East Sussex County Council is excited to announce the award of £7m of funding which will be accessible to businesses operating in the creative sector.

The Create Growth Programme is a first-of-its-kind opportunity targeted at creative businesses with the potential to grow.  The award acknowledges the highly entrepreneurial pool of high-growth potential creative businesses in the South East not yet at the scaling stage, who can benefit from intensive, targeted, expert support to help them secure the investment they need to grow their business.  This free programme will provide the South East’s creative businesses with the support, the networks and the investment they need – transforming their innovative creative ideas into the leading creative businesses of the future.

Following a competitive process, a consortium of partners working on behalf of the South East Creative, Cultural and Digital sector has secured one of only six awards to regional partnerships across the UK to deliver the Create Growth Programme.

The Create Growth Programme is a Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) initiative to support high-growth potential creative businesses outside of London to become investment ready.  It will also increase the number of investors willing to invest in creative businesses, by educating and developing investor networks.

Eligible businesses will be able to access an intensive business support programme designed to improve the leadership capacity of pre-scale-up creative businesses so that they are better placed to access finance, particularly investor finance. They will also have access to national and regional angel investor networks that are interested in creative industry investment opportunities.

Eligible businesses will be between the seed and scaling stages and will fall into one of the following sub-sectors:

  • Film, TV, Video, Radio & Photography
  • Design and Designer Fashion
  • Music, Performing & Visual Arts
  • CreaTech, Augmented Reality (AR) Aritificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Extended Reality (XR) and Gaming

They will:

  • Be Intellectual Property-rich micro and Small to Medium Sized Enterprises
  • Have turnover growth of 10% year-on-year over approximately 3 years (including either prior to or during the pandemic)
  • Employ a minimum of 2 people over the last two years (full-time, part-time or freelance)
  • Have created a revenue-generating product, launched a new platform or service or reached a market of scale
  • Have generated a sales revenue in the last 2 years
  • Be located within the administrative boundaries of Greater Essex, Kent, Medway, East Sussex, West Sussex or Brighton and Hove

Businesses within the Consortium’s local authority areas that meet the eligibility criteria will also be able to access a share of £7m in finance. Companies applying for finance will need to demonstrate their potential to scale 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.

These interventions will support the development of new business models, creating investable propositions that bring these creative sub-sector closer to the investor markets.  Simultaneously, investor markets will be coached by Innovate UK on the benefits of creative sector investment.

The programme is being set up now and will launch in January 2023. The funding must be spent by March 2025.   Access to the programme is likely to close in October 2024 when the final cohort of businesses will be recruited (to be confirmed).

We are busy setting up this programme, if you are interested and think your business might be eligible, please register your interest by emailing: info@createsoutheast.org.uk

East Sussex County Council values our cultural sector businesses.  Through Culture East Sussex and the South East Creative Economy Network we work tirelessly to champion the sector, working with the DCMS to attract funding that will really meet the sector’s needs, recognising key characteristics such as its dependency on freelancers and protecting IP.  The Create Growth Programme builds on the learning from a pilot programme and we believe is well-designed for the sector.  We will also use what we have previously learned from delivering the ERDF-funded South East Creatives programme.  There was huge competition for these awards and we are delighted to have secured the opportunity for our businesses by joining together with this far-reaching South East Consortium.  We look forward to working together to make this a success.

South East Create Growth Programme Award

There was huge competition for these awards and we are delighted to have secured the opportunity for our businesses by joining together with this far-reaching South East Consortium.  We look forward to working together to make this a success.”

East Sussex County Council

For support and advice on how to progress with your business goals get in touch and one of our team will contact you to discuss you needs.