Arts Derbyshire


Applications open for £1.3m Create Growth East Midlands

  • Successful bid by EMC²awarded £1.3m of funding to support creative businesses
  • Project will run across Leicester and Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, Rutland, and Greater Lincolnshire
  • High-potential businesses can go on to apply for finance from £7 million fund

Creative businesses in the East Midlands can now apply for a free programme of support to accelerate business growth, create jobs, and prepare for investment.

East Midlands Creative Consortium (EMC²) has today begun accepting applications from high-potential creative businesses after being awarded more than £1.3million of Government funding.

Led by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), the consortium provided one of six successful regional bids for the Government’s Create Growth Programme.

Andy Reed OBE, LLEP Co-Chair, said: “The creative sector has created almost 4,000 jobs since 2010 in Leicester and Leicestershire alone. The vast majority of those jobs are in microbusinesses and Create Growth will help these high-potential employers to scale up.”

EMC² has commenced its regional project across Leicester and Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, Rutland, and Greater Lincolnshire.

It is backed by a coalition of partners including regional universities, Innovate UK, local businesses, and non-profit organisations.

The EMC² website is now live and accepting applications from local creative organisations. The programme starts in the Spring and runs to 2025.

It aims to support 100 creative businesses in four cohort groups across the three years. Around 50 creative organisations have already made early-stage expressions of interest.

EMC² is available to growing creative businesses operating in:

  • advertising and marketing
  • architecture
  • crafts design and designer fashion
  • film, tv, video and radio
  • photography
  • IT, gaming, software and computer services
  • publishing
  • museums, galleries and libraries

Since funding was confirmed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the LLEP has been working with partners to develop a delivery plan that meets the specific needs of local creative businesses. It will offer bespoke business support and investor outreach activities.

Applicants will also gain the opportunity to go on and apply for finance support from a £7m Government fund delivered by InnovateUK.

Creative industries are worth more than £100 billion to the UK economy and account for 2.3 million jobs.

De Montfort University Leicester helped the LLEP to prepare the Create Growth bid.

Helen Donnellan, PVC Regional Business and Innovation, said: “The Create Growth fund has the potential to transform the creative sector by supporting ambitious businesses to scale up their business in the region.

“We already have one of the largest creative clusters outside of London but as Andy says, many of these are microbusinesses and this fund will help them to grow, creating more jobs and creating a thriving creative centre here.

“We’d encourage creative businesses to apply for this funding and not miss this opportunity.”

Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said: “This investment will help create new jobs and opportunities for growth, not just in Leicester but across the East Midlands, and we look forward to working with our partners to continue to develop this important sector.”


Please note that…


Further Information

East Midlands Creative Consortium (EMC²)

EMC² is a consortium of public and private organisations which came together to bid for funding from the Government’s Create Growth Programme.

Led by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), it provided one of six successful regional bids and was awarded more than £1.3million of funding in 2022.

Consortium partners include:

  • Leicester City Council
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • University of Lincoln
  • Lincolnshire County Council
  • Derby City Council
  • Derbyshire County Council
  • De Montfort University
  • Derby University
  • Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLEP)
  • Creative UK

Create Growth Programme

The Create Growth Programme aims to support high-growth creative businesses to scale and become investment-ready. It does so through a targeted support package with three complementary strands: bespoke business support, investor outreach activities, and a finance fund. The programme is an expansion of the £4 million Creative Scale Up pilot, which ran from 2018-21.

InnovateUK will deliver a finance fund of up to £7 million to help creative businesses in Create Growth Programme regions to explore new innovation projects that will stimulate growth and attract private investment. Eligible businesses in Create Growth Programme regions will be able to apply to InnovateUK for finance support, including grants, loans and investor partnerships.

Additionally, InnovateUK will deliver investor capacity building activities, including networking and pitching events, mapping of current and potential investment in the sector and resources to support the understanding of investment opportunities in creative businesses.

Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd (LLEP)

The LLEP is an incorporated strategic body established to drive forward regeneration and growth of the local economy. The LLEP works with partners and government to set out key investment priorities for Leicester & Leicestershire. It also invests funding and aligns partner resources. Through its investments and influences the LLEP drives activities that ensure positive outcomes for the local economy.

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