Creative England to support games developers in the West Midlands

Games companies across the West Midlands can now benefit from expertise and funding from Creative England’s GamesLab programme.
GamesLab, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), is one of the first dedicated support schemes for the games industry by Creative England.

Established and emerging games developers can apply for grants from £10,000 to £25,000 for the development of a commercial game on console, desktop or mobile platforms. The programme of investment which includes funding, business support and business expertise is designed to aid and sustain the growth of the West Midlands burgeoning games industry through the development of innovative games and IP.

GamesLab is just one of Creative England’s activities to support the Games industry in England. Greenshoots, an England-wide programme jointly developed by Creative England and Microsoft to support early stage startup game studios, was also launched in 2013 and is currently shortlisting successful applicants. The next round of Greenshoots is due to launch later this year.

Creative England’s Head of Games & Digital Media, Jaspal Sohal, said: “We are passionate about seeing games come to life and businesses grow. Through the GamesLab programme we will be working with established and fresh games developers in the West Midlands to help them reach their commercial and creative potential.
“Creative England’s GamesLab has already committed £250,000 of grants to develop eight new games in the South West and we are delighted to now be able to support the exceptional talent in the West Midlands.”

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee, said: “The West Midlands boasts a strong skills base in games development playing host to a number of leading development studios. This is backed up by some of the UK’s leading computer science courses being taught in our Universities. To sustain and build on this strength we need to ensure that existing businesses can access funding and expertise to aid growth and new businesses encouraged to get started.
“Through this programme the games industry will receive the right support that in the long term will help create new jobs and strengthen our reputation. I am pleased that ERDF funding can help make this happen.”

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, added: “TIGA believes that strengthening businesses and promoting economic activity in the regions is vital for the future long term health of the UK economy, so it is great to see Creative England rolling out its games support programme in another important region like the West Midlands.
“Given the difficulties that some games firms face in accessing finance, some public funding is important if we are to encourage more start-up studios and if we are to enable more small development businesses to succeed. Since the recession there has been a general recognition that the UK would benefit from stronger growth in the regions. GamesLab contributes to this strategic objective. It is good not just for the West Midlands but for the UK in general.”

Dr Jo Twist, CEO, Ukie, said: “The West Midlands is one of the most important games industry hubs in the country and it’s fantastic that Creative England has recognised this with its new GamesLab programme. There are lots of amazing businesses in the West Midlands that will really benefit from the extra funding and advice that the programme offers.
“We look forward to working with Creative England and the many games businesses in the Midlands to help ensure that the new programme is a great success and that it helps the wider UK industry to produce more world-class interactive entertainment.”

Creative England GamesLab is funded by the ERDF, supported by the RGF and led by Creative England.
Applications open on 27 February.
For more information and to apply, visit www.gameslab.uk.com and follow us on twitter at @CEGameslab.

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