fund will help businesses to drive local growth.”
Successful bids are subject to legal checks before they can be awarded their final allocation of funding. The Government expects the money to start being passed on to the bidders in the spring. Full details about today’s RGF announcement can be found here.
Creative England commenced operations on 1 October 2011, with initial funding from the DCMS via the BFI to support film activity in the English regions outside London.