West Midlands Create Growth Programme: Opportunities for Creative Business Growth
Published: 13 November 2023
Create Central, in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Creative UK, is thrilled to announce its successful bid to deliver the next phase of the Create Growth Programme (CGP) which will help creative businesses to scale, with access to major new investment opportunities.
This exciting initiative marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering the growth and prosperity of the creative industries across the West Midlands.
In Spring 2023, Create Central launched its Shape the Future roadmap, which set out the region’s missions to turbo-charge the West Midlands creative content and gaming sector, with a focus on business growth, diversity across the workforce and promoting the West Midlands as a global creative hub.
Create Central has delivered major wins since its launch in 2019 to support and build the production ecosystem in the region through landmark partnerships with the BBC, new commissions from Channel 4, Steven Knight’s Digbeth Loc. Studios, The Bond and many more. Our next phase sees a renewed focus on specialist creative business support to ensure that West Midlands companies and local talent have opportunities to build a career and business here in the West Midlands.
In June 2023, the UK government unveiled an expansion of the Create Growth Programme, injecting £10.9 million in additional funding. This expansion paves the way for the CGP to extend its reach to encompass six new geographical areas. Responsible business will be at the heart of the programme, sustainability, equity, diversity and inclusion are all key drivers for successful long-term business growth.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP, announced at the Creative Industries Conference in Manchester that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has chosen Create Central to lead the West Midlands CGP alongside five other local area partnerships throughout England (excluding London) to take part in this extended CGP journey, spanning from FY23/24 to FY24/25 – a transformative two-year endeavor.
Ed Shedd, Chair of Create Central, said “This is a great step forward for us at Create Central, as the strategic lead for the region's creative sector, one of our key missions is to increase opportunities to monetise content, charting pathways to markets that not only foster a business pipeline for scalability but also ensure sustained growth. As a future-facing cluster, and with Creative UK as our delivery partner, we are developing the right market conditions to allow businesses to scale and grow, supported with specialised expertise and financial backing. ”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The announcement of this programme is great news and I know that our region's industry body Create Central will ensure it builds on, dovetails with and forms part of our support system for local creative businesses. I would very much encourage creative SMEs to seize this opportunity by becoming part of a dynamic cohort of leading creative businesses from right across the West Midlands - all with tremendous growth potential. Programme participants will gain useful guidance and resources that will help them to scale their ventures - positioning them well to access finance in the future via Creative UK's groundbreaking £35 million investment fund. The prospect of additional funding from Innovate UK further underlines the level of ambition at the heart of this exciting offer. I cannot wait to see what this unlocks for local people and businesses in the months and years ahead.”
Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative UK said: "The second iteration of Creative UK’s Create Growth Programme is an exciting step forward for businesses in the West Midlands. The programme offers crucial opportunities for support, not just financially but around business development, industry collaboration, incubating creative talent and fostering cultural engagement in the region and this partnership with local authorities is a big leap towards helping our industry thrive and leverage our collective soft power.”
The Create Growth Programme is an evolutionary step forward from the Creative Scale Up pilot, which initially ran from 2019 to 2021. During that pilot phase, the Greater Manchester, West Midlands, and West of England Combined Authorities received a comprehensive package of business and investor support, paving the way for creative businesses to scale and gain access to finance outside London.
The Create Growth Programme is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and follows on from the commitment from the UK Government to prioritise development of the creative sector and wider industry to ensure creative businesses can flourish. Creative UK is already delivering Create Growth Programmes in the North-East, Cornwall and South-East, and is extending that work by partnering with Create Central in the West Midlands to launch programmes that are tailored to the region and the creative sub-sectors based there.
A key aim of the Create Growth Programme is to support creative businesses to explore and secure commercial investment opportunities. To this end each of the selected regions will have a programme of activity that will enable businesses to be ready for investment and facilitate access to additional funding from Innovate UK and commercial investors in 2024 and beyond.
West Midlands Create Growth Programme will address the needs of high-growth potential creative businesses and nurture the development of investor networks. The CGP is founded on three synergistic pillars: business support tailored to the creative industries, financial empowerment, and the cultivation of investor capacity.
For more information and to express your interest in applying, please visit Creative UK website.
Register your interest today
To make sure you are on the list of interested businesses and receive further updates, please contact the West Midlands Create Growth Programme to express your interest in finding out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications for businesses based in the West Midlands for Create Growth Programme will open in January 2024.