West of England invests more than £1.6 million in supporting creative companies

A Productions Bristol

Another 21 creative businesses have joined the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA’s) Creative Scale Up scheme – which provides online peer and mentoring support to help them respond to the impact of Covid-19.

This means that 57 creative companies are now benefiting from the business development programme, worth around £684,000. In addition, WECA has planned up to £1m investment in supporting the cultural and creative sector through the Regional Recovery Fund.

The West of England Mayor Tim Bowles announced the latest Creative Scale Up cohort via video on social media – featuring a huge variety of businesses from the creative and cultural sector across the region.

The third cohort of businesses are: The Social Detail; That Media Thing; Fourth Floor Creative; Marcom; Vivid Imagination; The Ambitious Consultancy; Dialect; A Productions; Upfest; Plenderleith Scantlebury; Team Love; Fineline Lighting; VIKA Books; Kaedim; Haio; Anatomy; Bonnie Binary; Academy 7; Blak Wave; Mendip Media Limited and Storm Consultancy.

Tim said: “I launched the Creative Scale Up programme to support our wonderful creative businesses to become the household names of the future. In response to Covid-19 we’ve made crucial changes to the programme to ensure our creative sector gets the help it needs to survive and emerge stronger, supporting the jobs in the region that depend on it. I’m proud that we’ve been able to offer increased support to a total of 57 creative business.

“The entrepreneurs and artists we’re working with have told us it’s reminding them they’re not alone but part of a wider network of creative businesses. I know our latest participants will also find new ways of working together to survive and thrive, cementing the West of England as an excellent home for the creative industries.”

The scheme provides online peer and mentoring support to help businesses respond to the unique challenges presented by the pandemic, with business resilience being a key topic for the first two cohorts of 36 creative firms.

Bristol-based creative company Auroch Digital joined the first Creative Scale Up cohort earlier this year. The business launched its new Mars Horizon video game on Tuesday 17 November. The strategy simulation game was created with support from the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency.

Dr Tomas Rawlings, CEO Auroch Digital, said: “A huge amount of creative and technical work goes into making and releasing a video game, so this launch is the culmination of many years of hard work by our dedicated team. When you’re busy creating it, it can be hard sometimes to find space to step back and look at the bigger picture of where our business is going. The Creative Scale Up scheme was a great opportunity to do just that and it is instrumental is our ongoing growth as a creative business in the region.”

Sammy Payne, Chair of the Creative Scale Up Programme steering group and Regional Recovery Taskforce member, said: “It’s a difficult time for people that work in our region’s creative industries. Support like the Creative Scale Up programme is helping creative businesses to access finance through regional and national investment, and providing them with intensive business support. Not only does this fund finance creative entrepreneurs it is enabling them to spot new opportunities and create new models of scaling during Covid-19.

“Our Regional Recovery plan recognises the importance of creative industries and additional funding has been allocated to support them.”