How creative businesses have shown a great level of innovation in 2020

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Despite this year seeing uncertainty and unpredictability for a lot of small businesses, we’ve supported 250 talented content makers and businesses, spanning across games, VR and AR, media technology, visual effects and animation, immersive media and film and TV, with 90% of businesses based throughout the English regions outside of London.

Through our Creative Enterprise programme, delivered in partnership with the BFI, and other newly introduced business support programmes, we’ve been able to provide a bespoke set of initiatives, aiding creative businesses to access connections, training and networks to help them achieve business growth.

To mark the end of 2020 and celebrate the successes of the year, we’ve provided a rundown of our business support activity, highlighting the wonderful companies we’ve supported and providing you with inspiration for 2021. Thank you so much to everyone who has applied for any of our programmes and we hope to see more of you join us in the new year!

Creative Enterprise: Evolve

Way back in January, our first Creative Enterprise: Evolve cohort had the opportunity to pitch directly to investors at our ‘Investing in Innovation and Creativity’ event in London, co-hosted with UKBAA.  We were then pleased to be able to open Evolve for another round of applications this summer, seeing even more talented creative businesses join us in their growth journey

We caught up with some of our investment community companies to talk about their investment journey and share their insights in our investment blog series, where we interviewed Treehouse Digital, Antstream Arcade, Lockwood Publishing and Dimension Studios.

In Autumn, despite the pandemic, some of the Evolve alumni launched new products and platforms throughout the year including, Ourscreen and their Virtual Cinema platform and Treehouse Digital and their virtual production studio.

Creative Enterprise: Games Scale Up

This year saw the creation of the first cohort for Games Scale Up, a vital programme that has been launched in partnership with Ukie and devised with industry leaders for games businesses who are looking to develop and grow their business. We’ve got a great cohort on board, who you can find out more in the new year.

You can find out more about Games Scale Up here.

Creative Wakefield Advance

We launched another new programme this summer, delivered in partnership with Wakefield District Council to provide bespoke business support to creative SMEs, individuals and freelancers based in Wakefield and the wider region. As part of the programme we offer expert mentoring for creative businesses and professionals. You can find out more about the mentors here, and sign up to the Creative Wakefield Network to keep up to date with all our opportunities.

We’re also hosting a Christmas party on 17th December for creative businesses with speed networking, music, presents and a few festive beverages! Join us for free here.

Creative Enterprise: Female Founders

In September we launched Female Founders, a dedicated programme providing female entrepreneurs working in the screen industry with the skills and confidence to scale their business, and what a great cohort of strong business leaders we’ve met! To kick off the programme, programme coordinator and business and innovation expert Erica Wolfe-Murray interviewed successful business leaders on key advice they wanted to share with fellow female entrepreneurs.

Find out more about the Female Founders Scale Up programme here.

Creative Enterprise: Market Trader

In September we launched the sixth edition of Market Trader, a bespoke programme for talented producers based in the English regions.

This prestigious, intensive programme has been designed to equip participants with the knowledge and support they need to understand the film market better, to plan and target their approach and come away from international markets with the best possible results.

Find out more about the programme here.

Creative Enterprise: Business Planning Grants and New Ideas Fund

To further support the screen industry, in summer we opened applications for our New Ideas Fund for a second year, supporting growth of screen sector in England.

Whilst applications are now closed for the New Ideas Fund, we’re still accepting them for our Business Planning Grants of up to £5000, supporting companies who work in moving image for storytelling, spanning film television, games and immersive, to build meaningful connections and create opportunities for business growth.

Ideate cohort member makes a short film

Hand to Hand Combat is a seven-minute short film, directed by one of our Ideate Manchester alumni, Paul Blinkhorn. Told from the perspective of an observer to domestic violence, the film has been produced in the hope of raising public awareness of an incredibly important issue which directly affects almost one in three women according to the ONS, and according to recent reports has been further exacerbated by imposing of lockdown restrictions. You can watch the full short here.

Ideate Plymouth

Earlier this year, we launched Ideate Plymouth, a new programme for businesses in the area interested in developing immersive content. We’ve already worked with some amazing creative people and organisations, and will be reopening for applications in the new year.


This is just a snapshot of the work we have been doing with creative businesses across England in 2020, and there is more to come! Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with our programme and development opportunities.

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