Funding competition DCMS Create Growth Fund: Competition 1

UK registered micro, small and medium enterprises in the creative sector can apply for funding of between £10,000 and £30,000 for innovation projects to grow their business. This funding is from Innovate UK and includes support from Innovate UK KTN.

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Competition sections

Description

Text update 13 December 2022: we have changed ‘registered’ to ‘registered or operational in’ in the 'your proposal must' list.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest approximately £3 million in innovation projects. This funding is from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Create Growth Programme for the six appointed regions in England. The six regions are:

  • Greater Manchester
  • the West of England with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
  • Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire
  • Kent, Essex, East and West Sussex
  • the North East of England

The programme support package will comprise of three complementary strands:

  • business support targeted at the creative industries
  • finance
  • investor capacity building activities

The aim of this competition is to provide a package of targeted support to high-growth creative businesses to scale, build investor networks and reach their potential. This funding is designed to help creative businesses explore new innovation projects as a stimulus for growth.

Your proposal must:

  • be from the creative industries
  • be from a micro, small or medium size enterprise registered or operational in a DCMS Create Growth Programme region
  • focus on a clear growth opportunity and the proposed innovation to address it
  • demonstrate the impact funding and support can have on the growth plan of your business
  • engage with the regional support if your application is successful

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s grant request must be between £10,000 and £30,000.

Who can apply

Text update 13 December 2022: we have changed ‘registered’ to ‘registered or operational in’ in the 'To lead a project your organisation must' list.

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a total funding request of between £10,000 and £30,000
  • start by 1 June 2023
  • end by 31 December 2023
  • last between 3 and 6 months
  • carry out all its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

If your project’s end date falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@iuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request. If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

You will be made ineligible if you exceed the Minimal Financial Assistance limit. You must submit a complete declaration as part of your application.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

The six regions in England appointed by the DCMS Create Growth Programme are:

  • Greater Manchester
  • the West of England with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
  • Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire
  • Kent, Essex, East and West Sussex
  • the North East of England

You can check your local council with your post code: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

A micro, small or medium size enterprise, cannot subcontract their own directors, secretaries, or persons with significant control.

Number of applications

You can only apply for this competition once.

Previous applications

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Minimal Financial Assistance (and De minimis where applicable)

Grant funding in this competition is awarded as Minimal Financial assistance (MFA). This allows public bodies to award up to £315,000 to an enterprise in a 3-year rolling financial period.

In your application, you will be asked to declare previous funding received by you. This will form part of the financial checks ahead of Innovate UK making a formal grant offer.

To establish your eligibility, we need to check that our support added to the amount you have previously received does not exceed the limit of £315,000 in the ‘applicable period’.

The applicable period is made up of:

(a) the elapsed part of the current financial year, and

(b) the two financial years immediately preceding the current financial year.

You must include any funding which you have received during the applicable period under:

You do not need to include aid or subsidies which have been granted on a different basis, for example, an aid award granted under the General Block Exemption Regulation.

Further information about the UK subsidy control requirements can be found in:

EU Commission rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK’s International Obligations to Subsidy Control or the De minimis rules, you should take independent legal advice. We cannot advise on individual eligibility or your legal obligations.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

We have allocated approximately £3 million to fund growth focused innovation projects in this competition.

You can claim 100% grant of between £10,000 to £30,000 for your eligible project costs in this competition.

If successful, your grant will be released in instalments:

  • your total grant request minus £5,000, will be paid on the return of your signed grant offer letter, this can be in advance of your project start date
  • the remaining £5,000 of your grant request will be paid at the end of the project, on receipt and approval of a statement of expenditure (SOE)

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the Company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under European Commission De minimis.

If you are applying for an award funded under European Commission Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Your proposal

Text update 13 December 2022: we have changed ‘registered’ to ‘registered or operational in’ in the 'Your proposal must' list.

The aim of this competition is to provide a package of targeted support to high growth creative businesses, to scale, build investor networks and reach their potential.

The funding is for the six regions in England appointed by the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sports (DCMS) Create Growth Programme. The six regions are:

  • Greater Manchester
  • the West of England with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
  • Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire
  • Kent, Essex, East and West Sussex
  • the North East of England

This funding is designed to help creative businesses explore new innovation projects as a stimulus for growth.

Your proposal must:

  • be from the creative industries
  • be by a micro, small or medium enterprise registered or operational in a DCMS Create Growth Programme region
  • focus on a clear growth opportunity and the proposed innovation to address it
  • demonstrate the impact funding and support can have on the growth plan of your business
  • engage with the regional support if your application is successful

Your project must:

  • offer an innovative and ambitious idea which demonstrates a clear growth opportunity
  • be new to your business
  • have a demonstrable impact to your growth plan, for example, start the process of creating a new revenue stream, such as new products, services or intellectual property (IP)
  • demonstrate a route to commercialisation within 12 months of receiving support with a clear plan for attracting additional private finance
  • benefit the wider creative cluster or region in England you are based in
  • be able to start rapidly
  • demonstrate value for money

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a variety of projects across the different creative sub-sectors from each of the DCMS Create Growth appointed regions. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific themes

The creative industries are defined by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Your project must focus on one or more of the following sub-sectors:

  • advertising and marketing
  • architecture
  • crafts
  • design and designer fashion
  • film
  • television
  • video
  • radio
  • photography
  • IT, gaming, software and computer services
  • publishing
  • museums, galleries and libraries
  • music, performing and visual art

Creative industry businesses refer to those with a high intensity of creative occupations. You can refer to the DCMS Economic Estimates for a list of the sub-sectors and their associated SIC codes, that DCMS classifies under the creative industries.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects:

  • that support business as usual (BAU) activities
  • that are currently in the receipt of public funding for business growth
  • without evidence the proposed innovation will lead to business growth
  • that do not address how potentially negative outcomes will be considered, for example on the environment
  • without innovation, for example the creation of information-only websites
  • that sit outside of the creative industries
  • not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • not eligible to receive Minimal Financial Assistance

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 50% UK flour in their product
28 November 2022
Competition opens
5 December 2022
Online briefing event: register to attend
8 February 2023 11:00am
Competition closes
20 March 2023
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:

  • that all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
  • all sections of the application are marked as complete

You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

1. Project details.

2. Application questions.

3. Finances.

Accessibility and inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us. Read more on how we have made our application process accessible and inclusive to everyone.

You must contact us as early as possible in the application process. We recommend contacting us at least 15 working days before the competition closing date to ensure we can provide you with the most suitable support possible.

You can contact us by emailing support@iuk.ukri.org or calling 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

1. Project details

This section provides background for your application and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which people from your organisation will work with you on the project and invite those people to help complete the application.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope, it will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

Text update 13 December 2022: we have changed ‘registered’ to ‘registered or operational in’ in Question 1.

The assessors will score your answers apart from questions 1 to 4. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess.

You must answer all questions. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered or operational in address of your organisation and any subcontractors working on your project.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Only businesses registered or operational in within the Create Growth Programme appointed regions are eligible to apply for this competition. The six regions are:

  • Greater Manchester
  • the West of England with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
  • Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire
  • Kent, Essex, East and West Sussex
  • the North East of England

You can check your local council with your post code: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2. Which sub-sector or sub-sectors does your organisation focus on?

List which sub-sector or sub-sectors your organisation focuses on:

  • advertising and marketing
  • architecture
  • crafts
  • design and designer fashion
  • film
  • tv
  • video
  • radio
  • photography
  • IT, gaming, software and computer services
  • publishing
  • museums, galleries and libraries
  • music, performing and visual art

Your answer can be up to 10 words long.

Question 3. Minimal Financial Assistance declaration (not scored)

You must download the declaration template. You must complete this, declaring any funding received under Minimal Financial Assistance (previously referred to as Special Drawing Rights) or De minimis awards, (from any source of public funding) in the applicable period.

You must complete all the fields on your form before uploading.

You must write “declaration attached” in the question text box.

You must upload the completed declaration as an appendix. It must be a PDF and the font must be legible at 100% zoom.

You must keep all documentation relating to Minimal Financial Assistance (previously referred to as Special Drawing Rights) and other De minimis awards for a period of 6 years and be prepared to release it to any public funding body which requests it.

Question 4. Video describing or showing your proposal (not scored)

Create a video to describe or show your proposal. Upload it to a password-protected page on YouTube before the competition closes.

You must provide a link and password to access your video as your answer to this question.

Your video must be:

  • no longer than 2 minutes
  • ‘unlisted’ in your YouTube privacy settings
  • available for us to view until 1 September 2023

If your video response for a question is over 2 minutes long, only the first 2 minutes will be viewed.

Your video may be marked as ineligible if:

  • we cannot view your video
  • it is hosted on a platform other than YouTube

More information on how to create an unlisted video on YouTube.

If you cannot upload your video to YouTube, you must contact support@iuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes for advice.

The assessors will review the content of your video not the quality.

Question 5. The project (scored out of 30)

What is the project you intend to undertake?

Describe in your answer:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the outputs of the project in terms of specific deliverables and where will you have moved your business from and to
  • any previous technical and business planning work you have conducted in relation to your proposed project
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 6. Impact and added value (scored out of 30).

Demonstrate the expected impact this funding will have on your business within the first 12 months.

Explain:

  • how your business is going to scale or grow from the innovation
  • how it will support your business in becoming investment-ready
  • why public money is necessary for your project, for example there is a lack of private investment or market failure
  • any expected impacts at a regional, creative industries or creative Industries sub-sectors level
  • the wider impacts on society, the economy, the environment and any potential negative impacts

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 7. Business planning and resources (scored out of 20)

Who is in the team and what is your capability to deliver a solution?

Describe:

  • what combination of resources, equipment or facilities you need to access
  • the main people involved, including their roles and responsibilities and relevant track records
  • the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • your capability to deliver in the required timeframe given your existing business activities and constraints.
  • how you will deliver outcomes and impact beyond the life of the project

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 8. Project plan, risks and costs (scored out of 20).

What will you do with the grant funding? How will you manage the project effectively, and the risks appropriately?

Explain:

  • how your funding will be spent over the life of the project
  • the main work packages of your project, indicating who is assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • the main risks, interdependencies, impact, and mitigation strategy, paying particular attention to how you will mitigate project delivery risks with your immediate and extended team, for example, subcontractors
  • how best value for money has been decided

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 1 A4 page long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

You can submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer detailing main work packages, specific milestones and project management. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

Support from your local Create Growth Region

If your application is selected, you must contact your regional support. Their contact details will be included in your grant offer letter. They can signpost you to additional support and services both local and national that form part of the wider Create Growth Programme.

Successful applications will receive a grant offer letter and must start their project on or before the project start date indicated.

This competition is part of the DCMS Create Growth Programme which features two funding activities, this competition and a second Create Growth Programme: Competition 2 in late 2023. The second competition will offer approximately £3 million of funding support.

Contact details for the Creative Growth Programme regions:

Evaluation survey

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have commissioned an evaluation of the Create Growth Programme to understand whether or not it is having the intended impacts. A vital component in this evaluation is understanding how organisations such as yourself are faring, and how this is changing over time.

Please follow this link to complete a short survey that will provide key evidence for the evaluation:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SCV78Z6

The information you provide is not part of your application for funding nor will it affect the outcome of the competition.

It is only with your help that future government support can be appropriately designed.

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (each an ‘agency’).

Any relevant information submitted and produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to the DCMS and vice versa.

This would include, but is not restricted to:

  • the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
  • scoring and feedback on the application
  • information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports

Innovate UK and the DCMS are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, and the DCMS will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application. Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy is accessible here.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information. The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK KTN

Innovate UK KTN are helping businesses in accessing and engaging with the regional support.

Next steps

If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project.

You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your IFS Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin.

You will need to provide:

  • the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
  • a redacted copy of your bank details
  • an exploitation plan

In order to process your claims, we need to make sure that the bank details you give to us relate to a UK high street bank that is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The account must have a BACS clearing facility and be in the same company name as your application.

If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker. If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.

Finance checks

We will carry out checks to make sure you are an established company with access to the funds necessary to complete the project.

You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays.

Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.

Your Grant offer letter (GOL)

Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your GOL.

The GOL will be made available on your IFS portal. You will need to sign and upload this before you start your project.

Your GOL will show the start date for your project, do not start your project before this date. Any costs incurred before your start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.

If your application is unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.

Your application may score well and receive positive feedback from the assessors but be unsuccessful. This can be because your average score has not reached the funding threshold for this competition or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if applied to this competition.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email support@iuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Need help with this service? Contact us