Creative businesses with the potential to become booming businesses in six English regions are to benefit from a new £17.5 million funding pot to help expand their operations, attract additional investment and create jobs.

It comes on the day a £950,00 careers programme for the sector is launched in England and some of the UK’s brightest creative entrepreneurs are told they will be backed by the government to develop the next generation of global smash-hit video games.

The creative industries are one of the major UK economic success stories in recent years. They have grown at twice the rate of the wider economy since 2010 – generating approximately £115.9 billion for the economy and providing more than two million jobs.

Data from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) estimates the value of the UK consumer games market reached a record £7.16 billion in 2021.

Today’s plans will build on this stellar success and make sure the next generation of creative talent succeeds, companies continue to scale-up and those that need support have access to it.

Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez said:

From product design and video games to music and film, the creative industries are a stellar UK success story.

Today’s plans will help get more creative businesses off the ground so they can spread jobs and wealth and help more people, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, break into these world-class sectors.

Create Growth Programme

Companies in six regions will receive support through the Create Growth Programme to help get themselves investment ready. The regions are Greater Manchester; the West of England and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire; Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire; Kent, Essex and East and West Sussex; and the North East of England.

Each of the six regions have been awarded £1.275 million in grant funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to develop a targeted programme of business support. Regions will also benefit from a number of investor building activities such as networking and pitching events to attract investment and exchange ideas.

Businesses across the six regions will also be able to apply to a new £7 million investment fund to fuel their expansion. Companies applying for finance will need to demonstrate their potential to grow rapidly and become sustainable through private investment. The investment fund and investor building activities will be delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Creative Careers Programme

To develop the next generation of talent, the Government has chosen ScreenSkills, the screen industry’s skills body, to lead the delivery of a £950,000 Creative Careers Programme. This programme, targeted in 53 priority areas across the country including Barking and Dagenham, Wolverhampton, Rotherham, Slough and Swindon, will help young people from underrepresented backgrounds break into the creative industries.

The programme will provide specialist guidance to 11 to 18-year-olds on careers and help pay for industry-led digital and in-person events, lesson plans, a dedicated careers website with careers information and resources, and training for careers advisors. This will help ensure more young people from a diverse range of backgrounds can take advantage of the fantastic careers opportunities in these sectors.

UK Games Fund

Also announced today are seventeen start-up video games studios which have been given grants of up to £25,000 to realise their ideas for innovative new projects as part of the UK Games Fund. The cash injection is for firms across the country with great ideas but lacking in development funding.

The fund, which was established in 2015, has received increased government funding of more than £8 million for 2022 to 2025. It aims to help high-potential companies raise new funding, spur economic growth and create new jobs.

Games spanning formats from virtual reality to mobile and themes from space exploration to eco-education, with developers based across the country – from Cardiff to Paisley and Brighton to Yorkshire – will benefit from the scheme’s latest funding round.

More information on the Create Growth Programme is available here.

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