Region’s creative industry receives £1m+ funding boost

The region’s creative industry is being given a £1.275m funding boost from the government to grow the sector and create jobs. Creative industry businesses in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are to be supported with scale-up plans and given access to investor networks after a successful bid to Government led by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Six regions outside London are each to receive £1.275m in grant funding for business support through the Create Growth Programme, designed to create more jobs across the country in our thriving creative industries and drive economic growth. The University of East Anglia will be the lead delivery partner for the programme in our region.

Creative businesses will also be able to draw from a fund of up to £7 million delivered by Innovation UK to provide financial support and connect creative companies with national investors.

New Anglia LEP submitted a bid after pulling together a consortium including Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, University of East Anglia, University of Suffolk, Norwich University of the Arts and Anglia Ruskin University Peterborough.

The package for each region will consist of bespoke business support and mentoring for high-growth creative businesses. Regions will also benefit from investor engagement through pitching events and investor outreach.

In addition, the Government has chosen ScreenSkills, an industry body for the film and TV industries, to deliver its £950,000 Creative Careers Programme, which aims to 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 in the creative industries. It will be targeted towards 53 locations across the country that are underrepresented in the sectors, including Great Yarmouth and Peterborough, and help pay for online talks, workshops and training for careers advisors.

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, commented: “The investment readiness programme that will be delivered by our consortium partners will benefit potentially high growth creative industries businesses across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and will strengthen their relationship with regional and national investor networks.

“Based on evidence provided by MetroDynamics and the expertise we have across our universities, the investment readiness programme will primarily be targeted towards the Film & TV and Gaming sectors.

“The business support provided by the Create Growth Programme will be a blend of group masterclasses and seminars. These will cover a range of topics from specific investment insights through to intellectual property, legal sessions, exporting, pitching, business planning, finance and marketing, roundtable discussion sessions with investors, entrepreneurs, creative specialists and a bespoke package of one-to-one mentoring from a range of expert consultants, plus one-to-one advisor time for each beneficiary business.

“For Norfolk and Suffolk, this will build on previous successful programmes for the creative industries sector such as StartEast and Creative Unlimited, ensuring legacy and a maintained focus to support this key sector in our region. We look forward to working with DCMS, Innovate UK as the national delivery partner, and our consortium to deliver a successful programme for creative industries businesses.”

Fiona Lettice, UEA Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), said: “With more than a decade of proven experience delivering specialised sector support and investment training, UEA is brilliantly placed to give business leaders the skills they need.

“This funding will open new opportunities for businesses in rapidly growing sectors, which have the potential not only to create high value jobs but also to firmly put our region on the map as a centre for the creative industries.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “Suffolk has a pedigree for producing famous, creative minds whether in music, art, film or design. Suffolk County Council is proud to contribute to securing this funding. It will give Suffolk’s young people more opportunities to forge careers in the creative world, whatever their background, and enable the county’s creative businesses to develop and discover new opportunities.”

Cllr Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for growing the economy, said: “Our creative sector is growing almost three times faster than the national average, and yet we offer no specific support programmes to the sector. That’s why I’m delighted that we’ve been awarded £1.275m from Create Growth programme.

“The grant will enable investment in programmes which will be offered to at least 80 creative organisations in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Peterborough. We look forward to working with partners to deliver this exciting programme which we plan to launch in January 2023.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Nik Johnson, said: “Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is home to innovative, world-class, creative companies. From publishing to architecture, and digital to museums and galleries, our creative industries are growing.

“This is a game-changing package of support for the industry in our region, which recognises the importance of creativity, arts and culture in our society.”

Robin Milton, Founder of Norfolk business Fairer Games, said: “It is fantastic to see this level of commitment to supporting early-stage creative businesses in this region from DCMS. I founded my games business in Norfolk because I firmly believe in the innovation, the collaboration, and the culture of this area. The Create Growth Programme will help in providing opportunities, retaining talent and accessing finance for creative businesses in this area and I look forward to seeing the positive ripple effects of this initiative.”

Mark Backler, Co-founder of Game Anglia, commented: “Hearing that the bid across the New Anglia LEP and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority geography was one of the successful ones for the Create Growth Programme is yet another feather in the cap of the high-growth industry in the East of England region. We are looking forward to working together to highlight how the games industry, an industry worth over £8bn in 2022 in the UK alone, can be used to leverage the amazing talent and potential of the region.”

Jeremy Cooke, Chair of Games Eden, said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear that the East of England bid for the investment readiness and Business Support programme has been successful. The creative businesses in our region are world class and providing this support to our flourishing ecosystem will underpin a strong understanding of the strategic requirements for commercial success and future growth.”

Craig Higgins, Development Director at Norfolk Screen said: “We at Norfolk Screen are absolutely delighted to hear that support has been granted for the Investment Readiness and Business Support programme. With so many opportunities in the East within the Creative Industries this will be a real game changer to help the sector grow and develop. We can’t wait to see what the future brings!”

Rachel Aldridge, Operations and Business Development Manager at Screen Suffolk, said: “Screen Suffolk are delighted with the news that New Anglia has been successful with the application to the DCMS Create Growth Programme. As the official film office for Suffolk, working on behalf of Suffolk councils, it’s great news for the region.

“The screen industry is an important one for the region and it’s great to see that the increase in filming activity will be supported by this programme. The inward investment that filming brings is significant and delivering support to creative industries, particularly in the screen sector, will ensure that the industry will grow even further.”

Hannah Smith, Investment Director and MD of Anglia Capital Group, said: “This is fantastic news for the creative sector in the East of England and for the early-stage business ecosystem, especially from an investment perspective. There are so many exciting, young business in this region that just need that little bit of support to be ready to face investors for the capital they need to accelerate. This programme will hopefully solve that problem and provide organisations like ours somewhere to signpost them to.”

Richard Tunnicliffe, Regional Director of CBI East of England, said: “CBI East of England is delighted to see successful bids from this region to DCMS’s Create Growth Programme. The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership-led bid will see creative businesses supported across Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. Essex is also covered through a separate successful bid led by Kent County Council.

“These programmes will provide targeted support to potentially high growth creative industries businesses in the East of England and strengthen their relationship with key investor networks. We will work with businesses across the East of England to ensure they are aware of these exciting opportunities.”

This article was written by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, to learn more visit: