Essex joins £8.25m drive to boost creatives in the East

  • Date

    Fri 4 Nov 22

A woman doing some motion caption

The University of Essex’s innovative investment arm has joined a £8.275m scheme to transform the creative sector outside of London.

Angels@Essex is one of a consortium of partners that has secured vital funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to launch Create Growth South East.

It is part of the Create Growth Programme - a Government initiative to support high-growth potential creative businesses outside of London.

Create Growth South East will also increase the number of investors willing to back creative businesses outside of London, by educating and developing investor networks.

The Angels@Essex team has partnered with local authorities across swathes of Essex, Kent and Sussex to deliver the project.

The private equity investment platform focused on creative and state-of-the-art tech, which has assisted 360 businesses to get investment ready, registered over 120 investors and facilitated £21 million of investment for 39 innovative start-ups across the UK.

John Stenhouse, Business Support Manager, said: “The University of Essex and Angels@Essex are dedicated to growth, innovation and championing start-ups looking to make their mark on the world.

“Working with our partners in Create Growth South East we will support fledging firms to take them to the next level and boost our local economy.

“The funding combined with our expertise in helping start-ups get off the ground will be a boon for any young business.

“We have a history of supporting the creative sector and have helped companies like motion capture innovators Limbotech attract investors to develop their businesses.

“This is a very exciting time for the creative sector and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Create Growth South East will target Intellectual Property-rich micro and Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) who have at least two employees, can demonstrate growth in the past two years and have ambitions to grow in the future.

They will fall into one of the following sub-sectors:

  • Film, TV, Video, Radio & Photography
  • Design & Designer Fashion
  • Music, Performing & Visual Arts
  • IT, Software & Computer Services

Eligible businesses will be able to access an intensive business support programme designed to improve the leadership capacity of pre-scale-up creative businesses.

This will make them better placed to access finance, particularly investor finance.

They will also have access to national and regional angel investor networks that are interested in creative industry investment opportunities.

Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez 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.”

Businesses within the Consortium’s local authority areas who meet the eligibility criteria will also be able to access a share of £7m in finance to be awarded by Innovate UK.

These interventions will support the development of new business models, creating investable propositions that bring the sub-sector closer to the investor markets.

Simultaneously, investor markets will be coached by Innovate UK on the benefits of creative sector investment.

The programme is being announced now to encourage applications and will officially launch in January 2023.

If you would like to register your interest, please contact