Published: Tuesday, 8th November 2022

Creative businesses in Medway, Kent, Essex and East and West Sussex are set to benefit from a £7million funding pot and an investment-readiness programme to help expand, scale and attract investment.

Following a competitive process, a consortium of partners working on behalf of the south-east Creative, Cultural and Digital sector is one of only six regions in England, to ​receive support through the government’s Create Growth Programme. The support recognises the value and potential of creative businesses across the region.

The Create Growth Programme is a Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) initiative to support high-growth potential creative businesses outside of London to become investment ready. It will also increase the number of investors willing to invest in creative businesses, by educating and developing investor networks.

The south-east has been awarded​ £1.275 million in grant funding from DCMS to develop a targeted programme of intensive business support assisting creative businesses across four industry subsectors to scale and access investor finance. The programme will support businesses working within:

  • Screen, radio and photography
  • Design and designer fashion
  • Music, performing and visual arts
  • Digital and gaming

Creative organisations will also benefit from investor building activities designed to encourage investment networks locally, regionally and nationally to invest in the creative industries.

Businesses across Kent and Medway, Essex and East and West Sussex will also be able to apply to a new £7million investment fund to fuel their expansion. Companies applying for finance will need to demonstrate their potential to grow rapidly and become sustainable through private investment. The investment fund and investor building activities will be delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

This free programme will provide the south-east’s creative businesses with the support, the networks and the investment they need to transform their innovative creative ideas into the leading creative businesses of the future. 

​Fantastic opportunity to help creative businesses grow

Cllr Howard Doe, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “We are delighted that the south-east bid for the government’s Create Growth Programme has been successful. Medway is home to a wide range of diverse, innovative and thriving creative businesses and this is a fantastic opportunity to help them continue to grow. The Create Growth Programme also supports Medway’s cultural strategy, delivered by​ Creative Medway, and aim for the area to be internationally recognised for its creativity and culture by 2030.”

​The creative sector is growing at phenomenal rates

Sarah Dance, Co-Chair of South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN) and Deputy Chair of South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), said: “The South East Creative Economy Network is an open network and coherent voice for the creative sector in our region, working as part of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) where the creative sector is growing at phenomenal rates. The South East’s creative industries are a critical part of our economic foundation and the South East LEP has long been dedicated to ensuring this vastly important industry thrives in our region. We are delighted to have secured this investment for our region’s 15k+ creative businesses and look forward to working with the DCMS and our Consortium partners to make this programme a success.” 

​Game changing opportunity

Jatin Patel, Creative Director of Medway-based fashion label Kalikas Armour, said: "This funding recognises the potential of creative businesses in Medway and across the south-east. It is a game changing opportunity for high growth potential creative businesses to work with industry leaders to attract investment, expand into new markets, broker new collaborations and develop their businesses.  Medway is a great place to grow a creative business and the programme's focus on design, screen, digital, performing and visual arts speaks to Medway's strengths and our collective ambition as part of the Creative Medway Cultural Strategy."

The programme is currently being set up and is expected to launch in January 2023.

Creative businesses are encouraged to register their interest by emailing​

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