Arts Derbyshire


Second round of £1.2m East Midlands Create Growth programme opens to businesses

Second round of £1.2m East Midlands Create Growth programme opens to businesses.

  •  Creative SMEs can apply now for funded business support programme
  • 23 businesses have recently completed Cohort 1
  • Quickfire investment readiness course offered to those completing course

Applications have opened for the next cohort of a £1.2 million support programme for East Midlands creative businesses. Companies are being encouraged to apply for the second phase of Create Growth, which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). It comes as 23 East Midlands businesses completed the first cohort of the regional business growth accelerator.

The inaugural cohort, made up of firms from across Leicester, Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, and Lincoln, Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland, have benefited from a programme of focused support over the last eight weeks. Participants ranged from marketing and design agencies to architects, theatre companies to video producers. Businesses completed an initial business health check, attended a full-day business bootcamp, which included opportunities to network, and logged on to eight virtual masterclasses covering themes including leadership, marketing, sales, finance and business planning. As well as the 90-minute masterclasses delivered by industry experts, all participants were also assigned a mentor offering five hours of free support.

Guy Lewis, Director at programme delivery partner CDI Alliance, said: “Our first cohort were enthusiastic, engaged and committed to the programme. “We’ve had some really encouraging feedback about the bootcamp session, masterclasses, and support offered throughout the programme, and look forward to seeing what’s next for the businesses who took part in Cohort One.” All of the participating businesses now have the option to complete a fully funded 12-hour investment readiness workshop, helping to prepare their firms for growth.

To be eligible for Cohort 2 of the East Midlands Create Growth programme, businesses must

  • Have turnover growth of 10% year-on-year over approximately 3 years (including either prior to or during the Pandemic)
  • Employ a minimum of 2 people over the last two years (full-time, part-time or freelance)
  • Have created a revenue generating product, launched a new platform or service, or reached a market of scale
  • Generated sales revenue in the last 2 years.
  • Be trading or registered within Leicester, Leicestershire, Derby, Derbyshire, Greater Lincolnshire, or Rutland.

Create Growth was launched in 2022 by DCMS, in partnership with Innovate UK. It is designed to support the development of creative industries with high-growth potential across England, outside of London.

The East Midlands programme is led by East Midlands Creative Consortium (EMC²), which aims to help creative businesses get investment ready. Its members include local authorities, universities, local enterprise partnerships, and many other organisations in the private, public and voluntary sector. EMC² aims to support 100 creative businesses across three years through four cohort groups. The coalition came together through its successful £1.2m bid for the Government’s Create Growth Programme, led by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Applications for the second cohort are now open – any eligible businesses interested in applying can find out more here.

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