The West of England Combined Authority is set to receive £1.35m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to support creative businesses in the region.
This new funding will be used to help creative industries grow by improving access to expert knowledge and experience as well as supporting businesses through training and advice on securing investment.
The West of England Combined Authority will lead the initiative, working with potential participants, partners and industry experts to design and commission a series of activities to deliver a business support programme and identify how and where to focus their efforts to achieve the most effective outcomes.
Tim Bowles, Mayor of the West of England, said: “This is terrific news; our region is recognised for its thriving creative sector and Bristol is soon to be home to one of Channel 4’s new creative hubs.
“This investment will support the work we are doing on the Local Industrial Strategy, which recognises the importance of the creative industries. We are perfectly placed to drive innovation and growth here in the region, setting the direction for our economy and pushing for future growth for the UK and the world.
“A strength of our region is the diversity of businesses and the very active networks and initiatives which reach across many sectors. Our approach will look to build on the expertise and knowledge of these networks and initiatives to help shape and deliver the programme.”
WECA’s overall approach will be underpinned by the following five principles:
- Align with existing initiatives to fully exploit knowledge and expertise in the region
- Engage with Local Partners and Creative Industry Experts
- Use learning to inform a phased approach to the programme
- Actively target business with growth potential
- Develop sustainable and transferable approaches for the future.
Minister for the Creative Industries, Margot James, said: “Millions of people around the world enjoy our world-class creative and cultural output every day and we want to stay as a frontrunner in these vibrant sectors.
“Our creative industries are a vital part of the economy, contributing over £100 billion to the economy so it is important we maintain the pipeline of talent. This package will take the sector from strength to strength by arming the next generation of creatives with the necessary skills and giving businesses in the sector the support they need to succeed.”
The two-year programme will run across the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership region, which includes Bath & North-East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Activity will be linked to other business support already provided through the West of England Combined Authority; through the West of England Growth Hub and Invest Bristol and Bath.