DMU success with joint bid for £1.2m funding to accelerate growth and boost jobs in East Midlands creative sector


Creative businesses in the East Midlands will benefit from £1.2m of new funding to accelerate growth, create jobs and stimulate investment, following a successful bid involving De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

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The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) led a consortium of regional partners bidding for a share of the Government’s Create Growth Programme.

It is one of six successful regional bids from outside of London to each be awarded more than £1.2 million to scale up high-potential creative businesses, increase jobs, and boost the local economy.

The bid was submitted by the LLEP in September as part of a collaboration with DMU.

It is for a regional project which will run across Leicester and Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, Rutland and Greater Lincolnshire.

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

The LLEP will now develop a delivery plan to meet the specific needs of local creative businesses looking to scale up. It will also commission specialist delivery partners to work with applicants on a programme offering bespoke business support and investor outreach activities.

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

The programme is due to start in early 2023, with the LLEP to seek expressions of interest in late 2022 from creative businesses which wish to join.

Creative industries are worth more than £100 billion to the UK economy and account for 2.3 million jobs. LLEP research in 2021 found there are more than 2,500 Creative and Cultural businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire.

Andy Reed OBE, LLEP Co-Chair, said: “We’re delighted to lead the successful bid to bring this Create Growth investment to the East Midlands.

“Although the LLEP is focussed on supporting growth in Leicester and Leicestershire, neighbouring counties will also benefit from opportunities this programme provides.

“Leicester and Leicestershire's creative sector has created nearly 4,000 jobs since 2010. It has real potential to grow high-skilled, high-wage employment. 

“Currently, the vast majority of our creative businesses are micro-sized - Create Growth provides them with the chance to scale.”

Professor Katie Normington, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, said: "As a university with a long and proud history of teaching and research in the creative sector, we are passionate about the opportunity that this Create Growth programme presents to support creatives in the region to scale up and take that next step to grow their business.

"We were delighted to be able to support the LLEP in shaping this successful application and believe it has real potential to transform opportunities for the thousands of people who work in the creative sector in Leicestershire, Rutland, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire."

Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor, said: "The Create Growth programme will provide a welcome boost to the city's economy by supporting the development of our creative industries. 

"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."

Yasin El Ashrafi BEM, Managing Director of HQ Recording Studio and HQ CAN CIC, said: “Create Growth arrives at a good time for Leicester and the East Midlands. We know that our region has the talent and potential to be a real hub for the Creative Industries.

"This investment will help to accelerate the process of achieving that recognition. The training and support on offer could be a game-changer for growing our diverse talent pool of creative SMEs."

Julia Lopez MP, Creative Industries Minister, said: “The creative industries are a UK success story and we want to ensure these sectors can spread jobs and wealth across the country.

“Our funding will get more businesses growing and help more people, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, break into these world-class sectors.”

Posted on Friday 4th November 2022

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