Creative England boosts creative sector with £1 million of interest free loans

Creative England continues its programme of investment for creative and digital businesses in the English regions with the launch of a new Business Investment Fund of £1 million.

Supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, the £1million is available in the form of interest free loans of between £60,000 and £100,000. It is open to SMEs who are looking to develop new software, applications and content for the following expanding markets:

  • Cross Platform TV development
  • feature film production
  • Healthcare
  • Government Services
  • Games, Interactive Entertainment and Mobile Content
  • Business To Business
  • E-Learning
  • Mobile applications

Creative England’s Director of Business Development, Jim Farmery, said:

“Creative businesses bring energy, enterprise & innovation to cities and regions across England. Our funds support companies with innovative ideas for content development that have commercial potential but are struggling to get off the ground.”

Creative England’s first business investment fund is helping SMEs in a variety of sectors all across the UK. In Birmingham, this ranges from Portal Entertainment creating thrillers for the digital age to Soshi developing a Facebook based virtual music festival game. The Floow, in Sheffield, are creating a smart phone application to capture and analyse location information and driver performance data for third party organisations for use by third parties, primarily insurance companies and car manufacturers.

Creative England’s Business Investment Fund 2 is open to SMEs based in the North, West Midlands and far South West (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol and Bath).  It can offer companies very preferable terms – interest free loans and deferred repayments as well as working with successful applicants to ensure the business gets everything it needs in terms of advice and support to make the project work.

Application is a simple two stage process: applicants are required to complete a simple on-line expression of Interest.

Read the guidelines and information on how to apply

The deadline for registrations of interest is: 21st August 2013.

Recognising the importance of the creative industries outside London as key drivers of economic growth and innovation in core cities and regions across England, Creative England aims to ensure a dynamic, thriving and economically successful future for the sector.

Business Investment Fund 1

Through its first Business Investment Fund, Creative England provided SMEs with interest-free loans matched by company funds, to develop ground-breaking cross-platform digital media content and services for a variety of markets. This initial fund of £1m is spread across companies based in the North, West Midlands and South West, which relates to the Regional Growth Fund objective to prioritise support for areas that have been overly dependent on public sector employment.

In the West Midlands this includes:

  • Portal Entertainment in Birmingham plan to work with thriller writers to turn stories into ‘immersive entertainment’ for consumers, using technology and psychological analysis to read the audience’s emotional reaction to an ebook and adapt the story accordingly.
  • Diamonds, a Birmingham based software development company will grow and develop their cloud-based software used by a range of global companies in process management, particularly around logistics.
  • Bronze Software in Telford aim to produce an augmented reality software programme which can be used to help building management companies identify problems and easily identify where building facilities are.
  • Soshi, a Birmingham based company are developing their innovative and successful currently Facebook based virtual music festival game across digital platforms, allowing mobile, ipod and ipad users to play tracks from favourite bands, access backstage content  and exclusive features for fans.
  • Caperfly, in Leamington Spa deliver digital media and entertainment through high end social/casual games for tablet PC devices and smartphones. Their project involves delivering a piece of software technology that enhances their video games with events generated from real-life trending data.

In the South West this includes:

  • Icon Films, a Bristol-based production company producing high-end factual content for UK and international markets will develop the brand of one of their most successful programmes ‘River Monsters’ to multi-platforms, initially via gaming and social media.
  • Remode, a production and games development studio based in Plymouth aim to complete the development of and launch a browser based free sci-fi strategy game, with income generated through in-app purchases.
  • Dopey Dinosaur in Truro who specialises in content creation for transmedia exploitation and identified Nook (eReader) as a ‘debut platform’ on which projects can be originated relatively cheaply yet provide immediate access to a global consumer market.  Following the success of their cartoon character ‘Dopey Dinosaur’ they will create new Dopey Dinosaur titles for Nook and develop an animation pilot and application.
  • Lightworx, a Bristol-based production and visual effects company who produce TV, film and corporate content for the UK market are currently developing a slate of 4D “attraction” films and 3D feature films for sale internationally.

In the North this includes:

  • Transmit Promo, Newcastle, are developing a digital solution to distributing promotional music to influencers and reviewers, DJ’s and retailers which allows access to content and a feedback mechanism from multiple devices
  • The Floow, in Sheffield, aim to use an application for the smart phone to capture location information and driver performance data and analysing this for use by third parties, primarily insurance companies and car manufactures.
  • Atomicom, in Liverpool are a new digital publisher and developer of games and applications for mobile devices including tablets and mobile phones. Building on the success of Bang Bang Racing THD, they will use their innovative technology to develop a complete cross-platform approach to their new game, Off Road World Tour.
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