Biggest-ever funding package launched to ‘unleash the power of UK’s creative sector’

September 27, 2023

The UK creative industry’s leading support organisation has teamed up with Bristol-headquartered ethical bank Triodos to launch a fund aimed at growing the sector by £50bn over the next seven years.

The £35m fund will also help bring about a million extra jobs by “unleashing the power of the creative sector to drive UK growth and innovation”, according to Creative UK, which is also based in Bristol.

The Creative Growth Finance II (CGF II) - the largest single fund to be delivered by Creative UK – will provide the crucial investment needed to meet the targets set out in a recently published Sector Vision by the government and Creative Industries Council.

It follows on from Creative UK’s investment of more than £50m into the UK’s world-leading creative industries over the past decade.

The first Creative Growth Finance fund, which launched in 2019 and was also backed by Triodos, has since invested more than £17m into 30-plus creative businesses across the UK and spanning film & TV, virtual production, narrative-based video games, advertising and software.

This has helped these firms clock up an 108% improvement on average monthly revenues, grow their staffing by 39% with more than 225 jobs created, and raise nearly £19m in further third-party funding.

One firm to benefit from that fund was Bristol-based visual effects studio Moonraker VFX, which has worked with many of the world’s top directors and filmmakers to create computer-generated imagery. This has included for world-renowned broadcasters such as the BBC, Apple TV+, Netflix and Disney+.

The firm needed funding to support its ambition to create and market its own content, including an immersive film to tell the story of future Moon landings and the permanent base being created there.

Moonraker successfully applied for loans worth £700,000 through the Creative Growth Finance fund and released the film, Moonbase: The Next Step, pictured, last December.

Moonraker VFX co-founder and managing director Jon Grafton said: “We wanted to partner with an organisation that understood the creative industries.

“A high street bank is unlikely to appreciate the filmmaking and creative process, whereas working with Creative UK, it’s obviously an area they know incredibly well.

“They understand the model of what we were doing and it feels so much better to work with a party who really get what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Creative UK chief executive Caroline Norbury OBE, pictured, added: “Over the past decade the UK’s Creative Industries have grown more than 1.5 times the rate of the wider economy, currently generating £108bn in economic value and employing 2.3m people.

“However, this country’s talented creative businesses are experiencing a significant gap between their immense growth potential and access to the vital capital they need to succeed.

“In launching the Creative Industries Sector Vision, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged the “enormous potential of our creative entrepreneurs and businesses” and said that “growing the economy means growing the creative industries”.

“However, the potential of the creative industries risks being unfulfilled if the creators and innovators whose talents power our growth are unable to access the capital and financing they require.

“That’s where Creative UK comes in. We know that with the right investment, the power of the sector to drive growth and innovation across all corners of the UK can be truly transformative”.

Triodos Bank UK director of business banking Phillip Bate, pictured, said: “Four years on from the launch of the first Creative Growth Finance fund, our partnership with Creative UK goes from strength to strength and continues to support companies at the forefront of innovation.

“For a bank only focused on financing projects with positive impact, we can see the social importance of these organisations to the UK. Creative UK’s expertise has been key to helping us grow our funding of this important sector.”

Triodos was founded in 1980 and has since become a global front runner in sustainable lending and investment.

It has banking activities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Germany as well as the UK, where it has operated for nearly 30 years and now employs around 200 staff in Bristol, London and Edinburgh.

Earlier this year it was named ‘best ethical financial provider’ category at the British Bank Awards for a second year in a row.

Caroline Norbury OBE photo ©BronacMcNeill

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